Books of 2021

As I have done every year for years, here are a list of the books I read in 2021. A prolific year indeed at 134 books with the majority being lauded! I keep track of all my reads on Goodreads, should you want to find me there.

As with previous years, I am using the handy five-star scale to present these books, rather than chronological or otherwise. Conveniently, the top book was also my most enjoyed (and a relatively recent) book for me. Despite its age, Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything still feels like a must read for us all, even in 2021/2022.

I also find it fascinating and comforting that I didn’t find anything terrible enough to rate it “1.” This is a trend I hope to continue with my own selection and reflection processes.

The Five Star Books (67)

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson – 2004

Spit Temple by Cecilia Vicuna – 2012

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit – 2005

A Feeling Called Heaven by Joey Yearous-Algozin – 2021

The World’s Lightest Motorcycle by Yi Won – 2021

Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness by Kristen Radtke – 2021

Forget It by Anastacia Renee – 2017

Open Spirit by Travis Catsull – 2003

What Noise Against the Cane by Desiree C. Bailey – 2021

Punks: New & Selected Poems by John Keene – 2021

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee – 2021

How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue – 2021

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad – 2020

Boat People by Mayra Santos-febre – 2005

Her Wilderness Will Be Her Manners by Sarah Mangold – 2021

The Deering Hour by Karen Elizabeth Bishop – 2021

Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks – 1994

Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry by Joy Harjo – 2021

Wildsam Field Guides: Atlanta by Taylor Bruce – 2020

Zot!: The Complete Black-and-White Collection: 1987-1991 by Scott McCloud – 2008

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq – 2018

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff – 2019

I Remember Nightfall by Marosa Di Giorgio – 2017

Slay by Brittney Morris – 2019

Party Everywhere by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright – 2017

Blue Lyre by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright – 2018

Desert Southwest (Wildsam Field Guide, #9) by Taylor Elliott Bruce – 2016

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu – 2020

Concrete Rose = by Angie Thomas – 2021

Virga & Bone: Essays from Dry Places by Craig Childs – 2019

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells – 2019

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu – 2016

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker – 2017

Carnation and Tenebrae by Marosa Di Giorgio – 2020

Catacombs by Safiya Sinclair – 2011

Consecration of the Wolves by Alexis Levitin – 2021

Curb by Divya Victor – 2021

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – 2019

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson – 2020

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey – 2020

Arachnid Verve by Shauna Osborn – 2016

The Reindeer Chronicles: And Other Inspiring Stories of Working with Nature to Heal the Earth by Judith Schwartz – 2020

Terminal Events by Alfredo De Palchi – 2020

Our Bearings: Poems by Molly McGlennen – 2020

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka – 2011

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise – 2004

Saturn Peach by Lily Wang – 2020

Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair – 2016

When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz – 2012

Dispatch: Poems by Cameron Awkward-Rich – 2019

The Secret Meaning of Things: Poetry by Lawrence Ferlinghetti – 1968

Nothing but the Music: Documentaries from Nightclubs, Lofts, Dance Halls & a Tailor’s Shop in Dakar by Thulani Davis – 2021

Heavy by Kiese Laymon – 2018

The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa by Chika Sagawa – 2015

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America by Melissa V. Harris-Perry – 2011

Now It’s Dark by Peter Gizzi – 2020

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee – 2010

Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine – 2020

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper – 2018

Huckleberries and Coyotes: Lessons from Our More than Human Relations by Michelle M. Jacob – 2020

The Secret Knowledge of Water by Craig Childs – 2001

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo – 2020

Tropical Deco: The Architecture and Design of Old Miami Beach by Laura Cerwinske – 1991

Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir by Rebecca Solnit – 2020

Yi Sang: Selected Works by Yi Sang – 2020

Requisite by Tanya Holtland – 2020

Voir Dire by Nico Vassilakis – 2020

The Four Star Books (49)

How to Read Nature: Awaken Your Senses to the Outdoors You’ve Never Noticed by Tristan Gooley – 2017

Unterzakhn by Leela Corman – 2012

Erosion: Essays of Undoing by Terry Tempest Williams – 2019

The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3) by N.K. Jemisin – 2017

Apsara Engine by Bishakh Kumar Som – 2020

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam – 2001

Bright Half Life by Tanya Barfield –

Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America by Stacey Abrams – 2020

Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage by Anne Lamott – 2021

Islands of Abandonment by Cal Flyn – 2021

Solitude: A Return to the Self by Anthony Storr – 2005

Soul of Nowhere by Craig Childs – 2003

Good Morning Bone Crusher! by Thomas Walton – 2021

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2) by N.K. Jemisin – 2016

Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm by Robin DiAngelo – 2021

The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD: An 8-Step Program for Strengthening Attention, Managing Emotions, and Achieving Your Goals by Lidia Zylowska – 2012

Wildsam Field Guides: Pacific Northwest by Taylor Bruce – 2021

tide tables and tea with god by Cassondra Windwalker – 2021

Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay Dolin – 2016

All the Rage by Rosamond S. King – 2021

Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho – 2020

Wildsam Field Guides: The Moon by Taylor Bruce – 2019

Lighthead by Terrance Hayes – 2010

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee – 2006

Sho by Douglas Kearney – 2021

A Camera Obscura by Carl Marcum – 2021

American Quasar by David Campos – 2021

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – 2006

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie – 2019

Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith – 2018

How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency by Akiko Busch – 2019

Voodoo Hypothesis by Canisia Lubrin – 2017

The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit – 2017

Roll Deep: Poems by Major Jackson – 2017

Thief in the Interior by Phillip B. Williams – 2016

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman – 2021

Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed – 2018

Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith – 2008

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1) by N.K. Jemisin – 2015

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer – 2016

The Anchor’s Long Chain by Yves Bonnefoy – 2015

The Colossus and Other Poems by Sylvia Plath – 1998

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio – 2020

Oyo: The Beautiful River by Mark B. Hamilton – 2020

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett – 2019

Everything You Hold Dear: Poems by Jamie Sharpe – 2020

The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin – 2020

Grace Notes: Poems by Rita Dove – 1991

Harlem Shadows by Claude McKay – 2009

The Three Star Books (13)

On Fire: The Case for the Green New Deal by Naomi Klein – 2019

My Boyfriend Is a Bear by Pamela Ribon – 2018

Sea Fever: Selected Poems by John Masefield – 2005

The Round House by Louise Erdrich – 2012

Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams – 2008

Virga by Shin Yu Pai – 2021

A Bell Curve is a Pregnant Straight Line by Vi Khi Nao – 2021

And So Wax Was Made & Also Honey by Amy Beeder – 2020

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett – 2015

The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle – 2010

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee – 2015

Invitation to the Voyage: Selected Poems and Prose by Charles Baudelaire – 2020

Dance Dance Revolution by Cathy Park Hong – 2007

The Two Star Books (5)

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict – 2021

Is This Scary?: Poems by Jacob Scheier – 2021

The Ants by Sawako Nakayasu – 2014

Starting from San Francisco by Lawrence Ferlinghetti – 1967

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman – 2014

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