Favorite Books of 2021

My favorite book of the year was The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris. After the Emancipation Proclamation, two brothers find work on a Georgia farm but the community is not as open-minded as their landowner employer. Conflict ensues as the brothers continue to struggle for freedom. This novel has gorgeous prose, memorable characters, and a beautiful ending.

A close second was Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Set in late 16th century England, a Latin tutor and his unusually talented wife deal with the effects of the Black Plague on their marriage and family. Also beautifully written with a memorable ending.

Other notable fiction I enjoyed include:

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner
The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline
Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

Favorite non-fiction & inspiration:

Taste (My Life Through Food) by Stanley Tucci. A  fun read, especially if you watched his CNN series traveling throughout Italy on gastronomical adventures. While reading the book, I could hear Tucci’s distinctive voice.

Incidental Inventions by Elena Ferrante. A year’s worth of personal essays originally published in The Guardian. I love everything written by this reclusive, talented author.

Devotions by Mary Oliver. The poet curated this final collection of her favorite poems. It makes a calming bedside companion.

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. My mother introduced this book to me decades ago. It was a sort of bible to her and I see why. I’ve read it several times and, like she did, I keep it on my nightstand.

What was your favorite book of the year?

Happy reading and Happy New Year!

4 thoughts on “Favorite Books of 2021

  1. Thank you for the recommendations! I love novels that deal with people, their victories and disappointments, shaped by historical events. I probably won’t read “Taste”. I enjoy eating (obviously) but not watching cooking shows or reading cookbooks. I do have a soft spot for Stanley Tucci. He played my Tenney High (’69) classmate Mitch Garabedian in “Spotlight”. Mitch is FAR more reserved now than he was in high school. I’ll spend 2022 with my nose in a book 🙂 Thanks again! Love and Happy New Year to all!



  2. Dear Joyce,

    Many thanks for these end of year book recommendations.

    They’ll be on my “read to do” list, for sure going forward. They all appeal to me.

    I cannot remember all the books I read this year, but one of my favorites is “The Nesting Dolls” by Aliva Adams. It’s a true to life story of three generations of Russian Jewish women starting in the 1930s to almost present day, America.

    The other is James Michener’s “Hawaii”…a life time goal…half way done and just fascinating is an understatement. It IS historical and, I believe, the history of how Hawaii was populated is real and that the names of some characters have been changed.

    Thank you again and here’s to a happy, healthy 2022 for all.



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