Books

End of Year Survey 2021

This post came about because I realized I really don’t feel like posting my end-of-the-year reading stats.

The last couple years, I’ve done graphs and percentages and all that good stuff.

In 2022, I don’t feel like doing the math.

I’d rather talk about books.

Hence, this survey.

Zezee did this survey, created and updated annually by Perpetual Page-Turner, over on her blog Zezee with Books. She opted to do just the book portion, so I’m going to do the same.

2021 Reading Stats

Total Number of Books Read in 2021: 206

Number of Rereads: 61

Number of Books I Did Not Finish: 83

Genre I Read the Most From: Fantasy

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2021?

When it comes down to it, I loved Piranesi the most.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

The story is so simple and well-executed.

I think about this book often and am happy to say I finally have my own copy.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

(CW: rape)

I finally read We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire.

We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire by Joy McCullough

I loved Joy McCullough’s Blood Water Paint, so I was stoked about her collaboration with Maia Kobabe.

This book, though, fell flat for me.

The narrative treating rape as a “women’s issue” really rubbed me the wrong way.

I also thought the separate storylines didn’t mesh at all.

I had really high hopes for this one. It did not measure up.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

(CW: abuse)

Little Thieves absolutely knocked my socks off.

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

I didn’t expect a retelling of “The Goose Girl” from the POV of the story’s villain to work so well.

I loved everything this book had to say about abuse, survival, society, and capitalism.

I felt for every character.

Also, I am CONTINUALLY IMPRESSED with Margaret Owen’s trans-inclusive worldbuilding.

I have no idea what the sequel holds, but I can’t wait to find out.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

(CW: emotional abuse, war crimes)

I spent a lot of time last year convincing my friends to read Winter’s Orbit.

Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell

I’m not sure my tactics were very effective, seeing as I kept talking the EMOTIONAL DEVASTATION and the WAR CRIMES.

Truly, though, I think the romance is great, as is the exploration of emotional abuse.

READ IT. That is not a request.

5. Best series you started in 2021? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2021?

Best series

I started Crescent City (second book out next month) and I have never been more excited about a series.

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

You’ll see House of Earth and Blood crop up a couple times in this survey. I loved it so.

Best sequel

I finally read Winterkeep and loved it. Such a good follow up to Bitterblue. I didn’t realized I’d missed the Graceling Realm so much.

Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

Also we’re getting a FIFTH BOOK. Can’t wait.

Best series ender

I didn’t read a single series end that I liked. In fact, I think I only read one finale the whole year and it’s not worth talking about.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2021?

Dean Atta is so talented!

Michael’s growth in Black Flamingo was really satisfying to witness. I love that this book tackles the complexities of different kinds of relationships.

It also helped my book club understand intersectionality. They ate this book up.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Atta has a new YA novel coming out in March, I just learned. Everyone preorder it now.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I hate historical fiction! This is known!

And yet I loved Homegoing, so much that I would like to own it!

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Historical fiction rarely ever grips me; this book did.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

All of Us Villains did not hold back. I loved it.

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

I’m INVESTED in a YA novel that ends in a sequel hook, which rarely happens!

I thought the ending was bloody and perfect.

Here’s to more graphic violence in the sequel.

9. Book You Read In 2021 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The Love Hypothesis became one of my new comfort reads. It had such lovely, cozy fanfic vibes.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

I didn’t get a chance to reread it before the end of the year, so I’ll be picking it back up sometime this spring.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2021?

I want to get a tattoo in honor of House of Earth and Blood, both because I love the story AND because the cover is STUNNING.

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

Look at the details! The color scheme! The moon imagery!

The sequel’s cover is even MORE stunning.

11. Most memorable character of 2021?

I am still an emo at heart.

Legendborn‘s Selwyn Kane let me continue to live out this fantasy.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

It’s possible he has unseated Adam Parrish to become our Bi King.

This is…somewhat ironic, considering his role in Legendborn.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2021?

Morgan Rogers’s writing is gorgeous. The prose is Honey Girl feels dreamlike.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

The numerous passages about myths, monsters, and mental health awed me with their beauty.

This book perfectly balanced wonder and heartbreak. I adored it.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2021?

(CW: sexual assault, incarceration)

I thought the only way to attain justice for sex crimes was through extreme punitive measures.

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich questions this belief.

Months later, I still don’t know that I’ve absorbed everything they wrote about in The Fact of a Body.

The Fact of a Body by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

They make a case for compassion and question the narrative focus of the legal system.

People are complicated and the legal system doesn’t currently account for the messiness of humanity.

This book gave me much to think about.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2021 to finally read? 

I finally picked up Get a Life, Chloe Brown and WOW, no WONDER everyone loves it!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

I love how Talia Hibbert used the Miscommunication trope in the third act.

SOMETIMES PEOPLE LASH OUT WHEN THEY’RE TRIGGERED. THAT WHOLE SCENE FELT VERY REALISTIC.

I loved this book and its romance so much. My mom just bought me the sequels (Meghan, you were right!), so I am READY TO ROLL with the rest of the series.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2021?

I have quoted this passage from Piranesi countless times.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

When I think about it, I feel so many things.

The Beauty of the House is immeasurable, its Kindness infinite.

For me, this quote underscores how hard the last two years have been.

In spite of everything, I’m still trying.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2021?

(CW: emotional abuse)

The shortest book I read last year was a horror comic called Iris by artist Wake Cook.

I loved the use of body horror as a metaphor for emotional abuse.

The longest book I read last year, coming in at 816 pages, was House of Earth and Blood.

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

I’m going to try reading The Wheel of Time this year, so I might top that.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I was fully screaming for the entire runtime of the Ace of Spades audiobook.

Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide

I couldn’t stop reading and I didn’t want to.

The paranoia is real, the betrayals numerous.

And the epilogue? SO worth it. I loved this book.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Neon Gods gave me a Hades/Persephone relationship that sparked an interest in Hades/Persephone retellings and Greek mythology in general.

Neon Gods by Katee Robert

I know this is a romance novel, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so…genuine? Sweet? Emotional?

It’s SO good and the sequel just came out!

This series is everything.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

(CW: death, grief, suicidal ideation)

I promise this is my final mention of House of Earth and Blood (for this post, anyway.)

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

Bryce calls Danica Fenrir “her person.” They share clothes, get tattoos together, run from drug dealers, the works.

When Danica dies, Bryce almost goes with her.

Speaking of, Danica dies in the first hundred pages of the book.

I was not expecting this relationship to ABSOLUTELY PAY OFF IN THE END.

Light it up.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2021 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

I read several James Baldwin excerpts for various college classes. The Fire Next Time is the first book/longform essay of his that I’ve read.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Calling this book “prophetic” seems unfair. James Baldwin saw “the future” because it was no different from the present and the people in power didn’t want to listen.

This book was both challenging and beautifully written. Baldwin’s sentences are perfectly structured.

21. Best Book You Read In 2021 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

S. T. Gibson tweeted a glowing review of Well Met.

She’d written an excellent book about Dracula, so I leapt at the recommendation.

One of the best reading decisions I made last year.

Love Lettering kicked off my romance obsession, but Well Met solidified it.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

It’s Fake Dating Enemies to Lovers with a pirate.

I wasn’t ready.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2021?

The slowburn romance in The Bear and the Nightingale was indeed slow and it burned.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I am…into Morozko.

Immortal forest deities aren’t usually my thing.

He’s gruff and good with horses, though. I’m weak.

23. Best 2021 debut you read?

Endless props to Alison Cochrun for writing a book that felt so right and hurt so much.

The Charm Offensive was exactly to my taste.

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

Cochrun’s next book is a queer Christmas novel about a disaster artist and a butch baker.

CANNOT wait.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Wolf and the Woodsman, hands down.

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

The world in this book feels solid and complete. I can tell a ton of research and love went into it.

I was well into the world by page 60 and from then on felt like I had room to explore the characters’ experiences in it.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Oh, One Last Stop.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Every single page of this was a joy to read.

Casey McQuiston made New York come to life in a way I haven’t read before.

She made me emotional about PANCAKES? And the SUBWAY?? Come on.

This is a beautiful book about family and finding yourself. Also there’s a subway heist.

It’s so well-plotted and well-paced. I can’t handle it.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2021?

Hello to the book that made me cry so hard I almost made myself sick.

Welcome back to the blog, Once There Were Wolves.

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Surely a literary murder mystery about climate change won’t hurt me, I foolishly thought.

And then there was only pain.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Love Lettering reads like a thriller.

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

(This might just be me.)

Listen – I read this hunched over on the floor while I was supposed to be doing laundry.

I screamed plenty.

I just think it’s neat!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

In terms of vibes, The Echo Wife reminds me a lot of the movie Splice.

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

You like body horror? You like scientific ethics? You like abuse dynamics?

This book made me feel gross and devastated in the best way possible. I can pay no higher compliment.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2021?

I stick to fantasy because science fiction is outside my comfort zone.

Fantasy feels safe, whereas sci-fi reminds me of a cousin who knows a lot about tax law – I have no idea what they’re talking about but they sound smart.

Basically, I expect interesting ideas from science fiction, but not much in the way of enjoyment.

In The City We Became, N. K. Jemisin grounds “out-there” ideas (alien invasion) in reality (gentrification.) Her alien and non-human characters still feel human.

(Hefty bonus: it’s got a Cast Full of Gay.)

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

Even though this book is about gentrification, colonialism, and violence, it’s both fun and funny. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it wacky, but it’s a wild ride with jokes that land.

This was easily the most unexpected book I read all year.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

I unfollowed the BookToker who first recommended Uprooted to me. When I say this book made me angry, I MEAN IT.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I hate this book with the same loathing I once reserved for The Night Circus.

At least with The Night Circus, I got through the whole thing.

I feel like Uprooted dangled a queer carrot with the friendship between Agnieszka and Kasia, which made the actual love interest THAT MUCH MORE DISAPPOINTING.

This book has the energy of a date who grudgingly pays for your movie ticket but refuses to buy popcorn. Readers everywhere can do better.

This is my sneaky way of sharing stats AND talking about my top 20 books of last year.

Bwahaha.

I would love to see others’ answers to the survey! If you do this, please tag me!

7 thoughts on “End of Year Survey 2021”

  1. Oh man, you’ve convinced me that I gotta get on reading my copies of The City We Became (which is probably going to be the next book I own that I’m going to read) and The Bear and the Nightingale, OH and One Last Stop, I own that one too!
    Glad to hear you got the last 2 Brown sister books!! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on them!!! 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Why is reading books we already own SO HARD? I hope you like these when you get to them! Can’t wait to see your thoughts!

      It’s April and I haven’t read the Brown sister books! I…WILL!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. WELL, I finally got to The City we Became and WOW!! What a book, holy moly! I wasn’t prepared for how weirdly good it was going to be! I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

        I finally bought the last book in The Bear and the Nightingale trilogy, so now I’ve given myself permission to start it… not that I needed it, but ya know! 😅

        Can’t wait for you to continue with the Brown sisters!

        Like

  2. I’ve been wanting to read so many of these! Don’t worry, I will read Winter’s Orbit. And how queer is Legendborn? I may need to read this one too.

    I didn’t do a good job tracking my reading in 2021, but hopefully I can do something like this at the end of this year. I loved reading this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Okay, soooooo…in Legendborn, Bri’s best friend Alice is bi. Selwyn Kane reveals later on that he is ALSO bi. It’s one of my favorite reveals ever.

      I started tracking my reading for good in 2020. Storygraph makes it easier. It feels kind of silly and yet I love seeing all the graphs! Thank you for reading!

      Like

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