Roof Beam Reader’s 2021 Year in Books

Welcome to My Reading Year in Review!

At the end of last year/beginning of this year, I told myself that I was going to slow everything down. I made plans to do another themed reading for the year, as I usually do, and maybe work on some of my Classics Club list. But that was it. I wanted to savor my reading slowly instead of rushing through. But, as it turns out, 2021 ended up being the year in which I read the greatest number of books I’ve ever recorded, at least since 2009 (the founding of Goodreads, which made keeping track of it all so very easy). Here’s how things went:

  • Number Of Books Read: 113
  • Number of Re-Reads: 3
  • Genre Read Most: Poetry
  • Best Book You Read in 2021?
  • A 2021 Book You Enjoyed from an Indie Press:
  • Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More?
    • The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopoulos (such a great premise, but…)
  • Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
  • Book You “Pushed” The Most People to Read (And They Did)?
  • Best series you started? Best Sequel of 2021? Best Series Ender of 2021?
    • New Series: Dark Rise by C.S. Pacat
    • Sequel: Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
    • Series Ender: N/A
  • Favorite new author you discovered?
    • Viet Thanh Nguyen (fiction) and Sharon Olds (poet)
  • Best book from a genre you don’t typically read?
  • Most action-packed/thrilling/un-put-down-able book of the year?
    • Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • Book You Are Most Likely to Re-Read Next Year?
    • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  • Favorite cover of a book you read in 2021?
  • Most memorable character of 2021?
    • Fee from Edinburgh by Alexander Chee
  • Most beautifully written book read in 2021?
  • Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2021?
  • Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2021 to finally read?
    • Stoner by John Williams
  • Favorite Passage/Quote from a Book You Read in 2021?
    • “For a great many people, the evening is the most enjoyable part of the day. Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day. After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?” ― Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
  • Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2021?
  • Book that Shocked You the Most?
    • A Hunger by Lucie Brock-Broido
  • OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!):
    • Jack and Wilhelm from Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year?
    • All the characters from Fredrik Bachman’s Anxious People
  • Favorite Book You Read in 2021 from an Author You’ve Read Previously?
  • Best book you read in 2021 based solely on someone else’s recommendation?
  • Best 2021 debut you read?
    • Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen and The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch
  • Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
    • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill
  • Book that put a Smile on Your Face/Was the most FUN to Read?
    • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
  • Book That Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2021?
    • Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
  • Hidden Gem of the Year?
    • Threshold by Joseph O. Legaspi
  • Book That Crushed Your Soul?
    • Letters to a Stranger by Thomas James
  • Most Unique Book You Read in 2021?
    • I Wished by Dennis Cooper and DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi
  • Book That Made You the Maddest (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
    • Apt Pupil by Stephen King
  • New favorite book blog you discovered in 2021?
    • Oops, I did it again. Forgot to explore!
  • Favorite review that you wrote in 2021?
  • Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
  • Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
  • Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2021?
    • Publication of my poem, “Phantom” in Broad River Review, Volume 53.
  • Most Popular Post This Year on Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
  • Post You Wished Got a Little More Love?
  • Best bookish discovery (book related sites, bookstores, etc.)?
    • There’s a used bookstore in a neighboring city that also BUYS books, and I’m really looking forward to visiting sometime soon. I only found out about it a week ago.
  • Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
    • NOPE!
  • One book on your list in 2021 that you didn’t read but definitely will get to in 2022?
    • The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein and Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
  • Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2022 (non-debut)?
    • Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong!!!
  • 2022 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
  • Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2022?
    • I can’t think of any right now. What am I forgetting??
  • Something you hope to accomplish in your reading/blogging life in 2022?
    • A more regular presence here at the blog seems like a good goal. I might have to slow down the reading part of things and spend more time writing.
  • A 2022 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend to Everyone:
    • None. I’m out of the loop!

So, that’s it, my year in reading was really a grand success, and I’m not sure how I was able to do this much, except for the fact that, of course, I was basically stuck at home again all year. I think there was only one week where I didn’t read anything, and that’s when I went home to visit friends and family. Every other week, I read one or two books.

How was your reading year? Please share your favorites in the comments or let me know if any books in my review have sparked your interest.

Happy New Year!

10 Comments on “Roof Beam Reader’s 2021 Year in Books

  1. First, what a tease. Telling us about this used book store and not telling us the name!

    I clicked over to read what you said about Middlemarch in the past blog. Exactly as I have found it in my numerous attempts to read it. I know I’m just being lazy. I must read it because a very dear friend always told me it was his all time favorite book. This was high praise coming from him… and he is gone now so while I sure wish I had read it in time to discuss it with him, I feel even more compelled to read it, now. So–goal for 2022.

    I like your goal to blog more — I am always entertained and edified.


  2. A great list of books and what a wonderful blog you have. I can’t wait to read your post about Middlemarch. Two other books on your list jumped out at me. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin. I loved both of these books and in 2022 I need to reread them both. Have a very Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Baldwin is one of my favorite writers and thinkers, so I’ll definitely read Mountain again. And Writing Down the Bones is so helpful and uplifting, isn’t it? I’m reading The Artist’s Way right now and plan to follow that with Writing As a Path to Awakening, but I might return to Bones after that.


  3. Adam, so happy to see you’re back to blogging! I love your site and find you an inspiration. I’ve been meaning to reread Remains of the Day after reading Klara and the Sun this year. Kindred is one I’ve been meaning to read, as it’s been sitting on my shelf for years. As a Beatles fan, George Harrison book sounds intriguing. I love his work on the Rubber Soul and Abbey Road albums, as well as hit solo work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Joel! Kindred is incredible. George Harrison has always been my favorite Beatle, so it was nice to get to know him better and have that favoritism confirmed! The book is essentially just transcripts of his interviews and such, but I loved it (and it led me to lots of cool videos on YouTube).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I forgot to mention that Writing Down the Bones is one of my two favorite books on the craft. Stephen King’s On Writing is the other.

        Liked by 1 person

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