Highlights of 2021

“Highlights of 2021” might seem like an oxymoron, but when it comes to books there was so much goodness for me last year. I broke my personal reading record, even if I don’t count the audiobooks I listened to. This surprised me, because I have a tighter schedule this year and had to do some shuffling around – I was worried about losing reading time – I must have overcompensated! I do know that my blogging and blog-reading suffered – I’m still working on getting the balance just right, but I won’t hold my breath.

Atlantic Canada

Six years ago I decided to challenge myself to read more books from Atlantic Canada. As a result, I have read 172 books from Atlantic Canada in the last six years.

You can check out results of previous years here: 2020, 2019201820172016.

#of Atlantic Canadian books read: 41 (last year, 31)

% of books read from Atlantic Canada: 34% (last year, 39%)

Newfoundland: 7 (last year, 9)

Nova Scotia: 27 (last year, 21)

New Brunswick: 5 (last year, 0) — I no longer have to hang my head in shame over my NB stats!

Prince Edward Island: 2 (last year, 1) — Thanks Jeff Bursey!


(not necessarily published this year, and in no particular order)


%CanLit: 83% (last year, 80%)

Out of 80% CanLit, 41% is from Atlantic Canada (last year, 48%)

I know what you’re thinking, because I’m thinking it myself… Am I really allowed to have 48 favourite books in a year?! Is that fair to everyone else who has honed it down to 10 or 12? Or even 20? Well, the answer is yes! Plus, I love to look at the display of beautiful book covers at the end of each year.

But because I am just as curious as you are which of these books I would choose–if forced–for a top ten list… (in no particular order)

My Top 10 12 Books (Fiction)

My Top Nonfiction (aka a sneaky way to add more books to the list)

  • Where Beauty Survived – review to come!
  • Just Mercy
  • Disorientation – review to come!
  • Senior Management – review to come!
Because I love jellyfish.

Now I want to hear about your best books of 2021!

42 thoughts on “Highlights of 2021

  1. BookerTalk says:

    So many authors I’ve not heard of – dangerous territory to be in when I have so many unread books already!
    You’ve done so well with that Atlantic Canada project. Are you planning to continue it or have a different focus now?

    • Naomi says:

      I just love seeing all the covers grouped together. Sometimes I choose my favourite cover, but I didn’t this year. The Strangers is definitely a contender for that!

  2. Rebecca Foster says:

    A particularly gorgeous set of covers. I think I’ve read precisely one of your picks, Shame on Me. But I have What Strange Paradise out from the library, and a proof copy of Fight Night. (Why don’t you count audio books?!)

    • Naomi says:

      Oh, I do count audiobooks! I just thought maybe it was my new audiobook habit that accounted for my new reading record – and they do make up most of the difference – but even without them, I read more books than usual.

      I hope you love What Strange Paradise and Fight Night as much as I did!

      • Rebecca Foster says:

        Oh, I see! It’s great that they’ve helped you add in extra reading time. Do you have a (partially) empty nest now? I wonder if that could account for part of it too.

        Everything I’ve read about Fight Night is tempting.

      • Naomi says:

        Oh, you’re right! My partially empty nest might have had something to do with it. I hadn’t thought of that, because right now my son is home again.

  3. wadholloway says:

    I remember 2021. So long ago! You and Marcie got me to read Butter Honey Pig Bread, which was great, and this year – well I should read 6 Canadians, starting with Nalo Hopkinson and maybe including a Trickster. Flashing through your pretty covers I see I read What Strange Paradise too (just ok).

    • Naomi says:

      It’s amazing to me that many of us have such different end-of-year book lists depending on where we’re from and what’s available, but they are all equally wonderful – just different. So many good books in the world!

  4. Marcie McCauley says:

    48!? LOL Really? Hahaha Well, why else have your own little corner of the ‘net if you can’t do as you please in a tough corner like this. But does it make the rest of us look mean for paring it down? :shrug: Maybe. Heh There are just so many favourites we share that I can’t even name them all. Which kinda surprises me in a way, cuz this year I read less CanLit than ever, but we still have so many reads in common. You’ve definitely inspired me to read more Atlantic Canadian writers; just knowing about someone else reading in a different direction makes me want to investigate that too, to see what is drawing their attention. It’s been a treat!

    • Naomi says:

      It makes me happy to think that I have inspired someone from the big city of Toronto to read more books from Atlantic Canada. *smiles so broadly that cheeks hurt*
      You, too, have inspired me to read so many books in so many different directions! xo

      I don’t think it makes the rest of you look mean… I think it makes you look decisive (and me, indecisive)! Lol

      • Marcie McCauley says:

        Maybe it’s just natural that, as we read more and more of CanLit, we start to become aware of the gaps. Like your renewed determination to find more books from New Brunswick. When I think about texts we had at school (Who Has Seen the Wind, The Stone Angel) the prairies may have been over-represented heheh…but that’s hardly true in my contemporary reading. To say nothing of how hard it can be to find work by northern writers! Ahem.

  5. Diana @ Thoughts on Papyrus says:

    What an amazing list and there are some very creative covers there! Why Birds Sing is completely new to me, but now I am sure I will enjoy it immensely. I don’t think I ever read a book whose central character is an opera singer (maybe only Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark?), really great stuff.

  6. annelogan17 says:

    Wow awesome job Naomi, you’ve got some books on there that I really want to get to – especially Fight Night by Miriam Toews!

    Re: reading more books this year, I think bookworms like us can’t help ourselves, we need to read, it’s part of our DNA and we will find the time come hell or high water. 🙂

    • Naomi says:

      It’s true! Even when I was little, I used to hide in the coat closet behind all the coats so no one could find me. And when the kids were really little, I hid in the bathroom until they noticed I was missing. 🙂

  7. madamebibilophile says:

    Wishing you continued reading successes in 2022 Naomi! I’m hoping to read more this year. I’ve been reading of course, but nothing like I used to, and so many books I want to get to 🙂

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