#MustReadIn2021 Year End Update

Carrie Gelson at There's a Book for That started #MustRead as a way to address our GoodReads lists. This year Leigh Anne Eck at A Day In the Life and I took over for her. Leigh Anne Eck is hosting the final update for this year. Add your link here

I managed to accomplish all my reading goals this year. I even surpassed some of them. My Goodreads goal was to read 333 books. I ended up reading 456!

My plan was to read a certain number of books from different categories: fiction, nonfiction, picture books, Indigenous authors, and Canadian authors.You can read more about my original goals here.


My goal was to read at least twenty four novels from a curated list. Since the end of August I've read another six books making it thirty all together. Almost all of the books are there because they received stellar reviews or because they are authors whose work I adore. I gave five stars to fifteen of the titles I finished. You can check out my finished list here

Books I finished since August include:


I accomplished my goal of reading at least twelve of the books from this curated list. Since I started keeping this goal, I read much more nonfiction in general and always have at least one on the go. The books I finished from my original list are here.

I finished three titles since August:


My Goodreads list of picture books I 'wanted to read' was out of control. I weeded a lot of them and decided to try and read at least 100 of the 208 books left. 
It was hard. I am easily sidetracked by the shiny covers and smell of new books. 
At first I prioritized Canadian authors. I wouldn't have completed this goal except that between Christmas and New Years I was sick and couldn't focus on anything longer than a picture book. Thankfully the VPL has increased it's ebook collection since the start of the pandemic. You can see the list of the 102 picture books I finished here.  

Books I finished since August include:


I read 41 titles by Indigenous authors this year. They included picture books, nonfiction, graphic novels, realistic and speculative fiction. They were all pretty spectacular. Here is what I completed

Books I finished since August include:


I read at least 111 books by Canadian authors last year. If you add the 36 Indigenous Canadians, it makes up a good chunk of my reading life. 

Books I finished since August include:


I started reading these in 2020 and decided to make completing it one of my 2021 goals. I completed the collection, including all the short stories connected to it, by the Fall Update. I even purchased Nanny Ogg's Cookbook, although I haven't made anything from it. The Discworld turned out to be the ideal respite from the real world of Covid anxiety.  

This blog post by Steve @ YOUR TURN, DAD  pretty much explains why I fell in love with this collection. 

#IMWAYR December 13, 2021

Hello everyone. It's #IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

Hope everyone is doing well. Last weekend we were in full on steam ahead with house renovations and finishing up Christmas projects since our family was planning on coming home for the holidays. I just didn't have time to get a blog post written. 

Then last week we discovered that the highway between here and Vancouver will not open until some time in the new year. I have been full of mixed feelings ever since. Honestly, it was a huge relief since it means we don't have to panic about things like kitchen sinks delayed in transit. We don't have to settle for what is ok, but we don't really like, just to get it done. On the other hand, it will be our first Christmas without family since we were travelling around America way back in our mid 20s. I already ache about not seeing the grandchildren. Still, it really is just a day and we are talking about doing Christmas in February when British Columbia celebrates Canada Day - a new tree and all. 

Not only will I now have time for blogging, I will also have time to contemplate my year end #MustRead. Leigh Anne Eck at A Day In the Life will host the last update for 2021 and host us for 2022. 

Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.


5 stars

It Fell from the Sky
by Terry Fan & Eric Fan
September 28, 2021 🍁

Believe it or not, I swear the Fan brothers get better with each new book. I ended up reading this a couple of times. Not only is it visually stunning, it's one of those books that addresses big issues and leaves us filled with questions about morality.
It's about beauty, greed, environmental degradation, and forces beyond our control. It's certain to foster rich conversation about power, joy, and the meanings of life.

5 stars

Amara and the Bats
by Emma Reynolds July 20, 2021

Amara loves bats. You might even say she is obsessed by them. Then her family moves from their bat friendly environment to a new community. Amara discovers that there are no bats around, not even in the local park. After reading about other young activists who are making a difference in the world, Amara comes up with a plan. She inspires her classmates so they work together to raise money for bat homes and the community rehabilitates the park to provide a bat friendly environment.
I like that this book is loaded with bat facts. I love all the diversity in the characters in the book. I appreciate the naming of the other activists.
The front endpapers have diagrams of 18 different kinds of bats. The back matter is full of more bat facts explaining why they are a keystone species, things you can do to help them, and information about setting up bat houses.


5 stars

The Wolf Mother
by Brett D. Huson & 
Natasha Donovan (Illustrations) September 28, 2021 🍁

I adore this series. Each book follows a specific animal through a cycle of life. In this case we see a young wolf pup grow up and become a wolf mother in her own right. Readers learn the important role wolves play in maintaining balance in the environment.
The text uses Gitxsan terms and scientific vocabulary. Most of these words are explained in small text boxes on the same page. The back matter explains how the society of wolves parallels the different clans of the people.
The biological, cultural, and spiritual connection between wolves and people is integral to all books in this series. It’s there in the use of Gitxsan vocabulary in the text. It's there in Natasha Donovan’s stunning art. Her images, gorgeously coloured in the shades of the rainforest and river, integrate Gitxsan people in the background. What brings it all together is the use of traditional art into the landscapes.

5 stars

Niki Nakayama: A Chef's Tale in 13 Bites
by Debbi Michiko Florence, Jamie Michalak & Yuko Jones (Illustrator)
September 14, 2021

I had never heard of Niki Nakayama until reading this book. Kaiseki is also a completely new concept in dining for me - one that I now hope to experience some day.
I love that this book is organized in the same format as kaiseki: a storytelling feast. I appreciate that this book shows the challenges Niki Nakayama experienced as a woman determined to break into realms previously considered men’s domain. On top of all this, it’s truly beautifully illustrated. The back matter contains a timeline, additional information about kuyashii and kaiseki, and a recipe for wonton pizza.
Now I’m keen to go and track down the session of Cook’s Table that highlights her.


5 stars

Burt the Beetle Doesn't Bite! 
by Ashley Spires
June 01, 2021 🍁

I opened this book and read the endpapers. I flipped to the back and read those. All those super bugs! I already knew I would love this book. I was not disappointed. This charming beginner graphic novel is packed full of facts about different backyard arthropods. At the same time, it's a delightful story about Burt, a Watermelon June beetle, and the dangers for creatures like him. He might not have the kinds of super abilities many other insects have, but when it matters, he knows how to save his friends.


Badger and Skunk are some of the sweetest characters to come out of children’s literature. Their ‘odd couple’ friendship is full of love, compassion, and just the right amount of irritation to make it real. In this episode the two of them go on a camping trip. Skunk wants distraction from the thief who steals his New Yak Times book review section. Badger will search for rocks to replace the amber that was stolen from him by is nefarious cousin, Fisher.
I salivated over the many descriptions of food. I laughed at Skunk’s idea of necessary camping equipment. What I loved most was how almost all of the animosity between the different characters was resolved positively.
I adore this quote about reading book reviews.
“Sometimes it is enough to imagine all the enjoyment you would get from reading this or that book.”


A book that can bring me to tears is a good book. A book with characters that feel so authentic I think I could run into them in the street, is a good book. A book that comforts me and at the same time, addresses big issues, is a good book. A book that shows the power of family and community is a good book. These are only a few of the many reasons that I continue to read about the Vanderbeekers.
In this one the children in the family deal with loss and grief in their own way.

Remote Control
by Nnedi Okorafor January 19, 2021

If you have never read a Nnedi Okorafor book, you are living a deprived life. If she writes it, I will read it. She calls what she writes afrofuturism. She combines African culture and mythology with science fiction to create worlds and characters that are both profound and unforgettable.
Fatima, a young girl, is gifted with a box containing a seed. She doesn’t understand it’s power, but soon afterwards it is sold by her parents. At the age of seven, she is transformed into Sankofa, adopted daughter of death. Technology dies at her touch. Fear and anger cause her to glow green and kill those around her. She leaves her dead community and walks the land in search of the box and seed.

This book is intense. It's so intense I had to stop listening every once in a while and play soothing music. 
The world of these characters in Marrow Thieves was pretty horrific, but in this sequel, it gets even worse. Readers see what life inside the 'schools' is like. Inside the school, French meets his brother who has become a recruiter and begins the training program himself. Outside the school there are all kinds of dangers for our protagonists to navigate - vampire cults, vigilantes, and spies.

This is my third reread. Peter Grant is called in to a drug overdose at a party attended by the daughter of Cecilia Tyburn Thames, aka Lady Ty, the goddess of the River Tyburn. He's ordered to keep the daughter out of it. But when the dead girl turns to have been riddled with the effects of too much magic, the case takes off into all kinds of weird territory with all kinds of international ramifications. I like the addition of Muslim policewoman Sahra Guleed, as Peter's new partner. If you like police procedural types of books with magic and paranormal characters thrown in for good measure, you will probably like this series. Also Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's narration is swoonworthy. 


Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch & Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Narrator)

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth


What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

"Indian" in the Cabinet by Jody Wilson-Raybould

More picture books from my #MustReadList


#MustReadIn2021 31/25

#MustReadNFIn2021 12/12 

#MustReadPBIn2021 70/100 

Big Book Summer Challenge 9 

Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 38/25

Books by Canadian Authors: 118/100

Canada Reads 2021 5/5 

Discworld Series 41/41

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 415/333