Favorite Backlist Books 2021

My backlist books challenge for 2021 is coming to end and I wanted to wrap up the challenge by sharing my favorite backlist books for the year.

Stack of favorite books of 2021

I read some great books this year. It was hard to narrow it down. When I look back over my list of books read I realized that I read far more fiction this year than I normally do. But I don’t think I am the only one that had a very different reading year this year.

Much of 2021 just felt off and that is reflected in my reading life. Overall though it was a great year for reading.

I learned a lot about my reading life by doing this backlist books challenge and I am so glad that I did it.

Favorite Backlist Books 2021

The Kitchen House book cover

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

This book was published in 2010 and has been talked about so much over the years. That is the reason I put off reading it. My backlist books challenge helped me finally pick it up to read. I am so glad I read this one.

The Kitchen House covers tough topics. It is not a light read. It is about life on a plantation in the south during the 1800s. This book made my top books of the year list because I can’t stop thinking about it. I read it in January and I am still talking about this one.

Murder On the Orient Express book review

Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Published in 1934 this is definitely a backlist book. My backlist books challenge got me to finally read an Agatha Christie book and I ended up reading several of them. I love mysteries so I can’t believe that it has taken me so long to read such a classic author.

I had trouble deciding what one was my favorite, but since this is the book that started my love of Agatha Christie I knew it was the one to include on my favorites list. If you have never read Agatha Christie this is a good one to start with.

Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

I loved this story. It is set in the Pacific Northwest which is an area I am very familiar with. However, I did not know a lot about the Japanese internment camps in the U.S. during WWII. If you love WWII historical fiction, I highly recommend this one.

Syria's Secret Library

Syria’s Secret Library by Mike Thomson

Syria’s Secret Library is a nonfiction book published in 2019 so it is a newer backlist book. This is another book that I can’t stop thinking about. I knew very little about Syria over the last twenty years besides what you hear about in news headlines.

This book shares the story of not only war but a love for books and learning and the sacrifices people will make for it. If you love nonfiction books that share little known stories this is a great one.

The Death of the Expertise book review

The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols

I debated on whether or not to include this on my favorites list, but this is another book that I can’t stop thinking and talking about.

This nonfiction book was published in 2017, but it could easily have been published in 2020 or 2021. I told my husband that this should be a must read for high school and college students.

The internet has totally changed what we consider experts, and it hasn’t always changed it for good. The author is a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and he does a great job with this subject.

When Books Went To War

When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning

This nonfiction book published in 2014 shares the story of books during WWII. This is another book that shares a story that I knew nothing about.

Did you know that the U.S. provided millions of books to soldiers during WWII? I didn’t. Since I love books about books and books about WWII this is one that I loved. The book proves that books really do change lives.

More Things On Heaven and Earth

More Things In Heaven and Earth by Jeff High

I am not sure where I heard about this one, but I loved this fiction story. This book reminds me of the Mitford series.

It follows a doctor as he begins his career in a small rural town. It is the story of the doctor and the town he learns to love. After reading this one I read book two in the series and hope to read the next two books soon.

Midnight In Chernobyl book

Midnight In Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

I started this book right before vacation and was so fascinated by the story that I couldn’t put it down. I ended up taking the book on vacation and as soon as I finished it I handed it to my husband and said he had to read it.

If you remember the news headlines about Chernobyl, but never knew much else about it, this is a good read. It is a tough read about a difficult event in history, but this book is so well written. This one is great for anyone, but it would make a great book for anyone who loves science.

Black Death at the Golden Gate book

Black Death at the Golden Gate by David K. Randall

Yes, I am the person that will read about a plague during a pandemic. And not only did I read a book about a plague it made my list of favorites for the year.

This book was a reminder that not much has changed. I have heard people say that a pandemic has never been politicized until 2020 and 2021. Those people don’t know their history. I wish everyone that thinks 2020 and 2021 were unique would read books like this. Nothing has really changed.

Black Death at the Golden Gate was a well-written well-researched read. I will say that I felt like the end was hurried a bit, but besides that, it was a very interesting read.

The Spy and The Traitor

The Spy and the Traitor by Ben MacIntyre

If you love narrative nonfiction I think you will love this one. It is about spies, the CIA, MI6, the KGB, Russia, the U.S., and Britain, during the Cold War. Once I started this book I could not put it down. It is a true story that reads like fiction. Fascinating and well-written.

What was your favorite read for 2021?

2 thoughts on “Favorite Backlist Books 2021”

  1. I love your list – I haven’t heard of most of these but will definitely be adding a couple to my own TBR. The series on the rural doctor and the book about the Syrian doctor both sound up my alley.

    Since you are reading more fiction, I would recommend Remarkable Creatures about the first female fossil hunters. Very interesting!!

    • I have not heard of Remarkable Creatures so thank you for the suggestion. I just looked it up and it does sound interesting. Have you read any other books by the author? I have heard that her book Girl with a Pearl Earring is good, but have not read it. Have you?


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