the editors of BookPage

2021 has been quite the ride, but books have been there for us at every twist and turn, offering comfort, escape and even illumination. As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look back on the titles BookPage readers have enjoyed the most.

20. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

In her exhilarating third novel, Maggie Shipstead offers a marvelous pastiche of adventure and emotion as she explores what it means (and what it takes) to live an unusual life.

19. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Readers will feel as attached to Tia Williams’ characters as Eva and Shane are to each other.

18. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Like a well-brewed potion, Sarah Penner’s first novel simply overwhelms with its delicate spell.

17. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

This young adult historical fiction novel is as meticulously researched as it is full of raw, authentic emotion.

16. Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Razorblade Tears transcends genre boundaries and is a must-read for anyone looking for a mystery that provokes and thrills in equal measure.

15. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Bursting with heart, banter and a respect for queer history and community, One Last Stop may be the best read of the summer.

14. Before the Ruins by Victoria Gosling

An abandoned English manor house sets the stage for a cracking mystery involving a missing friend and a long-lost diamond necklace.

13. Blow Your House Down by Gina Frangello

There is pain in every divorce story, but not every divorce story can be related by a narrator as capable as Gina Frangello.

12. Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

With her second novel, Charlotte McConaghy proves that her particular brand of deeply evocative literary lightning can indeed strike twice.

11. The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Even in the face of death’s inevitability, friendship can be found, forgiveness can flourish and fun can ease fear.

10. The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

Grab a cup of tea and a scone, and curl up with Jennifer Ryan’s positively delicious novel about a cooking contest during World War II.

9. The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

The Witch’s Heart shifts the focus of a well-known myth to a secondary character with stunning and heartbreaking results.

8. The Children’s Train by Viola Ardone, translated by Clarissa Botsford

Viola Ardone’s novel will appeal to fans of Elena Ferrante, but it stands on its own as a fictionalized account of a complicated social experiment.

7. The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams

Two lexicographers employed by the same company and separated by a century are at the heart of this imaginative, funny, intriguing novel by Eley Williams.

6. The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

The Reading List illustrates the ways one book can act as a shared point of empathy, uniting individuals into a community.

5. Billy Summers by Stephen King

Though Billy Summers includes many classic King touchstones, its dedication to realism and intense, almost meditative focus on the titular main character make it a standout among his works.

4. What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins

In JoAnne Tompkins’ debut novel, faith is simply part of life, a reality that is rarely so sensitively portrayed in fiction.

3. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Laura Dave has given us what we crave right now—a thoroughly engrossing yet comforting distraction.

2. Win by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben raises moral dilemmas and offers pulse-pounding action scenes in this suspenseful and surprising novel.

1. Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

Killing off the main character just a few pages into a book is somewhat unorthodox, but it’s just the first of many interesting choices Elin Hilderbrand makes.

See all of our Best Books of 2021 lists.

This list was compiled based on analytics from between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2021.

As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look back on all the books that BookPage readers have enjoyed the most.

Think about the way you feel after a delicious meal. Although you know there are dishes to wash and leftovers to put away and perhaps a long drive home or work in the morning, as you look around the table at the faces of the people you love, and for that one moment, your spirit feels full, safe, happy, loving and loved. 

If that’s how you’d like to feel after your next read, the BookPage editors suggest one of these 2021 releases. 

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

The latest novel from Pulitzer Prize winner Doerr is a vast undertaking, spanning centuries and incorporating multiple storylines. Amid this tangle of events, each character must face what feels like the end of their world, and it feels like a gift to the reader that Doerr’s response to each of these characters, even those who commit potentially unforgivable deeds, is mercy and hope and compassion. We have seen dark times before, and we’ll see them again—and maybe, if we trust in each other, it will all work out in the end.

—Cat Acree, Deputy Editor

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

If possible, this mystery is even better than the Osman’s charmer of a debut, The Thursday Murder Club. It’s a load of fun and an ode to how important the power of friendship is throughout one’s life but especially during the final stretch. 

—Savanna Walker, Associate Editor

These Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett

As BookPage reviewer Kelly Blewett put it, “These Precious Days reinforces what many longtime fans like best about Ann Patchett: her levelheaded appraisal of what is good in the world.” Indeed, this essay collection overflows with goodness: good writing, good stories, good people. (One essay is literally about a priest whose work with unhoused people in his community caused Patchett to label him a “living saint.”) This is a companionable book, full of warmhearted reflections on how to love what we love—books, dogs, family—a little better.

—Christy Lynch, Associate Editor

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson

Today’s young readers are so lucky to have a writer like Renée Watson creating books for them, and Love Is a Revolution is a perfect example of why. This YA novel is a master class in characterization, from its grounded yet swoony central couple, to the family and friends who surround them, to Harlem itself, which Watson evokes vividly. Her respect for and belief in the power of young people comes through on every page, but what sets Watson apart are her words. Watson is a poet who writes novels, and that means every few pages, you will encounter a sentence so beautifully phrased that your eyes will brim with tears and your heart will be quietly filled.

—Stephanie Appell, Associate Editor

Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey 

A sweet and lighthearted rom-com that will appeal to readers who prefer stories that focus more on character than conflict, Very Sincerely Yours centers on the epistolary relationship between Teddy, a young woman who feels somewhat adrift in life, and Everett, the beloved host of a local children’s show. Both characters are lovingly and carefully drawn by Winfrey, who also creates a cozy, friendship-filled environment around her central pair. 

—Savanna Walker, Associate Editor

Goodbye, Again: Essays, Reflections, and Illustrations by Jonny Sun

On the one hand, reading Goodbye, Again feels like sharing a warm cup of tea with author and illustrator Jonny Sun. On the other hand, your pal Jonny might be a little depressed, or at least deeply introspective, and so your time together, while enriching, might make you cry. They’re good tears though—an overflow of feeling understood, of relief after hearing from someone else who feels as lonely, burnt out and hopeful as you do. Each short essay touches on an aspect of modern life that makes true connection, with yourself and others, harder. Together, they form a kaleidoscopic declaration that it’s worth the effort to nurture yourself and see what grows.

—Christy Lynch, Associate Editor

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes by Mary Lee Donovan, illustrated by Lian Cho

In her author’s note, Mary Lee Donovan writes that this deceptively simple picture book is her “love song to our shared humanity.” In multilingual rhyming couplets, A Hundred Thousand Welcomes offers a benediction for the sacredness of gathering together. Lines such as “The door is wide open— / come in from the storm. / We’ll shelter in peace, / break bread where it’s warm” have a plainspoken power, and Lian Cho’s friendly, colorful illustrations capture the joy of greetings and the happiness to be found around a shared table.

—Stephanie Appell, Associate Editor

Carry On: Reflections for a New Generation by John Lewis

During the last months of Congressman John Lewis’ life, he put pen to paper to collect some parting thoughts after 80 years of remarkable activism and service. Carry On captures Lewis’ memories of growing up as the son of a sharecropper in Alabama, shopping for comic books at the flea market, joining the Freedom Riders movement and more. Interspersed are snippets of advice for the next generation who will carry on the justice work Lewis and others began during the civil rights movement. After his death in 2020, Lewis’ last book reads as an even more precious labor of love, laced through with the congressman’s trademark wisdom, patience, determination and hope.

—Christy Lynch, Associate Editor

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

The type of book that the word heartwarming was made for, Chambers’ sci-fi novella follows a monk who is literally devoted to small comforts as they brew tea, explore the wild edges of the world and try to offer solace and warmth wherever they can. There are some heady philosophical themes at play, but just enough to engage and not overwhelm your brain as you happily sink into this small, perfectly wrought gem of a story. 

—Savanna Walker, Associate Editor

Of a Feather by Dayna Lorentz

“Two lost souls find each other and the way forward” is a story I will read as if it’s the first time every time. In Dayna Lorentz’ middle grade novel Of a Feather, the lost souls are a young girl named Reenie who’s been sent to live with an aunt she’s never met and a 6-month-old owl named Rufus who has also found himself alone and unprotected in the wide, wild world. Watching these two slowly drop their defenses and open themselves up to healing, love and hope has tremendous appeal and power: It reminds us that no one is ever truly so lost that they cannot be found.

—Stephanie Appell, Associate Editor

If you’d like your next read to leave you feeling uplifted and filled with love, we recommend picking up one of these books.

Picture it: You’re navigating your first holiday party of the season, you’ve got something to sip on, and you’ve just bumped into an editor from BookPage. Of course, they’ll probably bring up a book they’ve recently read—for example, one of the books below.


In my friend group, there’s an annual string of holiday parties that begins with Oktoberfest and ends with New Year’s Eve. Though each gathering has its own celebratory tenor and theme, all of them have in common a milieu of wintry darkness. Against this twinkly backdrop, someone always brings it up: “How are you staying out of the jaws of depression now that the sun sets at 4:30 p.m.?” Personally, my answer is Wintering by Katherine May. After reading it for the first time in 2020, I resolved to reread it every year as a reminder of the advantages of darkness, idleness and cold. As May travels to Iceland, Norway, Stonehenge and beyond to experience different groups’ cold weather rituals, she reflects on the metaphorical winters that challenge us: periods of unexpected illness, rejection, bereavement or failure. When the sun begins disappearing earlier and my mood starts to sink, May’s beautiful words help me to remember this season’s transformative power and embrace its long hours of darkness.

—Christy, Associate Editor

Valley of the Dolls

I decided to read Valley of the Dolls purely because I wanted to talk about it with people at parties. Jacqueline Susann’s astonishingly successful tale of three women clawing their way to the top of midcentury America’s gin-soaked, glitteringly cynical entertainment industry has been heralded as the ultimate beach read, the godmother of “chick lit” and a camp masterpiece. I thought it would be an interesting historical artifact, but then I inhaled almost half of the book in one day, cackling with glee at Susann’s gloriously over-the-top refraction of her own experiences as an aspiring actress on Broadway and in Hollywood. Whether speculating on which real entertainment icons inspired Susann’s characters or simply recounting the most unrepentantly wild scenes (two words: wig. snatch.), Valley of the Dolls will be livening up my cocktail chat for years to come—just like, I suspect, Susann would have wanted.

—Savanna, Associate Editor

On Immunity

After exhausting all of our catching-up chatter at holiday gatherings, my friends undoubtedly, almost helplessly, return to discussing our current crisis. In times like these, I wish everyone in America would read Eula Biss’ 2014 book. Her son was born amid the H1N1 pandemic, and in her exploration into the history of vaccination and our cultural relationship with it, she makes a strong case for communal trust and the interdependence of our futures. Biss’ book touches on so much of what we’re experiencing right now, from the urgency to protect the ones we love to the difficulty comprehending other people’s ill-advised choices, but surprisingly, her penetrating book is seemingly without anger. It could even be seen as an inoculation against such anger. I have a distant but very real hope that a book like On Immunity would allow us to reexamine our history, which over time has become corrupted by missing information, confused language and outright manipulation, and to instead proceed with clear eyes and compassion.

—Cat, Deputy Editor

Dragon Was Terrible

After a few glasses of wine, it doesn’t take much to goad me into soapboxing about my favorite topics, from the notion that all children’s literature reflects ideologies about the nature of childhood itself, to my soft spot for picture books about characters who violate social norms. Kelly DiPucchio and Greg Pizzoli’s Dragon Was Terrible is among my most treasured of such books. This tale of a dragon who is so terrible that he scribbles in books, TPs the castle and takes candy from baby unicorns combines the wry humor of Monty Python and the Holy Grail with the visual wit of the best New Yorker cartoons. When the king offers a gift to whoever can tame the dragon, the sign posted on the castle wall reads, “It shall be a nice gift. Ye shall like it!” Beneath the sign, Dragon has tagged the castle in bright orange paint: “Dragon was here.” It’s the perfect antidote to the common misperception that picture books are moralizing bores.

—Stephanie, Associate Editor

All My Mother’s Lovers

There are two topics I gravitate toward in group settings: the point when it becomes possible to grasp the magnitude of the lives our parents lived before having children, and novels that succeed in suggesting that their characters will continue to have consequential, interconnected experiences once the pages of the book have run out. Ilana Masad’s All My Mother’s Lovers gives me an avenue to talk about both of these things, introducing a cast of characters who are all multifaceted and contradictory in the best way possible, navigating their grief for the protagonist’s mother—a person everyone thought they had figured out—while grappling with the facets of her life that became apparent after her death. It’s a stunning reminder that as people, particularly women, get older and their preexisting identities get overshadowed by titles like spouse, parent and worker, their capacity for complexity doesn’t cease. This novel features a twist that really drives that idea home.

—Jessie, Editorial Intern

Books make great cocktail chatter. Here are the five titles the BookPage editors can't stop talking about.

We begin each new reading year with high hopes, and sometimes, when we’re very lucky, we find our expectations rewarded. So it was with 2021.

It must be said that a lot of these books are really, really long. Apparently this was the year for total commitment, for taking a plunge and allowing ourselves to be swallowed up. 

Also, it should come as no surprise that books-within-books frequently appear on this list. For all our attempts at objectivity within our roles as critics, we just can’t help but love a book that loves books. Amor Towles, Ruth Ozeki, Jason Mott, Maggie Shipstead and Anthony Doerr all tapped into the most comforting yet complex parts of our book-loving selves. 

But most of the books on this list hit home in ways we never could’ve prepared for, even when we had the highest expectations, such as in Will McPhail’s graphic novel, which made us laugh till we cried, and Colson Whitehead’s heist novel, which no one could’ve expected would be such a gorgeous ode to sofas.

And at the top of our list, a book that accomplishes what feels like the impossible: Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’ epic debut novel, which challenges our relationship to the land beneath us in a way we’ve never experienced but long hoped for.

Read on for our 20 best works of literary fiction from 2021.

20. What Comes After by JoAnn Tompkins

In JoAnne Tompkins’ debut novel, faith is simply part of life, a reality for many that is rarely so sensitively portrayed in fiction.

19. How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue

To those disinclined to question the role that economic exploitation plays in supporting our modern lifestyle, reading this novel may prove an unsettling experience.

18. Gordo by Jaime Cortez

In his collection of short stories set in the ag-industrial maw of central California, Jaime Cortez artfully captures the daily lives of his characters in the freeze-frame flash of a master at work.

17. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro continues his genre-twisting ways with a tale that explores whether science could—or should—manipulate the future.

16. Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford

Francis Spufford’s graceful novel reminds us that tragedy deprives the world of not only noble people but also scoundrels, both of whom are part of the fabric of history.

15. Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen is one of our best chroniclers of suburban family life, and his incisive new novel, the first in a planned trilogy, is by turns funny and terrifying.

14. In by Will McPhail

Small talk becomes real talk in this graphic novel from the celebrated cartoonist, and the world suddenly seems much brighter.

13. Milk Fed by Melissa Broder

With hints of Jami Attenberg’s sense of mishpucha and spiced with Jennifer Weiner’s chutzpah, Melissa Broder’s novel is graphic, tender and poetic, a delicious rom-com that turns serious.

12. The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

Robert Jones Jr.’s first novel accomplishes the exceptional literary feat of being at once an intimate, poetic love story and a sweeping, excruciating portrait of life on a Mississippi plantation.

11. Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

In her exceptional debut novel, Ash Davidson expresses the heart and soul of Northern California’s redwood forest community.

10. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

“There are few things more beautiful to an author’s eye . . . than a well-read copy of one of his books,” says a character in Amor Towles’ novel. Undoubtedly, the pages of this cross-country saga are destined to be turned—and occasionally tattered—by numerous gratified readers.

9. Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Devastating, hilarious and touching, Torrey Peters’ acutely intelligent first novel explores womanhood, parenthood and all the possibilities that lie therein.

8. A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself by Peter Ho Davies

Peter Ho Davies’ third novel is a poetic look at the nature of regret and a couple’s enduring love. It’s a difficult but marvelous book.

7. The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

What does it mean to listen? What can you hear if you pay close attention, especially in a moment of grief? Ruth Ozeki explores these questions in her novel, a meditation on objects, compassion and everyday beauty. 

6. Matrix by Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff aims to create a sense of wonder and awe in her novels, and in her boldly original fourth novel, set in a small convent in 12th-century England, the awe-filled moments are too many to count.

5. Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

A surrealist feast of imagination that’s brimming with very real horrors, frustrations and sorrows, Jason Mott’s fourth novel is an achievement of American fiction that rises to meet this particular moment with charm, wisdom and truth.

4. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Sorrow and violence play large roles in the ambitious, genre-busting novel from Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr, but so does tenderness.

3. Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Like Dante leading us through the levels of hell, Colson Whitehead exposes the layers of rottenness in New York City with characters who follow an ethical code that may be strange to those of us who aren’t crooks or cynics.

2. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

In her exhilarating third novel, Maggie Shipstead offers a marvelous pastiche of adventure and emotion as she explores what it means (and what it takes) to live an unusual life.

1. The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

From slavery to freedom, discrimination to justice, tradition to unorthodoxy, celebrated poet Honorée Fanonne Jeffers weaves an epic ancestral story that encompasses not only a young Black woman’s family heritage but also that of the American land where their history unfolded.

See all of our Best Books of 2021 lists.

Most of the books on this list hit home in ways we never could’ve prepared for, even when we had the highest expectations. Read on for the 20 best literary fiction titles of 2021.

Nonfiction is the broadest publishing category, with books that delve into the past, present and future of every aspect of our world. There are books that rifle through our innermost emotions and books that search the outer universe. Books that strike while the iron is hot and books that are cool and classic. You’ll find a little bit of everything on our list of our most highly recommended nonfiction books of 2021—from timeless instant classics to breathlessly of-the-moment reports.

20. Cultish by Amanda Montell

In her incredibly timely book, Amanda Montell’s expertise as a linguist melds with her research into the psychological underpinnings of cults.

19. Cuba by Ada Ferrer

With interesting characters, new historical insights and dramatic yet accessible writing, Ada Ferrer’s epic history of Cuba will grab and hold your attention.

18. Fuzz by Mary Roach

Mary Roach’s enthusiasm and sense of humor are contagious in her around-the-world survey of human-wildlife relations.

17. Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi

Akwaeke Emezi generously shares both their wounds and their wisdom, offering aspiring artists fresh inspiration for creating new forms of being.

16. American Republics by Alan Taylor

Pulitzer Prize winner Alan Taylor’s latest American history, covering the United States’ expansion from 1783 to 1850, is sweeping, beautifully written, prodigiously researched and myth-busting.

15. My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes

Joyful, righteous, indignant, self-assured, exuberant: All of these words describe Quiara Alegría Hudes’ memoir.

14. Blow Your House Down by Gina Frangello

Frangello’s raw, eloquent memoir is singed with rage and tinged with optimism about the power to recover one’s life from the depth of suffering.

13. Unbound by Tarana Burke

Unbound is Tarana Burke’s unflinching, beautifully told account of founding the #MeToo movement and becoming one of the most consequential activists in America.

12. The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson

For readers seeking to understand the twists, turns and amazing potential of gene-editing CRISPR technology, there’s no better place to turn than The Code Breaker.

11. 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows by Ai Weiwei

This heart-rending yet exhilarating memoir by a world-famous artist gives a rare look into how war and revolution affect innocent bystanders who are just trying to live.

10. The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel’s unique combination of personal narrative, a search for higher meaning and comic ingenuity will leave you pumped up and smiling.

9. Four Hundred Souls edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain

This epic, transformative book covers 400 years of Black history with the help of a choir of exceptional poets, critics, essayists, novelists and scholars.

8. A Most Remarkable Creature by Jonathan Meiburg

Gorgeously written and sophisticated, Jonathan Meiburg’s book about a wickedly clever falcon will move readers to protect this truly remarkable creature.

7. Chasing Me to My Grave by Winfred Rembert

From surviving a lynching to discovering the transformative power of art while imprisoned in a chain gang, Winfred Rembert recounts his life story in his distinct and unforgettable voice.

6. Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown

Most of the Japanese American patriots who formed the 442nd Infantry Regiment are gone, but their stories live on in this empathetic tribute to their courage.

5. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders

Beloved author George Saunders shares invaluable insights into classic Russian short stories, unlocking their magic for bibliophiles everywhere.

4. How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith

Clint Smith’s gifts as both a poet and a scholar make this a richly provocative read about the ways America does (and doesn’t) acknowledge its history of slavery.

3. Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe

In jaw-dropping detail, Patrick Radden Keefe recounts the greed and corruption at the heart of the Sackler family’s quest for wealth and social status.

2. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

In her debut memoir, Michelle Zauner perfectly distills the palpable ache for her late mother, wrapping her grief in an aromatic conjuring of her mother’s presence.

1. A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib’s brilliant commentary shuffles forward, steps sideways, leaps diagonally and waltzes gracefully throughout this survey of Black creative performance in America.

See all of our Best Books of 2021 lists.

You’ll find a little bit of everything on our list of our most highly recommended nonfiction books of 2021—from timeless instant classics to breathlessly of-the-moment reports.

We’re calling it now: The mystery and suspense genre is on the cusp of a golden age. From psychological thrillers to procedurals to cozies, these books reached new heights and brought new perspectives to the forefront in 2021. 

10. Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes

Mango, Mambo, and Murder has everything readers look for in a cozy mystery but also feels like a breath of fresh air thanks to its funny, grounded characters and lovingly detailed setting.

9. Bad Moon Rising by John Galligan

John Galligan’s trademark dark humor and clear-sighted social commentary are in fine form as he follows Sheriff Heidi Kick, one of the most complex yet lovable heroes in current crime fiction, on her latest investigation. 

8. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

This cozy mystery is even better than Richard Osman’s utterly charming debut, The Thursday Murder Club.

7. The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

No one can pull off a twist like Louise Candlish. This gorgeous, meticulous nail-biter is a smooth work of narrative criminality. 

6. The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny

Having reached a pinnacle of critical and commercial success that most authors only dream of, Louise Penny still somehow manages to top herself with the latest Inspector Gamache mystery.

5. Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The genre-hopping Silvia Moreno-­Garcia (Mexican Gothic) moves into pulp adventure territory with a novel set in 1970s Mexico City that evokes the best conspiracy thrillers.

4. Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

The Jazz Age setting infuses this mystery with a crackling feeling of possibility. Readers will unequivocally root for Nekesa Afia’s amateur sleuth.

3. Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Razorblade Tears transcends genre boundaries and is a must-read for anyone looking for a mystery that provokes and thrills in equal measure.

2. Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara

Set in a Japanese American neighborhood during World War II, Clark and Division is as much an exposé of communal trauma as it is a mystery.

1. Silverview by John le Carré

Master of espionage John le Carré’s final novel is one of his most impressive accomplishments. A gift for the devoted readers mourning his loss, it looks back and comments on his unparalleled body of work.

See all of our Best Books of 2021 lists.

We’re calling it now: The mystery and suspense genre is on the cusp of a golden age.

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