2021 Year in review

Clausen, George; Reading by Lamplight (Twilight: Interior); Leeds Museums and Galleries; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/reading-by-lamplight-twilight-interior-38362

Remember last year, when I lamented reading “only” 44 books, but chalked it up to the pandemic? Well I’ve done it again! Exactly 44 books read.

At the end of 2020, despite being in the thick of the second wave, I was making plans. Not just for reading/blogging, but in general. After all, vaccines were coming and all would be well. A few waves and variants later, and recently reeling from another round of school closures, I’m wary to say the least.

This article about new year’s resolutions and perhaps choosing something you like doing but don’t always make time for resonates with my early 2022 mood. Forget reading; I might resolve to watch more movies, something I rarely make time for. I have Rachel’s recommendations to guide me, and my kids are old enough that I can sometimes watch something decent with them, too. I got to watch Dune in theatre with the 12 year old, before Omicron took hold.

Read in 2021 and best books

I’ve done my usual Twitter thread as I completed books, and otherwise tracked in a basic Google sheet. I don’t miss Goodreads at all, and unfortunately can’t forgive Storygraph for including inane data about whether characters are “lovable” and “diverse”, so Google it is.

My top five books:

  • In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado – smart and innovative form, a memoir of abuse
  • Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen – his best novel!
  • Nishga by Jordan Abel – smart and innovative form, a memoir (and more) of trauma and poetry
  • A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam – quietly masterful novel on trauma and love
  • My Phantoms by Gwendolyn Riley – devastating novel on how embarrassing it is to be or have a parent

Plans for 2021

Let’s not talk about last years’ plans (to read books published before the year 2000) because it didn’t happen. Well, it happened 33% of the time. I already have a few 2022 pre-orders in the works, so I’m not going to give it a second try!

I have a slight urge to host something on the blog this year (a 1000+ page classic read-along, obviously) but might not have the ambition.

If anything, I might try to knock down the old TBR a bit, not because I’m overwhelmed, but because I realize I only read 4 or 5 books that could be credibly deemed “TBR”. I tend to buy about 25 books in a given year and this doesn’t bode well in the long run…

But overall, the plan is to not have a plan. As a Virgo, this is somewhat distressing, but heading into the third year of a pandemic, I’d say it’s necessary.

A few stats

  • 24/44 woman and nonbinary authors (slightly fewer than last year)
  • 10/44 in translation (same as last year)
  • 2/44 Canadian, way down, yikes! I do have some David Adams Richards and Carol Shields to catch up on…


  1. roughghosts

    I really want to read Nishga but the hardcover price got in the way. My daughter gave me a $100 gift card for books so no excuses now! Happy New Year and stay warm up there.

  2. JacquiWine

    My Phantoms made my ‘best of’ list too (for recently published books), and the Franzen definitely appeals – it seems to be something of a return to form for him, which is good to see!

  3. Naomi

    I tend not to make any plans anymore, either. There are so many reading projects I would like to take on, but I’m afraid that mentioning them is too big of a commitment to them. So I’m just gonna keep reading!
    It was nice to see you around more this year! 🙂

  4. Rachel

    In the Dream House was absolutely brilliant, but I haven’t read the others. A Passage North and My Phantoms both sound great.

    I’m right there with you on no reading plans for 2022. I failed just about every single one of my 2021 reading goals and I’m not masochistic enough to do that to myself again, lol.

    And YESSSS to your Rachel Movie Marathon.

  5. annelogan17

    haha, I have no idea what Storygraph is, but the fact that they rate characters as lovable or diverse is so bloody annoying I think you’re on the right track with a google sheet. Also, I love that picture you included at the top, it’s so comforting and beautiful.

    I’ve been really curious about In the Dream House, everyone raves about it! And the My Phantoms book sounds really interesting…

  6. Katie | Doing Dewey (@DoingDewey)

    I like your idea to focus on goals you’ll really enjoy, so I’m excited to check out the article you linked. I also hoped to read more this year, but it did turn out to be a different sort of year than I’d hoped, so I’m trying to be kind to myself about that too 🙂

  7. Pingback: 2022 Year in review | Reading in Bed

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