Best Books of 2021
I think we can all agree that 2021 was another rough year—to say the least. And while we're more than happy to say goodbye to 2021 in hopes of a brighter new year, it was a good year for books. To celebrate the year's end and the great reads of 2021, the Waukee Public Library staff have selected their favorite books of the year.
Cara (Public Services Assistant) - The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
I really enjoy reading Marie Benedict and her stories about forgotten women in history. I recommend this book because it was thought-provoking and addresses issues of race and gender equality. The Personal Librarian is a fast-paced and engaging read, I was fascinated by how remarkable Belle da Costa Greene was and what she accomplished.
Keri (Youth Services Librarian) - Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
I honestly thought this was going to be a serious book at first, but as I kept reading, it became clear that this was a total comedy of errors. I thoroughly enjoyed this unlikely combination of romantic comedy and murder mystery about a young wedding photographer and her 4 meddling aunts. I would highly recommend this to fans of Janet Evanovich.
Jeni (Public Services Assistant) - Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Kazuo Ishiguro's story of an artificial friend named Klara made me think hard about artificial intelligence and what exactly constitutes emotions such as love. If you enjoy philosophy and pondering the line between AI and humanity as much as I do, this novel is for you. I'll be haunted by the unforgettable end of this book for the rest of my life.
Laura (Patron Services Librarian) - Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala
Arsenic and Adobo makes the top of my list for not only being a satisfying cozy mystery, but for also having a diverse cast of well-developed characters. The mystery itself is solid, but what sets this book apart from others is its feisty main character and her love of food and family. The book is a fresh new addition to the genre and book #2, Homicide and Halo-Halo, can’t come out soon enough.
Alexus (Public Services Assistant) - Beautiful World, Where Are You By Sally Rooney
I loved this book because it combines a clear-eyed look at romance with stunning writing and astute commentary on our world today. The characters are complex and messy, but you root for them to find connection despite all the obstacles in their way. As a big Sally Rooney fan, I was so glad this novel lived up to her previous work.
Judy (Public Services Associate) - A Good Day For Chardonnay by Darynda Jones
This is the second book in the Sunshine Vicram series, so be sure to read A Bad Day For Sunshine first, but it is worth the double whammy. It is a truly entertaining book with a cast of characters that are fun to get to know. It’s a little crazy and off-kilter at times so you might giggle out loud. On the flipside, there is a serious story line weaved in to make it feel like a worthwhile read.
Alex (Adult Services Librarian) - The Comfort Book by Matt Haig
A book written to offer hope and encouragement? This was undoubtedly the book many of us needed (and still need) after the past 2 years. Rather than a "coffee table book" I consider this a bedside table read, that I can flip open at the beginning or end of my day when I have a few moments to reflect and reassess. Filled with short meditations that draw from an array of sources around the world and Haig's own experiences, this book is a warm hug, encouraging pat on the back, and a helping hand up all rolled into one.