Books of the Year 2021

Books of the Year 2021

Happy Christmas and welcome to our bookish review of 2021! 

There's still time to order Christmas gifts and explore our collection of Books of the Year 2021. The last posting date for Christmas is 22nd December. Orders received after this date will be despatched on 3rd January 2022. 

It’s the time again where we have a look back over the last year and choose some of our bookshop highlight titles. 

This year we’ve narrowed it down to 15 that have done well in the shop and also got some cracking press to boot. 

Here’s my introduction to them all. Some of them may well be familiar, and some come as pleasant surprises, but it’s getting on for Christmas, so if you’re in need of a gift for friends, family (or yourself) do remember that they are all also buy one get one half price! 




 The first quarter of the year was an interesting time for us as we, along with many other businesses across the country, were closed for lockdown. That didn’t stop the outpouring of new books though, and some of those published by CUP during that time proved to be bestsellers once we were up and running again in April. 

Our picks from this quarter are Women’s International Thought: A New History, edited by Patricia Owens & Katharina Rietzler; A User's Guide to Melancholy, by Mary Ann Lund; Romanticism: 100 Poems, edited by Michael Ferber; and Fighting the First Wave: Why the Coronavirus Was Tackled So Differently Across the Globe, by Peter Baldwin.  

 There was wonderful online event with Mary-Ann Lund organised by CUP in which she spoke about Robert Burton, the place of the Anatomy of Melancholy in the world today, and what we can still learn from it 400 years later. You can still catch it up on YouTube here: 

 April saw our eagerly anticipated reopening and the publication of The Impossible Office? The History of the British Prime Minister, by Anthony SeldonSeven Deadly Economic Sins: Obstacles to Prosperity and Happiness Every Citizen Should Know, by James R. Otteson; and the immense Cambridge Greek Lexicon, from the Faculty of Classics, Editor-in-Chief James Diggle. 

 The popularity of the Lexicon blew us away and this monumental piece of scholarship has been gratefully snapped-up by all sorts of readers, Stephen Fry included: 

 In May there came The World of Bob Dylan, edited by Sean LathamThe Chinese Communist Party: A Century in Ten Lives, edited by Timothy Cheek, Klaus Mühlhahn, & Hans van de Ven; A Tattoo on my Brain: A Neurologist's Personal Battle against Alzheimer's Disease, by Daniel Gibbs with Teresa H. Barker; and first four titles of the great new A Philosopher Looks at… series, from which we have chosen Human Beings, by Michael Ruse as our representative volume (although they are all excellent!) 

 Again, there is an online event to point at here for the Chinese Communist Party anniversary (shout out to Alastair from the bookshop for plucking up the courage to introduce this one! It’s not a traditional comfort zone for Booksellers! Do give it a watch to learn more about the book and the history of the CCP. 

 The summer is represented by Nobel Life: Conversations with 24 Nobel Laureates on their Life Stories, Advice for Future Generations and What Remains to be Discovered, by Stefano Sandrone; and the timely and essential Earth Detox: How and Why we Must Clean Up Our Planet, by Julian Cribb. 

 Finally, bringing the list and the year to a close, there was General Relativity: The Essentials, by Carlo Rovelli; and After the Virus: Lessons from the Past for a Better Future, by Hilary Cooper & Simon Szreter. 

There was great bookshop excitement as one of our members of staff got creative in designing us a beautiful gravity-based window, complete with falling apples and drawings of some of the big names in physics.  


The brilliant bookseller in question is Anna Doherty and you can find out more about her and her work here. She is also responsible for the Books of the Year window, of which we are most proud. 

If you’re passing in town, do pop in and check out all our books and marvel at the wonderful window. Don’t forget they are buy one get one half price (just imagine the prospect of getting two Lexicons (Lexica? Lexici?! I’m sure someone could tell me…) for less than £100?

 Happy Shopping and Happy Reading!