Nostalgic escapism with a large dose of magical realism soothed me throughout the year. Last year I told you all about these things called ‘Classics’ and now I would like you to open your mind to a genre even more revolutionary to return to as an adult… Middle Grade Fantasy. “Times is hard” but generally things all work out in Middle Grade books. Plus it’s good for one’s imagination. I loved deeply each of these books: The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo, The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill, Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger, Strangeworlds Travel Agency (Book 1 & Book 2) by L.P. Lapinski, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers by Jen Campbell
Rereads also offer the gift of predictability, of which there were many this year. Thanks to a few trips home to my parents I tugged things off the bookshelf of my younger self. Some were just as wonderful as I remember (Perks of Being A Wallflower) and some have grown problematic with time and perspective (Danielle Steel). I’ve been rereading the Harry Potter series with college friends and it’s been an utter delight. (I would also be happy to send any magical people in your life a Hogwarts acceptance letter as I have perfected the forgery/channeled of Prof McGonagal)
While I had no specific reading goal in terms of number of books, I did change the way I shared what I was reading (on Instagram) and challenged myself to write about every book I read. So I refer you there for more information about any book mentioned. Here are my other favorites from 2021:
– Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
– The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill, Illustrated by Ronni Solbert – one of Eric’s childhood favs.
– White Tiger by Arvin Adiga (Netflix adaptation is also great)
– The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirahk
– The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
– Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope
– Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark & The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
– (The Complete) Maus by Art Spiegelman
– Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman
What were your favorite reads of the year?