2021 in books

2021 on Goodreads by Various

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I look back on reading in 2021 I find another mixed bag: Just like in 2020, my average rating was a mere 3.5 Goodreads tells me and that feels about right.

The year started on a high and hopeful note when Amanda Gorman recited her poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” at Biden’s inauguration. If Gorman’s ideas took hold, we’d really “raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.”

The older I get the more difficult I find it to adapt to change. At the same time I realise a lack of adaption inevitably leads to obsolescence – in this case, my own.

Thus, I was both challenged and delighted when my personal book of the year 2021, the unforgettable “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernardine Evaristo, stormed against my own perceptions and prejudices and while not blowing them away, changing them. Helping me change.

Also highly emotionally moving and absolutely brilliant was the revised and updated collection of the “New York Times” column collection by Daniel Jones: “Modern Love, Revised and Updated: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption

Next to Evaristo’s novel, this is one of the few books I cannot recommend highly enough.

Another highlight was “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett: Two black twin sisters, one passing and living as white, the other as black, Bennett tells a story about family and relationships that still resonates with me…

Junge Frau, am Fenster stehend, Abendlicht, blaues Kleid” by Alena Schröder – Schröder’s fiction debut – and, as of now, translated from its (and my) native German to Dutch only, was a riveting tale of a family from the 1920s till the present day. Very impressive!

With autumn came “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah which is, to me, a must-read and immediate entry to my favourite books of all time!

Last but most definitely not least: “Blaue Frau” by Antje Rávik Strubel, winner of the German Book Prize 2021, which took me on a tour de force about a personal as well as European history. Sadly, this masterpiece has not yet been translated to other languages.

All in all, a year with some extraordinary books! Happy new year 2022!

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