After consulting my reading diary I can see that I read fewer books in 2021 that any other since 2009. 62. Available slots to slope away with a book in late afternoon, first thing in the morning, or after dinner were most often swamped with work.
I had a dry start too; two months of reading books that I admired while feeling disengaged from them. Rereading a few old favourites unlocked my receptivity. Since then I've read a lot of transporting stories, engaging ideas and some great writing. So my picks across various fields and streams are stacked below.
On trends, I read more science fiction than usual, seeking stories that "interface" with horror and a confrontation of the inexplicable. I read Annihilation when the film was released (since watched it several times) but finished the super trilogy this year. I know how difficult it is to develop a screenplay and completing the trilogy made me realise what a good adaptation the film is.
I didn't read any non-fiction history, which is unusual for me. And I returned to a couple of literary fiction authors who used to make me want to write, a long time ago. They still do.
To my taste, Stefan Spjut and Martin MacInnes were my biggest discoveries this year; each found on the same day, in the same vast and empty bookshop (Waterstones Piccadilly) while browsing, two days after the UK reopened. I'm already looking forward to rereading them too.
All of these come highly recommended.

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