The New York Times Reveals Their 10 Best Books Of 2021

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Carina Pereira

Staff Writer

Carina Pereira, born in ‘87, in Portugal. Moved to Belgium in 2011, and to Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in 2019. Avid reader, changing interests as the mods strikes. Whiles away the time by improvising stand-up routines she’ll never get to perform. Books are a life-long affair, audiobooks a life-changing discovery of adulthood. Selling books by day, writer by night. Contact

As the end of the year approaches, various platforms start putting together a selection of the books they believe deserve to have the literary spotlight of the last 365 days.

From Goodreads Choice Awards, to the Top Five Books Of The Year At Amazon, these lists are often a great way to compare what is going around our own social media bubble, and what the mainstream media and platforms deem the best of. (Amazon’s list has one book in common with the New York Times. Read this whole post and see if you can guess which one before you click that link.)

Book Riot is obviously not an exception in this matter – we are always down to tell you all about our favourite reads – and you can check out the books we held most dear to our hearts in 2021 here.

The 10 Best Books Of The Year as it is currently presented by The New York Times has been going on since pretty much the beginning of the Book Review magazine, back in 1896.

After several changes across the years, in 2004 the list has taken the shape that is still being used today: as fall arrives, the editors start reading, discussing, and choosing what will become their definitive list of the ten best books of the year.

These are their choices for 2021:

As it’s common with the New York Times 10 Best Books Of The Year lists, the first five books are labelled under the genre literary fiction, and the other five are works of non-fiction, although Labatut is said to stand on the edge of both.

This year’s list includes two books in translation. Or, if we are in the mood to be pedantic, we can say it actually includes four, since Ditlevsen’s are actually three books put together and they can be found and purchased on their own (nice little way to include 12 books in a list of 10, New York Times!). Likewise, you’ll find several important works around social justice themes, including class and race, both fiction and non-fiction.

The Love Songs Of W.E.B Du Bois was one of the picks of Oprah’s Book Club 2021. It was also nominated for Time’s best books of 2021. Similarly, other books on the above list also fell under the Time’s 2021 best of non-fiction: Juneteenth, How The Word Is Passed, Invisible Child, and The Copenhagen Trilogy.

Fifty percent of the books nominated were written by authors of colour. Last year, this same list included forty percent authors of colour.

Read more about each of the 10 books listed above in this link. And for those with full access to the New York Times website, here are 100 Notable Books released in 2021 that their editors put together.