2021 ~year in books

3 min readDec 23, 2021


there’s some missing from the lineup but this is a good enough snapshot lol

I’ll admit I wanted to come up with some sort of overall 2021 reflections but somehow I’m. Just. Not. In. The. Mood. so I think a close alternative is a look back at some books read over the year. This is lovingly inspired by my friend Rucha’s recent 2021 book recap.

Best Book of the Year

When Breath Becomes Air. A beautiful, desperate, heartbreaking book teeming with love and life. Warning: keep a box of tissues handy if you’re going to pick this up. This was the first book that moved me enough to write a review about it since I wanted to remember how I felt during and after finishing it. I’ve tried to make it a practice to write a review for everything I’ve read after this. After all, most of us rely on reviews to tell us what’s good.. why not contribute to the masses :)

If you also read and enjoyed this book, consider checking out this Talks at Google video with Lucy Kalanithi. I just came across it and can’t wait to watch.

And a NYT Interview with Lucy.

Top 5 Books of the Year (in no particular order)

Author You Read the Most From

The only author I read multiple books by this year was Marjan Kamali. I read The Stationary Shop of Tehran and Together Tea and would highly recommend both heartwarming immigrant accounts. If we stretched the timeline back into Dec 2020, then I’ve read two books written by British-Cypriot author Alex Michaelides too (The Silent Patient and The Maidens). Both are psychological thrillers and therefore riveting reading experiences.

Vibe Check

I’m a sucker for immigrant stories, memoirs, and love stories. *Chef’s kiss* if a book hits all three of these, like The Stationary Shop does.

New Genres

Hmm this is hard to say. Maybe nonfiction? I haven’t started reading much or any nonfiction until this year.

I’d like to branch out a bit into fantasy or Sci/Fi and potentially give those a shot.

Fave Nonfiction

The Ride of a Lifetime, by former Disney CEO and executive chairman, Robert Iger. This one really motivates me to want to read more memoirs and autobiographies.

I’ve made a conscious effort to read more this year and hope to continue reading more during the next year and beyond. It wasn’t easy for me to develop the attention span at first (literally would notice the page number every time I flipped to the next page) but now I’m much more immersed and pay less attention to the page progress. In January 2021, I set a personal goal to read 25 books this year and I’m happy to report that I read 21. I might finish one or two more in the final week of the year but nonetheless I’m okay with coming up slightly short on this target.

I think reading has made the quarantine and pandemic more manageable for me. It has been a pleasant way to pass time while engaging your brain, and a method of consuming content in a way that makes me feel good (unlike most digital avenues). In fact, a quote from The Velocity of Being is one of my main motivators when it comes to reading: “If you love to read, or learn to love reading, you will have an amazing life.”

Thank you for reading! ❤ Please friend me on Goodreads and send over any recommendations so I can build my 2022 reading list.