The Best Books We’ve Read In 2021 (So Far!)

It’s crazy to think that we’re about halfway through 2021, but here we are! Between the four of us, we’ve read quite a few books already, and we’re excited to share our favorites so far. We have a mixture of new releases, beloved classics and everything in between for our favorite reads for the first half of 2021.

best books 2021

Make sure you’re subscribed to our monthly book edit for what we’re reading throughout the year! In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new book to add to your TBR pile, here are our team’s picks from the first half of 2021!

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

“Admittedly, I haven’t been reading nearly as much as I have in years past, but I’m going to blame that on pregnancy brain. One of my favorite books is The Silent Patient, the debut novel from Alex Michaelides, so when The Maidens was released this summer, you better believe I was first in line. I am just enamored with the way he weaves together Greek mythology and psychological thrillers. It hits all my nerdy pulse points just right. The Maidens is one of those thrillers I’d recommend even if you aren’t typically pulled toward that genre because it’s just such a good read.” – Samantha


Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

“Ashley C. Ford realistically painted the most intimate struggles in her memoir. Sometimes the pain felt all too real, and it’s remarkable to be able to follow and learn from her story.” – Wendy


The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

“I’m actually still reading this book, but so far, it’s so good. It’s a Reese’s Book Club pick, so I expected it to be worth reading, but this gripping mystery has me eager to keep turning the pages.” – Nicole


Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

“This story really got to me. At times, I found it difficult to read — I was so swept away by the beautiful, emotional storytelling. It’s the story of William Shakespeare’s romance with his wife, Agnes, and also the story of his 11-year-old son Hamnet’s death. The heart of the novel is about the loss of a child and lifelong grief. It’s a melancholy story told in a beautiful, poetic way.” – Taylor


We Too: Essays On Sex Work and Survival edited by Natalie West

“I’m not typically drawn toward essay collections, but this one piqued my interest. I think one of the reviews I read summed it up best – This book was equal parts enlightening and infuriating. I’m so glad I read this collection, I feel like it was one of the most eye-opening books I’ve ever read. These narrative essays are unfiltered through the lens of the media and the tropes of sex workers we are fed all too often. I highly recommend this anthology that explores sex work as work, and sex workers as laboring subjects in need of respect — not rescue.” – Samantha


The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays by Casey Wilson

“Clearly, I’ve been driven toward memoirs this year. Casey’s entertainment work consistently lives in my various streaming watchlists, but I expect no less than excellence from her essays, and I wasn’t disappointed.” – Wendy


The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

“This isn’t a new release, but I finally had a chance to read it. I’m all about the mystery books this summer, and this one did not disappoint. It’s about a travel writer who goes on assignment on a week-long luxury cruise. Sounds like a dream? It is at first, but it soon turns into a nightmare. The suspense kept my attention throughout the entire book!” – Nicole


Sula by Toni Morrison

“I’m reading one Toni Morrison book each month this year. I started with The Bluest Eye, Morrison’s first book. I was in awe of Morrison’s poetic storytelling and how heartbreakingly beautiful the story was. Sula was just as exquisite, maybe more so. I loved the complexity of the characters — no one is one-dimensional. Morrison weaved a fantastic story of female friendship, racism, family and love into a mere 192 pages.” – Taylor


The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah

“This book jumps between the timeline of a school shooting at a Muslim school for girls and the life of Afra Rahman, a Palestinean-American woman. I loved how the author portrays how the path leading to faith is non-linear — yet all journeys are beautiful and valid. It is so timely and haunting, yet tinged with hope and resilience.” – Samantha


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Author: Samantha Welker

Samantha Welker is the business manager at Glitter Guide. She has an Master's in Corporate Finance & Sustainability from Harvard Business School but prefers working in the creative industry. She also hosts a weekly business podcast for creative women called Pretty Okay Podcast. She loves spending time with her husband and her son, Rocky, in sunny San Diego. Follow along on Instagram