Reading Roundup: 2021

I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this blog, and perhaps anyone who used to is wondering if it has finally died (like most blogs I used to read). 2021 was a momentous year that blew up my life completely and I'm still trying to put everything back together and figure out new routines and things. In the fall of 2020 I started a new position at work and the kids went back to school on a weird schedule because of the pandemic--and I thought that would be it as far as disruptions went. Then the year went on and Covid quarantines and protocols kept disrupting things. And we had a house fire in May that destroyed Little Dude's bedroom and caused enough damage that we couldn't live there for two months while they removed everything from the house, cleaned it, and moved it back in. I am enjoying the new paint on the walls, but I'm still sad that my good carpet got replaced with an inferior product. And then in the fall S-Boogie moved away to college and the other two kids started school and life just kept on being crazy. 

Speaking of crazy, in one year I managed to go from barely dating for nearly a decade to getting married. During the last week of 2020, I was browsing through a dating app and swiping on people. It was an activity I tried every few months without much success. And then someone contacted me who actually wanted to talk to me--and it turned out that we are both nerdy academics who speak the same language (literally). Being in a relationship with someone is simultaneously life-enriching and life-complicating, and my reading numbers for 2021 are lower than they have been in years. They might go back up in a while once I've figured out new routines and things. Or perhaps they won't; not only does my new relationship takes up more of my time, my new position at work requires more time as well, including time spent on research and writing. 

All this to say that this blog is not dead yet and that I still love reading books and talking about them. While I read 122 books in 2020, I only read 68 in 2021. I also didn't follow any reading challenges or set any particular goals. Despite reading fewer books, my ratios remained similar to previous years. I read 42 fiction books, 23 nonfiction books, and 3 books of poetry. I read 46 books written by women, 19 written by men, and 2 that had mixed authorship. Interestingly, I noticed that although I read a lot more fiction than nonfiction, I liked a lot more of the nonfiction books. This year I was disappointed in many of the 'big' novels that I'd heard a lot of hype about, and I also read a lot more 'fluffy' stuff than usual.

In no particular order of preference, the books I enjoyed most in 2021 were:


Matrix by Lauren Groff

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Beyond the Mapped Stars by Rosalyn Eves

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig


Everything isn't Terrible by Kathleen Smith 

Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War 2 by Daniel James Brown

How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know by Adam Grant

Crossings: A Bald Asian American Latter-day Saint Woman Scholar's Ventures Through Life, Death, Cancer, and Motherhood by Melissa Inouye

A Walk in My Shoes: Questions I'm Often Asked as a Gay Latter-day Saint by Ben Schilaty 

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui

The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt 

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May 

 Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism by Anne Applebaum 


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