books

In 2021, I got back into reading after a long break. Here are the 6 books that kept me out of my slump.

In 2021, I set myself the ambitious goal of reading 30 books in a year. 

That may not sound too ambitious to some, but for me it was a monumental feat. You see, I was very out of practice when it came to reading. 

Like — the last book I read was my high school prescribed text (and it was a skim read!) — level out of practice. 

But, after the bin-fire year that was 2020, I figured it was time to turn in my TikTok escapism for something more fulfilling. And so, my reading journey began.

Watch: 'I read books for a living. Here are the most addictive thrillers of 2021 so far.' Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

Truth be told, I didn't hit 30 and I have a few dud reads to blame for it. 

I rounded out the year on a healthy 23 books, and of them were six killer reads that changed my life for the better. 

So, in the spirit of inspiring others, I thought I'd share the six books you should add to your to-read pile right now if you're feeling a little out of touch with reading, but would love to get reacquainted in the year ahead. 

Here are my favourite reads of 2021. 

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

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Everything I Know About Love should be required reading for any 20-something trying to find themselves, and I believe that wholeheartedly. 

I picked up Everything I Know About Love twice in 2021. (Yes, it's that good.)

It's Dolly Alderton's bestselling memoir about growing up, getting older, and learning to navigate friendships, jobs, loss, and love.

The first time I read it was at the beginning of the year. I was 19, in a happy relationship, and living at home. 

On the first read, I was enthralled by Alderton's description of growing up and becoming independent, as well as her relationship with her best friend (and serial monogamist) Farly, in which I saw myself. 

It was also my last read of the year on the brink of my 21st birthday. I was drawn back to it this December while single and living out of home. 

This time around, I was captured by the way she articulated "collecting experiences" and casual sex. 

I've never had my feelings put back to me with such grace. Everything I Know About Love has made the most difficult parts of navigating my 20s (of which it's been limited) so much easier, and it will be without a doubt, one to revisit at every life stage.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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I'm not going to lie. 

I put off reading A Court of Thorns and Roses for longer than I should have because I had a completely unjustified aversion to Young Adult Fantasy.

I was a book snob who refused to admit that Sarah J. Maas' cult audience could be onto something until I hit a wall trying to read vegetable books (you know, the ones you really should be reading, but aren't particularly tasty), and decided to pull out the big guns. 

And boy, is this book the big guns of juicy reads. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first book in Sarah J Maas' fantasy series that will transport you to a dystopian world of magic, "faeries" and some very sexy scenes. 

Don't knock it till you try it. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

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Apparently I'm well behind on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time hype. 

Almost everyone I've mentioned it to told me they studied it in high school, and I must say, it feels good to read a "prescribed text" for pleasure. 

It's narrated by Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old mathematician with some behavioural difficulties who discovers the body of a neighbourhood dog that has been murdered.

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So, he writes a murder mystery novel attempting to solve the murder.

The story is touching and eye-opening. You'll speed through it in a few days.

Love & Virtue by Diana Reid

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Released at the end of 2021, Diana Reid's debut novel Love & Virtue unpacks feminism, power, privilege and sex, through the eyes of young Sydney university students.

I picked it up as soon as it dropped, and it was binged in a few days — an impressive feat for an out-of-practice reader.

Tell Me Lies by J.P. Pomare

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Tell Me Lies is the most gripping thriller I've ever read, and would surely capture the attention of even the most tentative reader. 

It follows the life and career of Melbourne psychologist Margot Scott, and her narcissistic and psychopathic clients. I'll leave it at that to avoid spoiling anything. Just trust me on this one.

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu

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Jessie Tu's debut novel, A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, has had plenty of mixed reviews since it dropped in 2020, with readers firmly falling into two camps: loving, or absolutely despising it. 

Set in Sydney, the story follows Jena Chung who was once a child prodigy violinist, and now at 23, is addicted to sex.

Chung is selfish, impulsive and generally unlikeable — and that's why I love the story so much.

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing centres an imperfect Asian-Australian story, grappling with important themes like race, power, and sex.

At times, it's a pretty uncomfortable read, but I couldn't recommend it more highly.

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