The 10 Best Books I Read in 2021

Another year, the same pandemic. Luckily, through the magic of books, I’ve never felt too alone or stricken with wanderlust. I hope the same for you.

Below are the 10 best books I read in 2021 (in no particular order, I love them all for various reasons but will try to keep my reasoning short and sweet).

1.“House of Sticks” by Ly Tran

This was THE book in 2020 I was looking forward to most in 2021. It’s a spectacular, harrowing debut by simply the nicest & kindest of authors.

2. “Bewilderment” by Richard Powers

I fell in love with “The Overstory” in 2020. Still, to this day, when I see a tree, I think of all the ways it communicates with its peers. “Bewilderment” is a planet-hopping novel based in the current day that captures the beauty of neuro-diversity and the fragility of the planet we call home.

3. “Detransition, Baby” by Torrey Peters

This novel is a little bogged down in detail, but the story is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Peters carefully and thoughtfully highlights the struggles facing the trans community including partner violence, suicide, financial inequity, addiction, and access to healthcare.

4. “Beautiful Country” by Qian Julie Wang

The Chinese refer to America as MeiGuo, or Beautiful Country. Qian Julie’s debut memoir is a tribute to all undocumented immigrants & the city where she grew up, New York City.

5. “Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir

I don’t like sci-fi novels, but I loved this novel. “Project Hail Mary” finds the right mix of high school level physics and chemistry & marries it with an unlikely friendship between a “leaky space blob” and a “scary space monster.”

6. “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro

Ishiguro is one of my favorite authors of all time. His latest novel will make you question what it means to be human in the face of technological advancement. You’ll also fall in love with a robot named Klara.

7. “The Prophets” by Robert Jones Jr.

“The Prophets” will join your shelf next to Morrison, Coates, and Baldwin. At its heart, “The Prophets” is a love story between two enslaved Black men, Samuel and Isiah. This book is a lot to digest, but it’s art.

8. “Once There Were Wolves” by Charlotte McConaghy

Get your bags, we’re traveling to Scotland’s majestic highlands for this spellbinding thriller. Think “Crawdads” meets wolves.

9. “The Sweetness of Water” by Nathan Harris

“Sweetness” is a “monument to loss.” There are enough plots and subplots to keep you completely immersed in this novel at all times.

10. “Razorblade Tears” by S.A. Crosby

Get ready to meet two fathers, Buddy Lee and Ike, who set out to learn about the murders of their respective sons but unwittingly end up casting a light on the homophobia riddled in southern culture. This book is all action, all the time.



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Brian Larson

Brian Larson


All Things Future of Work. Graduate of the Fletcher School at Tufts University