Best Of 2021

The Best Books Of 2021 (as chosen by the Glam Adelaide Book Review Team)

The Glam Adelaide Book Review Team pick their favourite reads of 2021!

For many of us, 2021 has been a long, hard year. Any reading enthusiast will tell you that the best remedy for life’s harsh realities is escaping to the pages of an all-consuming book. If nothing else, reading allows us to see, hear, feel, and experience things that are out of our grasp in the physical world. And in a time of quarantining, border closures, and travel restrictions, that has never been more relevant.

Our fabulous book team has combed through their sea of reviews this year to come up with the very best reads of 2021. These are the titles that made them laugh and cry, introduced them to new worlds of fantasy and reality, and stuck with them throughout the year. As the festive break approaches, you may well find yourself with some spare time and in need of a few literary recommendations. These are our top picks!


Sea Country, by Aunty Patsy Cameron, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy (Magabala Books)

“Holidays might be off the menu for many of us this year, but we can take a trip to the bush and beaches of Flinders Island via the stories and illustrations of Sea Country, by Aunty Patsy Cameron and Lisa Kennedy. The picture book immerses readers in the culture of island life—its depiction of a community living in harmony with the environment makes it my favourite 2021 publication.”


Off the Charts, by Georgie Carroll (Pan Macmillan Australia)

“This biography is comedy gold but full of heart. Local comedian and nurse, Georgie Carroll, knows no boundaries when it comes to the stories she tells!”


Behind Dark Eyes: The True Story of Jon English, by Jeff Apter (Woodslane Books)

“An emotion-filled biography of one of Australia’s great music talents, from an exceptional Australian music biographer. Fully supported by the English family, this is a no-holds barred look into the brief but full life of Jon English.”


The Paper Palace, by Miranda Cowley Heller (Penguin Books Australia)

“A masterful novel to fall in love with, from an exciting new voice in literary fiction.”


The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, by Marianne Cronin (Penguin Books Australia)

“I reviewed this book in February and haven’t stopped talking about it since. A few of my friends are receiving a copy for Christmas and out of everyone to whom I have raved about it,  there is no one who has not enjoyed it! It will never be a great literary piece, but it is funny, sad, and makes you want to hug the book when you have finished. It would make a perfect holiday read.”


Empire of Pain, by Patrick Radden Keefe (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Empire of Pain is a superb analysis by Patrick Radden Keefe of the history, secrecy, greed and utter selfishness of the Sackler family.  While uncovering the despicable lies and behaviour used by the  family to promote their new “wonder drug”, the author also lays bare the uncomfortably close links between doctors, Big Pharma and the inadequacy of government regulators. The narrative shows that the relationships between medicine, drug companies, health care systems, regulators and politicians in the US are far too close for comfort. He clearly demonstrates that it would have been possible to intervene in the opioid crisis much sooner and save many lives given the political will.”


Grace Under Pressure, by Tori Haschka (Simon & Schuster)

“A brutally honest, hilarious, and heartfelt story about the modern-day pressures of motherhood. A perfect summer holiday read!”


House of Hollow, by Krystal Sutherland (Penguin Books Australia)

“My favourite book from this year was House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland. It was a wonderfully dark fantasy with well-written characters, a blurring of the lines between good and evil, and stunningly created fantasy elements. I could not put it down!”


The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel Van Der Kolk (Penguin Books Australia)

The Body Keeps the Score is as intriguing as an outstanding novel, yet as informative as a textbook. Excellent for anyone wanting to make their new year better.”


The Paris Affair by Pip Drysdale (Simon & Schuster)

“A light adventure novel in an exotic setting, and an entertaining mystery.”


 A Glasshouse of Stars, by Shirley Marr (Penguin Books Australia)

“A moving novel about the struggles of immigrant children in Australia, exploring themes of belonging, family, and sacrifice. Marr tells Meixing’s story through a second-person narrative style which transports the reader back to childhood. A wonderful Own Voices read for those who feel like they don’t belong.”

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