Starcat’s Ten Best Books of 2021

Hello fellow bookworms! This is my annual share about my ten favorite books that I read this past year. As always, please note that these aren’t necessarily books that came out in 2021, just ones that I encountered and very much enjoyed.

I read 52 books in 2021, and it was hard to narrow the favorites list down to just ten. But for one reason or another, these are the books that stood out the most. Also, I was apparently more captivated by nonfiction than fiction during the past year. I discovered several of these through Carolyn Elliott’s course, which was a treasure trove of book recommendations.

Here are my 2021 favorites:

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. This was recommended by Mike Dooley in one of his workshops. I absolutely loved it! There’s a lot in here that’s outdated, and I could have done without all the Christian Bible quotes (although I see why they did it, to appeal to Western audiences by highlighting the similarities between Hindu and Christian values). But there are so many gems of wisdom, and it’s a window into another time and place. If you identify as a spiritual seeker at all, read this book.

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven: An Exploration of Women’s Power Past, Present and Future by Shirley Ranck. As a practicing Pagan, I’ve been on the periphery of several different Unitarian Universalist churches. This book was written as part of UU curriculum, and it’s extremely well done. This might be review material for many of us feminists and Goddess worshippers, but it’s still worth reading. I enjoyed the way the book was organized, as well as the thought-provoking questions and exercises that are included.

The Moon Book: Lunar Magic to Change Your Life by Sarah Faith Gottesdiener. Since I’ve co-written a book that talks a lot about lunar magick, you might legitimately wonder why this one made the list. First of all, there’s always more to learn about any given topic. That’s true for me as I explored this wonderful tome. Second, this book is visually stunning. Yes, the content is terrific – but it’s enhanced by the beauty of the design and layout.

Sovereign Self: Claim Your Inner Joy and Freedom with the Empowering Wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita by Acharya Shunya. I’ve already written about the synchronicity of how this book came into my world. I loved reading about the Hindu classics from a female perspective. Shunya is a wise teacher. She puts these ancient teachings into a modern context for the reader, which is useful in daily life.

Unbound: A Woman’s Guide to Power by Kasia Urbaniak. If I had to pick a book on this list that most changed my perspective, it would be this one. I strongly feel that everyone – not just women – should read it. It’s a game-changer. It also made sense of so many things that I hadn’t understood about interpersonal communication. Amazing.

The Art of Contemplation: A Gentle Path to Wholeness and Prosperity by Richard Rudd. I haven’t yet finished reading Rudd’s book The Gene Keys, or that would certainly be on the list as well. This slim companion volume was succinct and powerful. His work is in service to the awakening of human consciousness, and his writing is powerful.

Rewire for Wealth: Three Steps Any Woman Can Take to Program Her Brain for Financial Success by Barbara Huson. My biz coach is running a book club based around finances, and this was the first one we read. It’s also a workbook, and I did most of the exercises while at a resort in Mexico on vacation. Talk about the perfect setting for upgrading my wealth mindset! Huson is wise, and shares her wisdom in an accessible way.

Paths of Wisdom: Cabala in the Golden Dawn Tradition by John Michael Greer. Greer is one of the authors I found through the WEALTH alchemy course. He is obviously smart and knows the material inside out. I’ve already acquired two more of his books on magick. If you’re interested in Western occultism, Greer is a wise go-to.

Rhythm of War: Book Four of The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve chosen only two works of fiction for my favorites list, but this one is part four of a series. If you like fantasy, the whole series is a must-read as far as I’m concerned. Sanderson is a master of world-building, and his characters learn, grow, fail, succeed, agonize, delight, and change as often as the rest of us. Start with book one and read the Stormlight Archive series (including the novellas that happen between books) as it unfolds. You won’t regret it.

The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller. An old friend recommended this the year it came out, which was 2017. I’ve had it on my “to read” list ever since, and from now on I resolve to read his recommendations much sooner. This book is set in contemporary New York City, with a magical touch that makes the story shimmer. The ending was unexpected and satisfying. I loved it.

The runners-up: Here are three books that almost made the list, two of which are fiction. The Red Goddess by Peter Grey is a very, umm, interesting work about the Goddess Babalon. Widdershins by Charles deLint is his usual excellent brand of urban fantasy, set in the fictional city of Newford. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami is delightfully weird. He’s another author I’ll be sampling further.

What did you read last year that you loved? What’s on your to-read list for 2022?

Tell me what you think!

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