My 2021 reading list

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

  1. Fat Chance – Nick Spalding
  2. Selected Stories – Theodore Sturgeon
  3. Lexicon – Max Barry
  4. American Dirt – Jeanine Cummins
  5. Impossible Dreams – Tim Pratt
  6. The God’s Eye View – Barry Eisler
  7. Veil – Eliot Peper
  8. Permutation City – Greg Egan
  9. Luna – Ian McDonald
  10. How We’ll Live on Mars – Stephen L. Petranek
  11. (R)evoultion – PJ Manney
  12. Afterparty – Daryl Gregory
  13. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  14. Delta-v – Daniel Suarez
  15. Pennsylvania – Michael Bunker
  16. The Fold – Peter Clines
  17. All Our Wrong Todays – Elan Mastai
  18. After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley – Rob Reid
  19. Uncanny Valley – Anna Weiner
  20. QualityLand – Marc-Uwe Kling
  21. Extracted – RR Haywood
  22. The Naturalist – Andrew Mayne
  23. Way Station – Clifford Simak
  24. Code Breakers – Colin Barnes
  25. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North
  26. Machines Like Me – Ian McEwan
  27. Home – Matt Dunn
  28. Amped – Daniel H. Wilson
  29. Six Wakes – Mur Lefferty
  30. Pandora’s Brain – Calum Chace
  31. The Water Knife – Paolo Bacigalupi
  32. When She Woke – Hillary Jordan
  33. The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
  34. The Dog Stars – Peter Heller
  35. 14 – Peter Clines
  36. Interference – Brad Parks
  37. Colony One Mars – Gerald M. Kilby
  38. Keep Mars Weird – Neal Pollack
  39. The Quantum Thief – Hannu Rajaniemi
  40. Interface – Tony Batton
  41. Cipher – Sean Jenan
  42. Cryptonomicron – Neal Stephenson

The Morning Reads

  1. Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness and Spiritual Growth – Deepak Chopra
  2. The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
  3. Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
  4. Stillness Is the Key – Ryan Holiday
  5. The Diet Myth – Tim Spector
  6. Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It – Maelle Gavet
  7. Hardwiring Happiness – Rick Hanson
  8. Creativity, Inc. – Ed Catmull
  9. Story – Robert McKee
  10. Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything – BJ Fogg
  11. Mindfulness – Dr. Danny Penman
  12. The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins
  13. The Biology of Belief – Bruce Lipton
  14. The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods – Antonin Sertillanges
  15. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams – Matthew Walker
  16. The Choice – Edith Enger
  17. Keep Going – Austin Kleon
  18. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success – Adam Grant
  19. Neurofitness – Rahul Jandial
  20. Debt – David Graeber
  21. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem – Nathaniel Branden
  22. Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
  23. Spiritual Brain – Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary
  24. A Guide to the Good Life – William Irvine
  25. The Brain: The Story of You – David Eaglemann

The Revisit List

  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  2. Ninja Selling – Larry Kendall
  3. Power of Positive Thinking – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
  4. The Go-Giver – Bob Burg and John David Mann
  5. The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor
  6. 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!