Carol's 2021 Top 12

What is it about year end lists?  I can't help but read those top movies, books, series, photos of the year articles.

I went over my own book list for 2021 and decided to pick out my top 10.  I read 62 books and winnowing it down was not easy.  I got stuck on 12, which actually makes more sense with 12 months in a year.  I think it includes a good variety, too.

They are in alphabetical order, because ranking them was more than I could do!

Staff Pick Badge
Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781982168438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - September 28th, 2021

This is a writing tour de force.  Three fascinating storylines, linked by an ancient text (also created by the author).  A story about stories that will stay with you.

Carol


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The Daughters Of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780358627944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 19th, 2021

A fascinating look at the WWII Yalta conference through the unique perspective of the daughters of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Harriman, who accompanied their fathers.

Carol


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Firekeeper's Daughter Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250766564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - March 16th, 2021

What a powerful story of a young Ojibwe woman living in the UP of Michigan, who becomes involved in an FBI investigation into the source of meth in her community.  This is a young adult book, but I know it will have crossover appeal to adults.

Carol


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Great Circle: A novel Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780525656975
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Knopf - May 4th, 2021

An engrossing saga about a woman in the early 1900s who wants nothing more than to be a female pilot, juxtaposed with a current day story of the actress playing her in a movie.

Carol


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Hamnet Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781984898876
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 18th, 2021

This is excellent historical fiction about Shakespeare's son, grief, and the plague, but I was most drawn to the strong, fascinating character of Hamnet's mother.

Carol


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The House in the Cerulean Sea Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250217318
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - December 29th, 2020

A feel good fantasy story about orphans with magical powers, the adult caregivers who protect them, and the investigator the bureaucracy sends to report on them.  It reminded me of how I felt reading the first Harry Potter book.

Carol


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Leave the World Behind: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062667649
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - November 23rd, 2021

Wow.  First, you're reading a satire of an upper middle class Brooklyn family on vacation, then it becomes something else when a couple knocks on the door of their air bnb in the middle of the night, claiming to be the owners, then it becomes something even more disturbing, and you've read all 241 pages without being able to put it down!

Carol


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The Lincoln Highway: A Novel Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780735222359
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - October 5th, 2021

I think I'd follow Amor Towles anywhere his books want to take me.  This time we start in Nebraska with 3 young men released/escaped from a juvenile work farm, one precocious younger brother, a Studebaker, and a planned trip to California that is highjacked to NYC--the other end of the Lincoln Highway.  A great adventure story that reminds you of how many books find their roots in Homer's Odyssey.

Carol


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The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316592550
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - October 26th, 2021

In 1916, Sven banishes himself to Svalbard to make a new life in the harsh mining towns and the even harsher environment of the Arctic Circle.  It is poignant and often funny, full of memorable characters, witnessing the strength of the human spirit and the heart's need for human connection. 

Carol


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Raft of Stars: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780063031913
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - January 11th, 2022

Another adventure story, this time set in Northern Wisconsin.  Two young boys take off into the woods after one shoots the other's father.  The local sheriff and those who care for the boys take off after them, fearing that they will come to harm. A page-turner full of characters you come to love and cheer for.

Carol 


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The Thursday Murder Club: A Novel (A Thursday Murder Club Mystery #1) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984880987
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 3rd, 2021

What a fun new mystery series!  A group of retirees meets weekly in their retirement village to try to solve cold cases--then they get involved in a murder in their own backyard, matching wits with the unamused local officials.

Carol


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We Begin at the End Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250759665
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - March 2nd, 2021

We Begin at the End is a heartbreaker with unforgettable characters, especially 13 year old Duchess, the self-proclaimed outlaw.  Long after I finished, I kept thinking about all the pieces of the story that were ultimately revealed, as well as the many unintended consequences of actions taken with the best of intentions or those motivated by revenge.  This book will stay with me.

— Carol