I shared my reads of 2020 here on my blog, but this year, I decided to share them as I go. So as you read on, you will find a list of my reads and just my brief thoughts on each book. Why am I sharing this? Because I am inspired by other peoples book lists, but also, I find when I share what I read, I often get recommendations from those of you who read my blog. Which for me, is wonderful! Remember, these are just my views, just because I really loved a book, or really didn’t, doesn’t mean you will feel the same. Read the ones I don’t even enjoy, you might be surprised. Feel free to use the comments section to let me know what you think, or maybe share your recommendations.
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Last updated April 2021.
I entered 2021 reading Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Starting a new year, I had a famous quote on my mind “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” So it is with 2021; a whole new year with no mistakes in it yet! I know some think I am “sweet” to read the Green Gables series at the age of 38, but I challenge you to pick one up. They make such a refreshing change to so many of the best seller novels out there. This world really is a wonderful place, we just have to open our eyes and our hearts.
The Four Swans by Winston Graham. There are 12 Poldark novels, and I must admit I am nibbling my way through them these last years; for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t want them to ever end. Secondly, I start thinking in Cornish, dreaming of Cornwall and how we should relocate to the Cornish seaside. Romance, drama, politics, comedy; it’s all in there. Graham has a way of writing that transports you to the Poldark world, you feel like you know the characters personally. I can almost feel that bracing wind blowing off the sea and up along the cliffs.
The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith. Mma Ramotswe makes me want to sit in the sun and sip tea and enjoy the simplicities of life. These definitely fall into the easy to read category, and sometimes that is just what I need! This particular one involves Mma Ramotswe & Mma Makutsi setting off on a trip to the Delta, with some new shoes, and leaving behind a drama with Phuti Radiphuti, the fiance of Mma Makutsi. All the usual antics!
Arabella by Georgette Heyer. A friend lent me her copy of this hilarious novel. I really did laugh out loud at times. First published in 1949, and I must admit there were quite a few words that left me reaching for the dictionary. Daughter of a poor clergymen attends her first London season in search of a husband, a wealthy one so as not to let the family down you see. Laugh a minute!
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This book had me laughing and almost in tears with heartache. Such life lessons about needing to put our hope and security in Jesus, and such a reminder of Mark 12:31 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” This was not a Christian book, but the whole way through it had me thinking of how we are called to live; with our identity fulfilled in Jesus, and to love one another, with the love of Jesus.
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. If you read the Tattooist of Auschwitz, then I think you will really enjoy this. Absolutely heartbreaking that people lived through these atrocities. These stories always make me take a long look at my own life; my grumbles and my complete lack of perspective at times. Cilka was the friend of Lale & Gita in The Tattooist of Auschwitz. An incredible story depicting the strength and lengths people went to survive.
The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen. My mother recommended this book to me, and apparently there is a great tv series, but we don’t have TV. I must say it sounds a series worth watching! Amanda writes about her journey and her life with such honesty and openness. Her memoirs had me laughing my head off, gritting my teeth, clenching my toes and dreaming of the British countryside. She grew up in the city, became a shepherdess, married a farmer and had 9 kids. Just read the book!
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. I am totally perplexed as to how this book has such good ratings. I got almost half way and had to ditch it. It is poles apart from The Nightingale. I can only describe this book and it’s characters as absolutely childish. I rolled my eyes on nearly every page. I love a light read, but this was pushing things for me.
Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior. This was hilarious and in a way it reminded me, in style, to A Man Called Ove. Grumpy, lost and heartbroken old lady finds happiness through crazy antics. Another reminder that this life here on earth is pointless without our eyes fixed on Jesus. We have choices to make; how we use our words, to build up or break down, both ourselves and those around us.
Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. Pretty much the whole way through this book I kept thinking “But I do that”, “That is EXACTLY how I feel”. This book went down like a cold G&T on a hot Zambian Saturday afternoon … delicious and soothing with a sigh of contentment. If you love food, simple living and meaningful conversations at your table, this is a book you should read.
Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce. This is the same author as The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and also of Perfect. All her books seem to be about out-the-box characters who feature along varied stages of the crazy scale! This book was about loneliness, lost love, post traumatic stress, heartache, fear, lost identity and opening yourself up to be vulnerable to allow unlikely friendships to form; to allow your self to love, and be loved. I was so sad this ended. I fell in love with these characters.
Knowing God by JI Packer and Beatrix Potter: A life in Nature by Linda Lear
On the bedside table:
Oswald Chambers Abandoned to God by David McCasland & Oswald Chambers, Be the Gift by Ann Voskamp, The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer
Still on my reading list:
- To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee (I know, I know)
- The Lifegiving Table by Sally Clarkson
- The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
- The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien (yes, another classic I have never read, or watched)
- Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
- The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
- Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
- and and and ….