December 24


My Favorite Books From 2021

By Odyssa

December 24, 2021

I never had a theme in book reading, but looking at my list this year, I read a lot about self-publishing out of necessity, and books about getting out of dark situations.

Here's my year in books, if you want to see a summary. I became more active in Goodreads this year (again, out of necessity) and so far, I'm enjoying the company of fellow readers there. 

These are the best books I read this year.

The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children  by Shefali Tsabary 
My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

 There's no need to be a parent to read this book. After a while of getting into its pages, I realized this book was also written for a non-parent that's considering parenthood. There are a lot of cautionary stories in this book, but with conscious parenting, the author says we can resolve the woes of parenthood in a beautiful, loving way. The word that always came to me while reading this book was PATIENCE.

It took a while for me to finish this book because I lost interest before I even reached half of it, but when I got back to it this year, I went through it in a breeze!

 Admissions: Life as a Brain SurgeonAdmissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon by Henry Marsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my favorites for the year! The life story of the author is engaging and exciting. I was looking forward to reading each chapter where he tells about the challenges he faced as a doctor in a developing country, and how it compares to his practice in the UK. There's something fascinating about a human being opening a skull and having that power to make life-altering decisions for patients.

PS I've had a thing for medical stories because of the Korean series 'Hospital Playlist'.

19841984 by George Orwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the ultimate dystopian story! It was such a thrill to read.

Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life InterruptedBetween Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book dearly. It's a dense book but with so much power, emotion, grief and love. It's heavy, then it gets better, and at the end, the book tells you things will be okay, and that you are luckier than most people. If I can give this book over five stars, I would!

The State of Affairs: Rethinking InfidelityThe State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity by Esther Perel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A book worth reading again and again. Infidelity is something that captures my attention, an interesting part of human relationships (and human nature?). I recommend this book to couples, married or not. This book will let you see the reality couples from around the world face, and why and how it happens.

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s StoryThe Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing story of strength, courage, and love for family. The story has too much action and drama, it's almost like a well-written novel. The author told her story about their tough life in North Korea, the politics, the laws, the children see men and women hung by their necks because they broke a simple rule. Many times, I thought about putting myself in the author's situation, and thought 'I'd probably be dead by now.' This brings me to this recommendation - instead of choosing a thriller novel, read this!

How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market (Reedsy Marketing Guides #1)How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market by Ricardo Fayet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've read a bunch of guidebooks on self-publishing this year, but this one stands out. It's dense, full of updated information about Amazon and other book retailers. The most important thing I got from this book is how important ads are in selling books. The author is also the co-founder of Reedsy which I follow religiously. I look forward to his next book.

Highly recommended for authors who plan on self-publishing or are already published.

The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and EffectivenessThe Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 A delight to read. I love how the author interpreted Epictetus' teachings into something more digestible and applicable to our ordinary, daily lives. There's so much wisdom in this book.

Books by Filipino authors

Always Be Creating: A Field Guide to Living a Creative LifeAlways Be Creating: A Field Guide to Living a Creative Life by Abbey Sy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book for artists starting their creative journey. This is a book I should have read before I started publishing my work online in 2019. It's a great mix of entrepreneurial adventures, travel stories, hand-drawn artwork, and photographs by the author. The book layout is perfect, and it's a delight to read and look at.

Makisawsaw: Recipes x IdeasMakisawsaw: Recipes x IdeasMakisawsaw: Recipes x Ideas by Amihan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A book firmly rooted to the ground. Beautifully made, with facts about farming, Philippine history, and how plant-based recipes came about. There is a story for each cuisine and dish, and I love how this book came together through a story of standing together against hunger. I bought this book for two reasons. First, it was a book made by a community I believe in (Slow Food Sari-Sari) and I wanted to read what the contributors have to say.

The best part about this book is how the ingredients are easily found in Filipino homes and markets. Our parents love going to the market (different from an air-conditioned grocery store) for the prices and because 'everything is there'.

I'm more in the kitchen to eat than cook, but having this recipe book with me gives me encouragement that I CAN cook delicious plant-based meals!

View all my reviews.

There you go, my friends! I hope you found some good books to read and share this year. 


About the author

Odyssa is a writer from the Philippines. She is the author of Like A New Sun Rising: A Collection of Poems on Love. When not working or writing at home, she's out walking their dogs. She enjoys traveling, practices yoga, gets lost in books and Korean drama. To her, making time for a daily practice or ritual is the best gift to one's self.

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