Episode 68: The Endless Bookshop


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Perry and David talk about the best books they read during 2021 in a number of different categories.

  • Hugo Winners (03:33)
  • Site for Worldcon in 2023 (01:22)
  • Our best books of 2021 (01:17:48)
    • David’s top SF of 2021 (02:54)
    • Perry’s top SF of 2021 (05:35)
    • David’s top fantasy of 2021 (04:35)
    • Perry’s top fantasy of 2021 (05:10)
    • David’s top crime of 2021 (02:19)
    • Perry’s top crime of 2021 (09:56)
    • David’s top literary of 2021 (03:26)
    • Perry’s top literary of 2021 (06:47)
    • David’s top novellas of 2021 (02:35)
    • Perry’s top novellas of 2021 (04:16)
    • David’s top children’s lit of 2021 (04:32)
    • Perry’s top collections of 2021 (06:55)
    • David’s top non-fiction of 2021 (02:51)
    • Perry’s top non-fiction of 2021 (07:04)
    • David’s best overall of 2021 (01:41)
    • Perry’s best overall of 2021 (03:33)
  • Windup (00:45)
  • Change to our schedule (00:42)

Illustration: generated by Wombo.art

New Schedule

From the start of 2022, we are moving to a three-weekly rather than fortnightly schedule. The next episode will be out on 25 January.


Detailed lists

David’s best SF 2021

  1. Bewilderment by Richard Powers
  2. Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North
  3. The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
  4. The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
  5. Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

Honourable Mention:

  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Perry’s best SF 2021

  1. Dune by Frank Herbert
  2. The Memory Police by Yolo Ogawa
  3. Thr Ballad of Beta-2 by Samuel R. Delany
  4. Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
  5. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
  • Network Effect by Marta Wells

David’s best Fantasy 2021

  1. The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott
  2. The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North
  3. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
  4. The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford
  5. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Honorable Mention:

  • The End of the Day by Claire North

Perry’s best Fantasy 2021

  1. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
  2. The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin
  3. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
  4. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
  5. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

Honorable Mention:

  • Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender

David’s best Crime 2021

  1. Eden by Candice Fox
  2. Hades by Candice Fox
  3. Bitter Wash Road by Garry Disher
  4. Peace by Garry Disher
  5. Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun

Honorable Mentions:

  • Consolation by Garry Disher
  • The Wife and the Widow by Christian White

Perry’s best Crime 2021

  1. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kreuger
  2. Crossing the Lines by Sulari Gentill
  3. The Wife and the Widow by Christian White
  4. Consolation by Garry Disher
  5. Billy Summers by Stephen King

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo
  • A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin
  • Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard

David’s best Literary 2021

  1. The Labyrinth by Amanda Lowrey
  2. The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld
  3. Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson
  4. Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford
  5. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Women in Black by Madeleine St.John
  • The Glass Hotel by Emily St.John Mandel

Perry’s best Literary 2021

  1. The Yield by Tara June Winch
  2. First Love by Turgenev
  3. The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey
  4. The Watchtower by Elizabeth Harrower
  5. The Devil’S Advocate by Morris West

David’s best Novellas 2021

  1. The Last Castle by Jack Vance
  2. The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
  3. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  4. Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
  5. Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

Perry’s best Novellas 2021

  1. Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock
  2. The Last Castle by Jack Vance
  3. The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
  4. Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
  5. Seven of Infinities by Alliette de Bodard

Honorable Mentions:

  • Riot Baby – Tochi Onyebuchi

David’s best Childrens’ Literature 2021

  1. The End of the World Is Bigger than Love by Davina Bell
  2. Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep by Philip Reeve
  3. Rooftoppers by Katharine Rundell
  4. John Diamond by Leon Garfield
  5. The Scarecrow and His Servant by Philip Pullman

Perry’s best Collection/Anthology

  1. The Book of Dragons by Jonathan Strahan
  2. Nebula Award Stories 3 by Roger Zelazny

David’s best Nonfiction 2021

  1. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  2. Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX by Eric Berger
  3. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  4. Waiting for Elijah by Kate Wild
  5. Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth by Avi Loeb

Honorable Mention:

  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larsen

Perry’s best Nonfiction 2021

  1. Fathoms: the World In the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
  2. A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain
  3. A Premonition by Michael Lewis
  4. Falling Towards England by Clive James

David’s best overall 2021

  1. Bewilderment
  2. The Rain Heron
  3. Eden
  4. The Labyrinth
  5. Notes from the Burning Age

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld
  • The End of the World Is Bigger than Love by Davina Bell

Perry’s best overall 2021

  1. The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin
  2. Fathoms : the World In the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
  3. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kreuger
  4. A Cook’S Tour by Anthony Bourdain
  5. Crossing the Lines by Sulari Gentill

Honorable Mentions:

  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock