Books of 2021

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“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” - Mark Twain

I read a lot, and 2021 was no different. By New Year's Eve, I had read 53 books during the year. While I'm not going to list them all here, I wanted to call a few out for various reasons.

The first book I read in 2021 is one I think everyone should read: The Diary of Anne Frank. Apparently, I've read this before (based on my Goodread's history), but it felt new to me. I've written in a journal almost every day since November 19, 2019, so I really felt a connection to someone who, while under awful conditions, spent a lot of time writing about her hopes, dreams, questions, concerns, and more.

I have enjoyed every one of Michael J. Fox's books, and No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality did not disappoint. He's a great writer and his humor (and humanity) come through in his books.

I read Tom Clancy novels for years, and always enjoyed them. Well, at least until Red Rabbit which was a terrible book. I always liked the genre so after finding a great Youtuber, C.W. Lemoine aka "Mover", I took a chance on his books. I finished Spectre Rising on March 23, Spectre: Origins on March 24, Avoid. Negotiate. Kill. on March 28, Archangel Fallen on March 30, Executive Reaction on April 3, Brick by Brick on March 8, Stand Against Evil on March 11, Absolute Vengeance on March 16, The Helios Conspiracy on March 21, I am the Sheepdog on March 22, Fini Flight on March 27, and when it was released later in the year, N.O. Justice on August 1. To say I enjoy his writing is a huge understatement. :-) I'm looking forward to what's next!

In the same genre, I stumbled onto Jack Carr. Jack is a former Navy SEAL who spent 20 years in Naval Special Warfare doing what SEALs do. As with Mover's books, I read The Terminal List, True Believer, Savage Son, and The Devil's Hand in just a few days. I pre-ordered his next book which doesn't come out until May 2022. Oh, and The Terminal List is being made into an Amazon series starring Chris Pratt! From what Jack says, the series is going to kick ass.

On a more serious note, I really, REALLY enjoyed The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy. It's a pretty quick read, but thought-provoking.

Another really short read was Jack London's To Build a Fire. I've read a few Jack London stories over the years with The Sea Wolf being one of my favorites. I don't like the cold, so To Build a Fire struck a chord.

If you're interested to know what Critical Race Theory is, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction is a good way to dip your toes in. It is written by prominent scholars in the movement/theory, so it's as close to the horse's mouth as you can get. My copy is now heavily highlighted and underlined because I believe it's important to understand, not just pontificate. It was an enlightening read. I don't agree with any of it, but I'm still willing to understand it. Educate yourselves. Don't just listen to the talking heads on your news channel of choice.

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was outstanding! It took some turns I wasn't expecting, but I'm glad I read it, and I highly recommend it.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood was good, but the ending...GRRR. I won't spoil it here, but when I hit the ending I'm pretty sure I yelled a few choice words. Her writing style was different and a bit hard to get used to, but again, I'm glad I read it.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury has found its way into my top 5 favorite books. It was so good that I can see myself reading it again in the not too distant future.

Overall, Goodreads tells me I read around 16,000 pages in those 53 books. The longest book I read was Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer and the shortest was Courage Under Fire by James Stockdale.