The literary blessing of 2021 – The top 10 bestsellers this year

The literary blessing of 2021 - The top 10 bestsellers this year

By Pranjali Wakde

The year 2021 was a rollercoaster, better in some ways and worse in others – and that applies to literature too! The urge to read two extreme types of content – relatable as well as distracting – was high, which can be seen reflected in the bestsellers of this year. It is not that surprising to see that many books from this top-selling list were not released this year, but the content and the message it gives transcends years. And 2021 comes to an end, it is important to recognize these fantastic contributions!

  1. Dog Man: Mothering Heights – Dav Pilkey:

One of the most popular bestsellers of 2021 is none other than a comic book! Yes, that’s right – it’s Dog Man: Mothering Heights, by Dav Pilkey. This one is the tenth instalment of the Dog Man series, released in March this year. The comics focus on a dog-headed cop who is in charge of protecting the city, with his friends. The comic, with its beautiful visuals, is full of the value of friendship, family as well as humour – potty humour, to be exact. That might not be everyone’s cup of cold coffee, but hey! More than enough people – kids and adults alike – who love the whole series and eagerly await the next instalment!

  1. The Four Winds – Kristin Hannah:

Released in the first half of 2021, Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds is about Elsa Martinelli, a woman who has everything she ever wanted, a family, a house and a good job on a farm. And yet, she is not at all happy, which would’ve been bearable, if not for the drought that blankets the farm she works at, i.e. the Great Plains. It is the Great Depression’s the Dust Bowl era – and now the people, along with Elsa, have to decide to abandon their homeland or go to California to seek their American Dream.

the four winds - kristin hannah

What lies underneath this struggle is the desire most people secretly harbour – to be understood and loved despite that. I guess that’s what resonated the most with the readers, especially during the Pandemic, making it one of the most sought-after books.

  1. Atomic Habits – James Clear:

Sure, Atomic Habits – by James Clear – was published three years ago, but that doesn’t mean this amazing self-help book is not relevant even today. When people were all holed up in their homes with nothing to do, self-help books came into play a lot more than before. This one is a descriptive yet clear guide on how to change your habits, delving deep into the bad habits pattern and how you can turn your life around by making small changes and adjustments. The pointers given are something many would know –but the book motivates them to act on them. I am pretty sure many people, if not all, would’ve seen a lot of differences in their lives and habits after reading the book.

  1. The Midnight Library – Matt Haig:

The idea of parallel lives, alternate universes is a really hot topic to write about these days – and Matt Haig took great advantage of it for his The Midnight Library. It is about a lady Nora Seed, who feels her life is useless and decides to commit suicide. However, she finds herself in a place called ‘the Midnight Library’, sort of a waiting place between life and death, where the books have all of your parallel lives. The catch? To undo her decision, she has to try all those lives and decide which one is ‘ideal’ for her to live in.

Not only is the concept amazing and well-executed but also the book lures you into thinking about your life, the decisions you make and imagining the future. It doesn’t come across as a surprise now, that this interesting read was one of the top bestsellers of 2021!

  1. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse – Charlie Mackesy:

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, published in 2019, has been one of the bestsellers ever since it was published. This is another children’s book that has been picked up by the readers, young and old alike. Why so? Because it is full of impressive illustrations, well-delivered philosophies and cake-jokes! It follows the unexpected but beautiful friendship of the boy and the mole, who then let the fox and the horse join their crew. Charlie Mackesy’s signature style shines through his book that features more than 100 illustrations, both coloured and black & white. It is a quick read and yet readers find themselves coming back to Mackesy’s comfort-inducing art.

  1. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (Dr. Seuss):

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is definitely a classic, having published in 1990. There was a surge of sales of this book this year though, because duh! it’s Dr. Seuss. The story is about an unnamed protagonist – that is us, the readers – who leaves the town and hikes through different places before coming to ‘The Waiting Place’. The book has an open ending, but after going through this 944-words-long text, you’ll be left with more wisdom than before and a content feeling in your heart. When you finish the book, it is easy to see why literally everyone picked it up for reading this year, no matter their age. Because honestly, Dr. Seuss never goes out of style now, does he?

  1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid:

Adding a historical and dramatic flavour to this list is Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. The story is a gripping tale of a reclusive former star, Evelyn and her tinsel town life that comes with the usual glamour, drama and deceit. It opens with Monique Grant, a reporter, who is chosen to interview this star, only to realize that the latter wants Monique to write her biography, in which she tells all about her true love, who is surprisingly not one of the seven husbands.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Monique is confused about why that start is telling her about her life – until it is revealed that their lives were intertwined all along. It is a genius story, one that speaks of cold-blooded desires, selfish friendships and forbidden love. And if you are into history and showbiz tales, then this one’s a great read!

  1. They Both Die at the end – Adam Silvera:

What will you do, if you get a call about when will you die? You’d obviously spend it the way you’ve never lived your life before – reckless, carefree and wild. That’s exactly what They both die at the end talks about, and then some more. This YA novel, written by Adam Silvera, shows Mateo and Rufus stumbling upon each other while trying to live their last day. Bada Bing, Bada Boom! They fall in love, but as you could guess by the name, it does have a sad ending. Silvera is known to write books that make you feel the emotions deeply – and this one is full of resigned sadness. Despite that, the book became one of the bestsellers of this year, because it gives an important message – to live life fully, whatever the future holds.

  1. It ends with us – Colleen Hoover:

Amidst all the subtly abusive love stories – which have, concernedly, been increasing – is this realistic tale where the protagonist breaks that pattern in the most admirable way possible. It ends with us, by Colleen Hoover, was published in 2016 and was again picked up by readers in 2021. And why not? It is an interesting read, telling readers the story of Lily and how she has the perfect relationship with Ryle, until her first love, Atlas, comes into the scene. The dreamy bond is shattered as difficult truths become visible – and now, it is up to Lily to choose between the two men. This tale might be an emotional roller coaster and yet it still remains light, steady and must-read.

  1. Call Us What We Carry – Amanda Gorman:

Last but not least is this beautiful collection of poems, by Amanda Gorman, titled Call Us What We Carry, formerly named The Hill We Climb and Other Poems. It caused quite a stir in the world as the collection was not only published by the presidential inaugural poet but also weaves together the pieces of history, identity, racism, greed and language into poetic verses. It is especially effective in these times, as her poetry is laced with the urge to take action, that even if your growth seems difficult, being stuck is way worse. A dose of reality enhanced with lyrical genius and relatable themes; the poetry collection is worth reading!

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The bestsellers, as you can see, are a mix of adult and YA books, Children’s books and self-help. It is an eccentric yet diverse collection, pulling you into different worlds and making you experience all the emotions out there. I am sure the readers are now looking forward to what 2022 has in store for them.

By Pranjali Wakde