quick lit – next page, please {best books of 2021 edition}

For the past few years I have been intentionally compiling my best books of the year.  So I thought I would share my top 10 books of 2021. Counting down…

#10 | The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

A practical guide to comfort you in difficult times, including playlists, food, and practical advice.  I have enjoyed everything that I have read by Matt Haig, and have this one on my nightstand to pick up when I am feeling a bit low.

#9 | You Got Anything Stronger: Stories by Gabrielle Union

Though not as funny as her first book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, this one stood out because of Gabrielle’s openness and honesty in discussing difficult topics including infertility, motherhood, and racial justice. For example, she talks about how everyone else was so happy when her surrogate became pregnant but she was mad! This book was so very painful at some moments but it has stayed with me and I cannot stop thinking about it so, on the list it goes.

#8 | The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Delila Harris

This one was unlike anything I have ever read. Some have said it was a book written by a black woman for everyone, but that included often unexplained references to a black woman’s life (IE. Putting on a silk scarf at night). I loved that about it.

#7 | The Wayfarer Series by Becky Chambers

I read all 4 of these books starting with A Long Way to Small Angry Planet.  And thus began my love of Becky Chambers. I will read anything she writes.

#6 | Writers & Lovers by Lily King

This book has the second best ending of a book I read all year so, on the list it goes.

#5 | The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

I don’t know why it took me so long to read this one but such a lovely, hopeful story. Anyone who is struggling to feel accepted and loved by others should take a peek at the magical story.

#4 | Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

In March, the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club read this one; I hadn’t read it since I studied it in college. It held up. I love it as much then if not more now. And it was very interesting to read it as an older woman and how my perspective have changed since then.

#3 | Address Unknown by Katherine Kressman Taylor

Everyone should read this! And at about 70 pages, it won’t take much of your time. Originally published in the early 30’s before the start of WWII, it is a fascinating story told in letters about two friends, one German and the other a Jew and what happens when the German moves home at the rise of Hitler. Fascinating! Short – only 72 pages.

#2 | Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

This book is epic! The longest I have read in a long time. But very much worth my time.

#1 | A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

I heart this book so much! I read it for the third time last week and hugged it to my chest when I was done.

What was the best thing that you read last year?

enjoy life…

Per usual, I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and her Quick Lit post.

quick lit – next page, please {april 2021}

As I said in my Keeping Me Sane post, April was a very challenging month for me. So, my reading took a dive. I’m not that upset about it; last month I read 17 books and that was way too many, I think.  This month, I read five, which historically, is closer to my norm.

Read

  • Writer & Lovers by Lily King. If I’m remembering correctly, Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy said that this book had one of the best endings that she has ever seen. I have to agree.  It had a very very slow start but that ending? It was just what I needed.
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. This was a reread for me in anticipation of my participating live in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club discussion of the work. The first time I read it was in 2012. This is a classic for a reason! If it was possible, I got more out of this reading than I did the first time I read it. This was a great flight for Writers & Lovers.
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. I have gushed here about Haig’s forthcoming release The Comfort Book. This was in the similar vein.  I enjoyed it but I LOVED The Comfort Book. Buy it, read it, if you’re feeling the need for a smidgen of comfort.
  • More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys. I enjoyed this memoir a lot more than I initially thought I would. And it was a nice unexpected flight pick with my next read.
  • The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton. This book has gotten a lot of press right out of the gate and I can see why. It’s very similar to Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but with a singer of color and the implications/reverberations of that. As I was reading, I unfairly, was comparing it to Daisy Jones and thus was a smidge disappointed.  The books are not the same. I do own a physical copy and intend to reread at some point now that the comparison game is over.

Currently Reading

I’m linking up with Anne’s Quick Lit post. If you are here because of her, thank you. 

Let me know what you’re reading in the comments below.

enjoy life…

quick lit – next page, please {february 2021}

I can’t believe that I read 13 books this month. As I said last month, I have been not watching television mindlessly and playing Rise of Kingdoms on my phone and have been reading instead.  I have taken this time mostly from my evenings and right before I go bed. The number of books I have read this year makes me wonder how much time was I wasting watching television and playing games? It’s alarming!

A couple of caveats to this month’s numbers: (1) I participated in the 24in48 Readathon during a weekend in February.  During this time I completed three books I was halfway through.  (2) One of these 13 is a short story but Goodreads counts it as a whole book and I’m going to do the same.

I continue to make a dent in my Unread Shelf this month; I read four books and DNF’d one book. I read very broadly across genres: a couple of sci-fi, which I have found to be very enjoyable right now; two memoirs; a short story; and a book that was written and illustrated by the same person.

Read

  • My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown by Meera Lee Patel. I am fascinated by the intersection of words and pictures, writers and painters. This little volume about fear is beautifully written and illustrated by Meera Lee Patel. I had the pleasure of meeting her at Parnassus Book Store when this released. I love the artwork and the nuance you can find in each painting.
  • A Promised Land by Barack Obama. Very long but very informative. I loved how he took the time to tell us why and how he arrived at the decisions that he was making, even if I didn’t agree with his conclusions. I listened to this on audio.
  • Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles. One of the writers that I follow (sorry, I can’t remember who) recommended this little book. I got it from my local library and immediately wanted to begin highlighting and taking notes, ergo, I bought my own copy. A great resource, I will refer to again and again.
  • Artemis: A Novel by Andy Weir. A fellow reader, hi Brigid, recommended this to me when I told her that I was feeling like reading more sci-fi. A heist on the moon! Say no more.
  • Who is Maud Dixon?: A Novel by Alexandra Andrews. Thanks to Snail on the Wall and Edelweiss for this very fun read. I didn’t read the ending like I normally do, so I didn’t see the plot-twist coming, which was surprising.
  • Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. I loved Haig’s novel, How to Stop Time and how he explores time and depression in a lot of his work. Reasons to Stay Alive is his memoir about his depression and how he worked his way out of it. It was full of tips that he has found to help him with his mental health. A very meaningful read.
  • Mr. Death by Alix E. Harrow. This was a short story by an author who is fast becoming one of my favorites. I adored the ending. And Goodreads counted it as a book read, so I did also.
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. I read this because it was the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club February pick. Stradal told this story in a very unique way; the protagonist only had one chapter in her voice. The rest of the story was told in the perspective of everyone around her during the course of her life. I had not experienced this before and it was different. I don’t know if I would like all stories to be told this way, but it was very enjoyable. Plus, he was a sheer delight in his interview with Anne.
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers. This novella was WONDERFUL! A 5-star read and one of my favorite for the year. Engaging but comforting. I cried from relief at the end; it was the release I didn’t know I needed. I don’t typically read sci-fi but on a recommendation from Brenna, a fellow team member on the podcast What Should I Read Next, Episode 268, I read Chamber’s A Long Way to a Dark Angry Planet. With this title, I believe that I will read anything Becky Chambers’ writes. I wish that “Psalm” would release immediately; all of my friends need to read this because, as the dedication says, it’s “for everyone who needs a break”, and after the year we have had, we all need this break. A HUGE thank you to Snail on the Wall and Edelweiss for early access to this one. It releases July 13.
  • Save Me from Dangerous Men by S. A. Lelchuk. This is the first in the Nikki Griffin Series. The second releases April 13. It is on my TBR.
  • The Power of Writing It Down: A Simple Habit to Unlock Your Brain and Reimagine Your Life by Ally Fallon. This was one of those that was sitting on my Unread Shelf. Yay! This one is great if you are looking for a way to get out of your own way and change your life. Highly recommended to anyone curious about a way to do that without hefty therapy costs.
  • Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor by Jana Reiss. Another one that was sitting on my Unread Shelf.
  • Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York by Elizabeth Passarella. This is laugh-out-loud funny and I love LOL memoirs. Entertaining but thought-provoking, a very good combination.

Currently Reading

What’s some books you have enjoyed recently? Did any of these pique your interest? No? No matter. The real point is that we…

…enjoy life.