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Best Books of 2021

Best Books of 2021

Powell's booksellers recommend the best books of the year

Playlist Tags: Powell's Books best of 2021

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The Shadow of the Gods

The Bloodsworn Trilogy: Book #1

By John Gwynne
Narrated by: Colin Mace
Length: 18 hours 14 minutes

The Shadow of the Gods

“John Gwynne has written a brutal, expertly crafted Norse-inspired tale of adventure, sacrifice, blood, and vengeance. The storytelling brings to life a sweeping, compelling world build in the shadows and ruins of dead gods. The characters are gritty and realistic–their emotions are felt with every action and every word. With non-stop action, treacherous paths, and cruel monsters–this book is a MUST-READ for any fantasy lover.”

The Well-Read Moose image Anna, The Well-Read Moose
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Seven Days in June

By Tia Williams
Narrated by: Mela Lee
Length: 10 hours 32 minutes



Named A Best Book by USA Today • Harper’s Bazaar • Oprah Daily • PopSugar • Shondaland • The Los Angeles Times • NPR • Kirkus • Marie Claire • New York Public Library • Bustle • Good Housekeeping • PureWow • CBS News • People • BuzzFeed • Reader’s Digest 

Named A Most...

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Seek You

A Journey Through American Loneliness

By Kristen Radtke
Narrated by: Kristen Radtke
Length: 1 hours 58 minutes

Seek You

“In Seek You, Kristen Radtke approaches the epidemic of American loneliness from a variety of angles. A thoughtful exploration of a complex problem that offers understanding, not easy answers.”

Powell's Books image Keith Mosman, Powell's Books
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A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Monk & Robot: Book #1

By Becky Chambers
Narrated by: Emmett Grosland
Length: 4 hours 8 minutes

If you enjoyed The Alchemist, then you’ll love A Psalm for the Wild-Built.

“Imagine a world with many, many cups of tea. Doesn’t this world sound amazing? Doesn’t it calm you just to think of it? Sibling Dex makes people tea as a way of life, but they are still struggling to find meaning in the world. Just when they think they’re about to figure it out by seeking out the supposedly-extinct cricket song, they stumble upon a wild-built robot, Mosscap. Mosscap exudes childlike wonder and an untainted way of seeing the world. Together, Dex and Mosscap exchange thoughtful commentary about humans, other animals, robots, and the role of social constructs in our lives. Reminiscent of the Alchemist set far in another world; it’s a timeless philosophy lesson driven home with dry wit that only a robot can bring to teatime.”

Bright Side Bookshop image Leah, Bright Side Bookshop
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By Nnedi Okorafor
Narrated by: Délé Ogundiran
Length: 7 hours 10 minutes

From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria.

Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt . . . natural, and that's... Read more »

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A Master of Djinn

Dead Djinn Universe: Book #1

By P. Djèlí Clark
Narrated by: Suehyla El-Attar
Length: 15 hours 37 minutes

A Master of Djinn

“Fatma el-Sha’arawi is one of the most talented agents in Ciaro’s Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. Though it is 1912, she has worked her way up the male-dominated agency with a combination of raw magical talent, wit, and force of will. When a room of men burnt to a crisp with no sign of fire shows up, Fatma is put on the case. As she digs deeper and deeper, she is thrown into a world of old religion, angels, djinn, and a mysterious masked figure claiming to be an ancient mystic. This is an excellent steampunk who-done-it. I was fully onboard through all the twists and turns this story took. A Master of Djinn is an excellent book for this summer.”

Off the Beaten Path image Izzy, Off the Beaten Path
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The Letters of Shirley Jackson

By Shirley Jackson
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter, Gary Bennett & Linda Jones
Length: 18 hours 57 minutes

A bewitchingly brilliant collection of never-before-published letters from the renowned author of “The Lottery” and The Haunting of Hill House

i must stop writing letters and get to writing a novel.

Shirley Jackson is one of the most important American authors of the last hundred years and among our greatest chroniclers of the female experience.... Read more »

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Heart Principle, The

By Helen Hoang
Length: 9 hours 30 minutes

If you enjoyed The Kiss Quotient, then you’ll love Heart Principle, The.

“You can always expect tenderness and honesty from Helen Hoang. Her characters’ struggles are often real struggles that people can relate to. The journey Anna goes through to love herself is just as, if not more, powerful than her love story with Quan. Featuring dual narration from Natalie Naudus and Brian Nishii, both of whom did a stellar job evoking the emotions of the characters. Beautiful, sad, and life-affirming. I can’t recommend this book enough!”

Phoenix Books image Sofie, Phoenix Books
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Fugitive Telemetry

Murderbot Diaries: Book #6

By Martha Wells
Narrated by: Kevin R. Free
Length: 4 hours 24 minutes

No, I didn't kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn't dump the body in the station mall. When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because... Read more »

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For the Wolf

The Wilderwood: Book #1

By Hannah Whitten
Narrated by: Inés del Castillo
Length: 13 hours 40 minutes

The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.

For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark, sweeping debut fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn't the only danger lurking in the... Read more »

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The Final Girl Support Group

By Grady Hendrix
Narrated by: Adrienne King
Length: 13 hours 49 minutes

The Final Girl Support Group

“What if gruesome murders like that of I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream, or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre actually took place? What then happens afterward to the girls who survive the ridiculous combination of crazy guy, improvised weapon, and spooky setting? Nearly 2 decades after their respective brushes with death, these “final girls” still meet in an unamusing church basement in hopes of moving on. But when one of their own ends up dead, it’s possible their pasts have finally come for them. The Final Girl Support Group is a frenzied ride through horror movie tropes come to life. Fans of ‘80s and ‘90s slasher films will get a kick out of this satire mixed with realistic characters and topped off with ample servings of crazy. Grady Hendrix has outdone himself with this novel that runs both hard and fast, as well as realistic and over the top. An entertaining commentary on the slasher genre, through and through.”

Mysterious Galaxy Books image Nicholas, Mysterious Galaxy Books
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A Desolation Called Peace

Teixcalaan: Book #2

By Arkady Martine
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 17 hours 32 minutes

"[An] all around brilliant space opera, I absolutely love it."—Ann Leckie, on A Memory Called Empire

A Desolation Called Peace is the spectacular space opera sequel to Arkady Martine's genre-reinventing, Hugo Award-winning debut, A Memory Called Empire.

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no...

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The Dreamer Trilogy #2 (Unabridged edition)

The Dreamer Trilogy

By Maggie Stiefvater
Narrated by: Will Patton
Length: 10 hours 44 minutes

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Raven Boys, a mesmerizing story of dreams and desires, death and destiny.

Something is happening to the source of the dreamers' power. It is blocked. Diminished. Weak. If it goes away entirely, what will happen to the dreamers and those who depend on them?

Ronan Lynch isn't planning to...

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Happily Ever Afters

By Elise Bryant
Narrated by: Jordan Cobb
Length: 10 hours 18 minutes

Jane the Virgin meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this charming debut romantic comedy filled with Black Girl Magic. Perfect for fans of Mary H. K. Choi and Nicola Yoon, with crossover appeal for readers of Jasmine Guillory and Talia Hibbert romances.

Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life....

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Small Favors

By Erin A. Craig
Narrated by: Rachel Music
Length: 14 hours 21 minutes

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the critically-acclaimed author of House of Salt and Sorrows comes a mesmerizing and chilling fairy-talesque novel about Ellerie Downing, a young woman in a small town with monsters lurking in the trees and dark desires hidden in the shadows—in Amity Falls, nothing is more dangerous than a wish come... Read more »

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Free audiobook with membership

Happy New Year! When you sign up for a new monthly membership with code CHOOSEINDIE, we’ll give you a bonus audiobook! That means you’ll have 2 audiobook credits to redeem from the start.

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By Margaret Rogerson
Narrated by: Caitlin Davies
Length: 12 hours 6 minutes

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a thrilling new YA fantasy about a teen girl with mythic abilities who must defend her world against restless spirits of the dead.

The dead of Loraille do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the... Read more »

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Firekeeper's Daughter

By Angeline Boulley
Narrated by: Isabella Star LaBlanc
Length: 14 hours 13 minutes

If you enjoyed There There, then you’ll love Firekeeper's Daughter.

Firekeeper's Daughter is a wonder! We so rarely hear YA through an Indigenous people's voice and this book does it so very well. Main character Daunis Lorenzo Fontaine lives a fine line between her white French Canadian mother and her Ojibwe father in a complicated family dynamic. She is smart, hockey talented, driven, and tenacious as she navigates the murder of her best friend Lily, rampant drug culture, and the journey to find herself. Angeline Boulley seamlessly incorporates the Ojbiwe language and lifeways that both inform and educate the reader in this amazing story that will stay with me long after I have moved onto other books. A MUST-read (or listen)!”

Rediscovered Books image Rebecca, Rediscovered Books
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A Chorus Rises

A Song Below Water novel

By Bethany C. Morrow
Narrated by: Cherise Boothe & Eboni Flowers
Length: 10 hours 1 minutes

"Narrator Eboni Flowers creates the perfect voice for the charismatic Naema in this thoughtful story meshing magic and media." -- AudioFile Magazine


Meet Naema Bradshaw: a beautiful Eloko, once Portland-famous, now infamous, as she navigates a personal and public reckoning where confronting the...

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Little Thieves

By Margaret Owen
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 13 hours 59 minutes

Little Thieves

“Vanja wants just one thing. She wants enough money to escape the life of servitude her godmothers, Death and Fortune have promised her. She has stolen many things, jewelry, clothes, money, and the identity of her former lady, the Princess Giselle. Cursed by a low god, Vanja only has a fortnight to return what she’s stolen before the jewels growing on her body will take over and kill her...a lifetime of isolation, Vanja knows that she’s the only person she can count on. Perfect for fans of Six of Crows, this Bavarian-inspired fantasy is a delightful adventure with found family, thrilling mysteries, and is full of heart. Maybe Vanja wants more than one thing, after all.”

Wellesley Books image Cassie, Wellesley Books
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Pity Party

By Kathleen Lane
Narrated by: Taylor Meskimen, Kamali Minter, Tessa Netting & Scott Takeda
Length: 2 hours 52 minutes

Discover an "absurd, funny, and thought-provoking" book perfect for "anyone who has ever felt socially awkward or inadequate" (Louis Sachar, author of Holes and the Wayside School series).
Dear weird toes, crooked nose, stressed out, left out, freaked out

Dear missing parts, broken hearts, picked-on, passed up, misunderstood,

Dear everyone, you... Read more »

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