Our 2021 favourites

We've finally got our act together to share with you our favourite fiction, films, TV and audio of the year. Thank you for joining us in 2021 and supporting our wonderful authors.

(You can blame Michelle's full-time reporting contract for why this is going live in February and not January)

Season 8 will be in your ears in March!

We're keeping recommendations brief. If we've featured or discussed the book before, we'll link to the episode.

Listen to our Non-Fiction November wrap up to hear our fave non-fiction for 2021.

We'll mark any PR/review copies with *

Adult fiction



Adult fictions: honourable mentions

Caitlin: Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Michelle: The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Oseman

Young Adult



The out-of-your-comfort-zone book

Caitlin: Harry Styles: The Making of a Modern Man by Sean Smith*

Michelle: Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

The surprising book

Caitlin: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Michelle: Space Hopper by Helen Fisher (listen to our book club chat)

The new release we want to read

Caitlin: How to Be Perfect by Michael Schur

Michelle: People Person by Candice Carty-Williams

The book we already own and want to actually read

Caitlin: Still Life by Sarah Winman*

Michelle: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart



  • Superstore
  • Morning Wars (aka The Morning Show)
  • Ted Lasso


  • Line of Duty
  • Motherland
  • I'll Be Gone in the Dark



  • Dear Evan Hansen
  • Spiderman: No Way Home
  • Tick Tick Boom


  • Promising Young Woman
  • Cruella
  • The Mitchells vs the Machines



  • Taylor Swift: Evermore/Fearless/Red (music)
  • Sentimental in the City
  • Drama Queens


  • RedHanded podcast
  • You're Wrong About
  • The Fred and Rose West Tapes

Books and other things mentioned

  • Last Christmas (film)
  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
  • All Killa No Filla (podcast)
  • I, Tonya (film)
  • The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Connect with us on Instagram: @betterwordspod

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and generally being a theatre kid.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I'm an Aussie living in the UK, working as a bookseller at Waterstones. I'm obsessed with storytelling in all its forms – I spend as much time watching TV or listening to podcasts as I do reading. Other hobbies include bouldering, hiking and generally obsessing about my pug Percy.