My reading for this past year is locked in. I’m not expecting to finish any books between now and the end of the year. Therefore, I figured it was a good time to review and organize my reading list for 2021.
My wish list of books to read still has nearly 230 books on it. According to Goodreads, I read 37 books this past year and added 32 onto the ‘to-read’ pile. While it appears the wish list should have gotten a bit smaller, it didn’t move much because 5 or 6 of the 37 books I read were of the short story variety. Goodreads credits them as a regular book even though I crushed a couple of them in one evening.
In any case, the list is still large. It makes for quite the challenge when it comes to organizing the list. I try to use the following criteria when determining what to read:
- Recommendations from trusted sources get the most preference.
- I make sure to include books from authors I like. My current favorites include Blake Crouch, A.G. Riddle, Eliot Peper, Daniel Suarez, and Ryan Holiday.
- If I’ve previously purchased the book, it gets a slightly higher priority. Fortunately, the list of purchased books has gotten smaller than in year’s past.
- I like to include a few books by new authors. It’s fun discovering up-and coming talents.
- My fictional preference is primarily science fiction, but I will venture outside of this genre if provided with a good recommendation. My science fiction books tend more towards books that explore hard science fiction or plausible ideas such as artificial intelligence, human augmentation, or robotics. I’m not one for space operas, although I will dabble here and there if the first book in a series looks interesting.
- I always save room on my list for “classic” science fiction. It fascinates me how authors have foreshadowed or predicted the future in their books, some which were written well over 50 years ago.
- My non-fiction reads center around self-learning, business learning, founder/company stories, and health and nutrition. I do my best to include books from each of these categories every year to stay current on the latest findings.
- In addition to my two primary lists, fun/fiction reads and non-fiction/personal development books, I’m adding a third list this year. It’s a ‘to revisit’ list where I am going to re-read 4 or 5 personal development books. Instead of going wider in my learning, I want to revisit and gain a deeper understanding of concepts I’ve liked from the past.
- My fiction list has 40+ books on it, and my non-fiction list has around 25. I typically read about 15-20 from the fun list, and 10-12 from the non-fiction list. I like publishing a larger list in case I do get ahead of myself. It also helps when prioritizing the year beyond, and it gives me something to look forward to.
My fun list
- Fat Chance – Nick Spalding
- Selected Stories – Theodore Sturgeon
- Lexicon – Max Barry
- American Dirt – Jeanine Cummins
- Impossible Dreams – Tim Pratt
- The God’s Eye View – Barry Eisler
- Veil – Eliot Peper
- Permutation City – Greg Egan
- Luna – Ian McDonald
- How We’ll Live on Mars – Stephen L. Petranek
- (R)evoultion – PJ Manney
- Afterparty – Daryl Gregory
- The Road – Cormac McCarthy
- Delta-v – Daniel Suarez
- Pennsylvania – Michael Bunker
- The Fold – Peter Clines
- All Our Wrong Todays – Elan Mastai
- After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley – Rob Reid
- Uncanny Valley – Anna Weiner
- QualityLand – Marc-Uwe Kling
- Extracted – RR Haywood
- The Naturalist – Andrew Mayne
- Way Station – Clifford Simak
- Code Breakers – Colin Barnes
- The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North
- Machines Like Me – Ian McEwan
- Home – Matt Dunn
- Amped – Daniel H. Wilson
- Six Wakes – Mur Lefferty
- Pandora’s Brain – Calum Chace
- The Water Knife – Paolo Bacigalupi
- When She Woke – Hillary Jordan
- The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
- The Dog Stars – Peter Heller
- 14 – Peter Clines
- Interference – Brad Parks
- Colony One Mars – Gerald M. Kilby
- Keep Mars Weird – Neal Pollack
- The Quantum Thief – Hannu Rajaniemi
- Interface – Tony Batton
- Cipher – Sean Jenan
- Cryptonomicron – Neal Stephenson
The Morning Reads
- Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness and Spiritual Growth – Deepak Chopra
- The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
- Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
- Stillness Is the Key – Ryan Holiday
- The Diet Myth – Tim Spector
- Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It – Maelle Gavet
- Hardwiring Happiness – Rick Hanson
- Creativity, Inc. – Ed Catmull
- Story – Robert McKee
- Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything – BJ Fogg
- Mindfulness – Dr. Danny Penman
- The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins
- The Biology of Belief – Bruce Lipton
- The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods – Antonin Sertillanges
- Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams – Matthew Walker
- The Choice – Edith Enger
- Keep Going – Austin Kleon
- Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success – Adam Grant
- Neurofitness – Rahul Jandial
- Debt – David Graeber
- The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem – Nathaniel Branden
- Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
- Spiritual Brain – Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary
- A Guide to the Good Life – William Irvine
- The Brain: The Story of You – David Eaglemann
The Revisit List
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
- Ninja Selling – Larry Kendall
- Power of Positive Thinking – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
- The Go-Giver – Bob Burg and John David Mann
- The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor
- The Slight Edge – Jeff Olsen
In addition to the above, I have a few daily readers on my list:
- Trusting God Day by Day – Joyce Meyer
My morning devotional to build my faith and spiritual side
- Positive Thinking Every Day – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
A daily quote/reading that I plan to use to inspire my journaling
- The Maxwell Daily Reader: 365 Days of Insight to Develop the Leader Within You and Influence Those Around You – John C. Maxwell
A positive, daily reading for the personal development side
While I’m trying to be more disciplined and discriminating about what I add to my list, I’m always on the lookout for good books. If there are any that you feel are a must read in the next year (or so), feel free to drop me a line in the comments. Thanks!