The books we loved in 2021

The books we loved in 2021 (with images of Mexican Gothic, Beautiful World, Where Are You and Ottolenghi Flavour)

As 2021 is almost over we asked the team at the Publishers Association to pick their favourite book they’ve read this year…

Amy Price, Head of Policy & Public Affairs

Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Faber)

I raced through Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud. It’s easy to understand why the novel won the 2020 Costa First Novel Award. The characters may be imperfect, and even quite frustrating at times, but Persuad’s story-telling is superb. Be warned though – the ending had me in tears.

Chris Kelly, Head of Finance

The Second Sleepby Robert Harris (Hutchinson)

I was drawn in by the intriguing premise, and the slowly ratcheting tension meant I had to finish it in one sitting. The way that the mystery unfolds and the satisfying, albeit ambiguous, conclusion left me with unanswered questions that I was thinking about long after the last page had turned.

Susan Pinkney, Head of Research

Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile (Random House Audio)

In 2021 we have again not travelled abroad due to the pandemic which has meant a number of LONG drives in the UK so audiobooks have played a big role in my life this year! My favourite has been Brandi Carlile’s memoir – Broken Horses. She’s an American singer songwriter who isn’t as big in the UK as she is in the USA (but hopefully will be one day!) It’s a great listen in its own right but the fact she live recorded over 40 songs for it makes it even better, especially when you’re stuck on the M25……

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive Officer

Life and Fate by Vassily Grossman (Vintage Classics)

It’s just the most incredible work of authorship documenting some of humanity’s worst times, but managing to identify acts of kindness within them. I’m still trying to make sense of what I’ve read now, which speaks to the fact that truly great books continue to sit within you as you digest and make sense of them long after you’ve finished reading.

Willa Cunningham, PA to CEO

10 minutes, 38 seconds in this strange world by Elif Shafak (Viking)

I enjoyed this book about the dark side of Istanbul, a beautifully sad story that was so visual and the characters so full of life.

I recently visited Istanbul; I didn’t go to the same part, mind! But I fell in love with the City. The Author loves the City also, which is clear from the way it was written, although she is sometimes a little conflicted.

Ruth Howells, Deputy Director of External Affairs

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (Faber)

I read a lot of fiction this year and have a number of favourites, but for me Beautiful World, Where Are You is probably the 2021 stand-out. It was such a big cultural event – just amazing publishing at its most powerful. I love Sally Rooney’s writing and looked forward to this so much that I ordered myself the special edition box from Books That Matter. The book itself lived up to expectations. I found the themes and the characters completely absorbing.

Special mentions also to No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury), My Mess Is a Bit of a Life (Faber) by Georgia Pritchett and Early Morning Riser (4th Estate) by Katherine Heiny.

Claire Anker, Senior Manager, IP Enforcement

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Jo Fletcher Books)

This interpretation of gothic fantasy takes you to a dark and glamorous 1950s Mexico, where a suffocating atmosphere and the oppressive weight of societal-familial expectations converge together to create a gripping tale. This was a great escape from the modern world.

Jasmine Joynson, Media Relations Manager

Ottolenghi FLAVOUR by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage (Ebury Press)

I got this gorgeous book as a Christmas present last year. Some of the recipes are surprisingly straightforward considering what I have come to expect from Yotam Ottolenghi. The potato and gochunjang braised eggs is probably my favourite – it’s lovely as a weekend brunch.

You can find our favourite books of 2020 here.