Serena's Top 5 of 2021
A terrific tale of survival, acceptance, and love. Just before WWI, man disillusioned by city life in Stockholm becomes a miner in the Arctic. A disfiguring accident pushes Sven even farther north and farther from people. He lives a difficult and isolated life as a trapper, but has wonderful support from his few family members and some very interesting friends. I enjoyed his surprisingly uplifting -- and at times, humorous -- journey.
Great action, nail-biting suspense, and strong female characters, along with a terrifying, twisty plot, kept me on the edge of my seat reading to the end. Author T.J. Newman's previous occupations were 1.) a bookseller and 2.) a flight attendant, so you can see she's very qualified to write quite the clever tale. (P.S. I don't usually read thrillers and I loved it!)
Joshua Henkin has written a beautiful and intimate portrait of a family dealing with life's complications and challenges. The story follows a noted Shakespeare professor's slow decline from early onset Alzheimer's Disease and the heartbreaking effects on his loving wife and two grown children. Told with clear-eyed honesty and compassion.
This debut novel is a heartwarming story about a woman who is a beekeeper putting her life back together after a tragic loss. While she prefers to go it alone, into her life comes a couple of young men who are each facing challenges of their own. Somehow, this unlikely trio gels and finds the support and successes they need to move ahead with their lives. This is a well-written read with a happy ending --and learning about bees and beekeeping was fascinating!
Welcome to 1960s Harlem, where Ray Carney, ambitious furniture store owner, family man, and low-level law-breaker, navigates the ins and outs of business and difficult family ties. This terrific heist story is humorous at times, with memorable characters and a great sense of place and time. Though quite different from Whitehead's previous novels, "Harlem Shuffle" stands right with them.