I made it a goal at the beginning of the year to focus on reading more books. I used to read a lot, but over the last several years I have been distracted by articles and short reads I stumble across on social media and haven’t focused as much on a good book. I began to miss that feeling of small accomplishment I have when I finish a book.
Little did I know that 2020 would give me ample opportunity to hunker down at home and read. This year was a blend of plowing through some familiar comfort books during the pandemic as well as attempts to re-educate myself as a white man on how the world actually functions, plus some other books that felt important to check out.
If I had to pick out a couple of outstanding books, I would say: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson is one of the best books I’ve ever read and helped me rethink how our society functions around race and class mobility (or lack thereof). Ministry For The Future by Kim Stanley Robinson is a must-read and frames climate change against a narrative science-fiction structure that brings a sense of urgency that is hard to achieve in non-fiction.
I went through some phases where I couldn’t focus on reading because of how much was going on in life and society, or times when I became frustrated because I had three different books on the go and couldn’t finish any of them because I was so distracted, and then nice, long stretches when I was very focused and just couldn’t stop reading. Ah, 2020.
Plus I almost began and ended the year with a book by a Klein, which feels like a nice pair of bookends.
Here’s my list:
- Why We’re Polarized – Ezra Klein
- The Inconvenient Indian – Thomas King
- Set The Boy Free – Johnny Marr
- The Sport and Prey of Capitalists – Linda McQuaig
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
- The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe – Douglas Adams
- Life, The Universe and Everything – Douglas Adams
- So Long and Thanks For All The Fish – Douglas Adams
- Mostly Harmless – Douglas Adams
- Kafka On The Shore – Haruki Murakami
- Me and White Supremacy – Layla Saad
- White Fragility – Robin DiAngelo
- So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
- How To Be An Anti-Racist – Ibram X. Kendi
- Why Fish Don’t Exist – Lulu Miller
- Policing Black Lives – Robin Maynard
- Make Change – Shaun King
- Caste – Isabel Wilkerson
- Born A Crime – Trevor Noah
- The Skin We’re In – Desmond Cole
- The Martian – Andy Weir
- Golden Gates – Conor Dougherty
- Creativity – John Cleese
- A Good War – Seth Klein
- The Ministry For The Future – Kim Stanley Robinson
If any of these look good to you, enjoy! I’ll start 2021 with Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo, which I’m excited to start.
Happy New Year!