For the most part, books served as my escape hatch from another upside-down inside-out year. I read mostly fiction, discovering a handful of new-to-me authors writing what I refer to as “domestic fiction” (books about family relationships) and suspense, which is a new genre for me. I also enjoyed long-awaited memoirs written by my Story Circle Network sisters.
Here, in no particular order, are my favourite reads for 2021.
THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN by Lisa See
My sisters-in-law recommended this book to me on a couple of occasions since its release in 2019 and I finally picked it up. It’s a fascinating fictionalized story that spans decades in the lives of a matriarchal society of Korean women divers known as haenyeo. Strong women in a strong story, there’s a lot to love about this book.
DARK ROADS by Chevy Stevens
Ever since I stumbled upon Canadian author, Chevy Stevens, I’ve been a huge fan. Her books are set in British Columbia and, while (warning) some parts are brutal, she spins a very good yarn.
AMERICAN DIRT by Jeanine Cummins
Yes, I’m aware of the controversy surrounding the publication of a book about Mexican migrants written by a non-Mexican. Regardless. of who wrote it, reading this book opened my eyes to things I had not given thought to previously. It was well written and enlightening and a worthy read.
YOU’LL NEVER FIND US by Jeanne Baker Guy
I’ve been waiting for my Story Circle Network sister Jeanne Guy’s memoir ever since I first heard her describe her work-in-progress as the story of how her children were stolen from her and how she stole them back. This is a well-crafted riveting memoir about the strong and graceful woman I know Jeanne to be.
THE WONDER WORKER by Susan Howatch
I came to know the work of Susan Howatch by way of my pastor who recommended her work. This book was published in 2004 and is the first from the St. Benet’s trilogy. Multi-layered, it’s a perfect story to get lost in. I will definitely continue with the trilogy.
FIVE LITTLE INDIANS by Michelle Good
Here in British Columbia this summer, our attention turned toward the experiences of indigenous brothers and sisters when approximately 200 unmarked graves were found on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. There is a piece of our Canadian history that has been largely glossed over and reading this book helped open my eyes and challenged my preconceived notions.
THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Heather Morris
I wouldn’t call this book an easy read but it too puts human faces on a piece of human history we dare not forget. To say I enjoyed reading this book seems inadequate given the material. Suffice to say that I continued on to the sequel Cilka’s Journey.
WISH YOU WERE HERE by Jodi Picoult
Picoult was hands-down my favourite author until I picked up her last two books The Book of Two Ways and A Spark of Light, neither of which I finished reading. Given those experiences, I hesitated to invest my time and money in this one. When I did, I was tempted to set it aside part way through when it seemed to read like a romance novel. I persevered andthe rest of the book was better. Reading for the sake of reading enjoyment puts this one on my list.
WHERE THE STORK FLIES by Linda C. Wisniewski
This was another offering by one of my Story Circle Network sisters—fiction rather than memoir this time. It was a magical, time-traveling, delightful story that asked the reader to suspend disbelief and consider possibility. I loved it.
BLESS THE BIRDS: LIVING WITH LOVE IN A TIME OF DYING by Susan J. Tweit
In this, another Story Circle Network sister’s memoir, Susan Tweit writes a deeply personal, real, and raw chronicle of the her literal and figurative journey with her love, Richard, through his battle with cancer. It’s a beautiful story about, as the subtitle says, living with love in a time of dying.
So, there you have it. I’d love to hear about your favourite reads of 2021 in the comments. 🙂