Ohhh what a year. In what was otherwise a revolving door of crazy, books were a constant for me (along with puzzles and my cat).

This year I finally did what I thought I would never do: I joined Book of the Month. I discovered not only the joy of a new hardcover book arriving by mail each month (you get to pick from 5!), but also the added fun of getting to gift the book to friends after. It seriously upped my fiction game, and it’s only $15! If I sound like a salesperson, I am just sharing the good news I wish I discovered earlier.

I also started another new tradition this year: book swaps with friends. Less choices than BOTM and no app to download, but the price is amazing (FREE) and in this never-ending Covid world of ours, coming home to a gift from your friend on your doorstep is the best. Having a friend with good book taste is truly a treasure.

Best Non Fiction

Machiavelli For Women: Defend Your Worth, Grow Your Ambition, and Win the Workplace / Smith, Stacey Vanek
A friend got me this for my birthday and I’m so glad they did. Turning to Machiavelli’s The Prince for career advice for modern women is such an interesting concept – and Smith does a spectacular job. I especially appreciated that she gave practical advice – not “talk like a man!” but “I realize this sucks, but smiling more will actually get you further as a girl…”

The Journey Toward Wholeness: Enneagram Wisdom for Stress, Balance, and Transformation / Stabile, Suzanne
Stabile is hands down my favorite teacher of the Enneagram (iykyk). This was not only a great informational read (like all her work!) but the discussion about stress for each type is so timely right now. Still processing through some of it, but glad to have read it as we wrap up 2021!

Best Memoirs

Aftershocks / Owusu, Nadia
Oh man, oh man. ‘Devastatingly beautiful’ doesn’t even come close. Owusu lived the most interesting, nomadic life you couldn’t even make up – if this were a novel, I would have said the author tried too hard. The way she ties everything into earthquake imagery blew me away.

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close / Sow, Aminatou and Ann Friedman
Calling all Call Your Girlfriend fans: this book is an automatic win if you listen to the podcast. But even if you don’t – its a great read on adult friendships, growing apart and back together, and the work that being a grown up takes.

Best Poetry

What Kind of Woman / Baer, Kate AND I Hope This Finds You Well / Baer, Kate
aka Kate Baer is the golden answer. Her first is a must read of words about moments big and small, somehow capturing universal feelings so beautifully uniquely. Her second is a collection of erasure poems – if you follow her on Instagram (which, you should) they are everything we were hoping for.


Best Fiction

This Is How It Always Is / Frankel, Laurie
I stumbled upon this one by accident, but am so glad I did. It takes a bit of a strange turn 3/4ths of the way through – but the story and the writing is riveting.

Everything I Never Told You / Ng, Celeste
I thought nothing could beat Little Fires Everywhere, but Ng stuns in this one, too.

People We Meet on Vacation / Henry, Emily
This was sold to me as a modern day When Harry Met Sally – and it lives up. The perfect poolside read.

Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo AND Daisy Jones & The Six
Jenkins Reid was my favorite find of 2021. I had seen her name floating around before, and now I know why! Evelyn Hugo has everything you want in a book – a little romance, a little mystery, one badass woman and some Hollywood glam. Daisy Jones is truly one of a kind, the type of novel you don’t want to end while racing to the last page.


Honorable Mentions (books that I KNOW were amazing this year, but sadly haven’t made their way off my bookshelf into my hands…)

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation / Kobes Du Mez, Kristin
I’ve listened to basically every podcast Du Mez has been on since this came out. I got it as a birthday gift for my husband *in April* so I could read it immediately after…. and he’s still working through it. CAN’T WAIT to finally start!

The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth / Barr, Beth Allison
I’ve heard such great things about Barr’s work in this one. It’s been sitting next to my bed (and traveled with me on a few flights!) but I know it’s going to hit a little close to home and have been waiting for a good time.

Wholehearted Faith / Held Evans, Rachel
The last book (for adults) from our beloved RHE. I bought it the day it came out, but still can’t bring myself to open it up. So glad we still get to hear her words (thanks to Jeff Chu!), but it might take me a while to actually read them.

Full List




One thought on “Best Books of 2021

  1. I always look forward to reading this list every year! You’ve given me the courage (lol) to check out the Kindest Lie, Everything I Never Told You, and the Seven Husbands….
    Thanks again for sharing Krysti 🙂

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