Top Books Read in 2021

Image of an open book

Of my 150 books or so read for 2021, what stuck with me the most? What still needles me for attention?

Find the following books at your local store listed at Indiebound.org or shop online through Bookshop.org or Libro.fm. (Links may provide a benefit to the referrer.)

Get Back to the Party Book Cover

Series: The nine books of Tales of The City by Armistead Maupin slapped me into saying, “Why haven’t I read these before?” They are the perfect comfort meets soap opera novels, all written with care at so many levels: sentence, characterization, plots (soapy and otherwise).

Standalone Fiction: Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zah Salih smoothly joins the friendship-evolving-over-time genre.

Fiction Missed from a Few Years Back: Duma Key by Stephen King must include the best speech-in-a-book I’ve ever read. Indeed, I teared up during it.

Flamer Book Cover

Nonfiction Books: Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome and In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado use cohesive structures to hook a reader through. For Broome’s, it’s a bus ride and what the author witnesses and is reminded of. For Machado, it’s undulating, prelusive simile.

Teen / Young Adult: Flamer by Mike Curato intimately depicts the worries of a teen who fears for his ability to ever be real to the world.

The Spectacular Suit Book Cover

Middle Grade: Stowaway by John David Anderson kicks off a sci-fi duology romp. Read my interview with the author.

Picture Books: The Spectacular Suit by Kat Patrick with illustrations by Hayley Wells surely is one of the most adorable books about gender expression. I Am Not a Penguin by Liz Wong captures lament for children in a way few books outside of Sesame Street texts have successfully accomplished.

See my 2020 top reads here. Read more about the importance of the writing ecosystem here.

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