Favorite Books of 2021 & Goals for 2022! // Literally So Late I’m Sorry

First post of 2022, plus a recap of 2021!

I’ve been gone so long—I’m so ashamed over my last post, when I was supposedly back!! I apologize for suddenly disappearing again (picture me on my knees begging for forgiveness). School was–and still is–taking up most of my day, and with the start of a new semester, I had even less free time to do anything. This is probably because of my poor time management skills, which I really need to work on :’)

2021 has already been far over but I am still hungover on these books I read last year. 

All of these were emotionally devastating and I highly advise you to not read them all in a row (to distribute the crying sessions—less puffy eyes)!

5. Our Violent Ends

Coming back to complete this duology felt like the final thud of a hammer—intimidating and inevitable. I would finally be able to read the ending I had been waiting for, all at once euphoric and bittersweet, like catching up with an old friend. I did read the ending, and then over and over, trying to find subtle hints that this story isn’t finished, that there was more to it than that—but there wasn’t* (then I screamed into my pillow). 

Chloe Gong is an exceptional writer, and even that would be an understatement. She has crafted something so intricate, so brilliantly radiant, that it has been etched indelibly into my mind, and I am grateful for it. After all, a novel isn’t just a book, it’s a whole experience, especially this one. This concludes the duology of two doomed lovers in the midst of a city determined to tear them apart, this story fated to flow alongside a haunting tale of imperialism.

*Foul Lady Fortune here we come

4. She Who Became the Sun

This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021—I was so sure it would not disappoint. After all, what could go wrong with an epic reimagining of the founding female emperor of the Ming dynasty? Absolutely nothing, as it turned out for me.

Glorious and sublime, commendable yet immoral, She Who Became the Sun covers it all. Parker-Chan spins a timeless tale brimming with ambition, desire, revenge, and contempt spanning years, toying with our emotions all the while. There is no end to the dimension this novel carries—its characters are fleshed out to the fullest, its fictional world structurally sound, and its themes heavy but relevant. and let me just say that the gaysians are truly strong in this one

3. Crying in H Mart

To quote my Goodreads review—“I cried…a lot.” Crying in H Mart is a book that I will cherish for all eternity, and not just because of how many tears I shed. It is about a mother-daughter relationship between their love and their food, a recollection that ties everything together with a single thread. It is about a daughter learning to pave her own path and living with pain and hurt and grief in a world that is full of those things. Zauner’s words cut deep, and as a Korean-American, I found comfort in some small parts of her life that felt familiar to me as well—fermented kimchi that somehow makes its way into every meal, mixing in unmeasured ingredients to somehow make an edible dish, and ddongchim (oh my god).

I gave away a little part of my heart when I read this book, but I will never regret it. Most of you have probably heard of this book at one point or another, and I stand with everyone else on this one: read it. Read it for the emotional value it holds, the memories it reminisces on, and the point it stresses on forging yourself as an individual. Because really, you are holding a person’s life story in your hands, and it is fragile: handle it (& yourself) with care.

2. Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades is that book. The book that sends chills down your spine, causes you to have mental breakdowns, and makes you sob all at once (so fun)! But one thing is for certain: this book is a ride. And wow, did I enjoy it.

Just from reading the first chapter, I knew that this was going to be good, and I wasn’t wrong, but also exceeded my expectations by a lot. This was one of the few times I loved the writing and the characters so much—both are sharp, smart, and brilliantly crafted. The writing isn’t lilting prose nor elaborate description, but simplistic and compelling, penetrating just as deeply. And the plot twists, god. They were so unexpected and it was clear that they were well thought out to keep the readers guessing and on their toes. But above all, the heartwrenching and all-too-accurate portrayal of systematic racism is what I thought was the most well done. This is truly a book I won’t forget, and I cannot recommend it enough.

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I went into this book just knowing that it’s about sapphics and the movie industry, but I bargained for much more than I’d hoped for. Everything single thing that I write about this book could never do it justice, and it is one of those books that, when completed, you can only sit in silence, your desire for more tugging at your heart, as if you have only just realized: Oh. Oh. This I love, truly.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is less about the movie industry but much more about existing in a world that likes to sort people into categories, one or the other, existing in the space between these boxes and learning to find joy in that simple fact. Reid has written a jewel of a novel unlike any other I have read before, which had me sighing with wistfulness or trembling with excitement every other page. 10/10 the best way to end the year by reading this for sure

goals for 2022

  • read at least 80 books. that’s what I have set for my reading goal, but I hope to read more than that. I haven’t been reading as consistently as I’d like to these days, so I’ve decided to take it a little easier this year. I recently fell into a little slump and mass-reread my comfort YA contemporaries… uh
  • post more often! I know I haven’t posted in quite a while, but I hope I get the chance to blog more because I’ve forgotten how much I loved it. I’m sure I missed a lot, so please link me your most recent posts <33 hopefully I can post a little more often, especially that it’s spring and things are easing up slightly (eyes finals week cautiously) and now it’s break. I have never been so relieved my grades are dying
  • make good progress on my WIP(s)! I’ve had some ideas simmering in my mind and can’t wait to get them out soon. I also made a writing twt account, where I’m much more active; feel free to interact!
  • make some more time for self-care. being so busy with school has me focused on taking more care of my grades than taking care of myself, and I wanted to use this goal as a placeholder to remind myself to take a break from time to time.

what have you been reading these days?* how have you all been?? I’ve missed you!

*no I am not in desperate need of new books to read why do you ask

16 thoughts on “Favorite Books of 2021 & Goals for 2022! // Literally So Late I’m Sorry

  1. ahhh katie this post is so beautiful AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH 😭😭 i’ve only read evelyn hugo from your list and oh my gosh, WHAT ARE WORDS. IT’S LITERALLY LIKE THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING EVER WRITTEN AND I LOVE 😭😭 I need to get to the rest of the books RIGHT AWAY THOUGH, SO TYSM FOR THE LIST!! she who became the sun actually sounds so so good??? I NEED. AND DID I MENTION I LOVE THIS POST???

    Like

  2. “literally so late i’m so sorry” I BURST OUT LAUGHING I DIDN’T EVEN READ YOUR POST YET THANK U FOR PROVIDING US CONTENT ❤

    Like

  3. This is all so relatable haha. I’ve also got 80 books as my Goodreads goal and instead of reading new books keep on reading old favourites 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh… I loved Ace of Spades and Evelyn Hugo sooo much!! The characters in both of them were extraordinary!! 😍
    I need to read the other three books though… She Who Became The Sun is high on my TBR (and expectations), so glad to see you say it lived up to the hype for you!! I just read The Jasmine Throne and loved it!!
    Hope you find lots of books to love this year and best of luck with your goals!! 🥰🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hi katie welcome back! omg yeah OVE was so so good i’ve still not gotten over it completely. ace of spades and evelyn hugo are both on my priority tbr, i have been hearing glowing praises about them everywhere!! looking forward to your posts :))

    Liked by 1 person

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