If you don’t fancy sitting through my ‘The 77 Books I Read in 2021‘ blog post and want to hear about the best ones that are worth reading, then you’ve come to the right place.
Of the 77 books I read in 2021, I rated 14 of them with five stars. I wouldn’t say that’s exceptional reading on my part, but I do only give books five stars when I know I’m still going to remember them in years to come.
So, without further ado, please see all of my five-star reads of 2021.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
If there is one book on this list that you read, let it be this one. I’d had Daisy Jones & The Six (by the same author) on my shelf for months but saw Evelyn Hugo on my TikTok feed so many times that I went ahead and bought it, and read it first. And wow, what an introduction to TJR’s writing. I bet at the end you’ll be Googling to see if Evelyn Hugo is real and when you find out she isn’t, you’ll secretly wish she was. If TJR has a subscription service for her books, sign me up.
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
I really enjoyed It Ends With Us, but I would class this as more young adult fiction than adult fiction and if you changed the characters to members of One Direction, it would just be like reading fanfiction back when I was 13 – so I can see why it’s very hyped on TikTok. But I did really enjoy the storyline and I read it in one sitting, so prepare to be engrossed from the very start! You may have seen Colleen Hoover’s name appearing everywhere at the end of 2021, and she has a great number of books published that I’m trying my best to get through.
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Alright, alright, alright. I was already obsessed with Matthew McConaughey, but now even more so. What a book. Greenlights is a memoir and also, isn’t. It details McConaughey’s life, from growing up, his family life, his travels around the world, his acting career and his wife and children. It also reveals everything that life has taught him and what he can pass on from the most important moments of his life. The book also features a lot of McConaughey’s writings and poetry, musings and words of wisdom. There is a lot to learn in this book and a lot to think about. One thing all of us can take away is that live is for livin, not just existing. You’ll know why I left off the ‘g’ when you read his book.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Ok, I’m obsessed with Taylor Jenkins Reid. Give me any of her books and I will sit down and try to read in one sitting. Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones & The Six is apparently loosely based on celebrities (this time, Fleetwood Mac) and knowing this just makes you so much more invested in the story and wishing it really was a biography. I’m so glad that this is being made into a TV series or movie soon as I can’t wait to see it come to life on screen. One of my favourite reads in 2021 for sure.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
The Beekeeper of Aleppo tells the story of a Syrian husband and wife making their journey to the UK to seek asylum. We often see and hear news stories of refugees coming to the UK on small life rafts, with stories of others who weren’t successful in their journey. Reading this story from the Syrian couple’s point of view really details the trials and difficulties that these people go through and why they leave their countries to come to the UK. This is one of the reasons I love to read, as it opens our eyes to other worlds and other lives that are so different to our own that we are often oblivious or ignorant to. Hugely recommend reading this.
100 Million Hair Ties and a Vodka Tonic
I loved this book. A lot of people would dream of building a business, selling in retail outlets all around the world and making a lot of money from an idea like a hair bobble. Sophie was 18-years-old when she had this idea and started her business. However, what makes this book so great is that she goes through every trial and tribulation that her business has faced, and wow were there many. Sophie’s raw telling of her life in business from copycat fakes, legal battles, shipment issues, fines and more, would soon turn someone off thinking about starting a business. But this is vital reading for anyone that wants to start a business as it may seem like founders such as Ben Francis and Grace Beverley are living their best lives as owners of million-dollar businesses, but I can guarantee that their real-life situation is a lot like Sophie’s.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Clap When You Land was one of my first London library books and what a book to start with. It didn’t help that I was quite confused until over 100 pages in I realised there were two people telling the story (note to reader: read the blurb before beginning). The book is written in poetry form, so I was able to read the entire book in one day. It’s a unique way of writing that I haven’t yet come across, but it tells the story so well and there were so many well written verses that made me stop and re-read. A book I would thoroughly recommend (it’s also Young Adult).
A Trip of One’s Own by Kate Wills
I was very lucky to travel around the UK in 2021, AirBnBing in different cities for six months, but also missing being able to travel further afield. A Trip of One’s Own definitely filled the travel-void in my life last year. Reading about solo female travellers dating as far back to 300 BC inspired me to get out as soon as I can and make more of my own adventures. The life of a travel journalist sounds enviable, and one I’m going to further investigate as to how I can become one myself. I loved how Kate was able to intertwine her own life and experiences into these stories of the women who have come before her and I also found the little breaks of tips and tricks for solo travellers extremely useful.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
I had seen this book everywhere on social media and had also heard quite a lot of mixed reviews (but mostly 5/5 ratings). I loved this book. I read it over three days and fully related to the messages within and I think it’s a very important book for our time. Thinking of everything your life could be instead of making the most of the one you have is where most of us are going wrong. Realising that every small decision you make each day alters the course of your life completely is quite something to wrap your head around, but is so, so true.
The Choice by Edith Eger
I had been recommended this book by a friend on numerous occasions and I can see why. After reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey, I realized that you can’t read enough of these books recounting the Holocaust to truly understand what these people went through and how they felt. Each book retells a different version of the same story, and each story doesn’t get easier to read. The Choice is an amazing book by an amazing woman who looks at her past experiences and knows that she has a choice in how she deals with it.
How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen & Marshall Goldsmith
How Women Rise identifies 12 habits that women should avoid or remove from their career and work life. These habits are often ones that we don’t even notice, like making ourselves too small, not speaking up about our achievements and also not letting our boss know what we’ve worked on or how we’ve continually helped others in the business. Many of these habits come naturally to our male counterparts and can be the cause of men accelerating in their career when women stay in positions for too long. A great read for anyone starting out or in the midst of their career!
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
This was one that I’d been wanting to read for a while. The Girl With the Louding Voice follows a girl in a Nigerian village, who is set to marry at the age of 14. However, Adunni wants to be educated and make her own way in the world and speak up against what is wrong. The story follows her journey to making a better life for herself and all that she has to endure to get there. A great book that looks at life in Nigeria as a young female and one that I would very much recommend.
Wonder Women: Inspiring Stories & Insightful Interviews with Women in Marketing by Giles Lury & Katy Mousinho
As someone working in influencer marketing, I’ve only just come to the realization that I am no longer really in the public relations sphere, but more in marketing. Something I never imagined that I’d be working in, but I’m finding it extremely interesting and loving how fast-paced it is. Wonder Women was a great book to read before starting my new influencer marketing role as I learnt the stories of many great women in the marketing world and what they have learnt in the industry, especially as a woman. The topic of having children during a successful career came up quite a lot, and was something I wrote about in 2021. I was also lucky to interview the authors Giles Lury and Katy Mousinho for my podcast, which you can listen to here.
Slay by Brittney Morris
I picked this up in a Free Little Library in Edinburgh, and even though it seemed like a Young Adult-type fiction book, it intrigued me all the same. I was after some easy reading, after some heavy non-fiction and this is exactly what this offered. I got through the book rather quickly, and as expected there were a few parts of the book that were quite juvinile for a young audience, but the book still covered important topics about race and discrimination and the plot was different to what I’ve ever read before. Really recommend!
Run Away by Harlan Coben
I can’t even tell you how many Harlan Coben books I’ve read at this stage. Every time I’m in a second-hand book shop, there he is and there I go to the cashier with another of his books. I really enjoy his writing with so many unexpected twists and turns, as well as some reappearing characters and the fact that all of his books seem to be set in New York/New Jersey. Run Away in particular was full of twists, gore and unexpected endings. Thoroughly enjoyed.
Books that almost made it:
- Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
- The Guest List by Lucy Foley
- My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
- Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng