Saturday, January 01, 2022

Books Read in 2021

This was probably my best year of reading yet, completing more than 80 books! The vast majority were audiobooks, which I listened to while gardening, cooking, driving, etc. I also read a few actual paper books which I held in my hands but failed to write down anywhere, plus a number of plays from anthologies that I'm not going to bother to look up. So the list below are all audiobooks, organized by the app I borrowed them from. I starred a few that I especially enjoyed, put a (-) after a few that weren't as good as the rest, and left off a couple that were terrible. The rest were worthwhile.

On OverDrive:

Rules of Civility (Amor Towles)

Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng)

When All is Said (Anne Griffin)

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo)

One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) ~I failed to appreciate this one as much as you're supposed to. It would have been better if I'd read it for a class or discussion group.

*Before We Were Yours, *The Book of Lost Friends (Lisa Wingate)

Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)

The Answer Is... : Reflections on My Life (Alex Trebek) (Jeopardy host)

Kingdom of the Blind, A Better Man, All the Devils Are Here (Louise Penny, Inspector Gamache series*)

Lab Girl (Hope Jahren)

News of the World (Paulette Jiles)

*Educated: A Memoir (Tara Westover)

*The Giver of Stars (Jojo Moyes) ~Historical fiction featuring "pack horse librarians" on the Midwestern frontier.

The Alchemist (Paul Coelho) ~Another one that I would have enjoyed more if read for a class or discussion group.

Send for Me (Lauren Fox) (-)

Journey to Munich (Jacqueline Winspear, Maise Dobbs series)

The Handmaid's Tale, Hag-Seed (Margaret Atwood)

Uncommon Type:  Some Stories (Tom Hanks) ~These short stories were uneven but mostly quite good!

**Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) ~Loved this epic tale. Will definitely re-read.

*The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (Abbi Waxman)

From a Certain Point of View (40 authors, 40 stories; Star Wars fandom) ~Fun!

Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts (Brene Brown)

Olive Kitteridge (Elizabeth Strout)

*China Dolls (Lisa See)

The Dutch House (Ann Patchett)

The Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey)

**Daisy Jones and the Six (the audiobook of this was amazingly good; I will definitely reread this one!), Malibu Rising (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas) ~Definitely a YA book. Good story, but I prefer YA books that you can't tell are YA. 

The Searcher (Tana French)

*Ordinary Grace (William Kent Krueger)

The Outsider, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (Stephen King)

Greenlights (Matthew McConaughey)

Death on a Southern Breeze (Mark de Castrique) (-)

Carve the Mark, The Fates Divide (Veronica Roth)

The Woman in the Window (A. J. Finn)

*The Book of Lost Names (Kristin Harmel)

*Death Comes to Pemberly (P. D. James)

The Quilter's Apprentice (Jennifer Chiaverini)

Cloud Cuckoo Land (Anthony Doerr) ~From the author of All The Light We Cannot See, this one was disappointing because it was nothing like it, and it was futuristic vs. historical fiction...however it really was ingenius, well-written, and ultimately enjoyable.

The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)

The Great Alone (Kristin Hannah) ~Very different from The Nightingale, much rougher content with graphic domestic violence.

*Hillbilly Elegy (A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (J. D. Vance)

*Dracula (Bram Stoker) ~So much better than I expected!

*Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand) ~A re-read; I have loved this play since I wrote a paper on it in high school.

*Anxious People (Fredrik Backman) ~Same author as A Man Called Ove; very different but just as funny and psychologically insightful.

**Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (Helen Simonson) ~Insightful and delightful!

Brooklyn (Colm Toibin)

The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm (Robert Galbraith) (J.K. Rowling's pseudonym) 

On Hoopla:

*The Queen's Gambit (Walter Tevis) 

*Under the Tulip Tree (Michelle Shocklee)

The Convent's Secret, The Ink Master's Silence, The Cheater's Game, The Prisoner's Key, The Imposter's Inheritance, The Kidnapper's Accomplice, The Toymaker's Curse, The Spy Master's Scheme (C. J. Archer, Glass & Steele series*) ~These YA mysteries don't feel like YA. They blend magic as a plot line with well-drawn characters in a Victorian London setting. Very fun!

The Last Bookshop in London (Madeline Martin)

Murder at the Mayfair Hotel, Murder at the Piccadilly Playhouse (C. J. Archer) 

Jane of Lantern Hill (L. M. Montgomery)

Tolkien's Last Chaucer (John M. Bowers) -Not a page turner, not a great narrator; I listened to it on a faster speed just to get through it, but it was a fascinating glimpse into Tolkien's head, academic publishing, connections between Chaucer and other medieval books that show up in The Lord of the Rings, and philologists dialoguing about philology.

The London House (Katherine Reay)

*That Distant Land (Wendell Berry)

Books I read and taught for Classical Conversations Semester One:


Prologue and the Knight's Tale from The Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Book One of Paradise Lost

The Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyan)

Robinson Crusoe (Daniel DeFoe)

"A Modest Proposal" (Jonathan Swift)

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)

No comments: