So, it’s about two hours until midnight on Dec. 31, 2021. I’m pretty sure I can’t squeeze another book in this year, so I guess I’ll make my end of the year reading review.  

Overall, I finished the year having read 86 books. Here’s the breakdown: 

  • 5 out of 5: 6 books 
  • 4 out of 5: 38 books 
  • 3 out of 5: 38 books 
  • 2 out of 5: 3 books 
  • 1 out of 5: 1 book 

I won’t list all the 86 books that kept me entertained throughout 2021, but I’ll list some of the highlights including the worst, the best, and some other miscellaneous stuff. 

The Worst of 2021 

Before You Meet Prince Charming: A Guide to Radiant Purity by Sarah Mally 

AAAAAAAAAARRRRGGG… That’s my one-word review of this book.

Okay, I have to admit that this wasn’t ever going to work with me. For one, I’m not the target audience since I’m a divorced, bald, middle-aged dude. Having said that, I absolutely hated/despised/loathed/(enter every negative adjective you can think of) this book. I don’t understand how it’s got 4/5 stars with 2,071 ratings and 134 reviews on Goodreads.  

I hated this book because it didn’t fill me with hope. It should be giving hope to all the single Christian girls, and I could see how it does. However, for anyone that’s divorced it’s basically saying give up now and throw all hopes of you ever finding love into the dumpster. Oh, and then light the dumpster on fire. Oh, if you’re a guy then add gasoline onto that fire. 

Never have I ever wanted to throw the book across the room, go grab a lighter and a gallon of gas from the local Speedway, come back home, pick the book up and then promptly burn it in my backyard. Afterward, I’d bury the ashes and then salt the earth so that nothing could ever grow there. The resulting bald spot on the yard would be a reminder of what bad literature would be. 

You might ask why I even read it. Well, that’s a long story. Which, in retrospect, is probably why I hated it so much too. But, like I said, that’s another story for another time. 

The Best 6 of 2021 

All the following are books I listed 5 out of 5 on Goodreads. The difference between a 4 and 5 is a pretty thin distinction. Basically, if I shed a tear or learn something from it or if it was just simply fantastic. The following aren’t listed in any particular order. I’m not sure I could pick my favorite from among them. 

  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is a fantastic collection of interwoven short stories that involve a time travel element that I’ve never encountered before. Each of the stories are so heartwarming that it actually brought a tear to my eye. 
  • Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. This shouldn’t be a surprise, but I was excited when I noticed when this one came out. I immediately borrowed the audiobook and started in and I was finished in one sitting. It follows the same café and time travel as the first book and includes many of the characters from the first one, but it also introduces new characters and new situations. I loved it just as much as the first book. 
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman. This isn’t the first time I’ve read this one. It’s basically an American combination of Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia. This is one of those books that I can read or listen to without any problem. I never get tired of the book series. However, the television show is pretty convoluted at times, but the books less confusing and have excellent characters. 
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a tale of love that endures even through the toughest of times. Most of my favorite books this year actually were romance or romance comedies. This one isn’t comedy, but it’s a serious look at what Biblical love looks like. It’s a book that encourages seeking God and following His will even during the worst of times. It’s a very entertaining read. 
  • World Religions and Cults: Counterfeits of Christianity (Volume 1) by Bodie Hodge and Roger Patterson is probably the one book I’ve read this year that was non-fiction. It’s a collection of essays about various religions by people who are experienced in those religions explaining why they are counterfeits of Christianity. It’s an enlightening book. However, having said that, if you’re not a Christian, then it might not exactly be your type of book. 
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is most likely my favorite book. I know I wouldn’t list them, but I came across this book at a very hard, depressing time in 2021. The Midnight Library is a place where the main character goes when she commits suicide. She’s then transferred to a library where she can experience any life she could’ve possibly lived. This was another one that caused me to shed a tear or two by the end. 

Author that I Encountered in 2021 

Dude, Grady Hendrix is awesome. If you like horror stories, then you have to check him out. I read: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ‘70s and ‘80s Horror Fiction, We Sold Our Souls, Horrorstor. All of those books are 4 out of 5 simply because of the quality of writing, excellent storytelling, and the unique approach Hendrix takes with the story. Horrorstor is probably my favorite among them. That one tells a story of a haunted rip off of Ikea. It’s simply fantastic. 

The Book that Surprised Me 

Okay, don’t come at me in the comments, but I sorta liked Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon. I saw TikTok book people talking about it so I thought I’d try it out just to see if it was good or bad. It’s an interesting plot where aliens abduct young women with the intention to sell them as slaves. They crash land on an ice planet the ladies call “Not-Hoth” and the leader of the group goes out into the tundra to find help. She passes out and is rescued by a big, blue, alien that’s…um… well… he’s very, very attracted to the lady. So, it’s erotic fiction. But, having said that, it’s not cheesy and it has decent writing and character development. I was surprised.  

Goals for 2022 

I have a crazy ton of books I’m looking at reading next year. I’ve been collecting the Sue Grafton alphabet series by going to thrift stores, so I’ll try to start reading them. I’ve also wanted to start the Wheel of Time series and finally get done with The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. 

What was your favorite book this year? Tell me in the comments! 

3 responses to “2021 Year End Reading Review”

  1. Joe McBee Avatar
    Joe McBee

    It’s too difficult to pick just one but I can give you my top 5 (not in order).

    1. Courage is Calling by Ryan Holiday
    2. Silence by Shusaku Endo
    3. Breaking Bread with the Dead by Alan Jacobs
    4. The Deepy Formed Life by Rich Villodas
    5. News of the World by Paulette Jiles

  2. Stuart Danker Avatar

    My most standout book of the year would have to be Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. And I’ve read other decent titles like The Fifth Season and A Little Hatred too. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    1. JimMaster Avatar

      I’ve got Project Hail Mary on my bookshelf waiting to be read! I hope it’s good!

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