THE BEST BOOKS I READ IN 2021

Happy 2022! It’s been a while–just over an entire year since I last posted. But I couldn’t resist popping in for a classic “best books I read last year” list. Needless to say, 2021 was yet another tumultuous, topsy-turvy year. Thankfully, reading continued to be an incredible outlet for escape, release, comfort, and growth. I read a total of 63 books in 2021, and here are my top ten favorites from that bunch:


Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Dare I say that this is my favorite Austen novel?? I read this at the perfect time: at the end of perhaps the most stressful semester of law school yet, when all I needed was a lovely, sweet story to make me feel something other than the pressure of final exams.

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

In the midst of a hectic, crammed law school semester, it can sometimes feel like every single second of your time has to be accounted for and used in the most productive way possible. Odell’s brilliant book How to Do Nothing reminded me that sometimes doing nothing can be the most valuable, worthwhile thing to do.

Ulysses by James Joyce

A bucket list book for sure–I can’t believe I actually read it! I trickled through this tome over the course of several months. I already foresee myself returning to it at some point.

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

I know it seems weird to say this, but I feel like this is the book I’ve always been waiting for John to write. Perfection. (Also, would highly recommend the audiobook narrated by John himself!)

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie had me hooked from beginning to end. I always thought that And Then There Were None would remain my favorite novel by her, but this one gives it a run for its money…

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

This book made me realize that I love John Steinbeck writing. Why haven’t I been a diehard fan of his writing before this? His ear for tone and voice is incredible.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

Why on earth didn’t I read this novel sooner?? Absolutely a masterpiece. Stunning. Striking. Unsettling. Touching. Raw. I so, so wish I had studied this book during my English lit degree.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Just the sweetest, most wholesome read. Truly a hug in book form.

Dune by Frank Herbert

This book reminded me how much I love getting swept up in intricate sci-fi/fantasy worlds. It’s been a while since I felt so wholly engrossed and enveloped in a story.

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

So pleased that this sequel to Dune didn’t disappoint. Absolutely cannot wait to continue on with this series in 2022.


And there you have it–the ten best books I read in 2021. I’m so excited to see what amazing reads 2022 has to offer.

Please let me know some of the best books you read in 2021, and whether you have any thoughts on the books I’ve mentioned here. Hope you’re having a lovely start to your new year so far!

xx Holly

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23 responses to “THE BEST BOOKS I READ IN 2021”

  1. Strongly recommend Kent Haruf’s “Plainsong” trilogy. One of the best ever, not just for 2021.

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    1. Will definitely check it out, thanks!

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  2. What a great list! You have some of my favorites there. I am currently re-reading “ Sense and Sensibility” and enjoying it immensely. It’s my favorite Austen too.

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    1. Thank you! And so glad you agree about Sense and Sensibility!

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  3. Amazing list! I want to read & watch dune.

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    1. Thank you! The book is fantastic–I still need to watch the movie!

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  4. Sense and Sensibility is my second favorite Austen novel after Persuasion! I do think that a lot of it comes down to when these books find you in your life haha it needs to be the right timing!

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    1. Absolutely! Persuasion is definitely one I need to reread–just as you say, I think I’m at a better point in time now to really connect with it.

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  5. Welcome back! My few favorite reads this year were How to Change Your Mind, Know My Name and Brighton Rock x Rachel x

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    1. Thank you so much! I really want to read Know My Name–glad to know you enjoyed it!

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  6. Looks like you had a great reading year! A lot of these are still on my TBR and they intimidate me just a wee bit, but I’m hoping to get to them at some point! Cerulean Sea was my fave read in 2020 and it makes me ridiculously happy whenever someone else loves it just as much! I hope you have a great reading year ahead 😊

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    1. So glad you loved Cerulean Sea too! It was fantastic! Happy reading in 2022 to you as well!

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  7. emmareadstoomuch Avatar
    emmareadstoomuch

    oh no…this is the first time i’ve ever felt truly tempted to read ulysses. you’ve ruined me.

    anyway this sounds like an amazing reading year!! hope your 2022 has plenty of new faves too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Ulysses” is a wonderful, clever book, with lots of wordplay and sharp social observation. And it ends with a strong feminist statement which I’ve heard was strongly influenced by Jayce’s wife Nora.

      Yes, it’s long, but you read it a phrase at a time, as you read any other book.

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      1. So true–loved the ending!

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    2. Haha Ulysses is super intimidating (at least it was for me!) but so worth the trek through it! Happy reading in 2022!!

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  8. So. many. great. titles. You got to Wildfell Hall!! I meant to, in the Autumn, but didn’t end up having the time. So, I’m really looking forward to delving into it in the coming months!! C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy was one of the highlights of my reading year in 2021 x

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    1. Yes!! Wildfell Hall was incredible! Honestly can’t believe it took me so long to get to it, it was amazing. Hope you enjoy!

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      1. I did!!! I ended up devouring it and was utterly blow away by it. It was so hard to put down!

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  9. Hi! Holly, Good selection of books. My favourite is of course Jane austen though I havent read the one you mentioned. Have you read The Prize by Irving Wallace? Its really good. How Green was my Valley is also wort reading. I’m sure you’ll love the books. I shall also send you a list of my reading list. Bye. Keep reading and Writing.

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  10. What a great mix of books! How I wish I could read Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None as though for the first time. I read them in in my very early teens and since that time re-read them probably a hundred times. Have you read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Death on the Nile, too? Those are also her novels with superb “twists”.

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    1. I haven’t read the other ones you mentioned–definitely going to check them out! Thanks for the recommendations!

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