Books I Read in 2021

I had a goal to read 21 books in 2021, however, I made this goal in November after realizing I had read 17 books so far – thinking 4 more books would be easy. Let me tell you, it’s not that easy. I have been reading the same book for about a month now, slowly making progress.

Over the last year, I have read some really fantastic books that I cannot put down until I’ve finished them – which leaves me feeling kinda lost, like what am I supposed to do know? However, I’ve also read some pretty average books which I finished anyway because I had wasted enough time getting halfway through them. Here is a list of the 17 books I read this year and how I felt about them (80% of my goal)…also spoilers ahead:

  1. Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel – A story full of revenge and anger about Rose Gold, a girl who suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy due to her mother’s abuse. This premise made for an interesting storyline which kept me reading. It was a book that you were hoping would have a fairytale ending but actually was quite the opposite. The story has a lot of twists and turns, leaving you quite surprised with the events that occur.
  2. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – This was a FANTASTIC book. I could not put it down. This book traces 300 years of history in Ghana, while chronicling the family-line of two half-sisters that were born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana, and how radically different their lives became. I recommend this book to everyone.
  3. Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese – This is a quick read, but also a fantastically written book that describes the inexcusable harm and abuse that Indigenous People were subject to in residential schools in Canada. It follows the life of Saul Indian Horse, a man who was sent to residential school, sexually-abused by the hockey coach at the residential school, but went on to play high-level Canadian hockey. However, the trauma Saul Indian Horse experienced left him finding solace in alcohol. This is a must read for everyone.
  4. Then and Always by Dani Atkins – I picked this book up from a free library in my neighbourhood, and it was a decent book. Nothing I would write home about, but it did make me cry. The book follows a girl who is in a coma and comes to terms with her untimely death by replaying the last year or so of her life.
  5. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden – To be completely honest, I didn’t really enjoy this book. I acknowledge that it is a well written book, but it was extremely dense with WWI history that I lost interest in it. The story takes place in 1919, and follows Niska, the last Oji-Cree woman to live off the land and her sole relative, Xavier Bird, who take a 3-day canoe trip together back to their home in Northern Ontario. I actually stopped reading this book for a couple months and came back to it because I felt I had to finish it. Also, Joseph Boyden is kinda a dink.
  6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I don’t know why this was my first time reading this book, but I read it in one day and could NOT put it down. I loved this sort of book in elementary and high school so I am still quite baffled I had never read it. The book takes a look into a future totalitarian society that was once the United States. This new society treats women as reproductive agents and maids, while the men are powerful and in positions of importance. There is a reason why this is a best selling book and TV series
  7. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – This is another sad book, but really well written. It follows a Chinese American family in 1977, as they come to terms with their daughter’s death. The death uncovers a lot of family secrets, creating rifts and tension among an already rocky family dynamic.
  8. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls – I loved this book, it was to say the least, eye-opening. I also couldn’t put this book down. This is the memoir of a young girl who grows up in a dysfunctional family of nonconforming nomads, with a mother who is an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children’s imagination with hopes and big dreams as a means to distract them from their life in dire poverty in the United States.
  9. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins – I really enjoyed this book, although at times it was a little slow, the story was extremely powerful. It follows a Mexican woman and her son who are forced to flee Acapulco due to the threat of a gang that killed the rest of their family at a bbq. This book shows the determination and hardships it takes for people who are fleeing their homes to attempt to illegally enter a country to find a safe haven. It made me feel extremely lucky to be born in Canada.
  10. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – This was a very dark book, absolutely nothing happy about this story. However, it was a good read. The book follows Camille, a reporter, who just had a brief stay at a psych hospital, who returns home to write a story on the murders of two young local girls. I really emphasize that this book has no happy parts to it.
  11. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay – I really enjoyed reading this book although it was also quite sad. This book shares the history of France under German occupation during WWII while revealing the denial the French population has about the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup of French Jewish citizens in Paris. Although the story has a sad premise, there is moments of joy throughout the book.
  12. A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri – I didn’t love this book, it didn’t really have a point. It’s a story that explores an Iranian girl’s love of Western culture while growing up in a small rice-farming village in 1980’s Iran.
  13. Stories from the Magic Canoe of Wa’xaid by Cecil Paul – This book contains a bunch of stories that follow the life of Cecil Paul, one of North America’s most important Indigenous Leaders, in protecting his home, the Kitlope.
  14. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Leuithan – Who doesn’t love a good John Green novel? They’re easy to read and funny. This book is no different. I would recommend this as an easy read!
  15. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips – Honestly, this book was kind of bad too. I found it on a free shelf at my staff accommodation. I’m still not entirely sure what the plot was and/or what it was trying to accomplish.
  16. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – I read this book in one afternoon on a bus ride back to Tofino, it is by far the BEST book I have read this year. I don’t really want to say what it is about because I think everyone should go read it if they haven’t already.
  17. Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker – This book takes place in a small commune in France, it follows the town-loved police chief, Bruno on his cases. A murder is committed in the commune and this story helps solve the case. However, the case is solved in the last 5 pages or so of the book and was rather anti-climatic. I wouldn’t recommend this book. It also took me WAY too long to read, considering it was only 260 pages…

I realize this is a very long post about books I have read, with some probably unhelpful reviews. However, if you take one thing away from this post it is: please go read the Handmaid’s Tale and Where the Crawdad’s Sing. If you have any book recommendations please comment them below, or message me on instagram to tell me! I am super keen on getting some good book recommendations for 2022 (with the goal being 22 books this year).

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