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Chapter 51 - A Year of Wonders

2021 has been a good reading year for me. Last year I struggled with picking the right books and trying to immerse myself in places and reality not my own, but I think many readers had a difficult time with that. So many author events were cancelled, book festivals didn't happen in person, and many long awaited books were pushed to a 2021 publication date.

This year has been a terrific one of new books from well loved authors and some interesting debuts. In early January Scott Richards (of WEZV) and I always talk about the best books we've read the previous year. He challenges me to come up with ten. This year there were so many to choose from that I will have a hard time picking just ten. But here are my first five for 2021. They are listed in no particular order and I'm not sure I could actually rank them but these got five out of five stars for me this year. Any of these would be great Christmas gifts for the reader in your life!

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles - This novel had lots of elements I enjoy in a book. There was a coming of age story, a hero's quest, quirky but likable characters, great scene description, and terrific writing. Emmett Watson is driven home by the warden of a juvenile detention camp after serving 15 months for involuntary manslaughter. He plans to pick up his little brother and head to Texas. Of course plans go awry as he finds extra passengers in his excursion who have plans of their own.

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead - Here is another author whose writing I highly recommend. The beginning of the book identifies "Roy Carney as only slightly bent when it came to being crooked..." and so the story starts. With richly defined characters, great descriptions of Harlem in the early 1960's, and Whitehead's terrific storytelling ability this was definitely a five star book for me.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig - This was one of the first books I read in 2021 and it has definitely stayed with me throughout the year. Nora Seed has lost her job and her cat in the same day and is given the opportunity to see how her life would have been if she had taken other paths in her life. If you've ever given a thought to what your life would be if you had made different choices, this is the book for you.

We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker - Suggested, no really strongly recommended by my good friend and co-worker Stacy, Duchess Day Radley is a self-proclaimed outlaw, protective of her small brother and her single mom. When the man who killed her aunt is released from prison, Duchess must deal with the trouble he brings with him.

Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe - I do enjoy coming of age stories and this was one of the best I've read this year. Austin Foster is thrust into the role of caregiver at the young age of 13 when her mama dies giving birth to twins. As she deals with raising her six siblings and working on her father's tobacco farm, she learns to rely on a group of friends to help her and her father who is battling his own demons. This book will make you laugh and cry but mostly root for this courageous young woman.

Have you thought about your own top ten books in 2021? If so, please let me know!

Oh, and if you can't decide on a Christmas gift this year for that special reader in your life, a gift certificate works - here is a link to our online store.


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