My Top 10 Books of 2021

Find your next favourite read here!

Clara Zoellner
3 min readJun 26, 2022
Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

Reading 52 books in 2021 exposed me to an array of fantastic topics, from Ultra Marathons to Crime Thrillers to classic Self-Help books. I worked my way through all kinds of genres and am now presenting you my Top 10 Books of 2021, featuring a healthy mix of everything. Hopefully you can discover something new and also find joy in it!

1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Will rip your heart out, mangle it and clumsily replace it in your chest. Beautiful take on Greek mythology and you can tell Miller really knows her stuff — in both history and writing. Read more

2. Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

I primarily blame this book for my intense interest in Ultras, and changing my life. Thanks to Roll I picked up running again, and am now training for a Half Marathon! Read more

3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

A quick read, followed by a long think. It will fundamentally adjust the way you perceive creativity, hard work and resistance. Already on my re-read pile. Read more

4. The Swarm by Frank Schaetzing

German brilliance of world building, merging plotlines and creating an outstanding story of an alternate future we could be living in right now. Very long book, so grab the audio and enjoy the ride! Read more

5. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Similarly to The Swarm, Weir is a master at world building and creating truly likable characters. But instead of underwater creatures, he’s taking us to space. Read more

6. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Once again your heart will take damage, but the lesson Hoover communicates with her characters is worth it. Definitely changed my perspective on relationships, romance and family included. Read more

7. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggings

Apart from recounting an incredible life of achievements, Goggings shares solid advice and plants some important seeds in one’s mind. Also to blame for my interest in Ultras. Read more

8. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Haig explores all the different possibilities in life, that come after a simple decision. A beautiful life lesson, especially for a fresh graduate at the time. It’s a self-help book disguised by fiction! Read more

9. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

A fantastic thriller to get sucked into: unreliable narrators, crazy plot twists, overall just a very enjoyable read with a unique story. Read more

10. The Cove by LJ Ross

Simply impeccable, for the sole reason it plays in Kynance Cove, Cornwall. I used to live close-by, so the book was a perfect trip down memory lane mixed with a gripping story! Read more

BONUS — How To Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

An absolute classic showing you that society has always struggled with certain anxieties. Beautiful storytelling and checklists at the end of each chapter to take action immediately. Read more

Of course this a completely subjective list, and some books definitely made the top 10 purely for the fact they were the right book at the right time or leveraged some other kind of personal connection. Especially the self-help books were often consumed during difficult life stages and thus had a larger effect. In other cases, certain ideas or chapters were so impactful, that the whole piece had to be listed. Hope you got some new ideas for your next book and happy reading!



Clara Zoellner

3rd culture kid currently exploring the wonders of the UK