2021 Favourites

A few days ago I wrote my year in review for 2021, so I'm following up with a post on my favourite things I've consumed this year - books, films, TV shows, podcasts and recipe books. This is something I've done every year since 2017 (here's 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)

2021 was, unsuprisingly, a big read for books and podcasts and I love looking back on my favourite things of the year. I can't wait to see what I'll read/watch/listen to in 2022!

Favourite Books

I've read 111 books this year - quite a few behind last year's 142 but still the second highest number of books I've ever read in year. I was definitely helped by reading 23 books in January and February alone!

It's been a really good year for books in general! The library started operating again a few hours a week in January which was brilliant - I'd go every week or two, dropping off stacks of books and picking up the half a dozen books I'd reserved. I've also been really fortunate to be approved for dozens of books on NetGalley again this year.

Below I've written up my top 32 books of the year, plus my absolute favourites I read in 2021. If you want to see the full list of books I read in 2021, you can see it on my Goodreads.

Favourite books I read in 2021

  • The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donaghue
  • Some Body to Love by Alexandra Heminsley
  • Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen
  • Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  • People Like Them by Samira Sedira
  • Saltwater by Jessica Andrews
  • Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan*
  • Careless by Kirsty Capes
  • Detransition Baby by Torey Peters*
  • The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
  • I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman
  • Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  • Absorbed by Kylie Whitehead*
  • The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez
  • Come Closer by Sarah Gran*
  • Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor*
  • We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman*
  • Florida by Lauren Groff
  • Wahala by Nikki May
  • Assembly by Natasha Brown
  • Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason*
  • The Service by Frankie Mirren*
  • Everyone in This Room Will Someday be Dead by Emily Austin*
  • Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg
  • Mrs March by Virginia Feito*
  • Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout*
  • True Crime Story by Joseph Knox*
  • Tell Me I'm Worthless by Alison Rumfitt*
  • Dead Relatives by Lucie McKnight Hardy
  • Our Wives under the Sea by Julia Armfield*
  • Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades

Of these, I've starred my absolute favourites, and these are my top 10 top 12 of the year:

1. Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan

2. Detransition Baby by Torey Peters

3. Absorbed by Kylie Whitehead

4. Come Closer by Sarah Gran

5. Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor

6. We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman

7. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

8. The Service by Frankie Mirren

9. Everyone in This Room Will Someday be Dead by Emily Austin

10. Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

11. True Crime Story by Joseph Knox

12. Tell Me I'm Worthless by Alison Rumfit

I honestly think those 12 above were absolutely incredible. I have terrible book amnesia and as soon as I finish a book I completely forget what happened in it most of the time, but these are the ones that have really stuck with me this year. I can't wait to see what I read in 2022!

Favourite Films

I've split this into 3 categories - 1) Films that came out in 2021 I watched at home 2) Films that came out in 2021 I watched at the cinema (a short list!) 3) Films that I watched in 2021 that were new-to-me which didn't come out in 2021. These are kind of in order...

2021 films at home
  • Palm Springs (my undisputed film of the year)
  • Bo Burnham's Inside
  • Promising Young Woman
  • tick...tick...BOOM!
  • Nomadland
  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines
2021 films at the cinema
  • In The Heights
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Candyman
  • West Side Story
New-to-me-but-not-new films watched in 2021
  • Billy Elliot
  • Big Night
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Saint Maud
  • Fatal Attraction
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • My Cousin Vinny
  • Before Midnight
  • Freaky
  • Les Diabolique
  • The Conjuring
  • The Sound of Metal
  • The Act of Killing

Favourite TV Shows

You know me by now, I am terrible at watching TV. We always hear about these big TV shows everyone is watching, watch 2 episodes and then forget about them. So this list is pretty short! But there are some new-to-me TV shows I watched in 2021 which I absolutely love and I'm so glad I finally watched!
  • Ted Lasso (my favourite TV show of 2021)
  • Midnight Mass
  • I May Destroy You
  • Schitt's Creek
  • Lula Rich
  • The Queen's Gambit
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Favourite Podcasts

Oooh I've had such a good podcast year this year! So much so that I think I've actually only listened to 2 or 3 audiobooks this year (yes I have a lot of Audible credits).

I love a "podast series" and I got into so many of those this year, but I also loved my old favourites of Maintenance Phase, Decoder Ring and of course, What Page Are You On?. These are my favourite new-to-me podcasts I listened to in 2021:
Has this been one of the best years ever for cookbooks? I genuinely think so.

I think Anna Jones' One is probably the best cookbook I've bought in years, a true return to the form of A Modern Way to Eat and A Modern Way to Cook - two of my desert-island books. I've done part 1 of a review here, but I still need to write a follow up because it's that good!

Rukmini Iyer blessed us with not one but two fantastic new books this year. Keep your eye out for my reviews of The Green Barbecue (which I've mostly written but doesn't feel seasonally-appropriate right now!) and The Sweet Roasting Tin (which I just need to make a few more things from and stop just making the halloumi muffins over and over again).

Finally, Ruby Tandoh's Cook As You Are is the book I want to buy for everyone I know. It's so inclusive, accessible, helpful and oh my god delicious. I've made the gnocchi with capers and chili oil three times in the last few weeks. I've got a review coming on this and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Favourite things I wrote

I haven't blogged loads this year, but I have written a bit more than just my Life Lately posts with 22 entries this year. Here are my favourite posts I wrote this year:
This section is like the Oprah's favourites list and it's just miscellaneous things I've loved or done this year, from games to clothes to food. I did my year in review post a few days ago where I talked about the year more generally and what I did, but these are more little things I loved in 2021:
  • Peloton (both digital membership and getting the bike)
  • Finally getting a pair of glasses I love
  • Finding the perfect pair of dungarees and living in them all summer
  • Making a lot of cocktails
  • Still enjoying cross stitching
  • Developing a skincare routine
  • #KnitwearNovember
  • The Euros
  • Getting really into the Olympics
  • Having long, strong nails for the first time in my life (thanks to Builder Base and my amazing nail salon)
  • Herd Mentality game
  • It Takes Two Game on the Playstation
  • Uniqlo fleeces
  • Uniqlo thermals
  • VACCINES
  • Homemade pizza
  • Ruby Tandoh's gnocchi with chilli crisp and capers
  • Rukmini Iyer's halloumi muffins
  • Takeaways
  • Our monthly local date night (I talked about it here)
  • Buying pretty much every item of clothing I've purchased this year second hand, or from small independent sellers
  • My fave indie brands - Joanie Clothing and Sugarhill Boutique
  • Giving up scrolling through Twitter and instead just checking the accounts of a select few people I like once or twice a day
  • Not scrolling through Instagram at all for the whole year
  • Logging my mood with Daylio
  • Still doing One Second Every Day after 3 years (and still not missing a day!)
  • Another year of Happy Feed and a 3 year streak
  • Still reading every day for 4+ years
  • Virginia Sole-Smith and Anne Helen Petersen's newsletters
  • Our bobby doggy, always
  • Still writing this blog after 12 years!
  • And finally, this article which perfectly sums up how I feel about 2021
Hope you have a lovely New Year's Eve and see you in 2022!

Charlotte x

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