Sunday, January 2, 2022

2021 Year of Reading -- Non-Fiction


Liz Alterman
Sad Sacked: A Memoir (audiobook via Audible)

Sam Anderson
Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Ist Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis  
(audiobook via Libby)

Maeve Binchy
Maeve's Times (audiobook via Libby)

Cheryl Diamond
Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood (audiobook via Hoopla)
Oonagh Duncan
Healthy as F*ck: The Habits You Need to Get Lean, Stay Healthy, and Kick Ass at Life 
(audiobook via Hoopla)
Emma Forrest
Your Voice in My Head (audiobook via Hoopla)

Danielle Henderson
The Ugly Cry (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Carl Hiaasen
The Downhill Life: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport (audiobook via CloudLibrary) 

Olivia Hussey
The Girl on the Balcony: Olivia Hussey Finds Life after Romeo and Juliet (audiobook via Audible)
Marian Keyes
Making It Up As I Go Along (audiobook via Hoopla)

Joseph Langford
I Thirst: 40 Days with Mother Teresa (paperback)

Michael Leviton 
To Be Honest (audiobook via Hoopla) 
Andrew McCarthy
Brat: An 80s Story (ebook via CloudLibrary) 

Matthew McConaughey
Greenlights (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Hayley Mills
Forever Young (audiobook via Audible)
Amanda Montell
Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism (audiobook via Audible) 
Elizabeth Passarella
Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York
Ann Patchett
These Precious Days: Essays (audiobook via Audible) 

Tom Rath
It's Not About You: A Brief Guide to a Meaningful Life (audiobook via Audible Included)

Seth Rogen
Yearbook (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Maggie Rowe
Sin Bravely: My Great Escape from Evangelical Hell (audiobook via Hoopla)

Sara Schaefer
Grand: A Memoir (audiobook via Audible)
David Sedaris
A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries 2003-2020 (audiobook via Audible)
Themes and Variations (audiobook via Audible Included) 
Maggie Smith
Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change (hardcover)
Ray Studevent
Black Sheep: A Blue-Eyed Negro Speaks of Abandonment, Belonging, Racism, and Redemption (audiobook via Hoopla) 

Laura Tremaine
Share Your Stuff. I'll Go First: 10 Questions to Take Your Friendships to the Next Level 
(ebook via CloudLibrary)

Nina Willner
Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall 
(audiobook via Hoopla)

Michelle Zauner
Crying in H Mart (audiobook via Libby)
An (*) indicates a reread.  All ebooks are purchased on sale via the Kindle Store or checked out from the e-offerings of the Elmhurst Public Library.  All audiobooks are from or the Elmhurst Public Library's e-offerings (Hoopla and Libby Apps).

2021 Year of Reading -- Fiction

 2021 FICTION 

Sara Nisha Adams
The Reading List (audiobook via Audible)
Kate Albus
A Place to Hang the Moon (library book)

Dolly Alderton
Ghosts (library book)

Kristen Arnett
With Teeth (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Mateo Askaripour
Black Buck (ebook via CloudLibrary)
Ashley Audrain
The Push (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Jane Austen
Persuasion* (audiobook via Hoopla) 

Chandler Baker
Oh. What. Fun.  (audiobook via Audible)

Jenny Bayliss
A Season for Second Chances (ebook via CloudLibrary)
Maeve Binchy
The Glass Lake* (audiobook via Hoopla)
Scarlet Feather* (audiobook via Hoopla) 
Matt Boren
Brackish Waters (audiobook via Audible Included)

Katy Birchall
The Secret Bridesmaid (ebook via CloudLibrary)

Laura Blackett
The Very Nice Box (audiobook via Audible)
Holly Bourne
Pretending (audiobook via Hoopla)
C.J. Box
Open Season (Joe Pickett #1) (audiobook via Libby) 

Melissa Broder
Milk Fed (audiobook via Libby)
Alafair Burke
The Wife (audiobook via Hoopla) 
Frances Burney
Evelina (audiobook via Hoopla) 

Mary H.K. Choi
Yolk (ebook via CloudLibrary)

Diane Clarke
Thin Girls (audiobook via Hoopla)

Molly Clavering
Love Comes Home (ebook via Kindle Store)
Mrs. Lorimer's Quiet Summer (ebook via Kindle Store)
Kate Clayborn
Love at First (audiobook via Hoopla) 

Jenny Colgan
The Christmas Bookshop (audiobook via Audible)
Elle Cosimano
Finlay Donovan is Killing It (Finlay Donovan #1) (ebook via CloudLibrary) 

Sophie Cousens
This Time Next Year (paperback)

Laura Dave
The Last Thing He Told Me (hardcover)
Jen DeLuca
Well Matched (Well Met #3)
Trish Doller
Float Plan (audiobook via Hoopla)

Emma Duffy-Comparone 
Love Like That: Stories (ebook via Libby)
Jesse Eisenberg
When You Finish Saving the World (audiobook via Audible)

Helen Ellis
American Housewife (hardcover)
Elizabeth Fair
The Mingham Air (ebook via Hoopla)
A Winter Away (ebook via Kindle Store)
Virginia Felton
Mrs. March (ebook via CloudLibrary) 

Linda Rui Feng
Swimming Back to Trout River (audiobook via Libby)

Helen Fielding
Bridget Jones's Diary (And Other Writing): 25th Anniversary Edition (hardcover)

Kate Forster
The Best Worst Christmas (audiobook via Audible)

Jonathan Franzen
Crossroads (audiobook via Audible)
Tana French
The Searcher (audiobook via Libby)
The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) (audiobook via Libby)
The Witch Elm (audiobook via Libby) 
Elyssa Friedland
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel (audiobook via Audible) 

Emma Gannon
Olive (audiobook via Hoopla)
Mike Gayle
All the Lonely People (audiobook via Audible)

Laurie Gelman
Yoga Pant Nation (Class Mom #3) (library book)

Jasmine Guillory
While We Were Dating (Wedding Date #6) (ebook via CloudLibrary)
Karina Halle
The Royals Next Door (ebook via Libby)
Joe Halstead
West Virginia (audiobook via Hoopla)

Laura Hankin
A Special Place for Women (audiobook via CloudLibrary)

Rebecca Hardiman
Good Eggs (ebook via CloudLibrary)

Jane Harper
The Survivors (audiobook via Audible)

Zakiya Dalila Harris
The Other Black Girl (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Rachel Hawkins
The Wife Upstairs (audiobook via Hoopla) 
Katherine Heiny
Early Morning Riser (audiobook via Audible)
Emily Henry
People We Meet on Vacation (hardcover)
Sally Hepworth
The Good Sister (hardcover)
Kristan Higgins
Pack Up the Moon (library book) 

Elin Hilderbrand
Golden Girl (hardcover)
The Sixth Wedding (28 Summers #1.5) (ebook via Kindle Store)

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Angie Hockman
Shipped (audiobook via Audible) 
Natalie Jenner
The Jane Austen Society (hardcover)

Lisa Jewell
Invisible Girl (audiobook via Libby)

Abby Jiminez
Life's Too Short (The Friend Zone #3) (ebook via Libby)

Sandie Jones
The Half Sister (audiobook via Libby)

Claire Keegan
Small Things Like These (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Lindsey Kelk
We Were On a Break (ebook via Kindle) 
Lily King
Five Tuesdays in Winter (audiobook via Audible)

Stephen King
Later (audiobook via Libby) 
Jean Hanff Korelitz
The Plot (audiobook via Libby) 

William Kent Krueger
Ordinary Grace (paperback)

Dorothy Lambert
Much Dithering (ebook via Kindle Store)
Tracey Lange
We Are the Brennans (hardcover)
Allison Larkin
The People We Keep (hardcover) 

Christina Lauren
The Soulmate Equation (audiobook via Libby)
Mary Lawson
A Town Called Solace (audiobook via CloudLibrary)

Emily Layden
All Girls (audiobook via Hoopla)

Lauren Layne
To Sir, with Love (ebook via CloudLibrary)
Jenny Lee
Anna K: Away (Anna K#2) (audiobook via Hoopla)

Alex Light
The Upside of Falling (ebook via Kindle Prime Reading)

Emma Lord
You Have a Match (audiobook via Hoopla)

Claire Luchette
Agatha of Little Neon (audiobook via Hoopla)
Portia Macintosh
Faking It (audiobook via Hoopla)
Life's A Beach (audiobook via Hoopla)
Will They, Won't They? (audiobook via Hoopla)
Meg Mason
Sorrow and Bliss (audiobook via Audible)
Mhairi McFarlane
Just Last Night (audiobook via Audible)
Who's That Girl? (audiobook via Audible) 
You Had Me At Hello (audiobook via Audible)
Dervla McTiernan
The Sisters (Cormac Reilly, #0.5) (audiobook via Audible)
The Roommate (Cormac Reilly, #0.7) (audiobook via Audible)
Mameve Medwed
Minus Me (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Denise Mina
The Less Dead (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Beth Moran
Christmas Every Day (audiobook via Audible)
Liane Moriarty
Apples Never Fall (audiobook via Audible) 

Julie Murphy
If The Shoe Fits (Meant to Be #1) (ebook via Hoopla)

Matthew Norman
All Together Now (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Maggie O'Farrell
Hamnet (hardcover) 
Beth O'Leary
The Road Trip (audiobook via Audible)

Louise Penny
The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Gamache #17) (audiobook via Audible)

Christina Pishiris
Love Songs for Skeptics (audiobook via Hoopla)

Julia Quinn
The Viscount Who Loved Me  (Bridgertons #2) (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons #3) (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Bridgertons #4) (audiobook via CloudLibrary)

Kirthana Ramisetti
Dava Shastri's Last Day (audiobook via Audible)

Penny Reid
Kissing Tolstoy (audiobook via Audible Included)
Beauty and the Mustache (audiobook via Audible Included) 
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Malibu Rising (hardcover)

Sally Rooney
Beautiful World, Where Are You (audiobook via Audible)

Jane L. Rosen
Eliza Starts a Rumor (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Rainbow Rowell
Kindred Spirits (audiobook via Audible)
Kate Russo
Super Host (audiobook via CloudLibrary) 

J.D. Salinger
Nine Stories* (paperback)
R.C. Sherriff
The Fortnight in September (paperback)

Laura Silverman
Recommended for You (library book)
Rachel Lynn Solomon
The Ex Talk (ebook via CloudLibrary) 

Marissa Stapley
Lucky (audiobook via Libby)
Brina Starler
Anne of Manhattan (library book) 

Domenico Starnone
Trust (ebook via Hoopla)
D.E. Stevenson
Smouldering Fire (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Vittoria Cottage (Dering Family #1) (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Mrs. Tim Flies Home (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Music in the Hills (Dering Family #2) (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Winter and Rough Weather (Dering Family #3) (audiobook via CloudLibrary) 

Elizabeth Strout
Oh William!  (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
J. Courtney Sullivan
Model Home (audiobook via Audible)
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Good Company (audiobook via Audible)
Sally Thorne
Second First Impressions (audiobook via Audible) 

Amor Towles
The Lincoln Highway (audiobook via CloudLibrary)

Lacie Waldon
The Layover  (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Dawnie Walton
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (hardcover)
Jennifer Weiner
That Summer (hardcover)
Lauren Weisberger
Where the Grass is Green and the Girls Are Pretty (audiobook via Audible) 

Denise Williams
How to Fail at Flirting (ebook via CloudLibrary)

Kerry Winfrey
Very Sincerely Yours (ebook via CloudLibrary)
Rachel Yoder 
Nightbitch (audiobook via CloudLibrary)
Samantha Young
Much Ado About You (audiobook via Audible)

An (*) indicates a reread.  All ebooks are purchased on sale via the Kindle Store or checked out from the e-offerings of the Elmhurst Public Library.  All audiobooks are from or the Elmhurst Public Library's e-offerings (Hoopla, Cloud Library or Libby/Digital Library of Illinois).

Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 Reading Highlights

You know what they say about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. 

Prepare yourself for an imperfect look at my best reading experiences of 2021.  I can't promise to do these books justice.  I can't promise that you'll love the same books I love.  I can promise that if you're a middle-aged, Midwestern suburban mom, you'll be able to find at least one book you'll enjoy (and probably more).


2021 Fiction Highlights 

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason -- the torture of mental illness but with wit and humor and one beautiful moment of generosity

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell -- gorgeous writing, imagines the life of Shakespeare's beloved, deceased son Hamnet and his mother

Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny -- community, an expansive view of family, the extraordinary ordinary

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan -- short Christmas book set in 1985 Ireland, hard but also beautiful

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson -- the lifts and limits of small town life

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout -- Strout is a genius.  Third book of a series that begins with My Name is Lucy Barton 

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles -- A Great American Story (caps necessary) of friendship and brotherhood, my heart swelled

The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff -- British classic and the loveliest novel of an ordinary family on holiday

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty -- parents, siblings, spouses, tennis ... Moriarty at her (recent) best

Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder -- if new motherhood was tough for you, this story of a mom who becomes (sort of) a dog may resonate with you, it won't be everyone's cup of tea but it worked for me

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle -- British setting, sometimes hard but a heartwarming story of community and connection

The Very Nice Box by Laura Blackett -- an IKEA-esque product designer reckons with her past, very unique 

Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand -- Elin did it again!  Probably my favorite of her last five books.

With Teeth by Kristen Arnett -- woman struggles in life, love, parenthood ... really strong writing and scenes that have stuck with me ... another one that won't be everyone's cup of tea

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz -- literary mystery that is perfectly plotted!

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi -- baggage, sisterhood, NYC, Texas

The Push by Ashley Audrain -- read this book early in the year and am still thinking about it, guaranteed to shake you up


2021 Non-Fiction Highlights

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett -- perfect collection of essays by a national treasure ... it's the follow up to This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage so read that gem first

Boom Town:  The Fantasical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis by Sam Anderson -- everything you didn't know that you wanted and needed to know about OKC, you will be rapt, excellent storytelling

Keep Moving by Maggie Smith -- short book for anyone who needs a dose of inspiration and courage 

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell -- I wanted more but still enjoyed this look at various cultish groups, movements, companies, MLMs, etc.

Crying in the H Mart by Michelle Zauner -- beautiful memoir of a mother and daughter, music, persistence, food

The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport by Carl Hiaasen -- you may not know that I am obsessed with golf (despite being closer to terrible than decent at it) ... Hiaasen's memoir of his return to the game had me nodding my head like yeah


"Jump Right In" Reads 

I feel uncomfortable when someone recommends a book and says, "but it's just a fluffy beach book" since I'd cut off my big toe to be able to write a book that someone would be willing to read on her vacation.  So anyway, the books below are not "beach books" but books that would be easy to jump right into any time you need to be transported into a story that's satisfying but not too heavy.  They're in no particular order.

The G-Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman

Eliza Starts a Rumor by Jane Rosen

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth (BTW, the most delightful author to follow on Instagram)

The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall

Yoga Pant Nation by Laurie Gelman (read Class Mom and You've Been Volunteered first)

Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey

The People We Keep by Allison Larkin

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano


Final Thoughts

This booklist is not intended to be a flex.  Reading is my (unpaid) life's work.  A lot of my reading is via audiobook (and no, I'm not interested in discussions about whether audiobooks "count") and that has been especially true this past year, which has been frequently stressful and sometimes shitty and did not lend itself to as many cozy hours in a chair with a book as I'd have liked.  All of this is just to say if you read even one book you enjoyed this past year, that's enough. 

I find so many wonderful ebooks and audiobooks, including new releases, through the awesome Elmhurst Public Library.  If you haven't explored the digital options at your local library, make it a priority!!!  Also, I have been an Audible subscriber since 2003 and have been so pleased with the "bonus" content (more and more each month) that they offer in addition to monthly credits (which I use for new releases I don't want to wait to read).  

I couldn't make myself put together a collage of book covers so I hope you enjoy the beautiful scene from our mountain vacation.

I'm still thinking about my 2022 reading goals so stay tuned.

If you're waiting on my 2019 and 2020 Reading Highlights, please continue waiting until I find the notebooks where I collected my thoughts.

I hope to write more in 2022, but just in case I don't, you can more reliably find my bookish content on Instagram.  I'm @booksandcarbs and would love to connect with you there.

Please share your recent reading highlights in the comments!