Jump to content

Best books you read in 2021?


Calibandar
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'd be interested to see what folks' best reads were of the last year, it can be new releases but of course older books as well.

For me, limiting myself to new releases, this caught my fancy to varying degrees.

Sciencefiction:

Project Hail Mary- Andy Weir

Shards of the Earth-Adrian Tchaikovsky

Siege of Terra books 5 and 6 by John French and Chris Wraight

Penitent- Dan Abnett

 

Fantasy:

Nature of Middle Earth-JRR Tolkien/Hostetter edited

Brothers of the Wind- Tad Williams

 

History/ non-fiction:

Blood and Fury, Daniel Boone- Bob Drury

Liftoff: Elon Musk and the early days of SpaceX- Eric Berger

Manhunt: Search for Osama Bin Laden- Peter Bergen ( 2013 release)

The Bomber Maffia- Malcolm Gladwell

Kindred: Neanderthal Life love and art-Rebecca Sykes

 

Edited by Calibandar
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of the new releases I read this year were either continuations or conclusions of ongoing series, so were already books I expected to like and I wasn't disappointed,

These include among the ongoing series:

Fugitive Telemetry, the latest Murderbot by Martha Wells

The Girl and the Mountain from Mark Lawrence's Book of the Ice

The Last Graduate, 2nd of the Scolomance books by Naomi Novik

The Green Man's Challenge by Juliet E. McKenna

And the latest Penric and Desdemona novellas from Lois McMasters Bujold

The conclusions to trilogies/series:

The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey

The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

The Bone Ship's Wake by R. J. Baker

The Fall of Babel by Josiah Bancroft

And Leviathan Falls by James S.A. Corey

FInally, a couple stand alones and starts of new series that I enjoyed

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Artifact Space by Miles Cameron

The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to re-state, this thread is for best non-2021 releases as well.

3 hours ago, TheLastWolf said:

Klara and the Sun

Have been thinking about that one, its very good then?

18 hours ago, Leofric said:

The Green Man's Challenge by Juliet E. McKenna

 

That one piqued my interest among several in your list, whats this about? Does it have various creatures in it, actual Green Men as well?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Calibandar said:

That one piqued my interest among several in your list, whats this about? Does it have various creatures in it, actual Green Men as well?

 

The Green Man books are a series set in contemporary England starting with The Green Man's Heir about a man named Daniel Mackmain, who is the son of a dryad and a mortal man.  This heritage gives him the ability to perceive the hidden world of mythological creatures.   The Green Man, a mythological entity we never really meet other than through the various carvings of him scattered throughout England, subtly enlists him to help out in situations where mythology and the mortal realm may clash.   The books are full of different Celtic/English mythology and creatures, that Daniel helps or defeats.    In The Green Man's Challenge, he is sent to the Downs near Oxfordshire to look into rumors of a giant appearing there and finds himself dealing with hamadryads, witches, and the myths surrounding the prehistoric hill carvings, such as the Uffington White Horse.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read many very, very good, useful, informative histories in 2021. But for entire change of point of view of the 14th century, meaning not from the pov of Europe, Ibn Khaldun: An Intellectual Biography by Robert Irwin, came early and always remained the first title I thought of when asked what I liked most or thought best.  It also contains, despite being an intellectual history, at least as much, action, color and adventure as any fiction could have.  On the phone yesterday with friend, she was talking about much she liked some older sf because it provided so much adventure, and took her away from the by now more than dreary isolated life she's been leading in TX due to covid.  She said, "But you get all that from history, don't you!"  She knows me well.  :D :read:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fiction

Leviathan Falls, by James S.A. Corey

The Solar War, by James French

@Calibandar I see we read the same 40k series. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed by Abnett's Penitent.

In-between

The Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson, or "how the fuck can we get out of the mess we're in". A great book, but not exactly fiction (some chapters are in fact written as non-fiction), more like a collection of problems and solutions for the Great Transition we have to think about written as a novel.

Non-fiction

Behave, by Robert Sapolski, or "why humans behave the way they do." I can't believe it's only been a year since I read Sapolski (according to my notes); this book was an eye-opener.

The Great Transformation, by Karl Polanyi, a mind-blowing 1944 analysis of economic liberalism.

Debt, by David Graeber, a rather original perspective on the nature of debt and money.

Less is More, by Jason Hickel, a powerful argument in favor of degrowth.

The Capital, by Karl Marx. Always a good re-read. Some pages seem like they were written yesterday, that's just how good the analysis was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Rippounet said:

The Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson, or "how the fuck can we get out of the mess we're in". A great book, but not exactly fiction (some chapters are in fact written as non-fiction), more like a collection of problems and solutions for the Great Transition we have to think about written as a novel.

This week the New Yorker has a KSR article, 

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/01/31/can-science-fiction-wake-us-up-to-our-climate-reality-kim-stanley-robinson

".... Many of Robinson’s twenty-one science-fiction novels are ecological in theme, and this coming summer he will publish “The High Sierra: A Love Story,” a memoir that is also a rich geological and cultural history of the range. .... "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best for 2021? That would be two for me, one reread and the other, while not a new book, new to me.  The reread was The Lord of the Rings and since the last time I read was the year the movie came out- 2001, it was time.  I loved it, everything about it.  Love JRR Tolkien's writing, the world building, the epic scale of the adventure, all of it.  With the books one gets so much more of the story and reading them, especially later in the book, was so enjoyable.  

Next was not just a new (to me) book, but also a genre.  Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.  Well written, informative, and scrupulous scholarship.  Quite the introduction to historical fiction, and time period I hardly know anything about.  I also appreciated that Mantel did not portray Anne Bolen as scheming hussy but rather gave her some complexity.  I read the series and got the itch for more historical fiction, a good outcome from a great series.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was super late to the party, but the best I read by far was The 5th Season . Absolutely 100% worth every single accolade It received and then some. The series was very good, but that first book was just incredible. 

Leviathan Falls was a great payoff and good, but couldn't compare.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/24/2022 at 1:10 AM, Rippounet said:

Fiction

Leviathan Falls, by James S.A. Corey

The Solar War, by James French

@Calibandar I see we read the same 40k series. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed by Abnett's Penitent.

In-between

The Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson, or "how the fuck can we get out of the mess we're in". A great book, but not exactly fiction (some chapters are in fact written as non-fiction), more like a collection of problems and solutions for the Great Transition we have to think about written as a novel.

 

I'm very much looking forward to Dembski Bowden's next books, should be Siege of Terra 7 and the next Black Legion book.

What other series do you like?

I'm gonna check out the new Robinson book to see if I like it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo - fascinating read

Mirror and Light by Hilary Mantel - conclusion to the Wolf Hall trilogy and immensely satisfying

Circe by Madeline Miller - I've read a lot of Greek mythology riffs but this was a standout, lyrical and complex and totally addictive 

The Return of the King and The Last Mughal by William Darlymple - I'm from Pakistan so these were close to home, great narrative balanced with historical fact, and easy to read and remember 

The Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough - this is a re-read and I'm enjoying it very much. Can anyone recommend similar books/series set in the time of Augustus and beyond? I'm interested in learning more about the period: Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, and the Flavian dynasty (it could be a series too, or different books). 

The Three Body Problem trilogy by Cixin Liu - I was obsessed with this for many reasons and dismayed to hear David Benioff and DB Weiss are apparently adapting it! 

These are the ones that stand out, I read a bunch of other shit :P 

 

Edited by Crixus
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Calibandar said:

I'm very much looking forward to Dembski Bowden's next books, should be Siege of Terra 7 and the next Black Legion book.

What other series do you like?

Apart from the "classic" series that almost everybody reads (Gaunt's Ghosts, the Horus Heresy, Abnett's Inquisition books...), I'm a fan of the Ciaphas Cain series (a bit repetitive, but still worth a chuckle or two almost every time) and the Shira Calpurnia books (a series that died 15 years ago). I also liked the -old- Ragnar series, but the quality dropped when William King left.
I don't spend that much time for 40k novels anymore tbh (I used to try to read everything the Black Library published, now it's become impossible), but I still try to read whatever Abnett writes, and I'm -slowly- starting the Siege of Terra (I might jump book 2 to book 3, just to get to Saturnine faster). I'm also curious about the Dark Heresy series, as well as all Chaos Space Marine books (on Abaddon, Ahriman, Khârn, and Bile). Ah, and I've been trying to get my hands on Lasgun Wedding (from the Kal Jerico series) for a while now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Crixus said:

The Return of the King and The Last Mughal by William Darlymple

These are such interesting books, as is almost anything  Darlymple publishes. So glad to see you like them.

Circe is still on my list -- maybe will get to it finally before this month is over -- we have a big snow bomb cyclone in the offing this weekend . . . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...