Home » Rearview Mirror » Rearview Mirror // 2021

Rearview Mirror // 2021

Well, here we are, better than a month into 2022, and I’m just now writing my summary for 2021!! It was another weird year, but not a bad one for me personally.  I made some more progress on our neverending house remodeling, did some gardening, learned some new skills, and of course spent a LOT of time reading!!

I completed 275 books (17 fewer than 2020), which ran to 82,465 pages (2647 fewer than last year).  June was, once again, my best month – I read 33 books.  June was my best month in 2020 as well, but I can’t explain why haha  September was my slowest month, with only 16 read, but that at least makes sense because it was one of my busiest months of work!

The burning question is, of course, did my overall TBR go up or down for the year?  First, a few thoughts on each month.  And then – the numbers!

Please note – I’m going to be lazy and not link to any of my reviews throughout this post.  But if you’re interested, you can easily find the book via one of the indexes, or by searching for the title in the search box.



I thoroughly enjoyed my reread of Patricia Wrede’s Sorcery & Cecilia books – they are just so funny and delightful.  My favorite new read for the month was a book I kind of forgot about until just now – Time & Time Again by Ben Elton.  That was such a clever, twisty book!


I finished Patrick McManus’s Bo Tully mystery series.  On the whole, I did enjoy it, but the final title, Circles in the Snow, was my most disappointing read in January.  It was just odd, and lacked some continuity with the earlier books in the series.



My two brilliant rereads for the month were 1984 and Murder on the Orient Express.  Both are absolute masterpieces in their own way.  My favorite new read of the month – and one of my favorite reads for the year – was The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold.  A complicated and layered dystopian tale with engaging characters – it’s one I’ll definitely be rereading at some point.


Ugh, The School for Good and Evil.  I’ve tried to put that one out of my mind, honestly, because it gave me the weirds in a very serious way.



I started rereading the Narnia books – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is just an amazing book throughout.  I love every page.  My favorite new read for the month wasn’t anything particularly brainy, but it was still one of my favorites for the year – The 26th of November by Elizabeth Adams.  This Pride & Prejudice variation was just so fun and clever, with a big dose of humor.  I loved it!


I read Peter Pan for the first time, and wow was it weird and creepy.  Did not like!  I also read a Nora Roberts story that was an unexpected loss – Tonight and Always, which I only gave 2.5*, probably the worst Roberts book I’ve ever read, which, considering I have read a LOT of her books, is saying something.



I reread both Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader, thoroughly enjoying both.  My favorite new read was Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater.  I really enjoyed the entire Raven Boys series way more than I was anticipating, with this one being my favorite of the four.


The middle book of a trilogy is often a low point, and Shoot the Moon was lower than most.  Annoying characters, poor continuity from the first story, and a kind of pointless plotline, I was not a fan of this one.



I reread both The Silver Chair and Carry On, Jeeves – both brilliant in their own way (truly, the Jeeves book is a work of art).  My favorite new read was another top book for 2021 – Project Hail Mary, which I was expecting to like, but was not expecting to absolutely love.  A surprisingly engrossing story, likable characters, a creative plot, and a huge dollop of humor made this book just so much fun to read – and I couldn’t believe how much I loved the way it ended!


I read six books that I rated at 3* – it really was just a month of ambivalent reads!



Like I said, this was my busiest reading month of the year.  I reread The Horse & His Boy and The Magician’s Nephew, both of which I love.  I also read the Pooh books, which were adorable and delightful.  Another TEN books rated 4* from me.  My official top book of the month was actually a nonfiction – The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts.  It was so interesting to read about such a specific World War II aspect, and this book was just really well done.


With that many books, there were bound to also be some lows.  The two that I actively disliked were The Sleeper and the Spindle, which was just weird and creepy, and The Other Typist, which was just boring and pointless.



I finished my reread of Narnia with The Last Battle, which I do love but not as much as the rest of the series.  My favorite new book was The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan, although it wasn’t as strong of a pick as some of my other favorites of the month.


It was another month for ambivalent reads, with ten books ranking either 3 or 3.5*.  The two at the bottom of the list were Jane Austen Made Me Do It and All Through the House.  The Jane Austen one was a collection of short stories and pretty much all of them were terrible and/or pointless.  All Through the House was a short story for the 87th Precinct series that just seemed to go absolutely no where.



My rereads of Persuasion and Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince (my favorite of the series) were my top books for the month, but another nonfiction read garnered the top new-book slot – The Horologicon was just unexpectedly delightful and humorous.


This was kind of a bum month.  I forced myself to finish Leave No Stone Unturned so I could check Kansas off my book destinations list – it really should have been a DNF because it was dreadful.  Sail Away was a “romance” that just got worse and worse the further along it went.  Murder Most Unladylike was supposedly a middle grade read but it was full of murder and age-inappropriate topics, plus the main character was just a rather bullying character.



I had two fabulous rereads – Spindle’s End, which is one of my all-time favorite books, and Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, which I still think is a great conclusion to the series.  I also read the next Swallows & Amazon book, which was an absolute delight – The Picts & the Martyrs.  Finally, I started a new series and couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed the first book – Aurora Rising was creative, engaging, and snarky.  I loved it!!


Actually September was a decent month without a lot of reads I didn’t like.  I gave the most disappointing slot to When You Read This, mainly because it’s billed as a lighthearted romance but is actually pretty serious and somewhat of a downer.



The second book in the Aurora Cycle, Aurora Burning, was just as much fun as the first.


This was a month with some downer reads.  Emily’s Quest got the official pick because it’s by L.M. Montgomery, so the just dreadful story feeling was really compounded by the disappointment of it being written by an author I usually love.  I ranked two other books only 2.5*, though – Dangerous Crossing, which was boring and had a gimmicky twist at the end, and Disclaimer, which was just dumb.



Wodehouse to save the day yet again – Sam in the Suburbs was SO funny.  I don’t remember reading this one before, but I’ll definitely be reading it again.


I went with The Singles Table as my biggest disappointment.  I had really enjoyed the first two books in the series, but this one was uneven and not particularly interesting. It also didn’t really have any of the characters from the first two books, so I felt confused about why it was being billed as part of the series at all.



Hercule Poirot’s Christmas was just a delight of a Christmas mystery.  I also had several 4* Christmas reads – overall December was a solid month.


Obviously Mistletoe at Moonglow got on my nerves the most.  I feel like I should give a shout-out to the unfinished Flora’s Traveling Christmas Shop, because it featured one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever met on the page.

TBR Update!!!

Okay, so I remembered to note my numbers before I changed anything in January so that I could make an honest comparison from what I wrote down in my 2020 Rearview.  I’ve really been working on not adding books to my TBR unless they sound so amazing I don’t think my life would be complete without reading them (HA), so we will see if any of that paid off!!

  • Standalones:  494 – WIN!  Down 21!!!
  • Nonfiction:  130 – LOSE! Up 6!!!
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  639 – WIN! Down 8!!!
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  250 – WIN!  Down 5!!!
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 110 – WIN! Down 8!!!
  • New Arrivals (I just started tracking this in December, so this doesn’t have a comparison for last year – it’s so I can compare it when I wrap up 2021…): 148 – BIG LOSE!!! Up 33!!!

Okay, so apparently I’ve shifted from adding books to my TBR to just straight-up buying them!  Probably not a great trend!!  Still I am net -3 overall, so I am calling this year a overall win!!!

Thank you all so much for stopping by to read my rambling thoughts and opinions.  Here’s to a fabulous year of reading in 2022!!!

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