I evidently read 32 books in 2021, and according to my Goodreads ratings, which I only use to remember what I've read and whether I loved or hated it, these were some of my favorites:
The Overstory by Richard Powers. What I remember about the four stars I gave this book is that I was entranced by the first half or so, absolutely in love with it (trees!), and then struggled to focus on all the various characters and the arc of the plot in the second half. And this is a big, fat book.
Fair Play by Tove Jansson. This was so charming — I forgot my January 2021 plan to read more of her books and biographies, etc. Maybe this year!
Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. "My need to be alone is balanced against my fear of what will happen when suddenly I enter the huge empty silence if I cannot find support there."
Leave the World Behind by Alam Rumaan. An unsettling near-future possible dystopia situation, a social satire crossed with a thriller.
No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood. I loved this, and I only gave it four stars because I find it so hard to give anything five out of five stars, you know? A weird, beautiful, hilarious, and devastating prose poem. Whenever I see Patricia Lockwood's name I initially think she's a family member. I hope we're related.
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. I loved Hyperbole and a Half, and I was worried about her when she didn't publish anything for seven years. What a treat to read this — she's still so funny and honest.
I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes With Death by Maggie O'Farrell. Basically what it is to be a living human person in a body. She is a beautiful writer.
Women Talking by Miriam Toews. Mennonite women conspire in an attic, but much more interesting than that sounds.
To Write as if Already Dead by Kate Zambreno. This one is hard to describe, but it was one of my favorites this year. A ghost author, "writing the body," a kind of detective story in search of a lost online friendship, plague times (AIDS/Covid-19).
More four-star reviews:
The Matrix by Lauren Groff.
The Spare Room by Helen Garner.
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins.
Fight Night by Miriam Toews.
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney.
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz.
Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear by Katharine Weber.
Second Place by Rachel Cusk.