Top 10 Books of 2021

All year I have completed LOTS of 10 Good Things Lists, especially my weekly 10 Good Things posts I write every Sunday on Instagram. At the conclusion of 2021, I’m writing a series of blog posts on some of the best things that got me through this year. The first list that is up is my Top 10 Books of 2021.

(*denotes books that were released in 2021)

Best Books I Read All Year:

Best Overall Fiction Book:

(1) Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

(Fun fact, I read it once and listened to it twice. It moved me. This was my Tree Grows in Brooklyn of this year.)

Best Overall Non-Fiction Book:

(2) Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women + Why Little Women Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux

(Fun fact, I picked this up in a book sale grab bag at the Fort Campbell Sink Library book sale. A treasure!)

Best New to Me Author:

(3) Last Summer at the Golden Hotel* by Elyssa Friedland

(Fun fact, my friend Alisa, not to be confused with the author Elyssa, gifted me a Book of the Month 3-month subscription when my dad died. This was my second pick and it was such a fun read. I began following the author on Instagram and later won an extra copy (her own personal copy) of Emily Giffin’s newest release, The Lies That Bind which she sent me straight from New York City. So fun to feel so connected to an author.)

Best “Couldn’t Put It Down” Fiction:

(4) Malibu Rising* and 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Reid Jenkins

(Fun fact, technically two books. I read Malibu Rising first and later 7 Husbands and I’ve been on the waitlist of Daisy Jones and the Six for months. Jenkins has some spicy and racy story lines but she draws you in with such well-developed characters.)

Best Critical Thinking:

(5) The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth* by Beth Allison Barr

Best Biography:

(6) A Burning In My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene Peterson* by Winn Collier

(7) The Faith of Dolly Parton by Dudley Delffs

Best Grief Books: (Three Way Tie!)

(8) A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanaucken; A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Jerry Stisser; Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

(I made these a three way tie and counted them as one book although they are all three very different and could stand alone. I loved each one immensely. They each moved me. The are all three books about life, death, loss, faith, and where God is amidst humanity’s most difficult moments.)

Best Young Adult:

(9) The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak

(How I never read this until now escapes me. My older two kids read this when we homeschooled. I didn’t read it until this year when I taught it in my World Literature classes at Austin Peay State University. It is a lovely story about identity, perseverance, and growing up. I adored it. Liesel Meminger is now one of my all time favorite book heroines.)

Best Audio Book: (Two Way Tie!)

(10) Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Essentialism by Greg McKeown

(Essentialism was my third time reading but first time hearing the author read it. It came at a good time with wrapping up a really hard year that felt super reactive and all over the place. I finished it last week and am reminded of some good takeaways as we head into a new year with another relocation–keep the main things the main things. Little Fires was a book I listened to on my drive to and from Fort Myers. So so good!)

Honorable Mentions:

The Deeply Formed Life* by Rich Villodas

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

This Tender Land by William Kent Kruger

Debt Free Degree by Anthony O’Neal

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