Page by Paige: 2021 Favorite Books


Last updated 1/27/2022 at Noon

As a community librarian, I read everything and usually have five or more books – from mystery, historical fiction, literary or realistic fiction, a biography, to poetry books – in my pile. When someone asks, “What is your favorite book?” I most likely answer, “Today?”

So, if you asked me today, I would answer that my four favorite books for writing style and storyline are “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois” by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, “Edge Case” by

YZ Chin, “Sorrow and

Bliss” by Meg Mason, and “Ghost Forest ” by Pik-Shuen Fung.

But if you asked me yesterday, I would have said, “Circle Under Berry ” by Carter Higgins. (I have a feeling the kindergartners at Sisters Elementary School would agree.)

Last week, after talking with the Sisters Library Book Club, I mentioned my favorite book was “Bibliophile: Diverse Spines” by Jamise Harper and Jane Mount. It’s amazing!

Since my favorites change every day, I love pulling together my annual list. This year my reading style was similar to last year, with a side of an incredible selection of essay collections and short stories, including “These Precious Days” by Ann Patchett, “The Souvenir Museum” by Elizabeth McCracken, “Pop Song: Adventures in Art and Intimacy” by Larissa Pham and “On Animals” by Susan Orlean. Favorite poetry books: “Wild” by Ben Okri, “The Renunciations” by Donika Kelly, and “Winter Recipes from

the Collective” by Louise Glück.

As library book club members know, I’m always drawn to books that take place in New York City. It might be that I miss living there but, overall, it’s the amazing history and stories created by new and favorite authors, including “Oh William!” by Elizabeth Strout and “The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris.

Memorable memoirs: “Crying in H Mart: A Memoir” by Michelle Zauner, “Poet Warrior: A Memoir” by Joy Harjo, “Beautiful Country: A Memoir” by Qian Julie Wang, “Aftershocks” by Nadia Owusu, and “My Broken Language” by Quiara Alegría Hudes. Two more favorites perfect for your nonfiction book club: “How The Word is Passed” by Clint Smith and “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619 - 2019” edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N.


While I love soundtracks created or matched up with a book, I also love books that include stories about music (both fiction and nonfiction). This year’s favorites include, “The Final Revival of Opal and Nev” by Dawnie Walton, “Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George” by James Lapine, “Mary Jane” by Jessica Anya Blau, and “Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

So many Friday night mystery reads! Top 4: “When the Stars Go Dark” by Paula McLain, “All Her Little Secrets” by Wanda M. Morris, “Such a Quiet Place” by Megan Miranda and “Who Is Maud Dixon?” by Alexandra Andrews.

Have you ever added a book to your TBR pile but then heard the author speak and wanted to read it that day — or minute? That’s how I felt after hearing (virtually) an amazing selection of authors, including “How Beautiful We Were” by Imbolo Mbue, “Matrix” by Lauren Groff, “Swimming Back to Trout River” by Linda Rui Feng, “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles, and “The Five Wounds” by Kirstin Valdez Quade.

A lot of the authors were at the Portland Book Festival — again virtually. I was inspired and loved hearing their stories and experiences about writing their new books and how important libraries were to them. So many of the authors were past Novel Idea and Author! Author! literary event authors, including “Five Tuesdays in Winter” by Lily King, “The Book of Form and Emptiness” by Ruth Ozeki, and “Harlem Shuffle” by Colson Whitehead.

A quiet Sunday might be filled with a biography or a romance. Bonus: if I’m reading somewhere outside, favorites include “The Rehearsals” by Annette Christie, “While We Were Dating” by Jasmine Guillory, “Eight Perfect Hours” by Lia Louis, and “The Summer Job” by Lizzy Dent. At the beginning of 2021, I discovered my first favorite read of the year: “This Close to Okay” by Leesa Cross-Smith. Last week, I discovered my end-of-the-year favorite book: “Afterparties Stories” by Anthony Veasna So.

Now on to my next literary reading journey for 2022. Are you ready to discover a debut author or read a new book from a favorite author? Visit the library for more great reads! For new 2022 book recommendations, fill out the Your Next Book form at or email me at [email protected]


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