Our to-be-read pile was stacked high in 2021 with many great new releases -- from new titles from best-selling authors to inventive debuts. These are the books that we stayed up late reading, the ones we talked about and recommended, and the ones our customers loved. Here are Tattered Cover's Books of the Year, 2021.
I was completely absorbed in this beautiful novel. Several characters, centuries apart, with a shared connection to a mythical Greek story. Magical and mesmerizing, Cloud Cuckoo Land was my favorite book this year. - Kathy B.
Crying In H Mart
Michelle Zauner’s memoir of her relationship with her Korean mother speaks painfully and intimately of its turbulence: “There was no one in the world that was ever as critical or could make me feel as hideous as my mother, but there was no one . . . who ever made me feel as beautiful.” As Zauner reconsiders that relationship in view of her mother’s terminal cancer and the void her death left, there emerges an eloquent picture of a more steadfast, privately shared connection that was expressed rather indirectly, largely in the language of foods they loved. Vividly detailed, this memoir shares a realization with its reader of how deeply and fiercely love can imprint itself on the heart. - Gerald D.
This is a book about trans and cisgendered people in a love triangle of sorts. It’s a provocative story about how we come together when we’re lonely and the consequences we face when emotions run high. Torrey Peters offers an incredibly smart novel about the future of sex and gender. - Adam V.
I’m excited about this book for many reasons but let’s start with just three. First it’s the compelling tale of the complex, charismatic gang leader turned activist Terrence Roberts. Next, this is a fascinating history of the neglected Black Northeast Denver which just became hot again when it’s value was “rediscovered”. Last, it works as a nuanced chronicle of a city dealing with the rise of gang violence and the often flawed attempts, by everyone, to make things better. - Derek H.
Quiet stories about brutal violence, romantic discord and the power of translation, told in stunningly beautiful language. Kitamura’s writing is a testament to the delicate yet powerful nature of words and how we use them for clarity or obfuscation. This novel is quiet, mysterious and will linger in your imagination. - Jeremy P.
A substantial portrait and history of the crucial years of the New York chapter of ACT UP, a movement that broke the silence, experienced failures but succeeded to a remarkable extent in changing the world for those with HIV/AIDS. A minority of a minority, mainly unknown, spoke for the dying, sometimes while dying, and made themselves heard in a way that shattered the established silence. Heart-breaking at times, ultimately inspiring. - Gerald D.
Dantiel W. Moniz is one of the most exciting voices in literature. Her stories in this collection are a searing portrait of girlhood and womanhood set against the sultry backdrop of hot Florida days. Each story is a sharp, intelligent, and heartwarming portrait of a character that’ll leave you completely satisfied. - Kathy B.
My Heart is a Chainsaw pays tribute to the slasher genre by featuring a main character, Jade, who is an authority on the subject. Plenty of frights, gore, and other slasher tropes are splendidly utilized. While there's plenty of horror, there is also no shortage of heart as the author pulls at your emotions amidst the terror. - Josh C.
Part memoir, part history, ‘On Juneteenth’ is a beautiful combination of personal and cultural - and serves as a thoughtful commentary on the national relevance of a Texas-specific date. - Jennifer M.
Set on the island of Lesbos during the Syrian refugee crisis, Alameddine beautifully, poignantly blurs the lines between insider and outsider, responsibility and helplessness, good intentions and good actions. Mina and those around her are so incredibly rich and compelling that the story just makes a home inside your head. This book is so incredibly good. - Jennifer M.