The best books I read in 2021


A Gentleman in Moscow – Sigh, I love this book and love the Count. I read it twice and will absolutely go back again. Wise, funny, charming; if you haven’t read it yet treat yourself to this epic tale by Amor Towles.

Deacon King Kong – Sigh again, I love this book, too. So funny and soulful, so on point and poignant. Barack Obama and I agree – the author James McBride is a national treasure. Read it, feel it.

The Underground Railroad – This won author Colson Whitehead his first Pulitzer Prize and there’s no doubt about it. The story, the characters, the history – our history – laid bare with a style of writing so neat and crisp it cuts you.

Black Buck – by Mateo Askaripour is like nothing I’ve read. It’s unique: part fictional memoir, part sales training manual, part self-help guide. Bold and brash, dazzling, surprising.

The Residence – Andrew Pyper writes some really scary stories but this book, steeped in history, is on another level. Scene after scene will have you nervously looking over your shoulder as you read.


You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz is thoughtful and thought-provoking. It’s also the basis for HBO’s show The Undoing. Her newest novel, The Plot, is on 2021 ‘best book’ lists everywhere and on my list for 2022.

The Talented Miss Farwell by Emily Gray Tedrowe. I loved this book, the relentless story and the charming yet monstrous Miss Farwell.

The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle. A twins story, an ode to sailing, and more. So beautifully written.

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann. This story, translated from German, is very good but very sad.

The Push by Ashley Audrain lives up to the hype.


The Last Flight by Julie Clark is a good, tough read. Two female leads with compelling stories.

Falling by T.J. Newman is a better-than-average thriller and debut novel. What sets it apart is authenticity.


Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny. Happy but not sappy.

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close. An endearing, meandering, laugh-out-loud funny novel.

Weather by Jenny Offill. I don’t know how to explain this novel in a couple of sentences – my review has all the details.


Skywatchers by Carrie Arcos. Young Adult sci-fi, soon to be a movie!


In addition to all his Highway novels and a couple standalones, I’ve breezed through 10 of his Joe Pickett novels. They’re perfect for audiobooks, just relax and have the narrator, David Chandler, tell you a story.


2021 book roundup: you can find the complete list of all the books I read this year here –

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