I’ve read a lot of books this year and I’ve liked a lot of books this year – some more than others. I’ve rounded up the ones I’ve liked or loved the most so far in 2021 (I still have time to read some more before the end of the year!) to serve as a sort of book gift guide for anyone interested. The books range from YA fantasy to YA coming of age/love to adult fantasy to adult contemporary to regency or steampunk. There’s a little of everything here.
I’m not going to go through the whole list here because that would take me forever, but for many of these titles I have reviews up on the blog so you can just search the book title and see if it’s one of the ones I reviewed. You can also click on the books in my graphic above and it will take you to the book to check it out.
Here is the list in no particular order!
- The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- The Trials of Adeline Turner by Angela Terry
- Seven by Farzana Doctor
- Secrets of the Soho Club – anthology
- Unbound by Dina Gu Brumfield
- Rattlesnake Road by Amanda McKinney
- Willing by Leslie Morris Noyes
- The Brass Queen by Elizabeth Chatsworth
- Revenge of the Sluts by Natalie Walton
- Hunted by Sarah Biglow and Molly Zenk
- Fractured by Shay Siegel
- Always a Princess by Clyve Rose
- Entwined by A.J. Rosen
- The Order of Time by Scott P. Southall
- The Order of Time and Odin’s Door by Scott P. Southall
- Nujran and the Monks of Meirar by Krishna Sudhir
- Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle by Krishna Sudhir
- A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
- Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
What are some books you loved this year?
Also, author Mark Scarborough has put together a list of classics he believes are worth buying in hardcover for gifts. Below is his list!
Five Classics It’s Worth Buying In Hardcover For The Book Lover On Your Holiday List
Years ago, I decided that as a committed book lover, I didn’t want to hold cheap paperbacks in my hands as I reread my favorite classics. I wanted the heft, the weight, the gravitas of the real thing. That is, a hardcover book. I want to treasure that copy for years.
Any book lover on your holiday shopping list may well feel the same. So here’s a list for you to up the ante, go for broke, and get the a great hardcover for the book lover in your life this holiday season. Maybe you’ll even snag one for yourself!
George Eliot, MIDDLEMARCH
I’ve read MIDDLEMARCH at every big juncture of my life: when I got married the first time, when I came out, when I moved to New York City, when I got married the second time, and when I moved to rural New England. No wonder, because MIDDLEMARCH contains the world. Or at least all of the world on a tiny piece of English soil. Plus, Eliot wrote a novel of novels: a sociological study, a romance with a sympathetic heroine, a bildungsroman of an young artist, and a tragedy of an old man who will never finish his life’s work, all mixed up with a nasty murder. It’s a world of literature in one volume.
Dante Alighieri, THE DIVINE COMEDY
Dante’s masterwork was the first book I bought (in hardcover, too!) when I decided I could handle the great books again. For the last decade or so, I’ve even read Dante’s masterwork at the start of every year. Sometimes, I get through the whole thing in a week. Sometimes, I savor it through March. I’ve gotten so obsessed with Dante’s stroll across his known universe that I started the only podcast to slow-walk through the work line by line (“Walking With Dante”). Do what I did: Look for a hardcover with illustrations. Some of the best are by Gustave Doré.
Leo Tolstoy, ANNA KARENINA
Don’t stint. Go with the best: the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of Tolstoy’s classic. You need all that pulpy bulk to properly contain a 900-some-odd pager allegedly about the tragedy of Anna but really about the comedy of Konstantíne Lévin, the idealist who survives intact despite the odds. (Two novels for the price of one!) With its unbelievable scope and undeniable brilliance, ANNA KARENINA should feel heavy in your hand.
Emily Dickinson, POEMS
Since the 1950s, there have been lots of editions of her jagged, gorgeous, elliptical poems. But editors always try to put them in some orderly format that doesn’t represent how this great poet left the work at her death. To remedy that problem, look for Cristianne Miller’s EMILY DICKINSON’S POEMS: AS SHE PRESERVED THEM. Miller’s is the first edition to reproduce the poems in the little sewn-together bundles exactly as Dickinson left them. The book also reproduces all of the poems she left on loose sheets and those she sent to others but didn’t keep herself. Miller’s is the best way to savor at Dickinson’s art: the way she wanted it read.
Homer, THE ODYSSEY
What book lover doesn’t need a gorgeous, hardcover copy of the greatest epic? And don’t even think about any translation but Emily Wilson’s. It’s readable, funny, sexy, and graphic. In other words, a blast to read because Wilson captures the romp that is Odysseus’s trip home from the wreck of Troy. It’s even fun to read her translation out loud, about as it would have been recited millennia ago.
Get a hardcover this holiday for the book lover in your life. It’s a treasure and a thoughtful way to remember you for years to come.
*This post contains affiliate links.*