• Marisa Grimes

My Favorite Reads from 2021

I ended 2021 having read 75 books (and starting and putting down 4 others) and am quite proud of this! I thought I would have read more with maternity leave and breastfeeding, but I also picked up a few new podcasts which I loved - so no regrets :)

1. A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost

I'm a big SNL fan, and I really love the deadpan humor of Colin Jost during the Weekend Update portions. If you like him on screen, or enjoy memoirs written by comedians, I think you'll enjoy this one too. At the very least, it's an easy read as you follow how a funny kid from Staten Island ended up with Scarlett Johansson.

2. Find the Good by Heather Lende

This had been on my "to be read" list for a long time after I saw the book cover in an airport bookstore and was intrigued (where I do my best book shopping!). Heather is a small-town obituary writer in Alaska, but weaves a beautiful story together about her job, learning more about each of the people she writes about, and how we are all bigger than our final days. A friend also read it after me and enjoyed it - so I think you might too!

3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Seven Husbands was the last book of TJR that I hadn't yet read, so naturally I had to add it to my reading list (all of her books have not disappointed!). Evelyn Hugo is a movie star with a lot of secrets. Despite being in the lime light all of the time, things are never what they seem behind the magazine stories and paparazzi photos. I loved the 'reality check' that what People.com says is definitely not the full picture, and this book is presented as Evelyn's telling to a lesser-known journalist at the end of her life.

4. The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

The Book of Two Ways is unlike most Jodi Picoult novels, so if you are expecting something typical of her, this is not the book for you. Jodi digs deep (pun alert!) into Ancient Egypt and the archeological work around excavating tombs, weaving a story of a woman's life before and after Egyptology and her current work as a death doula. Honestly it's hard to explain the plot as it does wind around, but if you like Egypt even a little bit, you won't mind sticking around to see how she weaves it all together. The ending felt like a perfect bow on a winding tale.

5. How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane by Johanna Stein

This came up as a 'book you may like' on Thriftbooks, and for a couple bucks, I added it just for the novelty of the name. In actuality, it made me laugh out loud multiple times, and I passed it on to another mom friend who I thought would enjoy a walk down memory lane (or not-so-distant memory lane). It's definitely targeted for the modern mom overwhelmed with kiddo life, but Johanna makes you laugh every single chapter. It's a fun gift for a friend with children, as each chapter is its own story so you can pick it up and put it down again and again without pressure.

6. The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

I don't know why I didn't read the Henna Artist last year when it was published and received a lot of great press as one of Reese Witherspoon's Book Club picks, but I guess it was well worth the wait as I. LOVED. IT. Immediately after finishing the book and then waxing poetic about it on Instagram, I ran out and got the second book in the trilogy (!) and now am impatiently waiting for the final installment.

7. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

I love following BOTM recommendations (you can join here*!) so whenever I'm home in New York with my mom, I try and read all of the books she's gotten through her monthly boxes! Kristin Hannah doesn't disappoint with her latest book set in the Dust Bowl era about a mom trying to raise her kids and keep them alive and fed on their family farm. In fact, this one was voted "Book of the Year" by the BOTM community - high praise from dedicated readers!

8. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

My grandmother is also a big reader (yes, there's clearly a family theme!) and received this as her Book of the Month pick. She couldn't get into the story, so I went in with low expectations. However, this book about a woman who finds a small apothecary jar while on holiday and wants to learn more about its origins, and jumping back in time to learn about the apothecary and what secrets it held, was right up my alley as I waited for Baby A's arrival. This was also a BOTM runner-up for "2021 Book of the Year" so again, lots of consensus from avid readers that it's great! Also I can't claim that a great cover has anything to do with what's inside the spine, but this does really have a great cover :)

And there you have it - my favorite reads from 2021! Now it's time to consider what my must-read books are in 2022...any suggestions?!

PS: You can also see my favorite reads from 2020 here...yes I did in fact sit on this post for an entire 365+ days and I have no shame!

*If you use this referral code to join BOTM, you'll get your first month for just $10, and my mom will get a free book credit for herself! It's a win-win :)

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