my favorite reads of 2021
Happy New Year! How was your holiday? Peaceful and fun and restorative, I hope. To kick off 2022, I thought I'd share my favorite reads of 2021, the best of the 71 books I read last year.
The four books below earned five stars from me. You know who else gets five stars? My dog, Moose, who is incredibly patient despite the ridiculous modeling jobs I subject him to.
Here they are, in the order I read them:
I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Ian Reid
Reid's novels can sometimes be frustrating, as I have no idea what's going on for large portions of them, but the stories are too intriguing to put down. That frustration pays off when the final puzzle piece slides into place—exactly when the author wants it to. Horrifying. Hypnotic. Bizarre. I cannot think of another author who writes the way Reid does.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Action-wise, SUS is a quiet book, the story of a woman driving across Mississippi with her children to pick up their father from prison. Don't, for a second, think quiet means dull; this book is a masterpiece—moving, harrowing, and lyrical. Ward writes some of the most beautiful prose I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Some books are pure joy from beginning to end. The characters of BR were as vibrant and charming as my real friends (sorry, friends). Henry's meditations on author life and the publishing industry were painfully on point. The writing not only sparkles; it's hysterical. I lost track of the number of times I guffawed in an otherwise silent room.
Ariel by Sylvia Plath
My last selection is a poetry collection that carries special meaning. The protagonist of my current writing project has a dark mind—much darker than those I've written in past novels. To get into character every morning, I'd listen to a Lana Del Rey song, then read a poem from Ariel. Plath's work in this collection is bleak and wise and furious and compassionate and graphic. Put simply, she was a genius. I'll return to this collection time and again.
(again, in the order I read them)
Ill Will by Dan Chaon
A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin
Are We There Yet? by Kathleen West
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal] by Zoë Heller
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
Hidden Valley: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker
Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener
Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Nick Bilton
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork by Reeves Wiedeman
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Femlandia by Christina Dalcher
Julius Winsome by Gerard Donovan
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Vox by Christina Dalcher
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
The Maid by Nita Prose
My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid by Joshua Safran
The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore
Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Watch Out for Her by Samantha Bailey
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
US proof on the left, UK proof on the right
Finally, I'm so excited that I can officially say my second novel, This Might Hurt, is coming out THIS YEAR! The US and Canadian editions will publish 2/22/22. The UK edition will publish 3/3/22.
You can pre-order the book from your preferred retailer at any of the links below my signature. Thank you so much for your support.
Here's to a healthy, safe, and productive 2022!
You can pre-order THIS MIGHT HURT at the links below.
Amazon | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Penguin Random House
Amazon | Apple Books | Bookshop.org | Kobo | Penguin | Waterstones | WH Smith
Amazon | Indigo | Simon & Schuster