Books I read in 2021.

As 2021 comes to a close, I wanted to share all the books I read this year. My habit of reading is one of the few things that has benefitted from all my time at home this year.

So here’s the list. This is in the order of how I read them, not how much I enjoyed them. There were so many good books, it’s hard to focus on just a few (and now that I look at them all, I must admit there’s one or two I don’t even remember reading).

As far as entertaining reads, I really enjoyed Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Project Hail Mary, The Soul of an Octopus, The Birth of Loud, and You’ll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey.

Meaningful and powerful reads included Seven Fallen Feathers, Paying the Land, The Power, Gutter Child, Just Mercy, Five Little Indians, This One Looks Like a Boy, A Fine Balance, and Overstory.

In the end, not a bad list…

  1. Mediocre — Ijeoma Oluo
  2. How To Kill a City — PE Moskowitz
  3. Seven Fallen Feathers —  Tanya Talaga
  4. Stories of Your Life — Ted Chiang
  5. Paying the Land — Joe Sacco
  6. Evicted — Matthew Desmond 
  7. Exhalation — Ted Chiang 
  8. Happy City — Charles Montgomery
  9. Sputnik Sweetheart — Haruki Murakami
  10. Do Better — Rachel Ricketts 
  11. Good Lord Bird — James McBride
  12. 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act — Bob Joseph
  13. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory — Caitlin Doughty
  14. The Power — Naomi Alderman
  15. Indigenomics — Carol Anne Hilton
  16. Born Standing Up — Steve Martin 
  17. The Devil You Know — Charles Blow
  18. A Short History of Nearly Everything — Bill Bryson
  19. All Our Relations — Tanya Talaga
  20. Watchmen — Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  21. Peace and Good Order — Harold Johnson
  22. How To Write One Song — Jeff Tweedy
  23. Gutter Child — Jael Richardson 
  24. The Body, A Guide For Occupants — Bill Bryson
  25. The Right To Be Cold — Sheila Watt-Cloutier
  26. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls — David Sedaris 
  27. Year Book — Seth Rogen 
  28. Minor Feelings — Cathy Park Hong 
  29. A Promised Land — Barack Obama
  30. Project Hail Mary — Andy Weir
  31. The Day the World Stops Shopping — J.B. MacKinnon
  32. Power, A Users Guide — Julie Diamond
  33. Think Again — Adam Grant
  34. The Premonition — Michael Lewis
  35. DreadfulWater — Thomas King
  36. The Soul of an Octopus — Sy Montgomery
  37. Willful Blindness — Sam Cooper 
  38. Mission Economy — Mariana Mazzucato
  39. The Bomber Mafia — Malcolm Gladwell
  40. In Search of April Raintree — Beatrice Mosionier
  41. This Is Your Mind on Plants — Michael Pollan
  42. The Red Power Murders — Thomas King
  43. How to Change Your Mind — Michael Pollan
  44. Money — Jacob Goldstein 
  45. Indian In the Cupboard — Jody Wilson-Raybould 
  46. The Birth of Loud — Ian S. Port
  47. Winners Take All — Anand Giridharadas
  48. Just Mercy — Bryan Stevenson
  49. Five Little Indians — Michelle Good
  50. Bewilderment — Richard Powers
  51. Unreconciled — Jesse Wente
  52. This One Looks Like A Boy — Lorimer Shenher
  53. Dune — Frank Herbert
  54. You’ll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey — Amber Ruffin 
  55. Amusing Ourselves To Death — Neil Postman
  56. Lost Connections — Johann Hari
  57. Slaughterhouse-Five — Kurt Vonnegut 
  58. Birds Of All Feathers — Michael Bach
  59. A Fine Balance — Rohinton Mistry
  60. Out of Office — Charlie Warzel & Anne Helen Petersen
  61. Overstory — Richard Powers

In the middle of all that, I happily finished my first book and released it, which was definitely one of my highlights of the year.

I haven’t decided what I’ll start 2022 with – likely Indigenous Relations by Bob Joseph & Cynthia F. Joseph.

If you read something you loved in 2021, leave a comment below and let me know.

Happy New Year, all!

PS: Here’s my list from 2020.

7 thoughts on “Books I read in 2021.

  1. I have also read many of the same books as you – shocking since we founded a book club together. LOL.

    I just bought like everything Margaret J. Wheatley ever wrote, so that will kick off 2022, but also want to dig into “Earth into Property: Colonization, Decolonization, and Capitalism” by Anthony Hall, weighing in at 934 pages. Race you to the finish on that one?

    • Ha. So many of these are either part of the book club or are your recommendations. I’ll check out Earth Into Property. Sounds totally intimidating!

  2. Thanks for sharing the titles of books you read this year. Having a healthy diet of reading material and setting aside time to read is important to me. I’ll look into some of your pick for next year.

    Overstory was recommended to me by a friend. After reading it I asked for another good book to follow it up. She suggested Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s the most memorable story I read this year.

    I’m working my way through Dune this month. Perhaps when I’m done I’ll go see the movie, but maybe not!

  3. This is a great list, William! I’ve read some of the books on this list, but this has also given me quite a few ideas for 2022. I struggled to read or even listen to many books this year, so my output was considerably lower than usual. Of the ones I did finish, Fiction standouts include:
    Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi
    Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
    The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia
    The Thursday Murder Club and The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
    The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
    The House of Silk and A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz (same author, but different book series)
    The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny
    The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

    I had a hard time engaging with most of my non-fiction reads this year. The only one that really stood out for me was The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova. I had more luck with podcasts, esp. The Knowledge Project and Hidden Brain.


    • Wow, thanks for those suggestions Alison! I haven’t heard of many of those, so I’ll look into them. Much appreciated!

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