The Top 57 from the Best Books of 2021 List of Lists

Presenting the 2021 Commonly-Agreed-by-the-People-Who-Publish-Best-of-2021-Book-Lists-Before-December-31 top 57 books.

(This is my annual community service to book-bloggers – a list of the books that appear most frequently on the 45 lists that I listed on Best Books of 2021 – A List of Lists – enjoy!).

Books that made six lists –

Milk Fed by Melissa Broder
Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi
Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen
Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
The Removed by Brandon Hobson
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee
Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz
Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu
Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler
The Five Wounds by Kirstin Quade
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford
The Magician by Colm Toibin
Three Girls From Bronzeville by Dawn Turner

Books that made seven lists –

The Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Ditlevsen
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang
I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins

Books that made eight lists –

Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome
Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby
Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion
Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert
All That She Carried by Tiya Miles
Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

Books that made nine lists –

A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib
The Promise by Damon Galgut
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Oh William by Elizabeth Strout

Books that made ten lists –

Second Place by Rachel Cusk
How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith
Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor

Books that made 11 lists –

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Bewilderment by Richard Powers
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

Books that made 12 – 15 lists –

Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

Books that made 16 or 17 lists –

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Matrix by Lauren Groff
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Books that made 18 or 19 lists –

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe

Books that made 21 lists –

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Books that made 22 lists –

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead


I’ve read four (Shipstead, Rooney, Strout, Reid); have another four in the TBR stack (Keefe, Ishiguro, Franzen, Doerr) and I am busting to read another five (Zauner, Kitamura, Kolbert, Ford, Lockwood). Will I read the ‘winner’? I’m not sure… I already have a backlog of Whitehead!

Do you agree with the critics – will any of these titles make your ‘Best of 2021’ list?

15 responses

  1. Franzen, Lockwood, Rooney for me, there’s a couple more on my TBR list. Also, like stargazer, surprised to see Ishiguro on the list, was disappointed with it. Need to read more Whitehead.

  2. Thanks for your labours! Fascinating info. I only read 2: Klara and Bewilderment. I enjoyed both. I tried Oh William, but abandoned it. The remaining titles don’t feature on my Wish List.

  3. The only one I’ve read is Crying in H-Mart (and as I mentioned in my review, I recommend the audiobook), but I would like to read The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford. Ford has been writing on Twitter for ages, so I was extremely pleased to hear she’d come out with a book to collect the wonderful work she’s done.

  4. I’ve read more than in past years, but still not that many: Crying in the H Mart (which has really got my brain spinning about the role of food in our lives and in our relationships with our mothers, especially); Matrix (set in the 1100s, the author takes an actual female poet and spins here life into a story. The writing is so good.); Cloud Cuckoo Land (wow, wow, wow. Five stories over a thousand years and somehow they all come together.) Hell of a Book (The National Book Award winner poses some important questions about what is expected of famous/quasi famous Black people in terms of their activism for the cause. I am so glad I read it.); Beautiful Country (I’m reading it now. Meh.)

    On my TBR already: Harlem Shuffle; Oh William; The Lincoln Highway; Infinite Country; Bewilderment; Malibu Rising.

    I will probably add: The Sentence — I love Louise Erdrich so much!

    Thanks for creating this list, I look for it every year.

  5. Pingback: Sample Saturday – nonfiction picks | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

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