Not much to say about 2021 really.
Lots of intimate family time at home, lots of walking every street and byway in my suburb, again and again and again as well as a hard slog at work. A quick two week driving tour to Melbourne and back (between lockdowns) to see family at Easter was the highlight. The rest is a blur.
Except for the books!
My 2021 reading started off with such promise and anticipation. But the end results were a mixed bag.
- I did indeed complete the Wolf Hall trilogy readalong, but postponed the Edith Readalong until 2022.
- I found myself unable to join in any of Nick’s chapter-a-day readalongs, but I did read three of the Master & Commander books for the four-year Aubrey/Maturin readalong.
- I read The Pea Pickers for Bill’s Gen 3 Week, although it ended up being about two months late!
- I read my least-favourite (to date) Zola book for Zoladdiction in April with Fanda.
- I read books for both the 1936 Club and the 1976 Club.
- I failed to read one single Anne Tyler book for Liz’s readalong, even though I had three unread books on my TBR.
- I’m very grateful that I finally read Benang for Lisa’s Indigenous Literature Reading Week.
- One lonely Maigret was consumed for Paris in July (I normally would read 2 or 3).
- But I did read an abundance of Australian biographies for AusReading Month.
But how to pick a winner? Do I even want to?
So it is with thanks and relief to Melanie at Grab the Lapels for coming up with the phrase that I’ve been seeking for years to describe my best/favourite/top reads of the year. I give you….
Which books read during 2021 have left a lasting impression?
This allows me to think about those memorable books that have stayed with me all year. There are always books that I keep thinking about or referring to when talking with others or blogging. Sometimes it is their flaws that have stayed with me. Lasting impressions also doesn’t limit me to numbers.
- Piranesi | Suzanna Clarke
- Mrs March | Virginia Feito
- This is Happiness | Niall Williams
- The Magician | Colm Toibin
- Station Eleven | Madeliene St John Mandel
- Second Place | Rachel Cusk
- The Sweetness of Water | Nathan Harris
- Benang | Kim Scott
- Throat (poetry) | Ellen van Neervan
- After Story | Larissa Behrendt
- Cold Enough For Snow (novella) | Jessica Au
- Yuiquimbiang (poetry) | Louise Crisp
- Leaping Into Waterfalls | Bernadette Brennan
- The Countess From Kirribilli | Joyce Morgan
- Eve Langley and The Pea Pickers | Helen Vines
- Square Haunting | Francesca Wade
- Nothing Holds Back the Night | Delphine de Vigan
- Midnight Chicken | Ella Risbridger
This was my first year on WordPress, so it will be interesting to see how these stats evolve as I have more time in this space.
According to Goodreads I read 100 books in 2021, but nine of the books were for children and a few of them were short stories. Of the 91 adult titles, I read 67 books by female writers and 24 by men.
As expected, I mostly read Australian books this year.
32% of books read in 2021 were contemporary fiction, 28% were non-fiction, 16% were short stories or novellas, 10% were classics, 9% were children’s books and 5% were poetry. I actually read many more illustrated picture books for children than the 9% suggests, but I haven’t kept a record of all the ones I read at work.
10% of my books were by Indigenous Australians and 17% were books in translation.
On the Blog
I wrote 177 posts during the course of 2021. My most popular posts of 2021 were:
- Honeybee | Craig Silvey
- Midnight (Poem) | Sappho
- Some People (Poem) | Wislawa Szymborska
- Committed Writings | Albert Camus
- Master and Commander | Patrick O’Brian
- First Person Singular | Murakami
- Pale Rider | Laura Spinney
- Rumer Godden Reading Week
- Butterfly Man | Heather Rose
- AusReading Month 2021
Honeybee was by far the most viewed post of 2021, but I was thrilled to see two of my poetry posts in second and third position. Some People is a post from 2019 from a Nobel Laureate that combines translation comparisons. Thanks to my move from Blogspot a year ago, finding older posts takes a concerted effort so to have one such post in the top 3 is outstanding. And I’m also thrilled to see our book club choice about Lord Lucan has come in at number 9!
This is where I get to say a BIG thank you to my fellow bloggers for sharing the love. Whenever you include a URL from one of my posts, other bloggers click through from your original post. If you’ve ever wondered if it’s worth the effort hunting down URL links, it is. And I thank you all for taking the time to do so.
- Lisa @ANZ LitLovers
- Bill @Australian Legend
- Jennifer @Holds Upon Happiness (how wonderful that so many people are reading poetry posts)
- Cathy @746 Books
- Kay @What Me Read
- Kim @Reading Matters
- Carol @Journey Destination
- Sue @Whispering Gums
- Sheila @Book Journey
- Nancy @NancyElin
- Liz @Adventures in Reading
- Tamara @Thyme for Tea
I’m not ready to make too many plans just yet. But I do know that I will read a few more Master and Commander books, I will do my Edith Readalong this year (dates TBA) and I will read my next Zola (Son Excellence Eugène Rougon). There’s a 1954 Club in April as well.
The rest is open to speculation and serendipity at this point in time.
Thank you to my blogging family for following me across to WordPress and for all your thoughtful and entertaining comments and discussion throughout the year. Even when I struggled to keep up. Especially when I struggled to keep up.
I cherish our bookish chats. Here’s to many more in 2022.
- This post was written in the area we now call the Blue Mountains within the Ngurra [country] of the Dharug and Gundungurra peoples.