The year 2021 has been a weird one in many ways. As my work life has changed drastically, so has my home and relaxation time. Before COVID took a grip on us all, my day involved a 3-4 hour commute every day. Whilst this took a toll on my soul, not to mention my lower back, it wasn’t all bad. One positive was that, after moving on from podcasts, I spent all of this time tearing through a lot of audiobooks. Without this commute, however, my audiobook consumption has taken quite a hit. I’ve started getting a lot more real books through Apple Books, my app of choice. This has, unfortunately, also been quite slow going. When working from home I rarely take a lunch break in the traditional sense, so I can’t really read during the day either, and I have some kind of crazy condition that if I try to read in bed I will instantly pass out after the second sentence.
That all being said, I have got through a few very enjoyable, and some not so enjoyable, books and audiobooks. I wanted to start a short series to close off the year, a brief review of some of the things I’ve consumed this year, starting with my books.
According to Apple Books I’ve completed 29 books so far, with 2 more on the go. The yearly view Apple Books gives you isn’t ideal, but you can see this below:
If you can see some of the blurry pictures, you’ll see the count is a bit skewed by some of the books I’ve been reading with my daughter, so I’ll call out the actual books I’ve read, alongside my rating.
- Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline - ⭐️⭐️
- Red Dwarf by Grant Naylor - Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Red Dwarf by Grant Naylor - Better Than Life - ⭐️⭐️
- The Visitor by Lee Child - ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Leviathan Wakes by James A. Corey - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell - ⭐️⭐️
- Salem’s Lot by Stephen King - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King) - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Misery by Stephen King - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch - ⭐️
- Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
- Fear No Evil by James Patterson
I’m not going to go into much detail about the books above, you have Goodreads for that, but I wanted to call out a few of them in particular.
Read of the year - Misery
Even in this year when my book progress has been pretty poor, as you can see I’ve still managed to squeeze in a few from my favourite author Steven King. While I’ve read most of his most books, I’d always put off Misery because, quite frankly, the premise sounded pretty dull. Boy, was I wrong. This was a gripping read (well listen in this instance) from start to finish. I chewed through it in a few days and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Stephen King stories always feel so ‘real’ in many ways and Misery is a great example of this writing. There’s nothing paranormal about the story, just some intense, uncomfortable, and gruesome drama. About 95% of the story is, essentially, set in just one room of a house and it’s incredible how Stephen King’s writing ability keeps this feeling so interesting and engrossing.
The audiobook deserves a special mention here as well. The narrator, Lindsey Crouse, was fantastic and really added a lot to my enjoyment of the story. I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s easily jumped straight into my top ten books in general, not just in Stephen King’s admittedly huge back catalogue.
Disappointment of the year - Ready Player Two
This one didn’t get my lowest score of the year, but Ready Player Two by far the most disappointing read. The first book was very basic, but it still an enjoyable ride. This sequel, on the other hand, was an incredibly dull book. Looking back now, just a few months after finishing it, I couldn’t actually talk you through what happened. Much like the Matrix sequels, this was a totally unneeded follow up. It reads a bit like some (non-sexy) fan fiction based on the original. I don’t like to speak ill of someones hard work, but I was disappointed in how unnecessary and pointless this book felt.
Special mention - Christmas Pig
Whilst I discounted many of the books I read to my daughter, one of them has been kept in as a special mention. Not only was this an actual, physical book that I read without falling asleep, but it was a very enjoyable read. I’m referring to The Christmas Pig, by Harry Potter crater J.K. Rowling. I read this to my 7 year old over a few nights and she absolutely loved it and so did I. It’s a very touching, sometimes slightly emotional story about a boys journey to find vids most you Pig, DP. Yes, I read an entire book which told us, many times, that ‘Jack loves DP’ which I had to avoid laughing at every time. If you don’t know what’s funny about this, I recommend you Google it!
So, that’s not. It’s not been the best year for me and reading, but I got through some interesting reads. For the most part, I’d recommend the majority of the books listed above apart from Tracy Player Two and the, possibly even worse, Moon over Soho.
I’m hoping I can go into 2022 strong and get through even more books so if you have any recommendations for a good read, please let me know!
Thanks for reading and stay safe.