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…
- Mediocre — Ijeoma Oluo
- How To Kill a City — PE Moskowitz
- Seven Fallen Feathers — Tanya Talaga
- Stories of Your Life — Ted Chiang
- Paying the Land — Joe Sacco
- Evicted — Matthew Desmond
- Exhalation — Ted Chiang
- Happy City — Charles Montgomery
- Sputnik Sweetheart — Haruki Murakami
- Do Better — Rachel Ricketts
- Good Lord Bird — James McBride
- 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act — Bob Joseph
- Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory — Caitlin Doughty
- The Power — Naomi Alderman
- Indigenomics — Carol Anne Hilton
- Born Standing Up — Steve Martin
- The Devil You Know — Charles Blow
- A Short History of Nearly Everything — Bill Bryson
- All Our Relations — Tanya Talaga
- Watchmen — Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
- Peace and Good Order — Harold Johnson
- How To Write One Song — Jeff Tweedy
- Gutter Child — Jael Richardson
- The Body, A Guide For Occupants — Bill Bryson
- The Right To Be Cold — Sheila Watt-Cloutier
- Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls — David Sedaris
- Year Book — Seth Rogen
- Minor Feelings — Cathy Park Hong
- A Promised Land — Barack Obama
- Project Hail Mary — Andy Weir
- The Day the World Stops Shopping — J.B. MacKinnon
- Power, A Users Guide — Julie Diamond
- Think Again — Adam Grant
- The Premonition — Michael Lewis
- DreadfulWater — Thomas King
- The Soul of an Octopus — Sy Montgomery
- Willful Blindness — Sam Cooper
- Mission Economy — Mariana Mazzucato
- The Bomber Mafia — Malcolm Gladwell
- In Search of April Raintree — Beatrice Mosionier
- This Is Your Mind on Plants — Michael Pollan
- The Red Power Murders — Thomas King
- How to Change Your Mind — Michael Pollan
- Money — Jacob Goldstein
- Indian In the Cupboard — Jody Wilson-Raybould
- The Birth of Loud — Ian S. Port
- Winners Take All — Anand Giridharadas
- Just Mercy — Bryan Stevenson
- Five Little Indians — Michelle Good
- Bewilderment — Richard Powers
- Unreconciled — Jesse Wente
- This One Looks Like A Boy — Lorimer Shenher
- Dune — Frank Herbert
- You’ll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey — Amber Ruffin
- Amusing Ourselves To Death — Neil Postman
- Lost Connections — Johann Hari
- Slaughterhouse-Five — Kurt Vonnegut
- Birds Of All Feathers — Michael Bach
- A Fine Balance — Rohinton Mistry
- Out of Office — Charlie Warzel & Anne Helen Petersen
- 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.
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!
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!
Thanks Alan! I’ll check out Half a Yellow Sun.
I just finished Half a Yellow Sun. Wow. Beautifully written and a powerful book. Thanks for the reco, Alan.
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!