Welcome to the Cup of Tea’s Best Books of the Year, where I list the best of the best books I read this year.
And we’ve come to the last but certain not least of the genres, fiction, poetry and nonfiction. The fiction, poetry and nonfiction books were powerful, entertaining and thought-provoking, probably the genre defining books I have read in years. I think compelling and inspirational books are a great way to close out 2021. It’s a great way to start with those positive sentiments into the new year. So hear we go, the best fiction, poetry and other nonfiction books of 2021:
Fiction & Poetry
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
I believe that this is one of Rooney’s best. Rooney has the gift of writing about the everyday happenings of people in society, whether it is the mundane or excitement of life. Rooney’s literary style may not be for everyone but she highlights the things that people really think about but don’t know how to express or don’t want to. That is what makes this book truly one of kind.
This delightful book may be small, but it packs an emotional impact tenfold. Back when I read this in February, I already knew that this book would be one of my favorites of 2021. Filled with inspiration, hope and love, this poetry collection is one that readers will return to over and over again.
I Am The Rage by Martina McGowan
Such a powerful and emotional collection of poetry. And the combination of the haunting illustrations make this one poignant and memorable anthology. You can feel and the rage of the writer and that is the whole point. Even if you are not a poetry reader, you should definitely read this book.
Assembly by Natasha Brown
This is perfect for readers who either do enjoy Sally Rooney’s work or don’t! This is another insightful story that takes a deep examination of the everyday life but instead provides a compelling story through the eyes of a British Black woman. I was immediately hooked while I was reading this and found myself underlining insightful lines for me to return to. I can’t wait to read more things from this author.
The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell
The Queen of gothic literature has gifted us with another thrilling and spooky paranormal mystery that will have readers guessing who they can trust and what is really going on. Loved every minute of it!
If God Is A Virus by Seema Yasmin
Based on original reporting from West Africa and the United States, and the poet’s experiences as a doctor and journalist, If God Is A Virus charts the course of the largest and deadliest Ebola epidemic in history, telling the stories of Ebola survivors, outbreak responders, journalists and the virus itself. Documentary poems explore which human lives are valued, how editorial decisions are weighed, what role the aid industrial complex plays in crises, and how medical myths and rumor can travel faster than microbes. (Credit: Haymarket Books)
Tomorrow is Beautiful: Poems To Comfort, Uplift and Delight edited by Sarah Crossan
Sarah Crossan has done it again by creating an amazing anthology of amazing poetry (including some of her own) that are full with heart and inspiration, something we definitely we need in the times that we live in now. This is definitely a collection that I will return to over and over, which I believe is the entire point of this collection.
To Star The Dark by Doireann Ní Ghríofa
Do our passions control us or us them? These poems find themselves asking such questions in hospitals, in cellars, in Parisian parks and American laundromats, inside our screens and beyond them. Poems of blood and birdsong, of rain and desire, of aftermath and ambivalence, each spoken by a voice, which – like the starlings – sings, at once, both past and present. (Credit: Dedalus Press)
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church. (Credit: Grove Press)
What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship To Coalition by Emma Dabiri
This was an insightful and well-researched nonfiction book on how white people can really provide allyship for minorities and conduct a true coalition that goes beyond the neoliberal agenda and focuses on how to really change the platform and the agenda to make it more coherent and workable. I found myself underlining and nodding at all the important and poignant statements Dabiri was making. The part of the note that I found to be relevant was that she didn’t want this book to be just another part of anti-racism literature or part of “diversifying your feed. “Allyship is more than just creating the booklists but actually putting in the work and Dabiri highlights that fact so well. This is a book that everyone definitely needs to read.
The Comfort Book by Matt Haig
Matt Haig has the gift to write inspirational and poignant words that will stay with you always and “The Comfort Book” is no different. In this quick read, you will find the perfect sentences and soothing mantras to get through not only the day but most importantly through life.
Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates
Laura Bates has written another powerful book, this time an expose about a terrorist movement that no one talks about. You will be upset, you will be horrified, you will be in rage…but that is the entire point of this powerful and eye opening read.
Starry Night, Blurry Dreams by Henn Kim
From popular South Korean illustrator Henn Kim comes a moving collection of graphic poetry about loneliness, love, and the surreality of everyday life. When words aren’t enough to describe our emotions, this book offers comfort, joy, and a friend in the dark. In her spare yet powerful style, Kim navigates subjects like mental health, trauma, loneliness, and loss. Pairing exquisite, black-and-white illustrations with short, surprising captions, each page of Starry Night, Blurry Dreams inspires wonder and introspection. (Credit: Bloomsbury Publishing)
Your Guide To Not Getting Murdered In A Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson and Jay Cooper
Fans of the mystery genre will appreciate this humorous and helpful travel guide for the Mystery Lover who finds themselves in that English Village. Full of genre tropes, no mystery fan wants to leave home without this guide!