The difficult year of 2021 kept up its angry stance until the bitter end, so I am two months late with my annual reading list. Mea culpa! But better late than never, and careful readers of this decade-long tradition may note that this year’s list is quite different from other lists. This year I found myself escaping into the realm of international intrigue, and I am now hooked as I discovered that the best of these genres also have some exquisite writing and important insights. You’ll also see some glaring, and perhaps surprising lacunae which have finally been remedied. I hope you might find some new discoveries in this list, too. Again, as always, my apologies for not including poetry in this list, which I read in a different way. But there was a wonderful cascade of poetry collections to dive into this year, as well.

  1. Bernadine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other
  2. Clorinda Matto de Turner, Birds Without a Net (1889 Peruvian classic)
  3. Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to a Young Poet
  5. Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown
  6. Olga Tokarczuk, Drive Your Plow Over The Bones
  7. Catriona Lally, Eggshells
  8. Joan Didion, Let Me Tell You What I Mean
  9. Michael J. Fox, No Time Like the Future (An Optimist Considers Mortality)
  10. Christopher MacDougall, Born to Run
  11. George Saunders, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
  12. Viet Thank Nguyen, The Committed
  13. Mark Helprin, Freddy and Fredericka
  14. Richard Osman, The Thursday Murder Club
  15. Sigrid Nunez, Mitz, The Marmoset of Bloomsbury
  16. Anna North, Outlawed
  17. George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
  18. Kate Sawyer, The Stranding
  19. Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
  20. Daniel Silva, The Kill Artist
  21. Maggie O’Farrell, Hamnet
  22. Daniel Silva, The Cellist
  23. Daniel Silva, Moscow Rules
  24. Sadeqa Johnson, Yellow Wife
  25. Daniel Silva, House of Spies
  26. Ben McIntyre, The Spy and the Traitor
  27. Elizabeth Baines, Astral Travel
  28. Emily Wilson, trans., The Odyssey
  29. Leigh Forbes, Outlawed: The Teenage Years
  30. Louise Penny, Still Life
  31. Louise Penny, The Beautiful Mystery
  32. Louise Penny, How The Light Gets In