The Books I Read in 2021

In 2021, I read 106 books, up from 69 in 2020. I had a feeling my numbers would be up! I guess 2021 was a good year for reading. (2022 might not be, since this coming semester I’ll be teaching three courses for the first time ever.) I suspect serving on the Kids All Iowa Reads Committee contributed to my increased book intake since I read so many middle grade novels for that selection process. I also started the year off strong with a stack of SFF my brother had given me for Christmas, and I ended the year with some highly anticipated SFF reads as well.

Here are the books I read in 2021, rereads bolded, with links to any related blog posts:

Dread Nation Justina Ireland
Echo North Joanna Ruth Meyer
The Lost Future of Pepperharrow Natasha Pulley
A Memory Called Empire Arkady Martine
Prairie Lotus Linda Sue Park
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky Kwame Mbalia
Rick Alex Gino
Serpentine Philip Pullman
Gideon the Ninth Tamsyn Muir
Indian No More Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell
Clean Getaway Nic Stone
From the Desk of Zoe Washington Janae Marks
Efrén Divided Ernesto Cisneros
Closer to Nowhere Ellen Hopkins
More to the Story Hena Khan
Stand Up, Yumi Chung! Jessica Kim
Pippa Park Raises Her Game Erin Yun
Fireheart Tiger Aliette de Bodard
When Stars Are Scattered Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed
The Year We Fell From Space Amy Sarig King
New Kid Jerry Craft
Class Act Jerry Craft
Snapdragon Kat Leyh
Race to the Sun Rebecca Roanhorse
Snapdragon Kat Leyh
The Magic Fish Trung Le Nguyen
The Only Black Girls in Town Brandy Colbert
A Wish in the Dark Christina Soontornvat
The Calculating Stars Mary Robinette Kowal
The New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman
Dragon Pearl Yoon Ha Lee
Girl Mans Up M-E Girard
Other Words for Home Jasmine Warga
The Miraculous Jess Redman
All the Birds in the Sky Charlie Jane Anders
The List of Things That Will Not Change Rebecca Stead
Sal & Gabi Break the Universe Carlos Hernandez
The House That Wasn’t There Elana K. Arnold
The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane Kate O’Shaughnessy
The Barren Grounds David A. Robertson
Things You Can’t Say Jenn Bishop
Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe Carlos Hernandez
For Black Girls Like Me Mariama J. Lockington
Serena Says Tanita S. Davis
Pet Akwaeke Emezi
Itch Polly Farquhar
All Systems Red Martha Wells
The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez Adrianna Cuevas
Things in Jars Jess Kidd
The Fountains of Silence Ruta Sepetys
The Raven Tower Ann Leckie
Rascal Jean-Luc Deglin, translated by Edward Gauvin
The Fated Sky Mary Robinette Kowal
Ghost Talkers Mary Robinette Kowal
The Bird King G. Willow Wilson
Shine Lauren Myracle
Fireheart Tiger Aliette de Bodard
Un monde à portée de main Maylis de Kerangal
Firekeeper’s Daughter Angeline Boulley
Winterkeep Kristin Cashore
This Is How You Lose the Time War Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Raymie Nightingale Kate DiCamillo
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children Kirstin Cronn-Mills
You Know I’m No Good Jessie Ann Foley
Every Color of Light Hiroshi Osada & Ryōji Arai, translated by David Boyd
Don’t Go Without Me Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Anaïs Nin: Sur la mer des mensonges Léonie Bischoff
La Manticore Maylis Vigouroux
The Silence of Bones June Hur
Heretics Anonymous Katie Henry
Dig A.S. King
Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories Naomi Kritzer
Upright Women Wanted Sarah Gailey
Magic for Liars Sarah Gailey
Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II Andrea Warren
Show Me a Sign Ann Clare LeZotte
The Hazel Wood Melissa Albert
Louisiana’s Way Home Kate DiCamillo
Are You Listening? Tillie Walden
Legendborn Tracy Deonn
A Bestiary Lily Hoang
Midsummer’s Mayhem Rajani LaRocca
Letters from Cuba Ruth Behar
Six of Crows Leigh Bardugo
American Betiya Anuradha D. Rajurkar
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph Brandy Colbert
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Erika L. Sánchez
Hey, Kiddo Jarrett J. Krosoczka
We Are Not Free Traci Chee
The Daughters of Ys M. T. Anderson & Jo Rioux
Dancing at the Pity Party Tyler Feder
Fighting Words Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Spin With Me Ami Polonsky
In the Role of Brie Hutchens Nicole Melleby
Please Ignore Vera Dietz A.S. King
Light from Uncommon Stars Ryka Aoki
This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein Kenneth Oppel
The Unbroken C. L. Clark
Tye Leung Schulze: Translator for Justice Dawn K. Wing
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda Becky Albertalli
She Who Became the Sun Shelley Parker-Chan
The Parker Inheritance Varian Johnson
Playing the Cards You’re Dealt Varian Johnson
The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy Anne Ursu
Dactyl Hill Squad Daniel José Older
The Ship We Built Lexie Bean

The Numbers:

  • Total books read: 106
  • Books in French: 3 (3%) (all thanks to Isabelle)
  • Books that were not prose novels: 28 (26%) (Prose non-fiction/memoir/essays: 2; Novels in verse: 2; Short stories/short story collections: 3; Graphic novels/comics including non-fiction: 15; Picture books: 1; Novellas: 5)
  • Books read in translation: 2 (2%) (French to English: 1; Japanese to English: 1)
  • Books read for the first time: 97 (92%)
  • Books read not for the first time: 9 (8%)
  • Books by category (as decided by me): Adult: 28 (26%); Young Adult: 28 (26%); Middle Grade: 49 (46%); Picture Book: 1 (1%)

These next categories are identity-based and therefore necessarily approximate. How someone identifies can’t always be deduced from a name, an author photo, or even a set of pronouns, and not everyone chooses to identify publicly as anything, which is fine. Consequently, this isn’t guaranteed to be 100% accurate, but I’m still curious about my own reading habits, so only take this for what it’s worth.

  • Books written by women (where at least one co-author, co-editor, or contributor is a woman): 83 (78%)
  • Books written by self-identified trans or non-binary authors: 10 (9%)
  • Books by authors of color: 47 (44%)

Finally, my favorite books of 2021, excluding rereads (I picked these on New Year’s Day without thinking about it too hard and…came up with a lucky seven again! But these choices were borderline capricious and I loved many books this year, so don’t ascribe too much meaning to this):

  • A Memory Called Empire Arkady Martine
  • Snapdragon Kat Leyh
  • The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane Kate O’Shaughnessy
  • Winterkeep Kristin Cashore
  • Light from Uncommon Stars Ryka Aoki
  • She Who Became the Sun Shelley Parker-Chan
  • The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy Anne Ursu

2 thoughts on “The Books I Read in 2021

  1. That’s crazy. You definitely should write a post on how you read as many books that you did, if you haven’t already. Thanks for sharing your list, and I’ll definitely be adding some to my TBR!

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