Thursday, January 06, 2022

book report / 2021 faves.

Just as I have for the past few years, I set a goal at the beginning of 2021 to read 52 books—not to be competitive, but because I enjoy reading and want to spend more time reading than scrolling. I know that reading approximately one book a week is doable for me, so that's what I aim for. 

I ended up reading 55 books. Here are my favourites, the ones I gave a 5 star rating: 

A Promised Land by Barack Obama / Happily listened to all 29 hours (at 1.5x speed) and am eagerly awaiting the second volume.

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo / Highly recommend if you love long family sagas. When I wasn't reading it, I wanted to be. The writing was exquisite; I wanted to highlight so many passages. 

They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School by Bev Sellars / I recommend this to anyone, but especially my fellow Canadians. I learned a lot and kept thinking, 'Why wasn't I taught about any of this in school?'

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart / Heartbreaking and beautifully written. When I finished reading it in March, I wrote, "I know I'll be thinking about this book and Shuggie for a long time." I was right. 

The Push by Ashley Audrain / I'd heard it was intense and it was. So intense. I couldn't stop reading. I had no idea what would happen and felt like I was holding my breath the whole time. I think it's in part because I'm a mom; I wonder if people without kids would have the same reaction. I recommend it, but with a warning for moms, especially new moms or moms with young kids.

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs / This had been on my to-read list for years but I didn't read it because I thought it would make me too sad. And it did make me sad, but it was really beautiful too. Worth the good long cry I had at the end.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai / Set during the AIDS epidemic and thirty years later, this made me feel so much. I was so sad and angry and was reminded how imperfect and lovable everyone is. I still think about the characters months later. 

How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber & Julie King / I read the first few chapters a long time ago and just the strategies I learned from them were so helpful with my kids. I finally finished the book last year and added more strategies to my "toolbox." I'd recommend this for any one who takes care of young kids; I wish that I had read it when I was a preschool teacher. I like that the book is divided into sections, so you could pick and choose which parts you really want to read, plus there are summaries at the end of each part. 

It Had to Be You by Georgia Clark / Loved it from the very first page! An ensemble of characters, all connected, all trying to figure their (love) lives out.

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk / Loved, loved, loved. I loved the characters, the plot, the setting. The writing was beautiful. It gave me a lot to think about. (It's a middle grade novel, but I loved it just as much, if not more, as the adult novels I read last year.)

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride & Jo Piazza / A perfect book for the times we are living in. It's written from alternating viewpoints of two best friends—one a white woman who is the wife of a police officer who has shot an unarmed Black teenager and the other a Black woman who is the lead reporter covering the resulting story. I cried more than once and think maybe reading this could be a way for people with different points of view to begin to understand each other.

What were your favourite books you read in 2021?

P.P.S. If you want more frequent updates about what I'm reading this year, you can follow me on Goodreads or Instagram.

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