You know the old adage “you are what you eat?”, right? Well, books are food for the mind, so they shape the way you think. They allow you to live vicariously through the good and bad experiences of the characters, they present you with places and ideas new to you, and they broaden your horizons. This year, my thoughts were shaped by 66 books, most of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
(PS: If any of these books interest you, please consider using my affiliate links. They won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission to fuel my book-reading habit. Thanks!)
Books on Writing and Marketing
This year I decided I needed to read less about writing and actually write more instead, so there aren’t many books in this category. The two craft books were tremendously insightful: Fight Write is a great resource for anyone writing fight scenes, and I cannot recommend Creating Character Arcs enough for any budding writers out there.
Other Non-Fiction Books
I set myself the challenge to read 12 non-fiction books again this year, and I managed to squeeze 15 in. The idea behind this challenge is that non-fiction inspires me and broadens my mind. Unfortunately, I fell into a bit of a self-help trench which, although interesting and useful, didn’t really do much for kick-starting story ideas. Nevertheless, there were some fantastic reads this year.
I read Always Italy during the week after my birthday, when I was stuck in a room on my own isolating after a bout of Covid-19, and it was just the most wonderful way of escaping (read my review here). I also really enjoyed Walking the Nile for its insights into the history of the more war-torn parts of my home continent. In the self-help section, honourable mention goes to both Atomic Habits and Twelve Rules for Life, the one tremendously applicable and the other thought-provoking.
Books I read for Nostalgia
The Lennet series of books were childhood favourites of mine and I have been buying their first (and only) editions from bidding websites as they become available. These two are pretty rare, so I was very chuffed to find them. Only one more to go to have the complete collection!
Books that were Okay
I’m a huge fan of Joanna Penn, but I am not her target audience. I keep reading her books because I like to support her, and because she loves to travel as much as I do, and her books are all deeply inspired by archaeological relics that fascinate me, but I am just not in love with her characters or writing style, sad to say. The other books in this list all fell short of my expectations in one way or another. I’m sure there are people who loved them, but they just weren’t for me.
Books that I Liked
Unsurprisingly, this category has the most entries and they are all books that I would recommend one way or another. Firm favourites were the King of Scars duology, as well as The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. If you enjoy gaslamp urban fantasy then you’ll love Suzannah Rowntree’s Miss Sharp’s Monsters series, or if you prefer historically accurate drama with a dash of the supernatural, then her Watchers of Outremer books will also delight. Surprisingly enjoyable indie author contributions include Nils Odlund’s Emma’s Story, Once Upon a Short Story by AG Marshall and the Mapweaver Chronicles by Kaitlin Bellamy.
Books that I Loved
I recommend every book in this list! Lore was a fabulously fun take on the Greek myths, The Once and Future Witches is a feminist triumph, and The Ten Thousand Doors of January a delightfully unusual portal fantasy. I devoured P Djeli Clark’s urban fantasy detective series set in 1920s Cairo, starting with the short story A Dead Djinn in Cairo and culminating in the full-length novel, A Master of Djinn. But my absolute favourite series this year was Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe series – go read it!
You can also have a look at 2020’s books here.
Which book did you enjoy the most in 2021? Which of the books I’ve read have you also read – and what did you think of them? Do you have any recommendations that I have to add to my TBR pile for 2022?