Ülrika's Top Ten Books of 2021

I spent many days trying to find a theme for this year’s reading list. Finally I realized that I read what I read and loved what I loved. Frequently, I’m drawn to the darker themes and undertones in both fiction and nonfiction. When compiling this list I realized that nothing changed this year. That isn’t always a bad thing. Here are my favorites for 2021. 

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Magma Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802157393
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - July 13th, 2021

This short and compulsive debut novel from Icelandic poet Thora Hjörleifsdóttir, gives you a glimpse into a young woman’s blind, passionate relationship that is highly toxic, cruel, with subtle violence. Filled with short chapters, you won’t realize that you are at the end until the final turning on the page.


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Burnt Sugar: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781419752926
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - January 26th, 2021

A fearless debut novel about a mother-and-daughter relationship with deep resentments, betrayal, and hidden truths of family history which brings them together in unexpected ways. Asking the profound question: will you be there for your mother in her time of need, when they were never there for you growing up? 


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Childhood: The Copenhagen Trilogy: Book 1 Cover Image
By Tove Ditlevsen, Tiina Nunnally (Translated by)
$13.00
ISBN: 9780374722937
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: FSG Originals - January 26th, 2021

Book One of the Copenhagen Trilogy memoir is a brave look at Tove Ditlevsen’s childhood in working class Copenhagen where she knows that she is a misfit in her family and her neighborhood. This is where she discovers that she wants to be a poet and a writer. Told with complete honesty and a vivid portrait of girlhood, it is a brave and beautiful memoir. 


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Youth: The Copenhagen Trilogy: Book 2 Cover Image
By Tove Ditlevsen, Tiina Nunnally (Translated by)
$13.00
ISBN: 9780374539405
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: FSG Originals - January 26th, 2021

Youth follows Tove after she is forced to leave school early, and has to embark on a string of unfulfilling low-paying jobs. All Tove wants is for her life to start like her older brother’s, to leave home, find love, and most importantly, independence from her parents. The second volume is vulnerabile, with small glimpses of humor and shows Copenhagen as it slid into War World II. 


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Dependency: The Copenhagen Trilogy: Book 3 Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780374539412
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: FSG Originals - January 26th, 2021

The last installment in The Copenhagen Trilogy finds Tove as a famous published poet and married to an older literary editor. All of her years escaping the life that she was born into finds Tove in unwanted pregnancies, failures, and an addiction that will stay with her throughout the rest of her life. This is by far the most honest, raw, and dark account of Tove’s life.


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Edie Richter Is Not Alone Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9781951213176
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Unnamed Press - March 9th, 2021

Rebecca Handler’s debut novel follows Edie Ritcher, a woman with a shocking secret whose father just died, leaving her family in San Francisco. When her husband relocates his job to Perth, Australia she becomes isolated, carrying a secret that will haunt her in a foreign country that mirrors her own life. Something has to give in both her marriage and her life. 


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The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555978273
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - February 5th, 2019

Esmé Weijun Wang’s collection of essays is a vivid portrait of what it means to be living with mental illness all while navigating the myriad attempts to find a diagnosis. Written in a brave voice that doesn’t shy away from the effect the disease has on the person, as well as the people close to them. 


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Learning to Talk to Plants Cover Image
By Marta Orriols, Mara Faye Lethem (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781782275770
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Pushkin Press - June 15th, 2021

In Marta Orriols debut novel Paula Cid’s long-term boyfriend dies hours later just as he informs her that he is leaving her for another woman. Orriols navagiates grief, betrayal, obsession, and what it takes to rebuild your life when it all falls apart. 


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Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor Cover Image
By Anna Qu
$26.00
ISBN: 9781646220342
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - August 3rd, 2021

Anna Qu was sent by her mother as a teen to work in the family’s garment factory in Queens. At home she was treated as a maid, punished for doing her homework, and suffered abuse at her family's hands. Qu does something that most people would only dream of: she alerts the Office of Children and Family Services, the act and consequences impact the rest of her life. Twenty years later, after an estrangement from her mother, she requests to see the report that changed her life only to find key details wrong. Qu asks uncomfortable questions about trauma, the meaning of work, and survival in immigrant families.


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Girlhood Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781635572520
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - March 30th, 2021

Melissa Fobes' writing has always been fearless, raw, truthful, and precise. This collection doesn’t shy away from what it means to transition from girlhood to being one's true self in adulthood. This collection blends essay, memoir, and cultural reporting seamlessly. 


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