Despite our bookshelves and must-read lists overflowing with untouched titles, we’re always looking for new books to have on our radar. Just in time for Christmas, Amazon has revealed its most popular bestselling books of 2021 to give us some inspiration – as gifts for others or even a treat for yourself.
It’s no surprise to see the award-winning big hitters of the past year have made the list, including Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library and Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Both titles also made it into the bestselling books of summer list, and the latter was one of Amazon’s most popular books last year, too. It’s been such a popular pick, that Reese Witherspoon is now making it into a film.
When it came to the most popular non-fiction books, it seems people were keen to get themselves organised and cook up a storm in the kitchen, with life hack and recipe books reigning supreme. Considering we spent so much more time at home in the past year, it makes sense!
Without further ado, this is what everyone was reading this year…
The most popular fiction books on Amazon this year
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
The description reads: Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality… There, Nora Seed finds herself faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one. She must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
Harry Potter Children’s Collection: The Complete Collection by J.K. Rowling
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The description reads: For years, rumours of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark (the Marsh Girl). But Kya is not what they say – she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home. When two men from town become intrigued by her, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Hamnet was winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020. The description reads: On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that Hamnet will not survive the week.
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Shuggie Bain was the Booker Prize winner for 2020. The description reads: It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive. Agnes Bain has always expected more from life, but she’s abandoned by her husband, and as she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her but one by one they must abandon her to save themselves. It’s her son, Shuggie, who holds out the longest. He believes if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place.
The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley
The description reads: The six D’Aplièse sisters have each been on their own incredible journey to discover their heritage, but they still have one question left unanswered: who and where is the seventh sister? The search to find the missing sister will take them across the globe, uniting them all in their mission to complete their family at last.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
The description reads: From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches the behaviour of those who come in to browse and of those who pass by outside. She remains hopeful a customer will choose her, but when the possibility arises, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.
Better Off Dead by Lee Child and Andrew Child
The description reads: Reacher never backs down from a problem, and he’s about to find a big one on a deserted Arizona road, where a Jeep has crashed into the only tree for miles. Minutes later, Reacher is heading into the nearby town. Next to him is Michaela Fenton, an army veteran turned FBI agent, who is trying to find her twin brother. He might have got mixed up with some dangerous people. And Reacher might just need to pay them a visit.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
The description reads: Lydia Perez owns a bookshop in Acapulco, Mexico, and is married to a journalist. Together they have an eight-year-old son named Luca. In a city in the grip of a drug cartel, friends become enemies overnight, and Lydia has no choice but to flee with Luca at her side. What sacrifices is she prepared to make?
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
The description reads: Alice, a novelist, meets Felix and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. The four characters are still young, but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They worry about sex and friendship and the world they live in. Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?
The most popular non-fiction books on Amazon this year
Pinch of Nom Quick & Easy: 100 Delicious, Slimming Recipes by Kay Featherstone
The description reads: From all-in-one family favourites to batch-cook basics and speedy sweet treats, this recipe book is packed with dishes so delicious you won’t even notice they’re slimming. Meals include Veggie Satay Noodles, Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta and Apple and Apricot Oaty Crumble.
Tap to Tidy: Organising, Crafting & Creating Happiness in a Messy World by Stacey Solomon
The description from Stacey Solomon herself, reads: ‘I find it hard to sit still, but losing myself in a craft project or tidying a drawer is my form of meditation. It’s a chance for me to forget about the things going on in the world around me for a minute. I hope this book helps you to lose yourself for a moment, too – and that you enjoy reading it and even, maybe, having a go at some of the bits inside.’
Jane’s Patisserie: Deliciously customisable cakes, bakes and treats by Jane Dunn
The description reads: Discover how to make life sweet with 100 delicious bakes, cakes and treats from baking blogger, Jane. Jane’s recipes are loved for being easy, customisable, and packed with your favourite flavours. Covering everything from gooey cookies and celebration cakes, to fluffy cupcakes and creamy no-bake cheesecakes.
Pinch of Nom: 100 Slimming, Home-style Recipes by Kay Featherstone & Kate Allinson
The description reads: The Pinch of Nom cookbook can help novice and experienced home cooks enjoy exciting, flavourful and satisfying meals. Whether it’s Cumberland Pie, Mediterranean Chicken Orzo, Mexican Chilli Beef or Chicken Balti, this food is so good you’ll never guess the calorie count.
Pinch of Nom Everyday Light: 100 Tasty, Slimming Recipes All Under 400 Calories
The description reads: Featuring proper breakfasts, light takes on family favourites, cheeky fakeaways and speedy midweek meals, Pinch of Nom Everyday Light is full of hearty, everyday recipes – nearly half of which are vegetarian.
Good Vibes, Good Life: How Self-Love Is the Key to Unlocking Your Greatness by Vex King
The description reads: Vex overcame adversity to become a source of hope for thousands of young people, and now draws from his personal experience and his intuitive wisdom to inspire you to practise self-care, cultivate positive lifestyle habits, change your beliefs to invite opportunities into your life, manifest your goals, overcome fear and find your higher purpose.
Atomic Habits: The life-changing million copy bestseller by James Clear
The description reads: Clears reveals exactly how minuscule changes can grow into such life-altering outcomes. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks, and delves into cutting-edge psychology and neuroscience to explain why they matter.
And Away… by Bob Mortimer
The description reads: Bob Mortimer’s life was trundling along happily until suddenly, in 2015, he was diagnosed with a heart condition that required immediate surgery and forced him to cancel an upcoming tour. The episode unnerved him, but forced him to reflect on his life so far.
The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl
The description from Dave Grohl reads: The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world. This certainly doesn’t mean that I’m quitting my day job, but it does give me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old, to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters… the list goes on.
The Fast 800 Easy: Quick and simple recipes to make your 800-calorie days even easier by Dr Clare Bailey
The description reads: All of the dishes in this book are based on the Mediterranean style of eating now proven to revolutionise your health, and many can be thrown together from freezer or store-cupboard staples. There are numerous vegetarian options, plus simple ways to expand meals for non-fast days or when you are eating with friends or family.