My 2021 End of Year Lists

Here’s my annual list of favorite books, music, and movies. Art always sustains and nourishes the soul. But for me, music and storytelling felt especially urgent during this pandemic year — a way to connect even when we were cooped up.

Since these are works I have actually listened to, watched, or read, I’m sure I’ve missed some worthy stuff. So if you have your own recommendations to share, I’ll add them to the stack of books and movies I hope to catch up on over the holidays!

Favorite Books of 2021:

  • Matrix — Lauren Groff
  • How the Word Is Passed — Clint Smith
  • The Final Revival of Opal & Nev — Dawnie Walton
  • The Lincoln Highway — Amor Towles
  • Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City — Andrea Elliott
  • Harlem Shuffle — Colson Whitehead
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land — Anthony Doerr
  • These Precious Days — Ann Patchett
  • Crying in H Mart — Michelle Zauner
  • Aftershocks — Nadia Owusu
  • Crossroads — Jonathan Franzen
  • The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois — Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
  • Beautiful Country — Qian Julie Wang

And here’s a reminder of books I recommended earlier this year:

  • At Night All Blood Is Black — David Diop
  • Land of Big Numbers — Te-Ping Chen
  • Empire of Pain — Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Project Hail Mary — Andy Weir
  • When We Cease to Understand the World — Benjamín Labatut
  • Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future — Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Things We Lost to the Water — Eric Nguyen
  • Leave The World Behind — Rumaan Alam
  • Klara and the Sun — Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Sweetness of Water — Nathan Harris
  • Intimacies — Katie Kitamura

Favorite Movies of 2021:

  • Drive My Car
  • Summer of Soul
  • West Side Story
  • The Power of the Dog
  • Pig
  • Passing
  • The Card Counter
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • The Worst Person in the World
  • Old Henry
  • The Last Duel
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • C’mon C’mon
  • Quo Vadis, Aida?

Favorite Music of 2021:​​

  • The Only Heartbreaker — Mitski
  • I Don’t Live Here Anymore — The War On Drugs ft. Lucius
  • Tala Tannam — Mdou Moctar
  • Magnolia Blues — Adia Victoria
  • Witchoo — Durand Jones & The Indications & Aaron Frazer
  • Formwela 10 — Esperanza Spalding
  • Gold Chains — Genesis Owusu
  • Broken Horses — Brandi Carlile
  • Woman — Little Simz ft. Cleo Sol
  • Pepas — Farruko
  • Go Down Deh — Spice ft. Sean Paul & Shaggy
  • Freedom — Jon Batiste
  • It’s Way with Me — Wye Oak
  • Nobody- Nas ft. Ms. Lauryn Hill
  • Nightflyer — Allison Russell
  • Montero (Call Me By Your Name) — Lil Nas X
  • Patria y Vida — Yotuel, Gente de Zona, Descemer Bueno, Maykel Osorbo, el Funky
  • Notice — Tammy Lakkis
  • Armash — Teddy Afro
  • Write a List of Things To Look Forward To -Courtney Barnett
  • Volví — Aventura & Bad Bunny
  • Headshots (4r Da Locals) — Isaiah Rashad
  • Boomerang — Yebba
  • In My Blood — MO3 & Morray
  • Ya — YEИDRY
  • Rumors — Lizzo ft. Cardi B
  • Walking at a Downtown Pace — Parquet Courts

And here’s a reminder of the songs I had on my summer playlist:



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