ZH

2021

5 Books | by Zoe Hricik

All the books I’ve read in 2021

1984

1984

Books

1984 is a dystopian novel by English author George Orwell published in 1949. ?The novel is set in Airstrip One, a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. It is dictated by a political system named English Socialism under the control of the Inner Party, that persecutes individualism and independent thinking.Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, and memory holes, have entered into common use since its publication. In 2005, the novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels.

Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun

Books

#1 bestselling author Stephenie Meyer makes a triumphant return to the world of Twilight with this highly anticipated companion: the iconic love story of Bella and Edward told from the vampire's point of view.When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella's side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward's version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.This unforgettable tale as told through Edward's eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward's past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?In Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer transports us back to a world that has captivated millions of readers and brings us an epic novel about the profound pleasures and devastating consequences of immortal love.An instant #1 New York Times BestsellerAn instant #1 USA Today BestsellerAn instant #1 Wall Street Journal BestsellerAn instant #1 IndieBound BestsellerApple Audiobook August Must-Listens Pick"People do not want to just read Meyer's books; they want to climb inside them and live there." -- Time"A literary phenomenon." -- New York Times

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles

Books

“At once a scholar’s homage to The Iliad and startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist….A book I could not put down.”—Ann Patchett“Mary Renault lives again!” declares Emma Donoghue, author of Room, referring to The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller’s monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.

The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City

Books

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The true tale of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and the cunning serial killer who used the magic and majesty of the fair to lure his victims to their death.“Relentlessly fuses history and entertainment to give this nonfiction book the dramatic effect of a novel .... It doesn’t hurt that this truth is stranger than fiction.” —The New York TimesCombining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.The Devil in the White City draws the reader into the enchantment of the Guilded Age, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.

Gone Girl: A Novel

Gone Girl: A Novel

Books

Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn. On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.Amazon.com ReviewAmazon Best Books of the Month, June 2012: On their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick’s wife Amy disappears. There are signs of struggle in the house, and Nick quickly becomes the prime suspect. It doesn’t help that Nick hasn’t been completely honest with the police, and, as Amy’s case drags out for weeks, more and more vilifying evidence appears against him--but Nick maintains his innocence. Alternating points of view between Nick and Amy, Gillian Flynn creates an untrustworthy world that changes from chapter to chapter. Calling Gone Girl a psychological thriller is an understatement. As revelation after revelation unfolds, it becomes clear that the truth does not exist in the middle of Nick and Amy’s points of view; it is far darker, more twisted, and creepier than you can imagine. Gone Girl is masterfully plotted, and the suspense doesn’t waver for a single page. It’s one of those books you will feel the need to discuss as soon as you finish it, because the ending doesn’t just come--it punches you in the gut. --Caley AndersonFrom Author Gillian FlynnYou might say I specialize in difficult characters. Damaged, disturbed, or downright nasty. Personally, I love each and every one of the misfits, losers, and outcasts in my three novels. My supporting characters are meth tweakers, truck-stop strippers, backwoods grifters ...But it's my narrators who are the real challenge.In Sharp Objects, Camille Preaker is a mediocre journalist fresh from a stay at a psychiatric hospital. She's an alcoholic. She's got impulse issues. She's also incredibly lonely. Her best friend is her boss. When she returns to her hometown to investigate a child murder, she parks down the street from her mother's house "so as to seem less obtrusive." She has no sense of whom to trust, and this leads to disaster.Camille is cut off from the world but would rather not be. In Dark Places, narrator Libby Day is aggressively lonely. She cultivates her isolation. She lives off a trust fund established for her as a child when her family was massacred; she isn't particularly grateful for it. She's a liar, a manipulator, a kleptomaniac. "I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ," she warns. "Draw a picture of my soul and it'd be a scribble with fangs." If Camille is overly grateful when people want to befriend her, Libby's first instinct is to kick them in their shins.In those first two novels, I explored the geography of loneliness--and the devastation it can lead to. With Gone Girl, I wanted to go the opposite direction: what happens when two people intertwine their lives completely.I wanted to explore the geography of intimacy--and the devastation it can lead to. Marriage gone toxic.Gone Girl opens on the occasion of Amy and Nick Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. (How romantic.) Amy disappears under very disturbing circumstances. (Less romantic.) Nick and Amy Dunne were the golden couple when they first began their courtship. Soul mates. They could complete each other's sentences, guess each other's reactions. They could push each other's buttons. They are smart, charming, gorgeous, and also narcissistic, selfish, and cruel.They complete each other--in a very dangerous way.Review"Ice-pick-sharp... Spectacularly sneaky... Impressively cagey... "Gone Girl" is Ms. Flynn's dazzling breakthrough. It is wily, mercurial, subtly layered and populated by characters so well imagined that they're hard to part with -- even if, as in Amy's case, they are already departed. And if you have any doubts about whether Ms. Flynn measures up to Patricia Highsmith's level of discreet malice, go back and look at the small details. Whatever you raced past on a first reading will look completely different the second time around." --Janet Maslin, "New York Times ""An ingenious and viperish thriller... It's going to make Gillian Flynn a star... The first half of "Gone Girl" is a nimble, caustic riff on our Nancy Grace culture and the way in which ''The butler did it'' has morphed into ''The husband did it.'' The second half is the real stunner, though. Now I really am going to shut up before I spoil what instantly shifts into a great, breathless read. Even as "Gone Girl" grows truly twisted and wild, it says smart things about how tenuous power relations are between men and women, and how often couples are at the mercy of forces beyond their control. As if that weren't enough, Flynn has created a genuinely creepy villain you don't see coming. People love to talk about the banality of evil. You're about to meet a maniac you could fall in love with. A" "--"Jeff Giles, "Entertainment Weekly""An irresistible summer thriller with a twisting plot worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. Burrowing deep into the murkiest corners of the human psyche, this delectable summer read will give you the creeps and keep you on edge until the last page." "--People" (four stars) "[A] thoroughbred thriller about the nature of identity and the terrible secrets that can survive and thrive in even the most intimate relationships. "Gone Girl" begins as a whodunit, but by the end it will have you wondering whether there's any such thing as a who at all." "--"Lev Grossman, "Time"

Scroll to top