What to Read in 2021…

Well it’s a new year and you might be asking yourself:

“What in the world do I read next?”

Both Haddi and I have received notes from folks, some who read this blog…others who don’t, asking what we would recommend for them to read in 2021. It’s a great question, but whew, it is also a HUGE questions. So we decided to narrow it down a bit and looking at the books we read in 2020, here are our Top 10 recommendations for you to read in 2021.

Haddi’s List

BookAuthorWhy I recommend it…
10The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksRebecca SklootI love learning something new while also getting a great story. This books is an excellent combination of both science and story! (nonfiction; science; biography)
9The Weight of InkRachel KadishIntriguing story that sucks you in and won’t let go with a little history sprinkled in and brilliant female characters. (fiction)
8So You Want to Talk About RaceIjeoma OluoCandid and readable. A great book to help people start to understand the nature of racism in this country and the real life effects racism has on individuals. (nonfiction; racism)
7The HistorianElizabeth KostovaA new and fresh way to enter into the Dracula lore. Kostova is an amazing story teller and even though this book is 700+ pages long, I’ve read it twice in three years! That’s how good it is! (fiction)
6The Radium GirlsKate MooreThe story of the women who worked in dial factories during WWI and the effects of working closely with radioactive materials had on their lives. A super interesting (and sad) story and a very readable history. (nonfiction; history)
5The Cross and the Lynching TreeJames H. ConeProfound. Literally changed my framework for understanding racism, Christ, and the role of ‘Church’ in America. (nonfiction; religion; racism)
4The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the RipperHallie RubenholdStories that had been lost to history are no longer. Women are more than props for men’s histories. These women had lives, families, relationships; Rubenhold does an excellent job of bringing these women back to life. (nonfiction; history)
3Eloquent RageBrittney CooperJust brilliant! Unapologetic, candid, and insightful. Cooper tells her story while discussing many of the issues facing women; white, black, and brown in this country. (nonfiction; feminism; racial justice)
2Catherine the GreatRobert K. MassieThis one is quite the read but so worth it! I cannot tell you how much I learned about Russian history and Catherine was an amazing leader and woman! (nonfiction; biography)
1The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club (trilogy)Theodora GossJust plain fun! A group of extraordinary women working together to do extraordinary things! Love it! (fiction)

Hannah’s List

BookAuthorWhy I recommend it…
10The Wild RobotPeter BrownA great book to read as a family or alone. Unexpected delightful.
9Being MortalAtul GawandeWe all die and experience death in our lives. This book addresses that process with compassion and grace.
8Royal HolidayJasmine GuilloryMy favorite “adult” romance novelist and this book in particular is a mature love story which I always enjoy
7Race to the SunRebecca RoanhorseI love all Roanhorse’s work, but this middle school chapter book was a delight and I look forward to sharing it with my kiddos.
6How to be an AntiracistIbram X. KendiA lot out there to read about antiracism, but this is a critical examination of both ourselves and our society. Helps reframe how we engage these conversations.
5Just MercyBryan StevensonPoignant true story of a lawyer and the injustices of our justice system. You won’t ever look at the system to incarceration the same.
4Eleanor and ParkRainbow RowellYA that is honest about all the characters and doesn’t shy away from the awkward yet intense feelings of being a teenager.
3Eloquent RageBrittney CooperBroke and rebuilt my engagement in feminism and racism as a white woman. Cooper keeps it real and will remake you.
2The Weight of StarsK. AncrumThis book goes deep, quickly and with a purpose. There is so much in between these covers to excavate. YA at its best!
1Emergent Strategyadrienne maree brownbrown offers an imagination for another way of living in this world, both as the individual and for our societies. The status quo is not inevitable but simply the easiest. We can and must break the momentum of it for all our sakes.

But what are Haddi and Hannah are reading in 2021?

You may have noticed a few duplicates (but we did try to keep them limited) because last year Haddi started a virtual bookclub and so we ended up reading many of the same books throughout the year. We had so much fun that we decided to do it again in 2021 and chose the theme “Travel” since nobody seems to be going anywhere. We used the seven continents and five (yep, there’s five now) oceans to guide or choices and below you will find a list of the books we will be reading in 2021!

So if feel free to join us on this year’s adventure around the globe!

MonthBookAuthor
1The Bear and the NightingaleKatherine Arden
2Wild SeaJoy McCann
3There ThereTommy Orange
4The Road from CoorainJill Ker Conway
5Someone Knows My NameLawrence Hill
6The Dark ChildCamara Laye
7Moloka’iAlan Brennet
8Terra IncognitaSara Wheeler
9Great Soul: Mahatma Gahndi…Joseph Lelyveld
10Ines of My SoulIsabel Allende
11Last Train to IstanbulAyse Kulin
12The Man Who Ate His BootsAnthony Brandt