I have five favorite books I’ve read thus far in 2021, in order of my preference.

It’s safe to say that I read a lot of books. At night I usually read for an hour or so before bedtime.

The books below are my 5 favorite books published from January through mid-August 2021.

I wouldn’t know what to do if there wasn’t a book on my nightstand. Or an ebook waiting to be read on my iPad.

I have always loved books and enjoy them on a daily basis.

1. The Giver Of Stars

Summary: Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve, hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law.

When a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

Why I Chose This Book As #1:

This book is about the Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia in the 1930s. These women traveled far and wide to take books to people who’d never had any.

Despite the grumblings of the men in town who didn’t find their work “proper”, these women showed an indomitable spirit to persevere.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is epic in its storytelling.

The Giver Of Stars on Amazon.com

2. Too Good To Be True

Book Summary: One love story. Two marriages. Three versions of the truth.

Just when you think you know where this story is going, you’ll discover that there’s more than one way to spin the truth.

Too Good To Be True on Amazon.com

3. Memorial Drive: A Memoir

Book Summary: A chillingly personal memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather.

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief.

Memorial Drive on Amazon.com

4. Valentine:

Book Summary: A debut novel that explores the lingering effects of a brutal crime on the women of one small Texas oil town.

It’s February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town’s men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow.

Valentine on Amazon.com

5. Little Secrets:

Book Summary: Marin had the perfect life. She’s married to her college sweetheart and owns a chain of upscale hair salons. Husband Derek runs his own company as well.

They’re admired in their community and are a loving family. Until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.

Little Secrets on Amazon.com

Have you read any books published this year that you found compelling? If so, please leave the title in the comment section.

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  1. I just finished Daniel Silva’s new novel,” The Cellist”. It’s a spy novel and I’ve read all of Silva’s books. Excellent. Also, Ken Follet’s Pillar of the Earth trilogy and it’s prequel. Highly recommend.

  2. I agree reading is such a pleasure during these times being home. I am okay avoiding crowds and this horrible virus even with being vaccinated cause I have many reasons to love being home. My pets, my books, variety of foods I like to try and will cook, sewing, but I must say the serenity of picking up a book is still something I am grateful to be able to do. I am going to start with book one of Louise Penny series and read them all this coming winter. I do love book recommendations.

  3. P.S. I love hearing what you and others are reading, Brenda. Thanks to you and the others for sharing your reading lists!

  4. I have finished the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear plus her memoir, “This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing”. I loved the Maisie Dobbs stories and am sad to have read them all. Right now I am reading the Isabel Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith whom I love. I am nearing the end of this series also and feeling sad about that, too. I have read most of his “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” stories which are set in Botswana and are very sweet stories. Don’t know what I will read next. I’ve really been enjoying mysteries lately and have read several of Donna Leon’s books so I may read some more of her stories. Reading is such an important part of my life. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t read to distract myself as well learn interesting and important information. One of the things I liked so much about the Maisie Dobbs series was that it was set at the end of WWI and beginning of WWII which is an era I didn’t know much about, especially how Britain was affected by those conflicts. I wasn’t such a great history student when I was young but now find it more interesting, even fascinating. I am also presently reading a book called “Feel Better Fast and Make It Last” by Dr. Daniel Amen. I am always trying to learn about ways that I can have better health and more energy. His book is very comprehensive but focusses primarily on the way he uses brain scans in his clinics to diagnose and treat various physical and mental symptoms. He is trained in psychiatry and has established several clinics across the U.S. that use his treatments. It’s a big book and I am poring over it gradually trying to digest all the information in hopes that it will help me feel better and enjoy life more. I’d highly recommend the book to anyone who’s struggling with health issues that just don’t seem to get resolved.

    1. Naomi, I could easily have been in a book club with you! I have enjoyed all of Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series. (It is so sad when you get to the end of a series!) as well as McCall- Smith’s Ladies’ #1 Detective Agency along with some of the Isabel Dalhousie series. I’m sorry that I didn’t give Donna Leon’s novels a chance, kept waiting for something to happen, but I may have to revisit them, since others seem to be enjoying them. If you like reading novels set against WWI or WWII, Charles Todd has a wonderful series featuring Scotland Yard ‘s Ian Rutledge.

      1. Ian Rutledge is hands down one of my favorite characters . I first discovered Charles Todd ( mother and son team ) at the Dollar General Store . Currently I am only reading nonfiction… I need to get “ caught up “ this series .

  5. I also liked The Giver of Stars. It is excellent. Started Valentine, but I didn’t finish it. I will try it again. I’ve read 2 of a 3 part series (Sarah Agnes Prine)by Nancy Turner. So good. I’m also working my way through the Maisie Dobbs mystery series, written by Jacqueline Winspear, which is also very good.

  6. I read Little Secrets and gave it a 4 in my personal reading system. My 5 star reads from 2021 are:
    Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
    The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson
    A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion
    O’ The Brave Music by Dorothy Evelyn Smith
    Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean
    The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker
    Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast (my first graphic book) and last but not least:
    Billy Summers by Stephen King (not horror)
    So 8 five star reads out of 46, not bad. I’m going to read Memorial Drive next.

  7. They all look like good reading.
    I thought The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah) was a terrific book. There will be a 2022 movie.

  8. I pick Hamnet as my favorite book. Superb writing and very interesting to read about the wife of Shakespeare. I visited Stratford upon Avon and this book immersed me there again.

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