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2021 book reviews!

So as the year draws to an end, here are the books that I absolutely loved this year! I chose 3 novels and 3 non-fiction books – it was not easy as I read more than 50 books this year, and a lot of these were really good. So, without further ado, here they are:

Fiction

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires – Grady Hendrix

I thoroughly enjoyed this scary novel, told from the point of view of a desperate suburban housewife of the 90’s. Horror slowly creeps into her neighbourhood, and she will find unlikely allies to help save her family. It’s creepy, and at time really scary, while being original in both the storytelling and the choice of time period.

The Familiars – Stacey Halls

I really loved this story told by a woman, about women. A dark, oppressive atmosphere, the weight of expectations for women at the time, the looming shadow of witchcraft, and threats that are not what they seem. A really good story that reminded me of twisted fairy tales.

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Last but definitely not least, my absolute favourite this year! A moving, clever and well-written novel about a group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world, travelling around and bringing music and Shakespeare to people. Because, in their own words ‘Surviving is not enough’. I will not say more about it as I don’t want to spoil it. But I cannot recommend it enough!!

Bonus:

The Brass Queen, Elizabeth Chatsworth: a funny, quick-paced steampunk romance/adventure novel. Well done and highly enjoyable. The perfect quick read if you’re feeling a bit down!

The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones: truly scary, and strangely poetic at the same time. Jones makes you care deeply about these characters, who are flawed and lost and seem to have been doomed from the start, crushed between two worlds and belonging nowhere. You won’t put it down until you’re done!

The Wilderness Series, Sara Donati: if you like historical romances, it’s for you! I liked how the author tells this family’s story, and doesn’t shy away from difficult themes, especially the struggles of Native Americans and African Americans.

Non-fiction

The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert

This is probably my favorite this year. Elizabeth Kolbert is a gifted storyteller, and she manages to tell the truly horrifying tale of our times in a way that leaves you with a sense of deep urgency, but no despair. I especially like learning how scientifics learned about previous extinctions.

Less is More: How Degrowth will Save the World – Jason Hickel

Jason Hickel takes no prisonner in this one. It’s a brutally honest retelling of how we got there, what is to come, and what we can do about it. While it is a difficult read – Hickel doesn’t pretend it isn’t going to be extraordinary difficult to change our whole econmic system and our way of life – it’s also optimistic in some ways. There are solutions. Drastic, disruptive ones – to answer a dramatic issue. A must-read.

What is the Bible? – Rob Bell

I loved this book. It’s everything I would have liked to hear in church school when I was a kid. It reminds us of the importance of mythos in a world that has put logos at the forefront. It also enhances how rebellious and forward-thinking some passages are. Whether you believe or not, it’s an excellent read, well written and compelling. I will definitely read more from him.

Bonus:

The Day the World stops Shopping, JB McKinnon : a riveting ‘what if’ scenario, that doesn’t sugarcoat anything.

The Shallows: what the Internet is doing to our brains, Nicholas Carr: a deep-dive into the effects of the Internet on our brains, both collectively and individually. Kinda worrying, but fascinating.

The Comfort Crisis, Michael Easter : an interesting take on the current western way of living, that mixes personnal experiences and science. It really makes you take a good look at how we live and why it might really not be good for us.

That’s all she wrote, folks! I wish you happy holidays, and a good start in 2022, wherever you are. Take good care of yourself, and don’t hesitate to share your 2021 fave books in the comments!

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