#122: My Best Books of 2021 (and Anticipated 2022 Releases)

This episode is all about books! And it’s the last episode of the year. My next episode will be January 6, 2022. Happy holidays!

As of December 5, I read 51 books this year. I will likely finish book #52 this week, but I probably won’t hit my goal of 60 books in 2021, which is OK. I set a goal just because I have fun tracking my books along the way.

In this week’s episode, I rank my top 10 books of the year — all were published in 2021. I then give you two extras that I loved this year that were published in 2020.

I also mention a few other 2021 books that I haven’t read and that don’t seem like my cup of tea but that you might want to check out. And, I mention a few 2021 books that I really want to read but haven’t gotten to yet.

Then I finish up by listing a few 2022 books that I’m looking forward to.

Listen to the episode to hear my top books of the year in ranked order — what will be my #1?! However, all of the books I mentioned in this episode are in the list below.


Writers & Lovers by Lily King

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

What Could be Saved by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

The Push by Ashley Audrain

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

Matrix by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

The Family Plot by Megan Collins


The Promised Land by Barack Obama

Once I Was You by Maria Hinojosa (memoir)

Know My Name by Chanel Miller (memoir)

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung (memoir)

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch (memoir)

Four-Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain

The Premonition by Michael Lewis

The Big Short by Michael Lewis

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire by Lizzie Johnson

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (memoir)

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith

2022 Books I’m Anticipating:

Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades (publishes January 4)

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham (publishes January 11)

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson (publishes March 15)

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James (publishes March 15)


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Episode #104 of Deliberate Freelancer: Best Books of 2021 So Far—and New Releases This Fall

Episode #87 of Deliberate Freelancer: My Most Anticipated 2021 Books (and Fave 2020 Books)

Episode #69 of Deliberate Freelancer: 9 Nonfiction Books that Improved My Freelance Business

Episode #17 of Deliberate Freelancer: My Favorite Books of the Year So Far (2019)

American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) fall membership drive. Use the code: 2021FALLDRIVE

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