2021: a year in books

Photo shows a woman standing in front of a brick wall, a book held in front of her face. Caption reads: 2021 a year in books

I love reaching the end of a year and taking a moment to look back through the books I’ve read.

Starting my @ruthreadsbooks Instagram account that I use as a reading diary has been a bit of a game changer. I still keep a notebook to record everything I read each year, but having the visual prompts of the front covers is a great way to jog my memory about the books I’ve enjoyed the most.

I read far fewer books in 2021 compared to 2020.

79 books this year, compared to 107 the year before.

There are probably multiple reasons for that – no major lockdown in Tassie in 2021, no international holiday or long flights, a busier work year, and getting a dog. These factors all left me with less reading time.

I also read a few much longer books this year. Definitely three or four novels that were 600 pages plus, that I couldn’t just plough through in a couple of days.

The breakdown was:

  • non-fiction – 42
  • fiction – 29
  • poetry – 8

There were also three books that I started but didn’t finish. (And one that I finished but wished I hadn’t! So disappointing when a writer you love puts out an absolute stinker!)

In no particular order, my favourite reads of 2021 were:


Charlotte McConaghy, The Last Migration

Anita Heiss, Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray

Lucy Treloar, Wolfe Island

Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

Ta-nehisi Coates, The Water Dancer

Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain

Meg Mundell, The Trespassers


Sam van Zweden, Eating with my Mouth Open

Maxine Beneba Clarke, The Saturday Portraits

Fiona Murphy, The Shape of Sound

Bill Hayes, How we live now

Kerri ni Dochartaigh, Thin Places

Kate Lebo, The Book of Difficult Fruit

Sally Morgan, My Place


Jesse Bertron, A Plumber’s Guide to Light

Claire Askew, How to Burn a Woman

Young Dawkins, Slow Walk Home (!!)

I’m excited to read some more excellent titles in 2022. So far, I’m one novel and two poetry collections into the year. I didn’t realise until I looked at my 2021 breakdown how strongly I favour non-fiction, so I’m going to try and read some cracking novels this year.

I’d love to hear what your recent faves have been, and what releases you’re looking forward to over the coming months. Leave me a comment below and let me know.

Happy reading!


Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

1 thought on “2021: a year in books”

  1. I read 46 books in 2021 – an increase from 34 in 2020 and 21 on 2019. I haven’t done a tally but I can be certain my non fiction well outnumbered my fiction reads. My goal is simple: to read every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s two pages or 20. Or an entire book! The aim is just to read. (And I loved Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray too – that’s the only one on your list that is also on mine.)


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