It has become a tradition I look forward to every year to review my favourite (and less favourite) books of the year! You can find 2020 and 2021 on my blog as well. This year I have read 14 fiction books, 10 non-fiction, and 2 memoirs.
That’s a total of 8375 pages across 26 books!
This post contains the best books I read this year, a few recommendations (to read and to avoid), as well as my complete reading list with ratings out of 10.
The Very Best
There are two books, fiction and nonfiction, that stood above the rest this year. I fully recommend you grab yourself copies of these!
Best Fiction: A Man Called Ove (Fredrik Backman)
“Heart warming” is the best word to describe this book. Backman produced an easy, yet enticing, read that I could not put down. It follows the grumpy pensioner Ove as he faces the challenges of everyday life, including being an involuntary cat owner. This quaint backdrop gives rise to a captivating story full of great characters and witty dialogues. The book makes you think about what it means for a life to be well lived.
Bound to make you cry (in a really good way).
Best Non-Fiction: 4000 Weeks – Time Management for Mortals (Oliver Burkeman)
A human life is, give or take, 4000 weeks long. A book with this title could be easily mistaken for a productivity book urging you to do as much as possible as fast as possible. However, “4000 Weeks” could not be further from that. Burkeman uses this painful finiteness of life to give us permission to not achieve everything. Based on this blunt realisation, the book takes us on a well-written journey of less to experience more.
The antidote to productivity books you didn’t know you needed.
A few other books this year were contenders for the top spots and I would hate for them to go unmentioned!
This Is Not a Pity Memoir (Abi Morgan)
This was one of the first memoirs I ever read and came highly recommended by people who would say the same about themselves. Despite illness being the overarching topic of this book, Morgan kept her promise: this is definitely not a pity memoir. Instead, it is a book about love, relationships, family, and life itself. It is elevated by her superb, yet personal, writing style, which drew me in.
An extraordinary, emotional piece of literature.
Come As You Are (Emily Nagoski)
In the sea of books written about women’s sexuality, Nagoski’s book is a solid rock. She delivers a warm, caring manifesto that draws from her teaching experience and is deeply rooted in her scientific research. Its content is always applicable and down to earth, providing a new point of view on familiar topics.
Answers to questions that remained unanswered for too long.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)
This book gives us the honour of taking part in Evelyn Hugo’s enchanting world of glitz and glam. However, we are also permitted a peek behind the polished façade revealing a more nuanced story than the world is made to believe. This book is full of fun and joy, with twists and turns, cleverly intertwining present and past.
When no other book can capture your attention – this will!
Would Not Recommend
This year I relied more on personal recommendations, which improved the overall quality of this year’s reads. Therefore the list of the “would not recommend” is rather short, containing only a single book.
Girl Crush (Florence Given)
I did (mostly) enjoy Florence Given’s first book “Women Don’t Owe You Pretty” and therefore I was eager to give her first novel a try. Unfortunately, the book disappoints on so many levels: setting, characters, storytelling, and writing. Why is this book set in 2030? Has the main character really never heard of gender neutral toilets before? Is this Florence Given’s wanna-be memoir? This book leaves many questions unanswered as it fails to merge the author’s own experiences with the narrative. If you want Twitter’s hot take on it, check out this superthread!
|1||Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone||J.K. Rowling||335||8||ENG||F||January|
|2||Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets||J.K. Rowling||384||8||ENG||F||January|
|3||Manifesto – On Never Giving Up||Bernardine Evaristo||191||7.5||ENG||NF||January|
|4||The Glasgow Effect: A Tale of Class, Capitalism and Carbon Footprint||Ellie Harrison||360||6||ENG||NF||February|
|5||Come As You Are||Emily Nagoski||325||9||ENG||NF||April|
|6||Red, White & Royal Blue||Casey McQuiston||418||8.5||ENG||F||June|
|7||Clara and the Sun||Kazuo Ishiguro||320||7.5||ENG||F||June|
|8||A Man Called Ove||Fredrik Backman||368||9||ENG||F||June|
|9||Dial A For Aunties||Jesse Q. Sutanto||320||8||ENG||F||July|
|10||Four Aunties and a Wedding||Jesse Q. Sutanto||305||7||ENG||F||July|
|11||Imposter Syndrome||Kathy Wang||358||6.5||ENG||F||July|
|12||Whisper Network||Chandler Baker||409||7.5||ENG||F||August|
|13||Happy Hour||Marlowe Granados||285||7.5||ENG||F||August|
|14||Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before||Julie Smith||320||7||ENG||NF||August|
|15||The Lady Tasting Tea||David Salsburg||309||8||ENG||NF||August|
|16||Four Thousand Weeks||Oliver Burkeman||245||9||ENG||NF||September|
|17||Girl Crush||Florence Given||371||2.5||ENG||F||September|
|18||Zero to One||Peter Thiel||195||6.5||ENG||NF||September|
|19||Super Founders||Ali Tamaseb||275||7||ENG||NF||September|
|20||Venture Deals||Jason Mendelson, Brad Feld||270||7.5||ENG||NF||October|
|21||The Bullet That Missed||Richard Osman||421||8.5||ENG||F||November|
|22||Mother of Invention||Katrine Marçal||242||6||ENG||F||November|
|23||The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Art of Disruption||Sebastian Mallaby||404||5.5||ENG||NF||November|
|24||This Is Not a Pity Memoir||Abi Morgan||274||8.5||ENG||Memoir||November|
|25||Beyond the Wand||Tom Felton||286||7.5||ENG||Memoir||December|
|26||The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo||Taylor Jenkins Reid||385||8.5||ENG||F||December|