My Favourite Reads of 2021

One New Year’s tradition I keep up with is looking at the year gone by and listing all the books I’ve read. From this list, I then curate a shortlist of my favourite books.

Earlier this week I recapped all that 2021 brought to me and shared the list of 60 books I read last year as part of the #BrunchBookChallenge. You will find this post here.

In today’s post I review my 2021 reading stats and talk about the books that I absolutely loved and definitely recommend for your TBRs.

2021 Brunch Book Challenge Fav Landscape Resized

Tracking my Reading Stats gives me an overview of the direction my reading has taken and how I want to change it. In the last two years, the pandemic has taken control of a lot of factors which means I haven’t been able to read all that I wanted to.

As I mentioned in my previous post, while I had many plans for 2021 and a long TBR I wanted to tackle, the year brought so many changes that I even missed reading some of my favourite authors who published new books. Considering I already have a busy year planned ahead, I expect my reading and crafting to slow down even more in 2022.

Continuing from last year’s visual representation, which turned out to be quite the hit, I diligently maintained an elaborate spreadsheet of all the books I read this past year. This sheet tracks data under various heads which then compiles different data sets.

Here is an overview of what my 2021 reading looked like:

2021-final-reading-stats-1Of course, my reading dropped in April, no thanks to contracting the Corona virus, but I did manage to stay more or less consistent even with my Korean language study in full swing. And, as always, I have a substantial percentage counting as five star reads which means I have a long list of recommendations for you.

It is always hard to create a shortlist of favourites from all my top reads. I find one way to make the list simpler is to categorise them which I do under the following four heads –
1. Indian Fiction
2. Indian Non-Fiction
3. International Fiction
4. International Non Fiction
 
Additionally, I create two separate categories from the above four as these are more specific by genre and age group:
1. Mystery/Thrillers
2. Children / Middle Grade Fiction

Lastly, any books I recommend that are yet to be published, are listed at the end of this list. These are books for which I received Advance Reader Copies courtesy NetGalley and the Publishers.

So, here are all my recommendations from 2021. These lists are in no particular order.

INDIAN FICTION:
13. Club You to Death
 
This murder-at-the-gym introduces Crime Branch veteran ACP Bhavani Singh and I desperately hope Chauhan will write a series around him.
Side-splitting witty, inherently sharp and pulsating, with a dash of political satire, the only thing saving you from biting your nails down to nothing will be the priceless entertainment that will have you ROFLing shamelessly.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
47. Written in the Stars
Using your boss’s obsession with his horoscope could be a novel way to climb the professional ladder of success as Sitara sets out to prove.
A tug of war between the choices we make and our destiny written in the stars, this is ridiculously funny and stubbornly relatable. I doubt I will read a horoscope with a straight face ever again.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
 
INDIAN NON-FICTION:
10. Guru Dutt-An Unfinished Story
 
In this richly layered narrative of the complicated life of a troubled genius, Usman draws a moving portrait of the man and the myth, capturing the nuances of Guru Dutt’s ambitious life.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
 
This collection of 50+ short essays are a sure-shot stress buster. In fact, they should come with a doctor’s prescription:
Rx
   Read one story every day.
   For best results, ingest at the start of your day for a perennially cheerful disposition.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
50. The L Word
 
In a time when more and more people are consulting life coaches to deal with relationship stress, this brings a wisely amusing dissection of the various modern relationships and reminds you to value yourself above all others.
This is especially beneficial for teenagers who are entering a phase where love begins to take precedence even though they may not understand it.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
It is too late to think that climate change is not our problem. Every drop of effort in the ocean of change counts and we are all accountable. This book is just what we need to put us on the right path. Not only is it relevant to adults, but children will love it too. Nowhere else will you find so much information packed in a fun, riveting format.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
 
INTERNATIONAL FICTION:
 
3. Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You
This book has raised the bar of expectation this year. It is a beacon of hope in a world that does not look very promising right now. It will warm your heart and make you laugh. Most importantly, it will persuade you to be eccentric now and not wait for old age to wear purple.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
6. Everything is Beautiful
Amy’s story is as much a gripping thriller as it is a journey of self-discovery. Even more so, it is a beautifully uplifting story of the brightness of hope.
In an uncertain future, when you need something funny, inspiring and thought-provoking to get you up and moving, with a dash of mystery and romance thrown in as a bonus, this is the book you should seek.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
21. Sweet Sweet Revenge Ltd.
I always expect something outrageous from Jonas Jonasson and once again he exceeds my expectations. The author’s genius creativity in pulling this together shows in his use of satire and absolute deadpan humour which is effectively entertaining. Outrageously wild and phenomenally fabulous, this is as outlandish as it gets. Add this to your Best Anytime Reads!
Buy on Amazon*.
 
28. The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle
The sincerity in the telling of this story highlights the challenges the LGBTQ+ community has faced through history. The optimism it offers is especially encouraging to those who have still not found the strength to express their identity.
Upbeat and witty, with its share of heart-breaking moments, this charming love story is an inspiration to follow your heart, free of any conditions.
Buy on Amazon*.
33. Yours Cheerfully
 
This sequel to Dear Mrs. Bird is a poignant and endearing story of women supporting women amidst the hardships of war and celebrates female friendships and their power to bring change. 
Buy on Amazon*.
 
36. You and Me on Vacation
Packed with crazy summer adventures, uninhibited friendships, and burning angst, you’ll find this an irresistible summer read. Emily Henry is now a must-read author on my reading list.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
 
This is a captivating story about finding your one true love that can make the strongest non-believer change their mind. More importantly, and this is what truly makes this book so perfect, it convinces you to believe in your dreams, as crazy as they may seem, and rediscover your heart’s purpose.
Louis’s writing is an addiction more powerful than anything you’ve ever consumed.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
53. The Stranger in the Lifeboat
A beautifully raw, poignant story of pure emotion told on the edge of hope, faith and survival, this will give you much to ponder on. I particularly enjoyed the author’s writing style and expression. He lights up the sun, moon and stars with his words and I can’t seem to get enough of it.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
 
55. Wish You Were Here
This was my first novel centred around the Covid-19 pandemic yet, I find that Picoult has taken a thread from the most dreadful time our world is living through and spun a story that is completely believable and yet so incredibly surprising. The pain is visceral but she shows there is always hope and in the end that is all that matters.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
INTERNATIONAL NON-FICTION:
In reading these collections of comic strips you will find yourself unearthing the joy of the creative process and discovering your bookish identity. 
Buy on Amazon:
 
37. Digital Body Language
Providing a better understanding of how digital body language can help build trust and authenticity, this book will transform the way you connect by allowing you to build stronger relationships, be it in your professional space or in your personal relationships.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
52. Art Matters
When you don’t receive the validation you seek and feel lost at sea, this book will come as the tiny streak of light making its way to you through an obscure hole in the dark cave. No matter what life brings to you, make good art. Because when the going gets tough, your imagination is what will get you going.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
58. Quiet Power
Not only insightful but an empowering piece of writing that will guide you to find strengths in your introvertism and use them to surge ahead in your personal and professional life. Even though this is tailored for kids and teens, there is much to learn for the adults as well. 
Buy on Amazon*.
 
MYSTERY/THRILLERS:
19. The Cut
A wholesome entertainer, cleverly original and determinedly addictive, this thriller is deadly funny. Sharpen your wit and polish your humour as you experience the magic of Brookmyre’s writing.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
 
24. In Her Tracks
A dark crime thriller that plays havoc with your emotions and a motivated female lead determined to bring justice even if at personal cost, this will continue to surprise you with its engaging storyline and grey characters.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
 
24. Hostage
Mounting tension and high drama at thirty thousand feet, with nowhere to go other than fall out of the sky, Hostage is by far the most intriguing suspense thriller I’ve read in a long time. I doubt I’ll find another one to match this anytime soon.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
38. The Wedding Party
 
When you’re looking for a summer read that’s not all romance, this whodunnit with its glamour and picturesque location, grips you with a twisted, creepy thriller.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
 
CHILDREN / MIDDLE GRADE FICTION:
20. Code Name Bananas51. Mega MonsterCode Name Bananas; Mega Monster by David Walliams
One an MI6 case file and another a magical story of a little girl’s bravery, David Walliams hits it out of the park with both these books.
Buy on Amazon:
 
Screenshot_20210704_121354_com.instagram.android
 
In a world that constantly judges the female gender, this captivating portrayal of a young girl’s emotions emphasize the need to recognise one’s self-worth.
Buy on Amazon*.
 
 
DUE TO RELEASE IN 2022:
45. The Art of Papercraft
The Art of Papercraft by Helen Hiebert (to be published on 15th Feb’22)
If you don’t know where to start with papercraft, this is the book for you. With a variety of projects that are simple enough for a beginner and sophisticated for the seasoned crafter, I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys working with paper. Whether you take up a papercraft project alone, as a group of friends, with kids, or in a community, this will feed all your creative cravings and leave you with a stunning piece of art at the end.
Pre-order on Amazon*.

I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Do let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you’re considering adding them to you TBR. I look forward to hearing about your favourite reads as well. Drop me a line in the comments so we can swap reading lists and build our TBRs 🙂

For a complete list of books I read in 2021 and the bookish crafts I paired them with, as seen in the photos above, click here.

If you like this post, do follow the blog by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button towards the bottom of this page.

You can also connect with me on my socials through linktr.ee/AshieJayn.

Stay safe, healthy, and may this year propel you in your journey to read life-changing books.

Happy reading!

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6 thoughts on “My Favourite Reads of 2021

  1. Pingback: 2021 and Changing Plans | #BrunchBookChallenge – Aquamarine Flavours

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