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2021 In Review: 10 Best Books I Read In 2021

2021 in review: 10 best books I read in 2021

As always, I like to reflect on the books I read in a given year. In 2021, I read a fair amount of books as usual. I read a bit less of nonfiction than usual, and listened to a larger chunk of the books than usual as I started to listen to audiobooks on my walking commute.

All in all, I’m quite pleased with my reading for this year. I had a very hard time selecting the 10 best books. I gave more 5 stars than I’ve given in recent years. I read a lot of classic works.

Here is my top 10:

10. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Bronte: A classic, but the topic of a woman leaving an abusive marriage is actually very modern for its time.

9. Moeder, waarom leven wij – Lode Zielens: Another classic of the Flemish literature, about the lives of working class people in the past.

8. Walkaway – Cory Doctorow: I’m actually not a science fiction fan, but I deeply enjoyed reading this book.

7. Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization – Roy Scranton: As we are headed for a collapse of society due to climate change, this book helped me think about our mortality – our own mortality, and the mortality of us as a society.

6. Malina – Ingeborg Bachmann A metaphor, a poem about how men destroy the lives of women. It was murder.

5. A Long Petal of the Sea – Isabel Allende: A moving story that goes from the Spanish Civil War to the military dictatorship in Chile.

4. The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism – Richard Sennett: A book from the 1990s on neoliberalism – and things have only gone further south since then.

3. L’Etranger – Albert Camus My French language book of the year – and what a story.

2. L’Oeuvre au noir – Marguerite Yourcenar: (I read this in Dutch) – the life of Zeno, a medieval scholar. Deep and mystical.

1. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy: I liked Far from the Maddening Crowd, but Tess is a whole level in terms of allegory and links to paganism.

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