Precious humans,

It’s my favourite time of year. Not because of that whole Christmas thing, though that’s fine too. This is something better than that. I GET TO TALK ABOUT MY FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR. *AND* IT IS WORKBOOK SEASON!

If you’ve been around these parts for any length of time, you’ll know this is an annual tradition I’ve been doing since 2012. You can find all the yearly book lists here.

As always, this is not a list of the best books published for the year – just the books I read in that year. As they say in High Fidelity, the records are organised autobiographically.

How many books I read in 2021

First up: the big question! How many books did I read this year?

This year I read just over 200 books… up from last year, but nowhere near my 2019 record of 400 books.


80% of the books I read were on Kindle
20% of the books I read were paperbacks

I am definitely leaning back towards reading more on my Kindle, purely for middle aged reasons. I can see the backlit text better, I don’t get hand cramps from holding it and I don’t wake up my husband with rustling pages.

For a change, I didn’t really read any books on audiobook this year, except for re-listening to an old favourite.




More Than A Woman – Caitlin Moran

One of the best books I’ve ever read. So much so I immediately bought a dozen copies to give to other middle aged women. It is OUR BIBLE. I struggled between wanting to gobble it whole and ration it so it lasted forever. Can not recommend enough.

Love Stories – Trent Dalton

Hands down one of my favourite books of the year. One of my favourite journalists realised he was getting jaded, so he sits in Brisbane city with a typewriter to ask people their love stories. Heartfelt, human, deeply kind.


Women Don’t Owe You Pretty – Florence Given

Adored this book on contemporary intersectional feminism and self love – took lots of notes, and passed my copy onto my assistants too so we could do a wee work book group.

The Pronoun Lowdown – Nevo Zisin

A really cute designed book on pronouns. Hooray!

Remarkable Diaries – DK

I wrote about it here in detail, but I fucking loved this book documenting diaries through the ages.

Atomic Habits – James Clear

Useful tome on habit creation & maintenance. I shared my notes here.

Help Me! – Marianne Power

A cute memoir by a woman who tries out different self help protocols each month. Was inspired to read this because of my own 21 day challenges this year!

Primary School Confidential – Mrs Woog

I love reading books by teachers about school. As a school parent, I like knowing the other side of the story and what it’s really like in classrooms.

From Marathon To Ultra – Jonathan Cairns

This was written by one of my Book e-course students, and I bought it to support him and also as a bit of a joke because HAHAHAHA YEAH AS IF I REALLY NEED TO LEARN HOW TO GO FROM BEING JUST A MARATHON RUNNER TO AN ACTUAL ULTRA MARATHON RUNNER. I am not in the target market for this book at all. Anyway, I read the introduction, got hooked and read it in one night. It was actually really interesting even for an exercise hating hottie like me.

One Life – Tina Tower

My new mate Tina sent me copies of her books and I inhaled this in one night. I love Tina’s brave spirit & strength in creating a life of her own.

From Shitshow to Afterglow – Ariel Meadow Stallings

I’ve read Ariel’s blog for… maybe 15 years?

An excellent book if your life has gone tits up!

22 Things A Woman With Asperger’s Syndrome Needs Her Partner To Know – Rudy Simone

Concise and useful.

This Is Going To Hurt – Dr Adam Kay

Memoir of a doctor working in emergency. Gripping, funny and devastating all at once. Makes me appreciate medical staff even more.

How To Break Up With Your Phone – Catherine Price

Highly, highly, highly recommend.

Digital Minimalism – Cal Newport

Highly, highly, highly recommend. I paired this one with “How to break up with your phone” and they were the perfect duo.


Decluttering at the speed of life – Dana K White

Sane decluttering advice for people who aren’t naturally organised.

Order From Chaos – Jaclyn Paul

Excellent organisation advice for ADHD hoomans. My notes are here.

How To Keep House While Drowning – KC Baker

I love this chick on TikTok. This was a short, compassionate tome on mental health & cleaning.


Keep Going – Austin Kleon (re-read because it’s so great!)

Practices on how to keep creating, even when you’ve been doing it for a long while, or even when things are a flaming pile of dogshit.

Tender, Brave Spirit – Tammy Hudgeon

A visually stunning book on creative bravery. Absolutely adored it.


Deep Work – Cal Newport

This year I turned into an epic Cal fangirl. I’ve been studying this book for most of the year, and still haven’t finished with it.

Die Empty – Todd Henry

How to stop doing busy work and do the work you were born to do before you kark it.

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

I re-listened to the audiobook of Big Magic when I was in a creative slump. It’s solid gold.


Simple Path To Wealth – JL Collins

I liked the relative simplicity of his approach to wealth creation. I follow something similar except instead of index funds, I invest in ethical managed funds.

Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)

I fell into FIRE world this year and got obsessed. I love learning from people who have decided to live a financial life less ordinary and work out a way to retire early.

How I Invest My Money – Joshua Brown

How rich people actually invest their money. Completely fascinating.

100 Side Hustles – Chris Guillebeau

I love stories of people building unique businesses in their spare time. This was so inspiring!

Billionaire in Training – Brad Sugars

An interesting read on the process of purchasing businesses to grow then sell again.

Graphic Novels & Memoirs

Spring Rain – graphic memoir by Andy Warner

Touching and intense.

Annie Sullivan & The Trials of Helen Keller.

I bought this as a historical graphic novel for my kid, but decided to give it a go myself just to be able to talk to her about it. Surprisingly touching… the way he illustrates Helen’s world becoming illuminated with words and understanding was just beautiful. My only quibble is it ended too quickly on a kind of bummer event. I wish it had gone through and illustrated Annie and Helen’s life together.

Becoming RBG – Debbie Levy

Being an Australian, I didn’t know much about Ruth Bader Ginsbur. This comic biography was beautiful and such a lovely introduction to an inspiring woman!

Catherine’s War – Julia Billet

Intense and stunning story of a girl living through Nazi Germany.

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust

Same as above. Intense and beautiful. Read both in one bathtub sitting.

Susan Branch’s trilogy: The Fairy Tale Girl, Martha’s Vineyard and A Fine Romance

I fell HARD into Susan Branch world this year. I wrote about my obsession here.

These are three of her books which form an autobiographical trilogy. They are all handwritten, illustrated and painted and just STUNNING. Fuck I love them… reading them and learning about Susan was a massive highlight of my year! She is so inspiring! She is a 74 year old author & illustrator who has been creating since the 1980s and has gathered the most beautifully connected, loyal group of readers she calls “Girlfriends”. I totally want to be her when I grow up!

Manabeshima Island Japan

Oh my word, this was a FEAST for the eyes. Hands down one of my favourite graphic travel memoirs EVER.

Inspired You – Marian Parsons

Gorgeous book on interior design by a multi-passionate creative. I should give you a heads up – there are a few Christianity references in this book. I’m not religious but was happy enough to skip those parts.

Dare To Disappoint – Growing Up In Turkey

Lovely graphic memoir.

Almost American Girl – Robin Ha

Graphic memoir by a Korean born girl who is abruptly transplanted to the USA and struggles to learn English.

Covid Chronicles: A Comic Anthology

I feel like I need to digest the strangeness of the last 20 months by reading comics about it. This was great.

Quarantine Comix – Rachael Smith

Same as above.

How To Be Ace – A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual

I didn’t know much about the lived experience of asexuality, so this was a useful window for me to begin to understand more.

True Believer – Lucy Bellwood

I got obsessed by Lucy Bellwood this year. You can read about that here. I think I ended up reading her entire catalogue of comics. This was one of my favourites.

This Woman’s Work – Julie Delporte

There’s something about the drawing and design of this book that I find utterly compelling. Ooof, I can barely describe how delicious it is.

Heartstopper series 1, 2, 3, 4 by Alice Osman

Utterly heartwarming comic series about two teen boys falling in love. I GOBBLED these books up. GOBBLED.

Dancing at the Pity Party – Tyler Feder

Poignant memoir about grief and love.


The Road Trip – Beth O’Leary

I’m a big ole Beth O’Leary fan – The Flatshare and The Switch are previous favourites of hers. She manages to create visceral images of her characters, and real emotional tension.

The Soulmate Equation – Christina Lauren

My proudest moment of the year was when I was hanging out at my favourite bookstore that sometimes lets me work there, and a woman came in looking for this exact book. And I had JUST finished reading it that week, and already knew exactly where it was in the store. I’m seriously the best volunteer staff member they’ve ever had. HA!

Anyways, it’s a fucking great book, just like all of their books are!

The Heart Principle – Helen Hoang

Helen is another firm favourite of mine – she writes intensely emotional romance novels featuring people with Autism. HEART!

If you’re looking for some hot Victorian era gay erotica, HOO BOI DO I HAVE YOU COVERED.

Float Plan – Trish Doller

Grief stricken chick decides to sail around the world to try and heal. Beautiful and emotional.

Boyfriend Material – Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall is the cutest and the bestest. That is all.

While We Were Dating – Jasmine Guillory

Oh wait, sorry, Jasmine Guillory is ALSO the cutest and the bestest.

My Darling Duke – Stacy Reid


You and Me On Vacation – Emily Henry

I fucking love this chick’s books. They are always emotional and gripping without giving me the sads.

Beach Read – Emily Henry

As above.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown – Talia Hibbert

How lucky am I that Helen Hoang, Beth O’Leary AND Talia Hibbert all released new books this year!!!

I inhaled them WHOLE. Honestly, the year could have only improved if Tessa Dare had released one too!

Anyways, Talia’s books are hot AF and also include neurodiverse and inclusive characters. They are human and humane and just lovely.

Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (haven’t read the rest of the series yet)

After bingeing Bridgerton on Netflix I started gobbling up the series of books they are based on.

I’ve held off on reading the rest until I can watch more of the series.

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

Fucking brilliant. I laughed, I burbled with joy, I cried, I felt hope. One of the best romantic fiction books I’ve ever read. It feels wildly contemporary.

Dear Emmie Blue

Emmie Blue is a lonely teenager who sends off a balloon with a letter containing her biggest secret inside, which is later found on a beach in France by a teen boy. And so begins their story…

Kid’s Books

Your Birthday Was The Best

When I read this to my kids, they made me read it over and over and over and over again all in one go until we had memorised the whole thing. We can recite the whole thing without the book now. Delightful and hilarious!

The Magic Finger – Roald Dahl

One of the biggest joys of parenting is being able to read some of my favourite childhood books with my kids.

Five On A Treasure Island – Enid Blyton

Another one of my childhood favourites. More jolly times spent reading it to my kids. WEEEEEE!

Goal Getter Workbooks

And of course, I’m not going to talk about my favourite books of the year & not mention my very own Goal Getter workbooks. I made them for myself first and foremost to help me set my own goals for my life & business over 12 years ago… and am in awe of the fact that over 450,000 people have used them since then too.

Goal Getter Life workbook – set your goals for every area of your life for the upcoming year. Creativity, family, health, adventures, education, finances & more!

Goal Getter Biz workbook – plan out your business for the year ahead including revenue, expenses, marketing, team, philanthropy, work-life boundaries & more.

Goal Getter weekly planner – the companion weekly planner to map out your week’s appointments & goals.

Goal Getter daily to do list – use it daily to help you stay on track with your goals, tasks & healthy habits!

So hope this has given you some book reading inspo!

I love when I hear from you that you’ve stocked up your book piles with my recommendations!

Books have always been one of the most favourite parts of life, and I love that I get to share them with you.

With big book love,