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The Best Books of 2021

Each year, magazines, websites, newspapers, book review journals, awards committees, and libraries share their lists of the best books of the year. Some lists are short, with only 10 titles. Others highlight books from various genres and can be as long as 200 titles once all are combined. These lists demonstrate just how subjective reading is. Out of the 50 lists I viewed (and there are even more than that) only 3 books are on at least 20 of the lists. Overall, I tallied 825 different titles, and of those, 541 appear on only one list. 43 lists have at least one book that did not appear on another list. The books below are the most critically acclaimed of the year, appearing on at least 10 lists.

The library is currently open for browsing. Masks are required in all city buildings. If you are not comfortable entering the library, you can request items for curbside pickup during our regular hours (Monday-Thursday 9-9; Friday and Saturday 9-5). To reserve a book, place a request in the online catalog, fill out a request form, or call the reference desk at 978-674-4121.

Click on an image for more information.

Many great books were published in 2021. If you are looking for more options, click on the image below. It includes books that appear on at least 5 lists as well as staff picks. It also indicates which books are available in alternate formats, such as Large Print, Audio, or Overdrive.

Click here for the 2021 Best Books Handout

Let us know if you read any of these books. We’d love to know what you think. You can even write a book review that may be featured on our blog and/or social media.