2021 BOOK LIST
A selection of the books that I read in 2021
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Hear the Wind Sing/ Pinball, 1973
Reading the first two stories that Murakami ever wrote was such a treat. Although if you are new to the author, I’m not sure I would recommend starting here. While I thoroughly enjoyed reading these early works, I think those who have read some of Murakami's later novels will have a greater appreciation for his style in early development, as well as some characters and themes that show up in future stories. The author himself considers A Wild Sheep Chase to be “the true beginning of [his] career as a novelist.” (Quoted from the Wind intro—a few autobiographical pages from Murakami that fans will enjoy).
Where the Crawdads Sing
My mom read this during the time she joined my trip, and left it with me when she headed back to Colorado. During the heat wave, when there was little else to do but wade in rivers and read in front of the fan, I read this unique story in two day’s time. Being isolated in sticky heat, flowing water, chirping insects, and constant bird calls, as the main character is, made it easy for me to feel close to the marsh that Owens describes beautifully and with scientific accuracy. The ending was so unexpected that I almost laughed out loud. This is an excellent and
compelling novel, blending coming-of-age and love stories with murder mystery and courtroom drama.
I picked this one up at a bookstore in Spokane, from the staff recommendation shelf. I always appreciate when bookstores have this, and the comments left about this PNW local author definitely piqued my interest. There were moments that I was skeptical of the absurdist nature of the strange story, but by the end I was overcome with emotion and gripped with the last few chapters. This novel weaves poetic descriptions with satirical commentary, all the while leaving you wondering where in the world the story is headed.
Parable of the Sower
Octavia E. Butler
This book is easy to devour, but if you choose to read it I would encourage you to slow down and reflect on its messaging. I know, I know— you can hardly wait to see what happens in the next chapter. But while this is an exciting and heart wrenching novel, it is also a peek into our future as a society if we do not make some serious changes. This book got my heart racing for multiple reasons, and I can’t wait to continue reading more of Butler’s work.