I read 46 books this year. I didn’t have a set goal, although I knew that if I basically read a book per week then I’d get pretty close to 50.
While I have a handful of strategies for reading more books (you can drop your email at the bottom of this blog post to receive my best tips straight to your inbox), the main “rule” I follow is consistently heading to bed early enough to have time–and energy–to read. We always turn the TV off by 8:30pm. This gives me plenty of time to pick up the house, do my night time skincare routine, and settle into bed with a book.
This is the first year that I decided to break up the list by category. I wanted to include some thrillers and lighter reads on the list but felt like it was weird to include Book Lovers (a fabulous rom com but a rom com nonetheless) alongside Hamnet (a stunning, poignant work of art). I wanted to include a few standout books from the less serious genres because those certainly have a time and place.
I’d LOVE to hear your faves from the year, too, as I am always on the lookout for recommendations.
I went back and forth on if this modern classic qualifies as a thriller, but I think it does at least count as a “suspense.” A cohort of philosophy students at a college in New England become involved in a murder coverup, and pure chaos ensues. Donna Tartt’s writing alone is worth the trek through this one.
A mystery with Clue/Agatha Christie vibes, this story revolves around a loveable and quirky maid who inadvertently finds herself at the center of a murder investigation.
This is the story of a serial killer’s life told through the lens of the women who are living in the aftermath of his heinous crimes. I found this book utterly fascinating.
Another murder mystery set in the world of academia, this book is the definition of “unputdownable.”
This was a GREAT thriller, kind of a cross between Where the Crawdads Sing and The Girl on the Train.
Emily Henry has a way of writing rom coms that feel more authentic than any other author I’ve read and does a fabulous job of making her characters feel complex and nuanced. Her books are light and cozy without leaving that too-sweet, eyeroll-y taste in your mouth.
Elin Hilderbrand’s latest novel is the quintessential beach read that has something for everyone: a century-old mystery, some romance, quirky characters, and a juicy hotel setting. I loved this one.
If I absolutely HAD to choose a favorite book from the year, I would probably choose Hamnet. In this reimagining of the events of Shakespeare’s life, Maggie O’Farrell breathes air into the mostly-untold story of Shakespeare’s wife and their son, Hamnet, who is reported to have died of the Black Plague.
Two estranged siblings begin to uncover the truth about their mother’s past. This story was so interesting, and it has a GREAT ending.
I am a sucker for anything Elizabeth Strout writes, but this novel in particular really stuck with me this year. Lucy Barton’s mother comes to visit her in the hospital, and the two women are forced to rehash their past and Lucy’s grim childhood. I loved this.
Tova Sullivan is a lonely widow who works the night shift at the local aquarium. She befriends an octopus named Marcellus who uncovers what happened to Tova’s son who disappeared over 30 years ago. This story sounds weird, and it is, but just trust me.
This book has received a ton of fanfare in the last few months, and I believe it’s well-deserved. The story centers around the lives and relationships of two video game designers named Sadie Green and Sam Masur. I absolutely loved it.
I, of course, had to pick up Maggie O’Farrell’s latest novel after having my heart and soul displaced by Hamnet. Set in Renaissance Italy, this novel is a reimagining of the marriage of Lucrezia de’ Medici’s fateful marriage to the Duke of Ferrara. I couldn’t put this one down.
Of all of the books I’ve read over the years, this one has had the most significant impact on my day-to-day life as a creative. I can’t recommend it enough. I actually learned so much from this that I wrote an entire blog post about it.
This book was a little out there for me, but I actually found myself thinking about many of the concepts long after I finished it. In short, it’s about letting go of emotions and inner conflict and letting yourself truly live in the moment.
I can’t believe it took me 30 years to realize that there was a term to describe many of the qualities that I previously deemed as flaws. I learned SO much from this book.
What’s the book you read this year?
For more book recs, check out my book category page or my roundups from 2021, 2020 and 2019.
It’s a pre-weekend pick me up: just a little note with links to the latest blog posts, what I’m reading lately, and products I’m obsessed with. Think of it as a friend dropping off a surprise latte in the morning--you know?
I’m enjoying Atomic Habits and Religion on Trial. I think I need to read first at night and then watch TV. The other way around I am still too tired.
Your fiction list is highly tempting! And the pic of you with the book in front of your face is hilarious!❤️❤️❤️