My Favorite Books of 2021

One Christmas my parents gave me a reading lamp that I could attach to my books so I could continue reading late into the night. Just thinking of that little blue lamp gives me happy, cozy feelings.

I have been thrilled this year to rediscover my love of reading (and listening) with audiobooks from the Libby app and books on my Kindle. I keep a running list of all the books I read, and when I finish reading them, I give them either no rating, one thumbs up, two thumbs up, or three thumbs up. Here’s my list of books that got either two or three thumbs up in 2021.

My Top 3 Books

I reserve triple-thumbs-up to a very select few books. They have to be books that make me think. Books that make me pause and reconsider a few things. They must move my heart.

How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith

As I read this book I said to myself, “I will read this book with my teenagers someday.” Clint is a powerful storyteller. He is not re-hashing the well-known stories of American enslavement, but rather, helps the readers experience significant places that bear the hallmarks of slavery. He takes you to plantations, museums, prisons, and sea ports. I felt like I was actually there.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, I think Clint’s style of writing helped clarify for me more than any other book I’ve read (and I’ve been reading a lot about this topic) the necessity of getting curious and digging deeper about inequities we see around us each day. You don’t have to reach the same conclusions as he does to appreciate this book. I think that every high school student in America should read this.

All Things New by Fiona and Terryl Givens

Aside from the fact that it’s narrated by Fiona who has the most delightful, classy, and crisp British accent, this book turns around all of your thoughts about early Christianity and the traditions of why some people have believed in a God who delights in punishment. They delve into the history of the scriptures and the meaning of the words. Though written specifically for Latter-Day-Saint audiences, I believe many Christians would gain a lot from this book. We are looking to Christ to come and help make “all things new,” including us and our understanding of our relationship to the divine.

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Why did it take me this long to read this book? It is a masterpiece. Brene in her typical curious and courageous style walks you through the behaviors we all experience as humans and helps you see that we all need to lean deeper into our truer, more authentic selves. Her wholehearted inventory is a self-evaluation tool that I’m planning on using for years to come.

Are you looking for more ways to love your life, and enjoy growing intellectually? I have a special spot in my life planner for setting intellectual goals each month. I think you’ll love it as much as I love it! Consider making the investment in your life by being a little more intentional with your life. This planner is a great way to start the new year off right!


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