David Harting

January 3, 2022

Books I read in 2021

I read 24 books in 2021, and for the most part deeply enjoyed all of them! You can see my 2021 year in reading here on Goodreads.

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High-level thoughts

This year was unusually non-fiction heavy for me. Getting into audiobooks is probably the reason for that shift. Because audiobooks displace podcast time, I find I generally prefer non-fiction when listening. I also love having a non-fiction book going on my Kindle for some relaxed, night-time reading. (Although the climate books I read this year were far from relaxing.)

In terms of fiction, I see a lot of short, punchy books on this list. I didn't complete a fantasy trilogy this year, but started 3. I guess I didn't find a trilogy that spoke to me!

Top recommendations

The most important book I read was Under the Sky We Make. I struggle with how to live a meaningful life in the face of the climate crisis. This book helped me face my emotions and thoughts.

I can strongly recommend Devil in the Dark Water to anyone. This mystery was couldn't-put-down for me. I am drawn to historical fiction and stories with a strong sense of place. I loved all the little nautical details.

However, Song of Achilles is my most fervent fiction recommendation. This is a beautiful retelling. Humanity and love feel fragile and beautiful set against mythological Greece.

Money: The True Story of a Made Up Thing is also easy to recommend, and especially shines in audio format, narrated by the author who is a prolific podcaster. Short and brimming. it is the history of civilization through the lens of currency. Books like that always give me renewed perspective for how much of what feels inevitable about human society is actually arbitrary. Sapiens can give you that same feeling in spades, but at a much longer length and in an academic style.

Book list

This is in the order that I read them. All links are to a copy on Bookshop.org unless otherwise noted.