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It’s finally that time to talk about all the books I read in 2021!
I’m bringing back the more info heavy wrap up. I’m going to show you all the books I read, some little thoughts (but no reviews) and some cute charts!
I had a good reading year – I read 74 books in total – and overall I’m very pleased with the books I read. If you have any questions, thoughts, recommendations or would like to share what you read in 2021, let me know in the comments! So, without further ado, here we go! ♥
There are several reasons why I don’t rate books. I read the first four Princess Diaries books by Meg Cabot and I didn’t rate any of these because I don’t think my rating would be worth anything because I’m not even remotely the target audience. I love the films, but even at the target age I wasn’t reading contemporaries, I was busy with vampires, demons and Darren Shan 😂
In 2021 I also chose not to give ratings to a short story and story collection in the Murder Most Unladylike series. I didn’t want to rate these They were fun, but again I don’t think my rating matters. I will also never rate memoirs as I find it weird to rate someone’s life… nor will I rate self-help books as I don’t really know how I would rate them in first place.
Thankfully, I only had three 2⭐ reads – I gave Mortal Engines 2.5.
Even though I gave Raybearer two stars, I think the world has potential and I’m interested in reading the sequel.
Melmoth was probably one of my most disappointing reads in 2021. I had previously read Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent and loved it! It was incredible, so I had high hopes going into Melmoth. I understand where Perry was going with this, but the execution just wasn’t what I wanted or needed from this gothic retelling.
I just think I wasn’t smart enough for Kafka lol~
Personally, I think that a three star read is a good book. It has good and bad points, but overall it’s still a solid read.
For instance Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas and Pet by Akwaeke Emezi had great concepts, but weren’t necessarily executed to their full potential. They fell short of my expectations, but still stood on their own and I got things out of reading them.
I also included my 3.5 star reads here as I tend to round down on Goodreads, rather than up (and then specify in my review my .5 rating). These are very similar to three stars, but there was something extra, be it plot, character development or writing that I enjoyed more. They normally fall short of the four star mark because of the ending or due to issues with the plot/character development that could have had easy fixes.
Notable 3.5⭐reads were The Night Watch and The Desolations of Devil’s Acre, which were solid and had some great writing and characters. The worlds are incredibly imaginative and vivid, but both fell short with the endings and character development.
3 stars – Poirot Investigates; Agatha Christie || Teeth; Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (eds.) || Pet; Akwaeke Emezi || The Midnight Library + The Radleys; Matt Haig || Bleach 3-in-1 Vol.11; Tite Kubo || Seasons of War; Derek Landy || Love: Beyond Body, Space & Time; Hope Nicholson (ed.) || Memnoch, the Devil; Anne Rice || Jolly Foul Murder; Robin Stevens || Lost in the Never Woods; Aiden Thomas
3.5 stars – Hollow Earth; Carole E. & John Barrowman || The Devotion of Suspect X; Keigo Higashino || Shine; Jessica Jung || Bleach 3-in-1 Vol.6+8; Tite Kubo || The Night Watch; Sergei Lukyanenko || The Desolations of Devil’s Acre; Ransom Riggs || Murder Most Unladylike; Robin Stevens
I rated 23 books four stars, which is about 30%, and I think that’s really good!
I read the entire Murder Most Unladylike series and 6 out of 9 I gave four stars. I really enjoy Robin Stevens’ writing and all the work she put into these mysteries. Hazel will forever have a place in my heart and I would love these to be adapted!
In my four stars are also some installments from series I completed in 2021. Books 2+3 of the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin weren’t as amazing as the first book, but they were still great! I also finished the Lady Helen Trilogy by Alison Goodman, and I think both books 2+3 built really well upon the first. I then also finally finished City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare! I may moan about these characters a lot, but I do have a soft spot for them. I then read two of her short story collections which she wrote with her friends.
I read some more volumes of Bleach, which I’m still enjoying ♥
I read Midnight Sun because I’m Twilight Trash~
Some other notable great books I read were The Pink Line – a nonfiction exploration of queer identity around the world -, The Devil and the Dark Water – a really suspenseful mystery at sea -, and The Mythic Dream – an anthology of mythic retellings with some great sapphic representation.
Around 20% of my reading was five stars, which added with my four stars, is something I’m really happy with!
Eight of these sixteen books are graphic novels. Bleach 3-in-1 Volumes 4, 5 and 7 have great twists and character development! Heartstopper Volume 4 was both heartbreaking and heartwarming (trigger warnings for this series include: depression, self-harm, eating disorders, in-patient care and suicidal thoughts). Lastly for graphic novels, I re-read the Ghibli Howl’s Moving Castle volumes. It’s one of my favourite films, and I really love reading them in this format as well ♥
Another re-read in 2021 was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It’s my favourite book of all time, so of course I’m going to give it five stars on my yearly re-read~
I also found some new all time favourites in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Thursday Murder Club.
I also highly recommend The Good Immigrant (which was recommended to me by one of my best friends ♥) which is an essay collection in which 20 BAME authors, journalists, actors and artists talk about race, immigration and what it’s like to be ‘other’ in England.
I’ve been trying to read more of my backlist books, and I’m making slow progress, especially as I didn’t realise that I read quite a few 2020 and 2021 releases. As 2021 went through a couple of stages/lockdowns I thought some books that I read were actually from the previous year 😅
With my reading, for the most part, I think it was pretty consistent. I generally read around 5 books on average – if you ignore April and December which I will be doing lol~
As I’ve already said, I’m really happy that 50% of my reading was 4 and 5 stars ♥
And 3 stars are still a solidly good read and I’m glad that they made up around 25% (including 3.5’s).
Considering that I got enjoyment out of several of my unrated books as well, overall my reading was great! I really want to carry this over into 2022.
With target audiences, I have changed some of these – most notably those supposedly YA on Goodreads, but have children or young teen protagonist’s and are obviously written for that demographic.
Due to reading the Murder Most Unladylike series, four books of the Princess Diaries series and 8 volumes of Bleach, I read so much more Children/Teen. I would normally read a couple a year, especially with Skulduggery Pleasant still being released and I have several on my backlist. It was surprising to see YA be beaten out by both Children/Teen and Adult… I think if I hadn’t found/continued these series, I would have read more YA in it’s place.
Children’s/Teen = 30 books (40.5%) || YA = 14 books (19%) || Adult = 30 books (40.5%)
Genre is also a lot different to how I would have imagined it to be at the start of the year. Due to the Murder Most Unladylike series, and reading several of the Poirot books, I read around 22% percent Mystery which is super surprising. Urban Fantasy was around the same percent which isn’t so surprising as it’s my favourite genre.
I feel that I read quite widely in 2021, especially in genre’s I don’t necessarily read often or ever – i.e. Self-Help, Sci-Fi, Magical Realism, Gothic Fiction and Contemporary.
Overall, a great year of reading considering everything happening right now. I hope you enjoyed the books you read in 2021 and that you have a even better 2022 ♥
Thank you for reading!
I hope you’re having a lovely day and staying safe ♥