Nearly half of the year is gone (wow), and I’ve read around 70 books so far – and the ten below are my favorite reads of 2021 as of now. It was very hard to narrow the list down to 10 books only, but these are books, stories and characters I can’t stop recommending and thinking about, and I’m quite sure they’ll show up on my favorites of the year list!
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Louise Maude, Alymer Maude
This intimidating epic was surprisingly readable and fast-paced. I adored this story, which is focused on Anna Karenina, who falls in love with a handsome man despite being married and challenges the societal norms by refusing to be discreet about it or give up her happiness. It’s really a very entertaining story and wonderfully written.
Illusion by Paula Volsky
This is the most charming fantasy I’ve ever read, a standalone story focusing on a young woman who is looking forward to living a glamorous life at court, and suddenly finds herself at the heart of revolution.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
I loved this first installment of The Broken Earth trilogy, which is a post-apocalyptic story about a woman trying to survive, and a young woman finding out about her powers. This was gripping , gritty and full of twists!
The Unseen World by Liz Moore
This is a backlisted title about a woman finding out that her beloved, brilliant father lied about who he was. I loved that this was so focused on coding and computer science, making it such a fascinating read to me!
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
This is a book that definitely deserves its hype: it focuses on two sisters, one who decides to live her life passing as white, and the other who lives as a Black woman and not hiding who she is. This was heartbreaking, wonderful and such a great read.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
I did not expect to love this as much as I did, but its beautiful exploration of grief, religion and working in science really touched my heart. I loved the writing, the story, the main character, the themes it explored. Such a beautiful book.
The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey
This is the second installment on the Perveen Mistry series, which I adore. I remember really liking the first book, but this second somehow just hit all the right spots, being both interesting in its mystery and perfectly cozy, with the smallest hint of romance and a very likable main character that I love reading about. I’m so happy there is a third book out this year!
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
Another book I did not expect to love this much! This was a recommendation by my sister and wow, so many plot twists. It also has one of my favorite tropes (which I won’t tell because it’s a bit of a spoiler, I guess) and it was just such fun!
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
I knew I was going to like this book because its synopsis is so fascinating and because it had won the Costa Awards – it’s just such a great book! The audiobook was also executed wonderfully, with a bit of haunting music on the narrations by the mermaid (which I think is done in verse in the physical copy) and I had such a great time reading it. It’s about a mermaid that shows up in Black Conch, a woman who has been cursed for millennia to live in the sea, and one day is captured by two men, starting a series of events in the Caribbean island.
Everyone in This Room Will Someday be Dead by Emily R. Austin
This is my favorite disaster woman book of all time – even surpassing my much-beloved The Pisces. It is the story of a lesbian young woman who can’t stop self-sabotaging as her mental health declines. This read like a nightmare, honestly, and it can be a difficult read, but I loved how raw and honest the depiction of her mental illness.