*!*!* Summary of Reading 2021 *!*!*

I read a total of 148 books this year and that’s up (by 23 books) from last year, but reading more is not a goal here.  Reading GOOD books is.  

So these are my top 10 of books read this year by category. I read a lot of new releases so many of them are 2021 books but NOT ALL!!!  It’s not a rule or anything. The following are in general order from best of best to least of best. 

My way of rating is 1-10 for fiction and nonfiction, but A-F for crime/mystery/sci-fi because the criteria for a good book, such as they are, are different. Tension is usually very important in crime and sci-fi novels, but it’s not always even consideration in classic lit (Proust for instance).  World-building can be huge in sci-fi, but not even present in non-fiction. Actually, imo, literary styling (delicious metaphors) can interfere with a good thriller. (LOL!). So I use different rating systems. But I use both when some good crime novel uses literary-type devices well.  (The Quincunx by Charles Palliser, 1989, would get a 10/A++  – so would The Name of the Rose by U. Eco.). That said, it’s all very subjective. 

“ALL artistic judgement is subjective. ALL artistic judgments are camouflaged autobiography. How it comes about, you don’t know. Inspect yourself. “ John Carey, book reviewer, London Times

There were 8 women authors and 2 translations, total.

  • *******
     (I read some really fine nonfiction this year)
  • Braiding Sweetgrass:
     Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
    by Robin Wall Kimmere
    Rating:  10 / History-Americas – botany 2013
  • Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America,  1754-1766  
    by Fred Anderson
    Rating 10 / US history 2000
    (Read and listened)
  • The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790
    by Rhys Isaac 1982
    Rating: 10 – US history/ 
    (Kindle and paperback due to graphics)

Entangled Life:
How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures 
by Merlin Sheldrake 2020
Rating 10 / botany
(Read and listened 2x)

The Invention of Nature:
Alexander von Humboldt’s New World  
by Andrea Wulff 2015
Rating 10/  life science/history
(Read and listened 2x)

Forget the Alamo:
The Rise and Fall of an American Myth
By Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford
Rating: 10 / US-Texas history

Robert E Lee and Me
A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause
By Ty Seidule 2021
Rating: 10 / history-memoir

Children of Ash and Elm
A History of the Vikings
By Neil Price 2020
Rating: 9.5 / European history

The Viking Heart:
How Scandinavia Conquered the World 
By Arthur Herman 
Rating: 9.3  / European history 2021

The Craft:
How Freemason’s Made the Modern World
By John Dickie
Rating: 9 / history 2020


Cloud Cuckoo Land

by Anthony Doerr 2021
Rating: 10/ general fiction 

The Adventures of China Iron 
By Gabriela Cabezón Cámara 2021
Translated by Fiona Mackintosh and Iona Macintyre 
Rating: 9.8 / literary – historical fiction 

The Promise
by Damon Galgut 2021
Rating: 9.75 / historical fiction (S. Africa)

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree
by Shokoofeh Azar 2021
Rating:  9.6 /  historical fiction (Iran) 

At Night All Blood Is Black
By David Diop (France) Translated
Rating:  9.6 / literary-historical 2021 
(graphic violence)

The Magician
by Colm Toibin 2021
Rating 9.5 / biographical novel (Thomas Mann)   

by Cynthia Ozick 2021
Rating: 9.5  /historical fiction 

The Sentence 
by Louise Erdrich 2021
Rating: 9.5 / historical fiction

Convenience Store Woman 
by Sayaka Murata
Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori 
Rating:  9.25  / contemporary Japanese 2016


The Ice Harvest 
by Scott Philips 
2000 / 4h 30m 
Rating:  A+ /  noir crime

Razorblade Tears 
By S.A. Cosby
Rating:  A+,  9.5 / lit-crime

The 19th Christmas
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Rating:  A+ / crime thriller 

When These Mountains Burn 
by David Joy –
Rating: A+, 9.5 – lit crime

State of Terror 
By Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny
Rating A+ / crime thriller 

Another Kind of Eden 
by James Lee Burke
Rating: A / crime  

The Joy and Light Bus Company
by Alexander McCall Smith 
Rating: A  (for enjoyment) / featherweight crime

Billy Summers
By Stephen King
Rating A / crime 

Back of Beyond 
by C.J. Box – 
Rating A- / crime 

Apples Never Fall
By Liane Moriarty 
Rating: A, 9  / lit – crime  

The Ministry for the Future 
by Kim Stanley Robinson 
Rating –   A+ / sci-fi

Full reviews at my site: 

This entry was posted in 2023 Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to *!*!* Summary of Reading 2021 *!*!*

  1. Roadtirement says:

    Happy new year 🎊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa Hill says:

    I really like the way you have differentiated your rating system for the different types of books:)
    I don’t always comment because sometimes I’m reading your reviews via email but I do enjoy your posts and I especially value the ones about US politics because here in Australia we don’t get the detail or the analysis that you share through your reading.
    Happy reading in 2022! Stay safe and well, Lisa


    • Why, thank you, Lisa! I used to read quite a lot of US politics but I had to level off because it gets so depressing and the situation isn’t getting better – at least not according to the media (which may be a chunk of the problem – heh). I’ll still read what I think are more important books but not all the garbage. Thank you! I should read more about the environmental crisis.

      Liked by 1 person

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