The Best of 2021 – Part 2

A little late, but still relevant nevertheless:

Here’s the second half of my favourite reads from 2021.

Cockroaches by Jo Nesbø

The second in Nesbø’s Harry Hole series Cockroaches was packed full of twists and turns that made it incredibly hard to put down. This is a really well-constructed mystery crime novel and a great addition to the series that makes me just want to read more. Hole is the troubled protagonist dealing with his own personal demons whilst trying to uncover a politically sensitive murder, the plot is perfectly complex yet easy to follow.

I would highly recommend Nesbø to any crime thriller fans.

Find the first in the series here

Queer Intentions by Amelia Abraham

Abraham takes you on a journey (hence the title) in Queer Intentions through the different cultural arguments within the LGBTQ+ community around the world. The book really highlights the stark lack of LGBTQ+ representation in the media because so many of the conversations we hear include heterosexual voices meaning that we lose the depth of the community. I didn’t realise that I had such a one-dimensional view of LGBTQ+ issues and history, I had subconsciously painted all members of the community with the same brush of views (apologies for that strangled metaphor), when there are in fact, of course, incredibly in-depth and varied opinions within the community on topics such as marriage and pride.

This book will certainly broaden your understanding of LGBTQ+ culture and Abraham is such a skilled interviewer and writer that this is all imparted effortlessly.

Begin your journey now

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

What can I say about Three Women? I absolutely loved it! Taddeo tells the story of her three subjects with great respect, but also with the most elegant writing. Three Women explores female relationships with sex and how these can be either liberating or damaging depending on their circumstances. While each biography is very different I think they all highlight how women’s thoughts and feelings are often not prioritised when it comes to sex, whether they be incredibly confident about their desires or the victims of sexual predators.

A truly liberating read that I will recommend to everyone!

Get your copy here

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Natives by Akala featured in the first half of my ‘Best of 2021’ guide and So You Want to Talk About Race for me is the American equivalent. Oluo shares her own experiences as a child, an adult and a parent facing racism at school, in the workplace and online. These anecdotes are followed by Oluo explaining why common misunderstandings about anti-racism and damaging views about POC are not only ill-founded but ingrained in our society. This is all backed up with easy to interpret stats that show the true impact systemic racism has upon America.

This is a fundamental read, even if you are not American. As British citizens, we often try to hide behind the fact that we think race relations are so much worse in America so we don’t have to worry. Whether or not you believe the UK has a better relationship with race than the US or not, this is no excuse to ignore important books such as this.

Order yours here

The Binding by Bridget Collins

I am certain that I have found a new favourite author in Bridget Collins after reading The Binding. I was initially pulled in by the concept of memories being bound in books and how this would change the way society works, but very quickly I was drawn into the romance of the plot and fell in love with the characters and their relationship. Coming from someone who is not normally a romance novel fan, this is saying a lot! I wanted the book to just keep going because I enjoyed it so much so I cannot wait to pick up Collins’ next book.

Collins creates a unique world that asks the question of how we deal with trauma and bad memories, is it best to forget and move on or should we confront our past. Obviously, there isn’t one correct answer, but this is a really intriguing exploration of the arguments.

The perfect match for romance fans or those wishing to dip their toes into the romance genre. Find your match here

Honourable mention also goes out to Circe by Madeline Miller, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky all of which I listened to via BorrowBox and absolutely loved.

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them and what would some of your suggestions be for best of 2021?

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