According to the calendar looming over my desk like some sort of bird from a Poe poem, 2021 is nearly over. If anyone knows how that happened, please do clue me in.
But happened it did (which kind of sounds like Yoda has taken over my keyboard).
Over 2021 I read a gobsmacking pile of books. And I really really really tried to narrow my favorites down to a top ten list, but 1) I’m not David Letterman, 2) I’m indecisive, and 3) there simply too many great books that introduced themselves to me this year.
So, I not only have a few Top 3 lists, but also a Top 4 and a Top 8 list (is that even a thing?). Like I said, I’m a bit indecisive.
In fact, I feel like I’ve listed nearly every book I read in 2021. Oops.
But here goes, I’ve got Top Indie Picks, Top Series, Top Graphic Novels, Top Non-Fiction, and Top Fiction (the books are listed in no particular order, by the way)
Perhaps my New Year’s Resolution should be to be a bit more decisive about these things…
Top Indie Picks
- Murphy’s Law by Douglas Smith – This was a gem of a short story! Poor Murphy just can’t do anything right…which is just what an under-attack spaceship crew needs.
- Vespasian Moon’s Fabulous Autumn Carnival by Berthold Gambrel – This was terrific fun. The humor was spot on, the story was weird in a good way, and the running gag was done to perfection.
- Oddly Enough by Kim M. Watt – What an utter delight! This is a huge collection of short stories that are all quirky, charming, and/or hilarious, without a dud in the bunch.
- Reaper: Aftermath by Jonathan Pongratz – This was a wonderfully inventive tale that took me on some wild turns I wasn’t expecting.
- Vaseem Khan’s Inspector Chopra series – Each of these mysteries is wonderfully rich and Khan does an amazing job at really making you feel like you’re wandering the streets of modern day with Chopra and his elephant sidekick.
- Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy – Okay, I’m cheating here because i haven’t finished the third book in this collection of murder mysteries, but if the first two are anything to go by, it’s going to be a gripping ride! Besides the complex (yet deftly handled) plot, May has a striking ability to make you feel like you’re stuck on a windswept island in the North Atlantic.
- Kim M. Watt’s Gobbelino London series – Snarky humor, talking cat, whip-crack dialogue, and stories with a delightful dose of paranormal mystery you get absolutely lost in? How could I resist? Oh, and there’s plenty of tea…it just gets better and better, right?
Top Fiction That Was Impossible to Narrow Down to Just Three, So Here Goes….
- When Elves Attack by Tim Dorsey – I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made me laugh out loud on page one. And the laughs just kept coming with this farcical caper. I’d never read any books in this series, but will definitely be adding a few to my 2022 to-read list.
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman – This is just an almost perfect story, and the audiobook version is even better since it’s narrated by Gaiman himself.
- What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaronovitch – OMG! I loved this. Of course, i don’t think I’ve ever read anything by Aaronovitch that I didn’t like, so I don’t know why I’m surprised.
- The Story of Kao Yu by Peter S Beagle – This was simply a wonderful, well-told novella of duty and loss with an ending that’s heartbreakingly fantastic. It also inspired a character in Hoard It All Before.
- The Stranger Times by CK (Caimh) McDonnell – Looking for something wildly quirky that’ll make you laugh out loud? Then get your ink-stained paws on this. You’ll get a wacky newspaper staff (at an even wackier newspaper), odd creatures stalking the night, and a printing press that may or may not be possessed.
- Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – This was a big book with a few tedious bits, but I blazed right through it. The science might be a tad heavy for some, but Weir pulled this physics nerd right in with some excellent story telling (even if his dialogue is a absolutely horrid at times). Of course you do have to suspend belief quite a bit as every government in the world bands together to solve a global crisis, but hey, one can dream, right?
- An Extravagant Death by Charles Finch – I’ve never come across one of Finch’s Lenox Mysteries that I didn’t like, and this was no exception. The murderer seemed pretty obvious in this historical mystery, but I still enjoyed watching it all play out.
- Mrs Harris Goes to Paris and Mrs Harris Goes to New York by Paul Gallico – Both of these stories are absolutely wonderful. Mrs Harris is such a memorable character…and quite the character with all her scheming and determination. And despite their age, the novellas’ humor still ring through.
- The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston – I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but now I can’t stop talking about it.This is an excellent mix of history, adventure, and science. And if you can read this book and STILL want to go anywhere near a jungle, well, you are made of stronger stuff than I am.
- The Answer Is….: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek – This was just a wonderful little memoir that I almost didn’t read, thinking it wouldn’t be all that interesting, but within a few minutes of starting it, I was hooked. It’s funny, it’s full of nostalgia without being sappy, it’s concise, and it gives a perfect glimpse into a truly great individual.
- Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from this, just maybe a recitation of old myths. Instead, it turned out to be a fabulous re-telling of old stories by THE master of storytelling (I know, why did I expect any less? Stupid me).
Top Graphic Novels
- Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut & Ryan North – I have to say that this is now, hands down, my favorite version of Vonnegut’s classic book. If you’ve tried Slaughterhouse Five in the past and couldn’t wrap your head around the time jumps, try this version. Even if you’re already a fan of the book, try this version!
- Boulevard des Monsters by Paul Jenkins – I loved this! This was just an amazing story with a tightly plotted tale that was full of adventure, a bit of mystery, and plenty of tongue-in-cheek jokes. Even better? I now know the French words for “poop” and “bugger” Very important vocab to have in my arsenal : )
- Once & Future by Kieron Gilen – Volumes 1 & 2 were amazing. A nice modern twist on the Arthurian legends with a kick-ass granny leading the charge. Unfortunately, Volume 3 just left me scratching my head in confusion.
Have you read any of these? Do you have a top favorite (or ten?) from 2021? Be sure to reply and let me know what tickled your reading fancy this year!
LET’S STAY IN TOUCH!
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