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My Book List for 2021

Submitted by Bethany on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 10:00

Bonjour! Welcome to my reading list for the year 2021! 

This now the fourth year in a row that I will be tracking my reading in a blog post. If you are the type of person who is curious about such things, you can see everything I've read the last three years in these posts from 2018, 2019, and 2020

This year my goal is to read/re-read 21 classic novels in addition to any other reading I do for fun or for work. I will keep track of everything that I read here throughout the year, so be sure to check back often! 

My Book List for 2021:

1. The Witch Elm by Tana French
I started this book last year but I just finished it in January so it officially counts as my first book of 2020! I found it hard to get into, but once I finally did it was compelling enough to finish. The characters were interesting and the writing had an interesting flow, very distinctive to the character who was narrating. If you like a slow burn mystery this could be a good read! 

2. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl 
This was a re-read for me, as I read it at least once in college. Frankl is a renowned psychologist and Holocaust survivor who uses the observations he made in a concentration camp to form his view on human psychology. The resulting logotherapy is a therapeutic technique that is still used today. The first part of the book recounts his time during the war, while the second half explores his scholarship and methods. 

3. Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
Despite my love for reading I only buy books very, very rarely - I think I'm at the rate of about 1 per year right now, and usually only if I have some personal connection to the author. However, I made an expectation for this book, the second one from the author of blog (and title of her first book) Hyperbole and a Half. This book is worth purchasing because it isn't just writing, there are also hilarious pictures that Brosh draws on her computer. This book is a bit more serious than her first one, exploring themes of depression and loss and the seeming meaninglessness of life. It was especially interesting to read in contrast to Frankl's book, and I devoured it in just 24 hours. I highly recommend this one and her first book! 

4. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
A friend on Instagram recommended this one and I immediately pulled it from the library onto my kindle as I was in the mood for a good mystery. Bonus, it's set in London and France! I was drawn into the characters and the overarching story and enjoyed the way it was told from different points of view. I devoured it in just a couple of days! 

5. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
This book has come highly recommended by several friends and now I know why! It follows a story through time - bouncing between one young woman working during World War I and another young woman searching for a lost loved one in the aftermath of World War II. It is a fascinating look at women in those time periods, the challenges they faced, and the ways they rise above. 

6. The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice
I was hooked from the first line of this novel and barely put it down until I finished it 24 hours later. The story is written from many different viewpoints which makes it a little hard to keep track of, especially at the beginning, but it's worth it to see the story unfold from so many angles. 

7. One by One by Ruth Ware
In this mystery thriller, a small start-up company that has become an internet sensation goes to a ski retreat in the Alps to discuss whether or not they should accept a buyout. An avalanche occurs, people start dying, and the culprit might be in their midst! It was fairly predictable but a fun ski-filled mystery adventure nonetheless. Mostly it made me miss skiing, but also made me realize I don't really want to go ski anywhere there is an avalanche risk! 

8. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
It's funny that this book became available off my hold list right after the above, because it is such a similar story. A group of friends goes to celebrate New Year's Eve at a remote Scottish estate, they get snowed in, someone dies, and the culprit must be among them! Again, fun, but nothing mind-blowing or out of the ordinary. And yes, now I want to spend NYE at a remote Scottish estate sometime. But with people I trust not to kill me.

9. Final Girls by Riley Sager
Can you tell I'm in a mystery reading mood? This one follows three "final girls" - girls who were the sole survivors of brutal massacres. When something brings them back together, danger lurks and long-held secrets are revealed. I enjoyed it! 

10. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Last year the only classic novel I managed to read was A Handmaid's Tale. I quite enjoyed it so I was keen to read this follow-up novel that explores how Gilead is doing some years into the future. It also calls back to the beginning of Gilead in some of the memories of a significant character. It was fascinating to delve into this world once again!

11. Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn
This sweet love story follows artist Meg Mackworth - who has become a sensation in NYC for her bespoke planners and wedding accoutrement made with gorgeous calligraphy. The tale follows her connection with a former client who comes to ask about something he found in the wedding program she made for him and his fiance. The writing was flower but the story was interesting enough and kept my attention. I found myself ready to get back to my murder mysteries though, for some reason I am just in that kind of mood! 

12. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
A fancy wedding on a remote Irish island...multiple motives for murder...this story is told through the eyes of several characters as more and more gradually gets revealed about the connections and interconnections. I enjoyed it!

13. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
Part mystery, part ghost story, this tale had me racing through it to find out what was really going on. The story is told through the main character's point of view and by reading portions of a book her father wrote about her childhood. I had a bit of trouble tying up all the loose ends at the end but it was a fun ride! 

14. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker 
What would happen if the world stopped spinning like it was supposed to and both our days and nights grew longer? This novel explores that idea, as told through the eyes of Julia, looking back on her late childhood when all the changes began. It was a compelling story, I found myself eager to know what would happen to each of the characters as well as the wider world. I highly recommend!

15. Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos
This was a heartfelt story about three college best friends who drifted a part after graduation. When one of them goes missing it brings the trio back together, as they navigate how their new lives intertwine with each other. A fun beach read!

16. Still Lives by Maria Hummel
An artist who paints portraits of women whose murders made them famous disappears. What has happened to her? Can our heroine figure it out in time? This was a good mystery set in LA in the early 2000's.