Maggie Shipstead$28.95 $26.92
4.75 / 5 stars. Wow, this book. I’m not sure what I expected, but Great Circle was incredible to read. Shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize, this is one of those critically-acclaimed books that is actually readable. It’s a monster of a book, connecting the dots between intrepid Marian Graves as she falls in love with flight and – a century later – filmstar Hadley Baxter who is cast to play Marion in a film that centres on her disappearance in Antarctica.
Taylor Jenkins Reid$28.00 $16.99
4.25 / 5 stars. Just like Taylor Jenkins Reid’s earlier novel, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I enjoyed Malibu Rising a whole lot more than I expected from the airport-read cover and title. Four surfing siblings grapple with their famous father’s place (or lack of) in their family as the hours count down to eldest sibling Nina’s famous annual party. As the clock ticks, everything might just blow up. I finished this book and wished I could stay with the characters as they step into their new place in the world.
Richard Powers$27.95 $25.99
4.00 / 5.00 stars. Richard Powers’ latest novel is a beautiful yet frightening ode to nature, science, and our human minds. Bewilderment didn’t quite have the same magic for me as The Overstory, but I wonder if this was simply because I thought The Overstory was so incredibly good (you can find my thoughts on it later in this list under Favourite Fiction From Previous Years).
Helen Hoang$16.00 $14.88
4 / 5 stars. 2021 was the year I started to shower my praises on Helen Hoang for portraying women with autism so wonderfully. When she was writing her first book, The Kiss Quotient, Helen Hoang had recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. So as she tried to make sure of her own diagnosis, she folded her experiences into the story of Stella, a young and ambitious woman on the autism spectrum grappling not just with her love life, but who she really is. Hoang’s third novel, The Heart Principle, continues with more fascinating autistic characters – and as with her previous two books, a whole lot of sex.
Oliver Burkeman$28.00 $26.04
4.5 / 5 stars. I often find myself reading books in the philosophy-turned-self-help vein, and I’d be the first to admit I don’t always finish them. But Four Thousand Weeks was one of the most compelling books I’ve read this year. It’s a refreshing take on how to make the most of our time here on earth – and a poignant reminder that we desperately need to get back to the true definition of “time management”.
Michael Easter$28.00 $26.04
4.5 / 5 stars. Comfort is great, right? Not exactly, says Michael Easter in The Comfort Crisis – another non-fiction read that I raced through this year. Here, the author asks if our happiest and healthiest self is really rooted in embracing discomfort – in challenging ourselves, not hiding away from the weather, and pushing our physical limits.
Claire Cock-Starkey and Aitch$22.99 $21.38
4.5 / 5 stars. Did you know that people used to believe that rabbits’ ears would twitch in the direction of a thunderstorm? Lore of the Wild is a stunning celebration of the wonder of nature and passed-down wisdom from around the world. The illustrations are simply magical.