2021 Reading List
Every year I track the books I read and analyze what I’m reading from a macro perspective—are the authors women, men, cis-gendered, heterosexual, white, BIPOC? More broadly—whose voices am I listening to, and which ones are dominating my literature conversations? In addition, I also write short summaries of the books. Here’s this year’s list.
Read more books than any year before (53 books in 2017, 54 books in 2018, 43 books in 2019, 53 books in 2020).
Read at least two challenging, hard books—books that might take months to finish. (Aka, don’t inflate the number of books above by picking only short books!)
Read at least 30%+ by Black people, Indigenous people, and People of color.
Read at least 50%+ by women, womxn or non-binary folks.
Total number of books: 0
Total number of authors: 0
Women authors: –
Cis-het male authors: –
BIPOC authors: –
When I link to books below, they are affiliate links, meaning I make a few cents if you decide to click the link and purchase the book yourself. I use affiliate links to help support my reading habit, but if you’d like to purchase from Bookshop.org instead, please do.
The Book List: All the books I read in 2021
It is the start of a new year. We begin.
Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. There’s a reason this book is being shared so widely. It’s a story about the fight for justice and compassion inside of unjust, awful systems. If you’re new to the American prison and legal systems, it’s worth looking more closely at the ways our laws and rules break people’s hearts and lives, and how troubled and racist our purported justice systems are. Highly recommend.
Laziness Does Not Exist, by Devon Price. I stumbled across Price’s work on Twitter, where they speak about autism, neurodiversity, gender diversity, and the myth of laziness (what they describe as “The Laziness Lie” in their book. What if our cultural idea of laziness is a mythology designed to make us miserable and keep specific power structures in place? And, moreover, what if your “laziness” is actually you reading the signs about your tiredness, burnout, commitments, and need for rest in a more honest and accurate way? This book asked me to rethink my assumptions about work, “hard work,” and an unyielding “work ethic” that often contributes to people being sick, tired, and overworked.
You & I, As Mothers.
Healing Trauma, by Peter Levine.
Burnout, by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski.
The Book of Longings, by Sue Monk Kidd.
White Feminism, by Koa Beck.
Business of Belonging, by David Spinks.
How To Be A Man, by James Breakwell.
How We Show Up, by Mia Birdsong.
ain’t i a woman, by Bell Hooks.
No Bad Kids, by Janet Lansbury.
Boys & Sex, by Peggy Orenstein.
Healing Trauma, by Peter Levine.
Let Your Life Speak, by Parker J Palmer.
It’s About Damn Time, by Arlan Hamilton and Rachel L. Nelson.
The Power of Onlyness, by Nilofer Merchant.
Do Nothing, by Celeste Headlee.
Currently on my shelf
Long Story Short, by Marty Machowski.
Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde.
Wintering, by Katherine May.
Strangers In Their Own Land, by Arlie Russell Hochschild.
The Righteous Mind, by Jonathan Haidt.
Left Behind, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.
The Mommy Myth, by Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels.
The Price of Motherhood, by Ann Crittenden.
The Zen of Social Media Marketing, by Shama Hyder.
The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander.
Mom & Me & Mom, by Maya Angelou.
You & I, As Mothers, by Laura Prepon.
About the Reading List
Every year I track all of the books I read and analyze what I’m reading from a macro perspective. In addition, I write short summaries of the books all on this page. This page gets updated every few months as the year progresses, and then at the end of the year, I tally the books and notes all together here as an archive.
I’ve been recording what I read every year for the past several years—here are the books lists from 2017, 2018, and 2019. Book tracking helps me pay attention to the quality and diversity of what I read. It has improved the quality, breadth and number of books I learn from, which inspires me to keep doing it.
If you’re curious, you can read more about why I track the books I read, how to decide what book to read next, and my notes on how to finish a book. Or you can read my book summaries, below, for new book ideas and recommendations. Please note—all links to books below are affiliate links, which means that if you click the link to buy the book, I’ll get a small amount of money for being an affiliate.
I write a newsletter about personal development, psychology, and leadership. Recent essays cover how to make better decisions, designing your schedule and life, rethinking the structure of work to fit a more human body, and the intersection of parenting and work. If you're curious, seeking the spark of new and interesting ideas, and want some groundedness within the flurry of modern life, you will probably enjoy my newsletter. Don't see the form below? Head here to subscribe instead.