Looking Back at 2021 – My Top 5 Books

2021 has nearly come to an end. Christmas Day has come and gone in its usual pomp and resulting fatigue, and I am taking time to look back on what has been a challenging year for so many – this is the second year that the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic has impacted on everyday aspects of our lives, including work and maintaining social relationships.

In these unprecedented times, I found that escapism was the perfect tonic to the feelings of stress, loneliness and low motivation and mental health. Along with other activities, reading brought me that escapism, as it has done since I was a boy. With that in mind, here are my favourite five books read in 2021, which I recommend to all who haven’t read them.

5) Divergent by Veronica Roth

Genre: Young Adult, Science-Fiction
Publishing Info: 2011 by HarperCollins
Star Rating: 4/5

My Review: “Divergent is a great first book in Veronica Roth’s Young Adult series of the same name. It utilizes its strong and unique concept of a society split into factions to good use, not being afraid to surprise the readers with the intensity of the final third. The strength in writing of the dystopian society and the characters makes this book stand out in a saturated YA market.”

4) Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

Genre: Crime, Fantasy
Publishing Info: 2014 by Gollancz
Star Rating: 4.5/5

My Review: “The fifth book in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series is a return to form following a below-par fourth. The decision to have the crime and investigation take place away from London and into the rural county of Hertfordshire allows the world building to explore new and interesting magical creatures and legends. The focus on community spirit and how crimes can affect whole families and communities also make this book a terrific read.”

3) Déjà Dead by Kathy Reichs

Genre: Crime, Thriller
Publishing Info: 1998 by Arrow Books
Star Rating: 4.5/5

My Review: “The first novel in Kathy Reich’s ‘Temperance Brennan’ series won several awards upon its release, and it is not difficult to see why. The electric pacing and tense narrative will make readers want to change their predictions multiple times. What makes this stand out the most though is the way in which Reichs provides her female characters with an effective voice in a crime thriller, linking to the central plot in some heartbreaking circumstances. This is one crime thriller that you will not be able to put down.”

2) Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Publishing Info: 2021 by Simon Schuster
Star Rating: 4.5/5

My Review: “As powerful and devastating as the earthquakes used in her central allegory, Nadia Owusu spins a web of trauma, from the death of her mother when young, to the homelessness felt with constant moving as a child for her father’s work. That this is a memoir of Owusu’s own experiences as a child and young adult makes this even more heartbreaking. Beautifully written, this is a must-read.”

And…
1) A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Genre: Fiction
Publishing Info: 2014 by Atria Books (originally in Swedish by Forum in 2012)
Star Rating: 5/5

My Review: “Brilliant, hilarious, emotional… there is not a single word that can fully describe the feelings one gets when reading A Man Called Ove. The story of a curmudgeonly old man, recently widowed, who desires to join his wife in the afterlife but is accidentally thwarted at every turn by new neighbours, provides many exquisite moments. This is the literary equivalent of a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night, and definitely a tonic for times of stress and low mental health.”

Thank you for taking the time to read my favourite five books of 2021. Please feel free to share which books you enjoyed this year, or any book recommendations you have for me, in the comments section below. Please also like this post if you enjoyed reading, and please feel free to subscribe to be notified by email when new posts are published on The Blogging DJ.

If you want to keep up to date with all of my current reads, feel free to follow me on Goodreads – the link to my profile is as follows. (TheBloggingDJ Goodreads Profile)

I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and I hope to see you all in 2022!


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