It’s that time of year again. The time when everyone is wrapping up the year by posting a bunch of recaps and ‘top ten’ lists. And I’m joining in! For this post, I’ll be looking only at books that I watched for the first time in 2021. I’m excited to share this list with you (and figure it out for myself), so let’s get right into it!
MY TOP TEN FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2021
(This list is numbered, but the rankings are very subjective besides the #1 spot.)
1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – 2021 certainly was my Year of Tolkien, and I actually read LOTR twice this year. What a truly magnificent book. The world of Middle-earth, its many characters, and the gripping battle between good and evil are all on full display in Tolkien’s masterpiece. Deciding on my top favorite book of 2021 was easy: it had to be The Lord of the Rings.
2. Seventh City by Emily Hayse – While my focus during much of 2021 was on Tolkien, I discovered another favorite author during the last few months of the year. Emily Hayse has a talent for creating characters that I love and adore and connect with in a pretty intense way. Seventh City is a tale of adventure, friendship, and danger–and I highly recommend its companion anthology The Rivers Lead Home.
3. These War-Torn Hands by Emily Hayse – It took Seventh City to get me to read the Knights of Tin and Lead books, but I’m hooked now. Hayse has created a vivid, breathtakingly fierce land that is based on the American Old West. Her descriptive worldbuilding has been praised by many (and for good reason), but it is the characters in this series who keep me coming back for more.
4. The Beautiful Ones by Emily Hayse – The sequel to These War-Torn Hands, The Beautiful Ones ups the stakes, introduces a few new characters (LOVE ‘EM), and gives us further reasons to root for the returning cast. I am VERY eagerly anticipating the third and final book of the series, In the Glorious Fields.
5. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien – Still proud of myself for reading this in its entirety. I know that it is not a ‘proper’ book written by Tolkien, but rather a collection of various manuscripts and snippets, all compiled by his son Christopher. But the book still flows smoothly and there is a greatness to it that can’t be denied.
6. On the Shoulders of Hobbits by Louis A. Markos – Rich, well-written, entertaining, and deep. I was surprised by how much meat there was to this book. So often, modern devotionals (especially those based on popular culture) can be somewhat surface-level. But this book was not! Markos drew from both LOTR and Narnia to help guide Christians as they journey through life.
7. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – Middle grade Middle-earth for the win! Besides the fact that The Hobbit is a good, simple, engaging adventure story, it’s also neat to see characters like Elrond and Gandalf in a somewhat lighter setting. A charming, heartwarming book filled with dry British wit and starring ‘the bravest little hobbit of them all’.
8. Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss – So encouraging/convicting!
9. The Goblin and the Dancer by Allison Tebo – I always enjoy Allison’s books (and her friendship!), but The Goblin and the Dancer was truly something special. From its themes of forgiveness, acceptance, and light in the darkness to the ‘dynamic trio’ of Grik, Rosanna, and Paul…I loved it all! Another book of Allison’s that I read and enjoyed this year was Poppy’s Peril. (It juuuust missed the top ten.)
10. Yours is the Night by Amanda Dykes – Am I surprised that a mainstream historical Christian fiction book made its way onto this list? Yep. Do I doubt the decision? Nope. Months after reading Yours in the Night, I am still thinking about it, still finding myself moved by the memory of the story, still halfway in love with Matthew Petticrew. *sniffles* Soooo good.
Well, there you have it! My top ten favorite books of 2021. What about you? What were some of the best books you read this year? Let me know in the comments!