What I've Been Reading : 2021 Edition

Surprisingly, I got a lot of books read this year. Cora and I started reading for about an hour most school nights so she could stay up a bit later. I have also been listening to more audiobooks on my daily walks or outdoor chore time. Here is what I read this year in chronological order:

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo - Lucy and Gabe meet on 9/11 and follows along as their relationship grows (both as they're together and apart). I did not like a lot of the choices the main character makes, but this was a good quick read. 

Concrete Rose (The Hate U Give, #0) by Angie Thomas - This is the prequel for The Hate U Give This book follows Starr's dad Maverick as a teenager, his relationship with Starr's mom, finding out he is going to be a father, getting a job, and more. I really enjoyed the expanded background of these characters. 

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum - In an arranged marriage, a woman moves to America where her new husband and his Palestinian immigrant family lives (all together). The book bounces around betweem her first seven years of marriage, her daughter's 18th year, and her mother-in-law's perspective... all while they deal with their role as women and cultural pressure especially concerning marriage. Parts of this were difficult to read (TW: Rape and abuse) but also there is a lot of pressure to submit to their husbands, can't make their own choises and pressured into traditional roles of cleaning/cooking/childcare. I did enjoy the different perspective of the women and the development of their characters. This was one I could not put down.

The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff - Set in Poland during WWII. The book follows Emma as her husband leaves to join the resistance and she moves to the Jewish ghetto with her parents before being smuggled out. She assumes a new identity and goes undercover. Lots of suspense!

The Diplomat's Wife (The Kommandant's Girl #2) by Pam Jenoff - Picks up where the last book leaves off but follows Marta, a friend of Emma. Marta is rescued from a Nazi prison camp, falls in love, starts a new life in England but years later needs to return to meet with her old resistance contacts. I couldn't put this one down. 

* The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander - Discusses mass incarceration, war on drugs, etc. Highly recommend!! 

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane - Covers the span of 40 years. How two families lives collided (not always in the best way) and the recovery from an incident that changed all their lives. Contains mental illness, broken families, young love, redemption, forgiveness, etc.. I had no idea how this book was going to turn out, but I liked it.

* The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X - I learned a lot about Malcolm X's life. This was narrated by Laurence Fishburne who is really a great choice to listen to for hours.

* A Promised Land by Barack Obama - Interesting to hear some behind the scenes of his presidency. There was way more politics than I expected, but overall good. I enjoyed that he narrated it. 

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff - Noa, a dutch teenager, saves a baby and runs off to join the circus where she meets Astrid. The book follows along both of their stories. 

* Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington - Traces Booker T Washington's journey from slave to educator

House Rules by Jodi Picoult - Mystery surroundinf a murder + boy with asbergers obsessed with crime scenes. This bounces around between different characters point of view. Overall suspensful. 

* Frederick Douglass: The Story of an American Slave by Frederick Douglass - autobiography of Frederick Douglass.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling - Read/listened to this one with Cora. I love the illustrated version since it is easier for her to follow along. We listened to the last half of the book on a road trip and she is quickly becoming a Harry Potter audiobook fan (aren't we all?)

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline - bounced back and forth between a woman's older years and upbringing. Christina was increasingly incapacitated by her illness and spent her whole life on her family farm. Eventually becoming a muse to an artist. 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris - Lale, who was imprisoned at Auschwitz, falls in love with a girl he was tattooing at the concentration camp. I've heard this was amazing so I was was a little skeptical reading, but it really did live up to the hype. Immediately when I finished I rented the ebook for the second one.

Cilka's Journey (The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2) by Heather Morris -Follows Cilka's journey after Auschwitz. Couldn't put it down. 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett - Follows twin sisters as they leave home and eventually separate. One returns to their hometown while the other decides to 'pass over' and live as a white woman. I wasn't sure where this was going to to, but it was a great read.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - Two terminally ill teenagers fall in love.  The book was fine, but I feel like it was really hyped up. 

Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford - Ford's father was in jail for nearly 30 years. This tells the story of a family that must shoulder the weight that such an absence creates. 

* 1984 by George Orwell - a dystopian world heavy on censorship. Honestly this took me a long time to get through. The first part was good but it felt like it dragged on. 

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - Follows the lives of the five Foss siblings who grew up living on a shantyboat (1939) but eventually were taken from their family. The book bounces between 1939ish and present day. Based on the true scandal of Geortia Tann, a woman whose adoption center kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families. This book was so good and probably one of my favorites of the year. 

* Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - Anne, an orphan, is adopted by siblings Matthew and Marilla. Anne is chatty and full of imagination. I have always loved the film series when I was younger and now Anne with an E, so I enjoyed reading the book.

*Books ready with my ears AKA Audiobooks.

See previous years here: 2019 and 2020

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