2021: Books of the Year
Fredrick Backman, Colum McCann, Amor Towles, and Kristin Hannah were my favorite authors this year. 2021 was the year of stories that shook me and moved me. In retrospect, it seems I've been specifically opening myself up to stories of suffering (while then specifically reaching for lighter, more heart-warming tales for balance.) Curious to see what 2022 holds for my literature selections! If you've read any of the books below and want to chat about your experience, please reach out. Blessings on your own books and the resulting explorations and musings they bring.
1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
-reading from the perspective of someone you could label as autistic
-realizing how long lasting trauma from childhood is (verbal abuse/false beliefs)
-be grateful for your health in your friends and family
2. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
-being close to nature and learning to take note of specifics
-we are both animal and soul
3. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
-living with large secrets sounds exhausting and awful
-racism is part of this country's narrative and needs to be examined
4. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
-the depth and complexity of each human life, each of our stories, how we interact
5. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
- some interesting new pictures of motherhood and unpregnancy
6. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
- people. The ever-amazing importance of people, connections, friendships.
7. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (sexually graphic*)
- the terrible burden of secrets, the need to accept people fully as they are whether in small things like idiosyncrasies or large things like gender and sexual identity (also that I miss Africa)
8. If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
- how much I hate social systems based on class (but aren't they all in one form or another?) and why are people shaving their bones to look different? How has plastic surgery become so refined and accessible that it's hard to tell what public personalities have had done - beauty standards being unrealistic?
9. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
- would highly recommend to anyone, but with a warning for how intense this narrative is and how these images, these people, these thoughts will stay with you. A rush and sweeping of deep gratitude for my life, a new understanding about the specific facts of suffering and immigration.
10. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
-how important people are; shared memories are for relationships. The beauty of math.
11. my grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry by Fredrik Backman
-the power of a good story. Honestly, makes me want to raise kids on a uber complex system of fairy tales based on faith but without all the church bits
12-13. Sorcerer to the Crown and The True Queen by Zen Cho
- the power of women, and trusting your intuition and making brave, difficult choices
14. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
-the intensity of our feelings and perspectives and how they keep our vision small
15-16. Parable of the Seed and Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler
-how insanely good we have it now and the kinds/levels of suffering that could realistically head our way if we don't start problem-solving as a race. Not sure what to think of the Earthseed bits on God as Change.
17. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
-DO NOT RECOMMEND...best takeaway would just be that we all our so entrenched in our views of the world that it's a continual surprise to see a shared situation from another person's perspective
18. Calypso by David Sedaris
19. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
20. Memorial by Bryan Washington (explicit - don't recommend)
21. The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova
22. Anxious People by Frederik Backman
23. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
24. Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore
25. Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry
26.Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
27. A Gentleman in Moscow Amor Towles
28. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
29-31. Scythe Trilogy by Neal Shusterman
32. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
33. The Pull of The Stars by Donoghue
34. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
35. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
36. Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami
37. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
38. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
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Being a lifelong learner means intentionally seeking out experiences that enforce growth and personal development.