Tuesday, 21 December 2021

The Thirteenth Annual Westies - review of the year 2021

Well, after another odd year, here we are again, gearing up for Christmas and so it's time to indulge in the annual blog custom and remember the good books of 2021.

Once again, it's been a great reading year for me (in fact, I've read more books this year than I have since I began my spreadsheet in 2002) with a nice mixture of brand new novels, a few books that have languished on my TBR pile for too long, some good second-hand finds (which jumped straight to the top of the pile) along with some welcome re-reads.

As always, the top 20 places were hard fought and, I think, show a nice variety in genre and tone - if I've blogged about a book before, I've linked to it on the list.

Without further ado, I present the Thirteenth Annual Westies Award - “My Best Fiction Reads Of The Year” - and the top 20 looks like this:

2:   Season Of Mist, by Paul Finch
3:   Valley Of Lights, by Stephen Gallagher
4:   The Saturday Night Ghost Club, by Craig Davidson
6:   Summer At The French Park Café, by Sue Moorcroft *
7:   Clown In A Cornfield, by Adam Cesare
8:   Of Men And Monsters, by Tom Deady
9:   Don't Turn Around, by Jessica Barry
10: Blow Out, by Neal Williams
11: Reckless, by R J McBrien
13: The Flight, by Julie Clark
14: Driftnet, by Lin Anderson
15: The Other Passenger, by Louise Candlish
16: Murder Most Unladylike, by Robin Stevens
18: Later, by Stephen King
20: The Cottingley Cuckoo, by AJ Elwood

* This will be published in the summer of 2022, I read it to critique

The Top 10 in non-fiction are:

1=: Days & Ages, by Mark Beaumont
3:  The Storyteller, by Dave Grohl
4:  The Bassoon King, by Rainn Wilson
5:  Paperbacks From Hell, by Grady Hendrix
6:  Lonely Boy, by Steve Jones
7:  In The Pleasure Groove, by John Taylor
8:  A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away, by Paul Hirsch
9:  Imperfect Hero: Harrison Ford, by Garry Jenkins
10: Star Wars Year By Year, by Lucy Dowling

Stats wise, I’ve read 91 books - 42 fiction, 21 non-fiction, 16 comics/nostalgia/kids and 12 Three Investigator mysteries.

Of the 79 books, the breakdown is thus:

7 biography
20 horror
14 film-related
6 drama (includes romance)
16 crime/mystery
5 sci-fi
2 nostalgia
9 humour

All of my reviews are posted up at Goodreads here

In case you’re interested, the previous awards are linked to from here:


  1. Thank you very much for including 2 of my books, Mark! Awesome!

  2. Merry Christmas to you and yours, MW. Hope Santa was good to you.