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My Life in Books 2021

After an exhausting day of shopping, gift wrapping and packing for our family get-together, I’m in the mood for some fun.

With good timing, Pam at KeepingUpWithThePenguins reminded me of a post I did this time in 2019 where the idea is to answer a series of questions using only the titles of books read that year. Let’s give this a go….

In high school I was: The Vicious Vet 

This is part of the Agatha Raisin series of amusing light crime fiction by by M. C Beaton. Here are my thoughts on this title.

People might be surprised by: The Memory Police 

Surprised would be an under-statement for this sinister bunch as imagined by Yōko Ogawa . See my review here.

I will never be: The Beekeeper of Aleppo

This is in my backlog of books to review. It’s a beautifully haunting novel of a couple who become refugees when civil war makes it too dangerous to live in their beloved city.

My fantasy job is: The Bookshop (Owner)

It always used to be a fantasy but that’s when I sported a large pair of rose tinted glasses. Penelope Fitzgerald’s fictional bookshop owner does not, contrary to my imagination, spend all her days just reading books. My review is here.

At the end of a long day I need: The Wild Silence

Part two of Raynor Winn’s memoirs is a testament to the healing power of nature. Repeated lockdowns and restrictions have seen me explore the countryside around me more than ever this year.

I hate: Overkill

Especially when it involves over written prose or overly complex ideas. Vanda Symons has a different interpretation of the word in her crime novel set in New Zealand.

I wish I had: (A) China Room

Not the one that features in this novel by Sunjeev Sahot where it becomes a location of oppression experienced by a young Punjabi bride.

My family reunions are: Pot Luck

There’s an irony about my choice here because this year’s reunion is being planned as if its a military exercise. We even have a spreadsheet. See my review of Emile Zola’s novel here.

At a party, you’d find me with: Dangerous Women 

Party? It’s so long ago since I went to one, I’ve forgotten how to behave as I suspect will the other guests. See my review of Hope Adams’ novel here.

I’ve never been to: The Mission House 

My trips to India so far have taken me only to the cities. I’d love to go to one of the hill stations like Ooty, in which Carys Davies’ novel is set.

A happy day includes: Sunlight on a Broken Column

This is in my backlog of books to review. It’s a Virago Modern Classic set in India pre independence that I read for #20booksofsummer (yes my review backlog is that long!).

The motto I live by is: Lean Fall Stand

My favourite book of the year has a theme of resilience – a capacity that has helped get me through some personal health scares and the pandemic. See my review here.

On my bucket list is: The Great Passage

One of my first reads in 2021, this is an odd little book about people who are passionate about language and the multiple meaning of words. See my review here.

In my next life, I want to have: Still Life 

I do not want to be reincarnated as a stone or any other inanimate object. See my review here.

I’ve no idea who should take the credit for originating this meme (if you know, do pop the blogger’s name in the comments section). Don’t forget to pop over to Pam’s blog – her answers are far more imaginative than mine.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

23 thoughts on “My Life in Books 2021

    • You have been wonderfully creative with that 3rd list. Did you come up with the prompts yourself?

  • A pot luck family reunion is so Midwest, and I know you’ve spent time there. Do you ever feel like eating pot luck food is one of the biggest risks you take all year? Perhaps it depends on the family…

    • I remember lots of pot luck gatherings when friends invited me to their homes in Michigan. It was a bit awkward because I don’t eat meat or poultry and had to keep refusing some dishes.

      • And if you don’t try what we brought, our feelings are totally hurt! We’re a pushy, friendly bunch.

        • The standard reaction when I said I didn’t eat meat, was to tell me there was plenty of chicken (how do I explain that poultry does count as meat!)

  • Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    Ahahahahaha well done! Pot Luck was *chef’s kiss* 😅

  • The way you included China Room here made me giggle, because that’s what I thought the title was meant to convey too…but, alas, not so. Hee hee

  • Enjoyed your responses, Karen. Pot luck made me laugh. And, it seems I must read Still life.

    • I suspect you are thinking of a different novel called Still Life since the one I read was by Val McDermaid and you don’t tend to read crime fiction.

  • I really liked The Memory Police, such a haunting novel. I read it last year, during the first lockdown, I think, and it resonated so strongly with the loss of normality we were experiencing at the time.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Karen, and all the best for 2022.

  • My motto, this year anyway, must surely be: Such is Life. Have a happy and snowy Christmas. Perth (WA) is going for 40 deg (C).

  • Oh, I’d forgotten about this meme. May have to round off the year with my own version. Have fun with those dangerous women at parties, and a very happy Christmas to you!

    • I bet you’ll come up with something far more insightful and imaginative than I managed


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