Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Books of 2021

Here are the list of books I've read in 2021:

I use the Goodreads website to keep track of what I've read, and set a somewhat arbitrary "reading challenge" each year in terms of number of books.  This year I met the target exactly, though I do include books I read my 8 year old, which perhaps I shouldn't, and don't include the much shorter books I read my younger children.  I'm not sure much would be gained by adding a selection of Mr Men books multiple times to my reading record.  I think I have missed a couple of the (excellent) How To Train Your Dragon books off the list.

From the list, I think I have cemented my view that I particularly enjoy biographies (auto, or otherwise), and found Lea Ypi's Free, Gyles Brandreth's Odd Boy Out and Tara Westover's Educated among my three favourite.  The first and last of those also appeal to my sub-genre of early-mid career academic types reflecting on their life so far (see also, The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe and Red Threads by Charlotte Higgins).  I read relatively little fiction this year, except to my 8 year old, but I enjoyed each of the small selection in its own way, and it must be in Elizabeth Day's favour that I made my first foray into her work (The Party) and then wanted to follow it up with her new release this year, Magpie.

Probably the longest book, and one that I spent a lot of time immersed in and really enjoying was Orlando Figes' The Europeans.  A history of a period in Europe, roughly spanning the life of opera singer Pauline Viardot and concentrating on the cultural history, I found myself gripped, even if I am largely ignorant and not particularly intersted in opera.  

edit: I have realised thanks to a comment on Twitter that the Goodreads website will only let those logged in to see the list.  Here are screengrabs of the lot in reverse chronological order (so Educated is the last one I read):