2021 Reads!

Prioritizing reading time again was one of the best things for me in 2020. I worked reading back into a regular schedule, frequented the library, and had great conversations about books. 

I want to keep a running list of the books I read this year, too. Just a quick star rating and short review for each book. You can check out 2020’s list here

I will add the same preface as last year — I am a bit of a harsh critic. I do not give out 5 stars very often, but I will also give a minimum of 2 stars if I finish the book. Attitudes toward books are so personal, so if you want to chat with me about why you loved a book below or why you didn’t, please do. 

My goal is 50 books and I will continue to add them here as the year goes on. 

Here’s what I have read so far in 2021:

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly – 3 stars

  • I loved the first (Lilac Girls), so I had high hopes for this historical fiction story, but it took me a long time to get through. I did not feel as connected to the characters as I had expected. Still a well-written story. 

Think Like A Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day by Jay Shetty – 2 stars

  • I know there are a lot of Jay Shetty fans out there, but this book was just not for me. I liked some of his concepts and his advice, but parts felt repetitive and a bit hypocritical. Seemed like a collection of other peoples quotes and stories. 

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins – 3 stars

  • I enjoyed reading this one. David is super inspiring. While I don’t agree with everything, like training through crazy amounts of pain, etc, this book felt really authentically him and I am glad he told his story. 

The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connection, and Courage by Kelly McGonigal – 3 stars

  • I don’t need convincing that movement is joyful. Much of my life is centered around the joy of movement. But I did appreciate Kelly’s approach and the stories she shared — especially the parts around ultra running. 

White Ivy by Susie Yang – 3 stars

  • I am still unsure how I feel about this one. I read it in less than 24 hours and Yang is a talented writer. Ivy (the main character) isn’t exactly likeable, but I think this is what made the story so interesting. Ultimately, I got to the end and felt like…okay? A bit of a letdown. 

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris – 4 stars

  • Second book of the year about meditation, but I much preferred it to Jay Shetty’s book. This one felt more relatable and less preachy to me. I will say I still do not have a regular meditation practice, but Dan’s words inspired me to do so. 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – 3 stars

  • Another book I feel conflicted about. I enjoyed the writing and felt connected to some of the characters. I won’t give any spoilers, but will leave it at this: the end did not sit right with me. 

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover – 4 stars

  • My first Colleen Hoover and I enjoyed it even more than I expected. A well-written story of complex characters and tough issues. Brought out a lot of emotions. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 4 stars

  • I couldn’t put this down. I was enthralled with Evelyn Hugo and couldn’t wait to hear each husband’s story. Well-written and well-developed characters. 

Quit Like A Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol by Holly Whitaker – 3 stars 

  • I have so many thoughts on this. I am glad I read it. Coming from someone who just wants to choose to drink less in social situations, this landed with me most of the time. But at the same time, it felt written for well-off white women and seemed to make breaking addiction seem ‘easier’ than it is. I haven’t been there, so I guess I can’t really say, but I do think it is worth noting AA is a free option for recovery and that is valuable even though she doesn’t agree with the program.