• by Kylie

21 Books in 2021 - The Year I Read My Heart Out

A short description on each of the books I read for enjoyment, personal and business development in 2021. From Brene Brown to Jen Sincero, if you are a creative entrepreneur or artist you will enjoy many of these (check out the non-fiction section).

For over 30 years I have been traipsing to the library... hunting for hidden gems, swooping over to the 'return trolley' (skip the shelves, that's where the popular ones are), putting books on request and waiting patiently for my turn.

To say I love books is an understatement - oh, the smell of books! Holding a physical book in my hand! The delicate pages, never dog-eared, but sometimes chocolate smudged! Getting lost in new worlds! Learning about new things! So many !!!!

When I was about 10 years old, I decided I was going to be a book critic (I asked mum how I could get a job reading books all day long).

In my early 20's, I joined the Queensland Writers Centre and learned how to write so I could be an author. In my late 20's I started penning poetry.

And at age 28 I even finished my own Young Adult novel, 'Girl from Mars' (yes, based on one of my favourite Ash songs), which sadly never hooked a literary agent. I sent out over 200 enquiries to different agency slush piles (I maintain that rejection gave me the determination I need for business) and out of that, I received 8 requests for 'partials' (the first 3 chapters) and 3 requests for the 'full' manuscript. I still have hopes of having a book published in my name one day. I've also been dreaming of creating a Tiny Giraffe journal, filled with blank pages, my hand lettered quotes and beautiful art.

So in 2020 when the world went a bit crazy over covid, and shut down all my libraries, I ordered a Kindle online, and never looked back. I agonised over the types of readers, and highly recommend the Kindle Paperwhite. As for Mr G - he doesn't read books... if you must know, he prefers gardening :)

2021 was the year when I really got into reading, consistently.

I read in bed every night and it helps me fall asleep.

I read 21 books in 2021, and here’s my one-line recap of all the books I read.

Fair warning: I am the type of person who will easily discard a book if I don't like it in the first 3 pages (ouch!). Sorry not sorry :)

Fiction Books

The Wish

Nicholas Sparks

A bit of a tear jerker with a great story of teen pregnancy and falling in love. It was an easy, light-hearted read and an interesting world to escape to.

The Midnight Library

Matt Haig What a boring book with so much promise. The concept is wonderful but the journey is frustrating and the end ‘story’ is exactly what you expect.

Call Me By Your Name

Andre Aciman

Slow moving and aching. A one word sentence can’t possibly portray my equal parts fascination, adoration and disgust at this story of love and longing.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Maria Semple

What a quirky, comical book that turned weird and stayed that way. The story of a missing mother is told by several unreliable narrators and confusing dialogue/letters/emails for maximum effect. It was charming in many ways but not the ending I'd hoped for.


Colleen Hoover

I can’t believe I read this all the way to the end, it was so disturbing. I also can’t believe I read it before trying to go to sleep each night. I hated the characters and yet, five stars.

The Four Winds

Kristin Hannah

I’m not sure I would have read this had I known the storyline - I’m not much of a historical novel reader but this one brought me respect, reverence and depression for people living through hardship in such a traumatic era. It was fiction, set in a non-fiction, very real world. A hard read, and yet I couldn't put it down.

Once Upon A Broken Heart

Stephanie Garber

A little YA fantasy fiction tale of love with a main character who was a little annoying in parts but overall a pleasant surprise to read.

A snippet of my home library. Notice the VOGUE 2021?! (It features Tiny Giraffe!! 🎉)

Non-Fiction Books

The 4-Hour Workweek

Tim Ferris

This book changed my life and my perspective on how life can (and should) be lived to fulfil your soul. Some things won't be relevant, depending on how automated you want your life to be, but I just loved it.

Art, Money & Success

Maria Brophy

THE most HELPFUL book in the world on making money as an artist. Must read for anyone wanting to make money in something creative!

This One Wild and Precious Life

Sarah Wilson

I love Sarah but I fell asleep way too often and never finished this book, stumbling over big words, bigger ideas and whiplash from changing story direction. It was the personal hiking stories that captured me the most and these were quite special insights into her life.

Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life

Katherine Ormerod

I didn’t get very far through this book, it was a bit depressing and reminded me why I'm trying to limit my time on it (especially instagram and facebook). So perhaps Ormerod's writing was incredibly effective! As I started to read I wondered, will I be the only one to grow old gracefully? There was one line that stood out to me, that sums up the LA culture around cosmetic surgery that is permeating social media: "You're not ugly, you're just poor". Ugh.

How to Ikigai

Tim Tamashiro

A delightful book about finding your own personal crossroads of purpose, bliss and reward. I know exactly what my purpose is, but I have many friends and family who don't - I wish they would read this book.

You’ve Got This: The Essential Career Handbook for Creative Women

Bec Brown

Practical, positive and encouraging guidebook to working your way up in career or business. Some great advice.

Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success

Cara Alwill Leyba

Fun, light, enjoyable. I am not a ‘limitless luxe’ kinda girl as she describes, but the intention was good. Some useful ideas, even though I couldn't relate to the glitz and glam lifestyle.

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

Elizabeth Gilbert

I love me some Liz, and her poetic, thoughtful and scientific enquiries into marriage were often met with a nod or a sigh. I loved that it was told through her travel stories.

The Illusion of Money

Kyle Cease

This book has almost nothing to do with money and is full of fluff, but my utter dismay ever so slowly turned to gratitude as I read. A book about what is actually important in life. It was a love-hate relationship for me.

You are a Badass at Making Money

Jen Sincero

I read this straight after Kyle's book and the differences made me laugh. This book is full of unapologetic 'you deserve to be fucking rich' and ‘think yourself rich’, delivered with sassiness which bounced between hilarious and crude. The best part for me was gaining awareness of my limiting beliefs around money. It was a motivating kick up the ass for me, which I loved.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen Covey

LOVE love love this book. What a practical, helpful way to navigate life, managing self and connecting with others. The goal for interdependence (over independence) is incredibly liberating. Highly recommend - must read. It can feel a little dry/heavy at times but the stories and examples lighten things up. Not sure why it took me 11 years to read this, since I was given a physical copy at a previous job. Actually I do know, the cover is boring and I hated that job.

Everything is Figureoutable

Marie Forleo

As a huge fan of MarieTV and her podcast, I just couldn’t get the same amount of inspiration from her book but there were some motivating moments, wonderful reminders and great journal prompts.

Manage Your Day-to-Day


Jocelyn Glei

A friend recommended this book and I found it motivating and useful on how to better manage my day with creativity and business. The advice is shared by a variety of authors which made it interesting but sometimes repetitive.

Daring Greatly

Brene Brown

Kindle tells me I’m 40% of the way through this and I can tell you I love it all so far.

I've bookmarked many pages, and I know I'll refer to this over and over in my life.

I feel courageous when I read it, and know what the next right thing to do is.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them, or please recommend some books for 2022 that I can devour!

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