Year's Best Books

Best Books Lists II

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Whether you’re celebrating the shortest (in the northern hemisphere) or the longest (southern hemisphere) day of the year, here’s the final installment of lists rounding up the best books of 2021.

Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Books of 2021

This is the landing page for the Goodreads Choice Awards, chosen by readers, in several categories.

50 Notable African Books of 2021

This page contains links to lists from previous years back to (and including) 2018.


From Time. “The fiction, nonfiction and poetry that shifted our perspectives, uncovered essential truths and encouraged us forward.”

World Literature Today’s 75—Make That 100—Notable Translations of 2021

2021 was a robust year for literary translations.  . . . 2021 was also a robust year for new initiatives. Here at World Literature Today, after ninety-five years of publishing translations, WLT finished the year by publishing its first all-translation issue: all bylined pieces in translation and thirty-nine translation reviews, many of which take a deep dive into translation.

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2021


This is the gateway page to best books lists in dozens of categories from Five Books.

The Best of 2021

Top audiobooks, both fiction and nonfiction, from Audible, the audiobook retailer owned by Amazon.

Best Books of 2021

This is the landing page for Book Riot’s lists by category.

The best books of 2021, chosen by our guest authors

From The Guardian:

From piercing studies of colonialism to powerful domestic sagas, our panel of writers, all of whom had books published this year, share their favourite titles of 2021.

Best of 2021: Our 15 Most Popular Books of the Year

The 15 most popular books from Off the Shelf, a marketing arm of Simon & Schuster.

The 101 Best Book Covers of 2021

As chosen by professional book cover designers, for LitHub.

The Best Reviewed Books of 2021: Memoir and Biography

From LitHub.

28 Best Cookbooks of 2021, According to Home Cooks & Pro Chefs Alike

From Food52.

The 50 Best Books of Literary Journalism of the 21st Century

“From garbage recycling in a Mumbai settlement to shocking murders in France, these are incredible feats of reporting and storytelling.”

Occasionally the end-of-year emphasis on best books lists produces a list of grander scope, like this one from GQ.

The best books of 2021

The Guardian offers lists in the following categories: fiction, children’s books, crime and thrillers, science fiction, biography and memoir, politics, sport, science, poetry, comics and graphic novels, music, and food.

Our 48 Favorite Books of 2021

“The Lit Hub Staff Picks the Best Books of the Year.”

The Best Books We Read in 2021

“The fiction and nonfiction, old and new, that saw us through the year.” From the staff of The New Yorker.

The Best Reviewed Mystery and Crime Books of 2021

Lit Hub analyzes “more than 150 publications” to tabulate “the best reviewed books of the past twelve months.”

PEOPLE Picks the Top 10 Books of 2021

From—you guessed it—People magazine.

The Best Books of 2021

“From radical nuns to gut-wrenching memoir, this year’s books hit us where it hurt.”

Some usual titles, some different ones on this list from Vulture.

 Here Are The Best Books Of 2021

Both fiction and nonfiction lists from BuzzFeed.

Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2021

Times Critics’ Top Books of 2021

“selections by The New York Times’s daily book critics of their favorite titles from the past 12 months.” In two categories: nonfiction, and fiction & poetry.

The 10 most heartwarming books of 2021

Because the mysteries and thrillers I read tend toward the darker (and darkest) side of human experience, I feel compelled to include this list from BookPage featuring books, all released in 2021, that will make “your spirit [feel] full, safe, happy, loving and loved.”

Happy solstice!

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

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