During 2021 I read 92 books, that's five more than 2020 but the same as 2019.
As usual most of my reading is crime fiction, many of these are by authors who write a new book or two each year as part of a series. Then there are crime fiction reprints - books published in the 1940's or 50's which have been out of print for decades but are being revived and enjoyed all over again.
If I've counted right there were 50 crime fiction, 17 general fiction, 22 non-fiction, 2 children's books and just one book of crime fiction short stories.
I've picked out some my favourites from the year. It ought to be a top ten but ended up being several more! As they say on TV..........in no particular order........................
Nap Lombard - Murder's a Swine.
Crime Fiction (British Library Crime Classic 2021 Originally Published 1943). This is a witty, lighthearted murder set in London in the early years of WWII before bombing started. It reminded me of Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence mysteries. Nap Lombard was a pseudonym of Pamela Hansford Johnson and her then husband Gorden Neil Stewart who both served as Air Raid Wardens and this book starts with the discovery of a body behind sandbags in an air raid shelter
John Coates - Patience. Fiction.
( Persephone reprint 2012. Originally published 1953). This book was banned in Ireland when it was originally published. It's the story of a Catholic girl married to a man 15 years her senior who believes all there is to life is babies and being a good wife who feeds her husband and submits to his attention. Then she meets Phillip and suddenly she falls in love which is very complicated - involving Sin. This is a lovely happy but sad story. Maureen Lipman wrote a new preface and said she hoped Persephone would reprint more of Coates writing but so far they haven't.
Jane Johnson - The Sea Gate. Fiction.
(Published 2020) Saw this mentioned on someone's blog, this is one of those books that moves between past and present. In the present Rebecca is recovering from cancer when her mother dies and on clearing the house she finds some letters to her mother from Olivia, an elderly cousin in Cornwall who needs help with house repairs to enable her to be allowed home from hospital. In the past Olivia is 16 and abandoned in Cornwall by her mother in the middle of WWII. A well written book with an interesting story of family secrets kept for far too long.
.Jan Morris - A Writer's House in Wales.
John Lewis-Stempel - Woodston; The Biography of an English Farm.
Non Fiction. (Published 2021) The story of a farm situated on the Herefordshire/Wales border from Neolithic to the present. Using old books and records he finds the owners through history and details of the way they farmed the land. His family have had links to the farm from times long gone and his Grandfather became Farm Manager there in the 1930's and he, himself, has farmed not far away for many years so is ideally placed to write this fascinating book.Amazon describes it well....................With his combined skills of farmer and historian, Lewis-Stempel digs deep into written records, the memories of relatives, and the landscape itself to celebrate the farmland his family have been bound to for millennia. Through Woodston's life, we feel the joyful arrival of oxen ploughing; we see pigs rootling in the medieval apple orchard; and take in the sharp, drowsy fragrance of hops on Edwardian air. He draws upon his wealth of historical knowledge and his innate sense of place to create a passionate, fascinating biography of farming in EnglandRory Clements - A Prince and a Spy.
Helen Hoover - A Place in the Woods.
Margaret Kennedy - Where Stands A Winged Sentry.
Louise Dickinson Rich - We Took To The Woods.