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Chapter 52 - A Year of Wonders, Part 2

So last week I revealed five of my favorite ten books for 2021 and today I will tell you about the second group of five. As I mentioned last week, these are in no particular order because every time I look at my list of five star books and try to pick a favorite, I just can't.

In all honesty, I rarely pick books to read that I don't think I'll like but I'm pretty tough in giving out a five star rating. So, while I have read lots of really good four star books, I have not read all that many five star ones this year.

So here is my last list of my five "best" books read in 2021.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr - To be honest this book will not be for everyone and has received mixed reviews. For me, it was a brilliantly written story that weaves the past, present, and future. The story centers around four main figures - Konstance, a teenager who lives on a spaceship, Zeno, an older man who translated the Greek story Cloud Cuckoo Land, and Anna and Omeir who lived in 15th century Constantinople. Of course, with great skill Doerr has these stories converging at the end of the book.

South of Broad by Pat Conroy - Yes, you are right I was a little late to the game for reading Pat Conroy, something I strongly regret. Leopold Bloom King lives in a family who has suffered a tragedy after their oldest son has committed suicide. He finds support with a group of outsiders with their own tragedies. The book is about love of all sorts and the power of friendship. While the story is good, the writing is wonderful as only Pat Conroy could write. But do bring Kleenex...

Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy by Anna Sebba - Of course you knew I'd have to throw a history book in here. Ethel Rosenberg with her husband Julius were convicted of treason in the 1950's and executed. While there is no question that Julius was guilty of spying for and passing secrets to Russia, Ethel may have been an innocent bystander. Sebba's revelatory work is important for a number of reasons and a very readable story.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel - Harmel's latest combines two genres I enjoy - Historical Fiction and Magical Realism. The story centers around a young German girl who is kidnapped by an old woman and taken into the forests of eastern Europe to live. In 1941, after the old woman dies, she stumbles across a group of Jews who have escaped the Nazis. She teaches them how to survive in the forest and they teach her as well. This is based, in part, about Jewish partisans who lived in the forests of Europe during World War II.

Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan - Callahan who wrote the beautiful story Becoming Mrs. Lewis has revisited C.S. Lewis again in this book. Meg Devonshire, a student at Oxford, approaches C.S. Lewis with questions posed by her terminally ill little brother about Narnia and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. As Lewis tells her about his life, he answers the questions bit by bit. If you have never read The Chronicles of Narnia before, you will definitely want to after this.

So that's it, you now know the top ten books I've read in 2021. I'm looking forward to another year of great reading in 2022! I'm taking next week off to start my reading year so the first 2022 post will be January 3rd. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all!


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