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Ranking the Books I Read This Year + Reading Goals Update | Book Explorer Vol. 9

Welcome to the coziest, book-iest time of the year! Well it should be, I have my windows open to a breezy 60 degree December day today. I always love to cozy up with books in the fall and winter. The world slows down, and there’s no better way to warm up after a long day other than homemade soup, a warm blanket, and a good book! After a long, weird, busy year I didn’t get a chance to read as much as I would’ve liked. Despite that, I read some really amazing books this year.

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Currently Reading

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Ranking the Books I Read in 2021

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

2 / 5 Stars
Described as “A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.” Accurate, and I really wish I could forget it. This book is many many unending pages of exposition in search of a plot. The actual plot is about 4 chapters long, at the very end of the book, and it’s not even that good. Definitely give this one a pass. 

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

3 / 5 Stars
I wanted to like it more. I really really did. But it just didn’t really live up to my expectations. And the formatting, I both liked it and hated it simultaneously. I liked Bea, the female lead, but just could not stand anyone else in the book. If you’re a big Bach Nation fan, you’ll definitely like this one more than me. My only other thought, if they make this into a movie, we definitely need to cast Sean Taylor from The Circle, total dream lead!

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

4 / 5 Stars
It’s a classic, fun, cute, uber predictable, paperback, beach read. It’s literally exactly what it says on the cover. And honestly? I love this book for that. It’s a good time, a quick read, and a fun summer essential read.

Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing by Allison Winn Scott

5 / 5 Stars
While I rated it 5 stars, it’s definitely not a top pick for me. This book is definitely a super fun read, a female forward plot, and for those who enjoy politics, it’s got just the right twist too. Another really fun read, no real thinking needed for it.

Circe by Madeline Miller

4 / 5 Stars
I grabbed Circe on a whim after seeing a ton of rave reviews from people who had gotten it from Book of the Month. I’m not sure what I expected from it, I went in with minimal knowledge, and I really liked it. I was surprised how much I liked it, it hits the sweet spot between the Percy Jackson books I grew up with and The Odyssey, which bored me to tears. It was a wholly feminist and feminine perspective. A long read, but a good one if you’re looking to take on a novel.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

4 / 5 Stars
In my review, I described this book as having the same feeling as sitting down with a bottle of wine and getting deep. It was real, it was warm, it was honest, and it was just a really good book! On Goodreads, the book is described as “exquisitely written and emotionally searing,” and there’s no better way to describe it.

Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

5 / 5 Stars
Vanishing Half covers three generations of women from very different perspectives. I enjoyed how Brit Bennett treated each character with the respect they deserved, really balancing all the very different voices. It’s an enjoyable, timely, historical, and feminist book. I’d call it a 2022 essential if you haven’t gotten to it yet!

Becoming by Michelle Obama

5 / 5 Stars
My number one book of the year. Hands down. I laughed. I cried. I had moments where I genuinely swelled with pride. I had moments where I just wanted to stop and genuinely give Michelle a hug. And more than anything, as a woman who prioritizes her career over the 2.5 kids/dog/picket fence by 28 dream, it was really inspiring and reaffirmed to learn more about the life of another woman who prioritized her career

Up Next

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Facebook Group Read)
Business Minded by Carly Riordan
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Friends and Strangers by Courtney Sullivan
Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe

Reading Goals Check-in

In 2020, I read 75% female authors, 8% authors of color, and 16% non-American authors, one male and one female. Back in January, I set my goal to read 40% or less by white authors and 30% or more by women of color. I also wanted to read a minimum of 15 books this year.

In 2021, I read 9 books. 33% of the books I read were from specifically women of color, which means I did achieve that goal, hey, win! On the other hand, I wanted 40% or less by white authors, 66% of the books I read were from white authors. Not so hot on that goal, but I’m glad to have made some progress over last year. And, an added bonus, I read all-female authors!

I want to keep moving towards those goals next year, more authors of color, more women of color, and staying primarily female overall. 

And how did your 2021 reading goals go? What do you have up for 2022?

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Keep up with what I’m reading on a daily basis, follow me on Goodreads! Looking for more non-book-related content? Follow my main Instagram, MoiraTheExplorer, join the Affordable Living Facebook group, join the newsletter to stay in the know with new blogs, insider info, and bonus content!

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