Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is about my top 10 books of 2021 so far!
The topic for this week was originally supposed to be my most anticipated books of the second half of 2021. However, I don’t really focus on new releases, and I feel like I’ve posted a couple different times about books I’m looking forward to hopefully reading this year (several TBR lists that I have trouble sticking to, so the list hasn’t changed much). Therefore, since we’re about halfway through the year, I figured this would be a good time to reflect on 10 books that I’ve really enjoyed so far this year. In no particular order, here are my top 10 of 2021 so far!
To learn more about a book, click on the photo to find the Goodreads synopsis.
1. “Concrete Rose” by Angie Thomas
This was one of the first books I read this year, and it remains to be one of my favorites so far! And not just of this year, but in general. This book is so good. Every single one of the books I’ve read by Angie Thomas has been fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. HERE is my review of Concrete Rose!
2. “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker
I tried starting this one in high school, but struggled to get into it due to some of the more disturbing and traumatic elements of the story. I’m so glad I tried it again as an adult, as it was so powerful and moving. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. HERE is my review of The Color Purple!
3. “From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” by Tembi Locke
I’m so glad I made it my goal this year to read more nonfiction because I’ve discovered some really incredible memoirs! Tembi Locke’s story of love and loss was so moving, and it’s one I’m still thinking about several months after reading it. HERE is my review of From Scratch!
4. “Animal Farm” by George Orwell
I can’t believe I hadn’t read this one until now. It was short, but so powerful and still so relevant today. I’d highly recommend this one.
5. “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini
Yet another book by Khaled Hosseini that made me cry! I’ve also read (and loved) The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Of those three, And the Mountains Echoed is probably my least favorite. Which is saying a lot because I LOVED it. The story was so moving and I was literally weeping at the end. It’s one that will stay with me for a long time (just like the others of his that I’ve read).
6. “Call Me Maybe” by Cara Bastone
This was probably my most unexpected favorite of 2021 so far. I downloaded it for free on Audible, and figured I’d just listen to it when I needed something short, light, and cute. It delivered on all of those things, but it also made me smile the whole time and laugh out loud several times as I listened! It was clever, well-produced on the audio side, and the story was just so adorable. If you have an Audible membership, you should definitely download this one!
7. “The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family” by Josh Hanagarne
This was another unexpected favorite of mine! I also downloaded this one for free on Audible. I didn’t really know anything about it, but it sounded pretty interesting and since I’m trying to read more nonfiction I decided to go for it. I went into it with absolutely no expectations, and ended up finding it so fascinating! I don’t know much about Tourette’s, so I feel like I learned a lot about that topic. However, it was so much more than just that. I also learned more about the Mormon faith (and what it’s like to lose your faith when you’re part of a Mormon community). I also found his passions for books and exercise to be so powerful as well. The intersection of those things created something unlike anything else I’ve ever read or learned about, and I just found it so fascinating and informative!
8. “The Mountains Sing” by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
I’d heard great things about this book, and was so excited to listen to it! And I was not disappointed. I don’t know much about the Vietnam War to begin with, but I definitely didn’t know anything about it from the Vietnamese perspective. While there were little things I struggled with (rushed ending, underdeveloped characters/relationships), the story itself was so powerful and inspiring. Also, English isn’t the author’s first language which makes it that much more impressive. I literally cannot get this book out of my head, and would highly recommend it to anyone interested.
9. “Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love” by Jonathan Van Ness
I absolutely love Queer Eye and Jonathan Van Ness, so I was so excited to read this memoir! And I’m so glad I listened to the audiobook version (narrated by the author)! I think that made a huge difference in my enjoyment of this book. Jonathan is so open, honest, and vulnerable in this memoir, and I loved learning more about him and his background. He is a very inspiring person, and I look forward to seeing what else he does to positively impact the lives of others.
10. “The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food” by Marcus Samuelsson
My final favorite of 2021 so far is another unexpected one: a cookbook! I ended up reading this one cover-to-cover because there was just so much good information in it beyond just the recipes (which also look amazing). I felt like I learned so much from this book, and it inspired me to be a more conscientious shopper and consumer. HERE is my review of The Rise!
Have you read any of these books? What would your top ten be?
Let me know in the comments!