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Sunday, January 8, 2023

Best Books Read in 2021

  This post is going to do double duty. I didn't buy much in 2022 that didn't have to do with the hiking, but I did finally find a comforter for my bed that I like that's in my budget. I got this for $15 on a clearance. I know it's not an amazing purchase, but it makes me very happy. And it's not totally worn out, which my old one was.

Because I was getting ready for my North Country Trail hike in 2021, I did not read as much as usual. I was extra busy. In fact, I've come to realize that one reason I'm so tired is because I've been pushing myself super hard for two years, not just the 13 months of the hike.

But that's not the point of this post. The thing is... because I was hiking in January 2022, I never posted the best books of 2021. Going back and trying to reconstruct that list from the pile of books that needed to be put away wasn't totally satisfactory. But, as nearly as I can figure, I only read 46 books in 2021. Apparently, I needed more escape than usual, so there are fewer serious books in this list.
Anyway, here are the nine I have selected as the best reads of 2021, in alphabetical order.

Brief Review
Angels and DemonsDan Brownthriller
This book is a sort of prequel to The DaVinci Code. There are a ton of problems with these books theologically, but there is no question that Brown is an outstanding writer. This is basically a scavenger hunt through Rome to find an ancient series of clues in order to save the Vatican from destruction. Think of the movie National Treasure set in Rome and even better.
Before We Were YoursLisa Wingatehistorical fiction
This has been a pretty popular book, so probably a lot of you have read it, but it's deserving of its acclaim. This story is loosely based on a real woman who ran a large orphanage in the south in the 1930s. But it turned out that she was stealing children from poor families in order to sell them. This is the fictional story of one family torn apart in this way.
Carnival for the DeadDavid Hewsonmystery
Interestingly, this doesn't get very good ratings on Amazon. It is most often described as tedious. Well, I liked it a lot. A forensic pathologist goes to Venice to find her aunt who has gone missing. There are lots of twists and turns.
Deception PointDan Brownthriller
This is a very formulaic thriller, but Brown is a great writer. I probably should boycott his books because of his personal theology, but I got it from a free pile, so he got no money from me... A secret under the Arctic ice leads to international intrigue. Probably unbelievable, but sometimes stories are just for the thrill of the ride.
GoneJohnathan Kellermanthriller
This Alex Delaware thriller has more twists and turns than Lombard Street. Almost no one is who they appear to be, but can Alex sort it out?
High ProfileRobert B Parkermystery
This is a Jesse Stone mystery- made so popular through the TV series starring Tom Selleck. I think this is one of the best in the series with two bodies, no one who seems to care, and Stone still trying to work through his own problems. I just checked other reviews and people either loved it or hated it, so... if you like Jesse, you may or may not like it!
Prayers for RainDennis Lehanethriller
This psychological thriller may leave you unable to sleep. Violent and disturbing. But I like it.
SeabiscuitLaura Hillenbrandhistory
The story of one of the most amazing race horses in history. Although the movie was good, the book is much better. I do like books about great horses, but I think this would be a good read for anyone.
Shadows on the KoyukukSidney Huntingtonmemoir
This is the memoir of a man whose earliest memory is sitting beside his dead Athapaskan mother. He chronicles his life from days of early Alaskan native life through the modern age, when he became a great spokesman and promoter of education. Some of the reading of this one got a bit tedious for me, but the true story is so amazing I kept reading.
When Stars Rain DownAngela Jackson-Brownother fiction
Jackson-Brown was one of the facilitators of the Writer's Workshop I "attended" via Zoom during the COVID years. This is a fictional story of growing up black in the South in the era when people of color were allowed to have positions of trust in the homes of white people, but only as servants. The son of the owner and daughter of the housekeeper grew up together and treat each other as equals, but the world is not yet ready for that. In fact, portions of their world are still decidedly ugly.

In other news: I'm just barely starting to feel guilty for not working more. I guess that means I'm recouperating. I did some writing (probably finished my new 10-minute play), put some stuff away and did some paperwork. And I made yogurt.

See Best Books Read in 2020


Ann said...

I like that comforter. Good price for that.
I prefer mysteries so those are the ones that sounded the best to me on your list. I've seen the Jesse Stone mysteries on tv so I would read that one.

Sharkbytes said...

Hi Ann- yeah. I'm a Jesse Stone fan

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "Our Dada hasn't read any of those books, but he's at least heard of some of them! He read like 47 books in 2022 so about the same as you did in 2021. He only rated one book five stars in all of 2022. Only one!"
Java Bean: "¿Qué? I thought Dada's reputation is that he likes everything!"
Lulu: "That only applies to movies I guess ..."