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The Annual Bookend: Volume 4 (2021)

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4 January 2022
The Annual Bookend: Volume 4 (2021) Book Cover The Annual Bookend: Volume 4 (2021)
Annual Review
Peter Donnelly
The Reading Desk
1 January 2022

I hope you enjoy the recap of 2021 below and if you relish recommended lists of books, we have provided many through the year and particularly in this last month. The turn of the year is always full of expectations, new promises and new challenges. Each year this involves setting a target number of books plus choices to be made to help authors, publishers and readers. In 2022 I hope I can continue to read a wide variety of books, and from published, Indie, debut, and established authors. This year I want to revisit the classics and side more with CS Lewis when he says

“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”

rather than as Mark Twain wittingly stated

“‘Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.”

Best wishes to the writing community in its diverse range of authors and support services.

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face …

W.B. Yeats

As unbelievable as it may seem, I am getting older, 😊 and I venture into visions of being even older, retired, nodding by the fire, and taking down that book. And, of course, joining my many friends on Goodreads to share my thoughts and some Irish craic. Unfortunately, as a reparation for the worst of all years (2020), this year had my day job drag me into greater and greater commitments as my time on Goodreads slipped through my fingers. Clinging to this fantastic community, I have continued to read and submit the irregular review – thanks for the kind and encouraging comments.

My year started with the fabulous Shuggie Bain, and continued with many great authors who released new books, including Craig Russell, John Boyne, Sharon Bolton, MW Craven, John Marrs, Claire Keegan, Elizabeth Strout, Kate Moss, Joe Abercrombie and John Banville. The magical aspect of reading and sharing our thoughts is that we all have different tastes and expectations from a book. If I can offer a selection of books from this year that made it onto my favourites shelf and deserve a shout out, they include:

In the Shadow of Time by Kevin Ansbro
Fields of Grace by Wendy Waters
While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
Hyde by Craig Russell
The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood
The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

It is always a danger to start naming people, especially with so many wonderful friends, but I have Ceecee, Beata and Julie to thank for their buddy reads and making those experiences even more rewarding than reading alone. I want to thank all the publishers, NetGalley, and authors for providing me with ARCs and trusting me with their precious work to share my honest thoughts. I remain humbled by the steps authors take to sweat blood on the keyboard, publish their books and release them to the world for our enjoyment and appreciation.

I know things can always get worse, but they can also get better, and while this Coronavirus will probably remain with us for a very long time, I hope we all vaccinate up, stay safe and have a fantastic 2022. I’m 100% convinced that the Goodreads community has provided us all with a lift to our spirits and shines brightly in moments of darkness. Our shared journeys through many written stories have often been that escape into another world that fills us with delight and happiness when the real world seems a crazy place. Thank you!!

TAGS
Peter Donnelly
Ireland

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley peter@thereadingdesk.com

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