My capacity to buy books far exceeds my capacity to read them all so it’s not surprising that I got to the end of 2021 with a large number of the year’s purchases unread.
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is “2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To” but for my list I’m tweaking this prompt a little to include books I acquired in 2021 that were published before that year.
Ardent Swarm by Yarden Manai
The first book by this Tunisian author to be translated into English, caught my attention because it’s about a beekeeper. And I’d just finished reading (and enjoying) The Beekeeper of Aleppo.
After Lives by Abdulrazak Gurnah
I’d not heard of Abdulrazak Gurnah when I saw this in a bookshop (yes the real, bricks and mortar version). But two days later he was named as winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2021. This novel is about the friendship of two boys caught up in set in Germany’s brutal colonial rule in East Africa during the early years of the 20th century.
Fox Fires by Wyl Menmuir
Menmuir’s debut work The Many was one of the most intriguing books I read in 2016 so of course I had to buy his latest novella. It sounds just as enigmatic. The synopsis tells me it’s about a girl who has followed her concert pianist mother around the cities of Europe for almost two decades. Their arrival in the mysterious city-state of O, marks the beginning of the girl’s quest to find the man she believes is her father.
Mrs Mac and Me by Emma Freud
I do love a novel connected with the artistic world and this one features one of my favourites artists: Charles Rennie Mackintosh. He is a mysterious visitor who arrives at a Sussex coastal resort where he forms a close relationship with the publican’s son. But soon Britain is at war and Mackintosh’s curious behaviour maks him a target for suspicion.
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
The winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2021, this debut novella length work is about two Black British artists who fall in and out of love. Their relationship is used as a way of exploring attitudes to masculinity and race.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
I was introduced to Towles when his novel A Gentleman in Moscow was chosen by our book club a few years ago. I’ve seen comments from several bloggers that they didn’t rate the book as highly as his debut novel Rules of Civility. So when I found a copy in a National Trust bookshop sale, and it was only £1, it was impossible to resist.
Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo.
Described as a funny, painful novel that explores race and identity, Chibundu Onuzo’s novel tells the story of a mixed-race British woman who goes in search of the West African father she never knew.
The Cone Gatherers by Robin Jenkins
Last summer I was a guest on the Read All About It podcast hosted by Paul Cuddihy. We did a bit of a Welsh/Scottish swap of recommended authors from our respective countries. The Cone Gatherers was Paul’s gift to me and I feel rather guilty it hasn’t yet been read. It’s a short book about two brothers growing up in Scotland who encounter the brutal gamekeeper of a large estate. The keeper Duror commits an act so brutal it destroys all sense of humanity in the once thriving wood.
The Promise by Damon Galmut
Of all the novels longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2021, this one had the strongest appeal for me. I’m a sucker for novels by South African authors but this tale of forsaken promises of the post-apartheid era and a family in crisis sounded particularly promising.
White Spines by Nicholas Royle
This is the only non fiction book in my list. I bought it purely out of curiosity because it sounded unusual. Nicholas Royle has a passion for the the white spines of Picador paperbacks released between 1972 and the late 1990s. This book reflects on his habit of visiting second hand book shops, searching the shelves for titles to add to his collection. Next to buying books and reading books, I do love reading about other readers and buyers. I’m dipping into this currently so there is hope that I’ll finish it in 2022…..
Have any of you read these books? Which would you recommend I move to the top of my “to read” pile? Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.