As with last year, this list isn’t composed only of books released in 2021. It’s a list of books I read this year, regardless of when the book was published. Also, this list doesn’t include books I reread this year, only those books I read for the first time.

I read (or listened to) more fiction this year than I normally do, making an effort to seek out New York Times bestsellers and friends’ recommendations.

I read 87 books in 2021. Here are my 10 favorite books I read (or listened to) this year.

10: Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet—And How We Fight Back

This is probably the most important book on this list, as we continue to collectively fail at even the most basic efforts to address climate change. With economic incentives being what they are under capitalism, it’s increasingly difficult to see how we’ll be able to do what’s required in time.

9: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

A lovely book about a young woman who makes a bargain that results in her being forgotten by everyone she meets…until she meets a young man in a bookstore.

8: Bewilderment

A compelling and (frankly) devastating book about a father and son dealing with personal and environmental loss.

7: Klara and the Sun

A brilliant book about family, love, and our relationship with technology.

6: The Four Winds

An excellent novel set during the depression about family, environmental devastation, and the labor movement.

5: The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

An epic work of anthropology, and David Graeber’s last, this book challenges many of our assumptions about human social structure and behavior throughout history.

4: Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

Part autobiography, part scientific treatise, this is a must read for anyone interested in plants and ecology.

3: The Power of the Dog

I read this several months before the release of the film based on the novel, and it is absolutely stunning. Like the film, it simmers with tension the entire time, and in my opinion is even more compelling.

2: The Midnight Library

An imaginative and gripping story, this book was my favorite of the fiction I read this year.

1: Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks

While it’s certainly not for everyone, nor the most important book I read in 2021, Shady Characters is a beautifully rendered and fascinating book about the history of typographic marks and symbols.