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The Books I Read - 2021


16 books in 2019. 26 books in 2020. 38 in 2021. An encouraging trend.

I’ve never read more books in a single year, and it feels good. I’ve continued to use reading to detach my iPhone from my brain-stem, often carrying a book around and reading in short periods instead of fiddling with my phone. I didn’t play video games at all this year, replacing it with reading – keen to play a little next year though, if the new PS5 games are good. After three years of consistent reading, I feel like I’ve made significant progress breaking out of ‘the shallows’.

To cap off the year of reading. Here’s some simple stats/facts:

  • Worst book: 100 Plus
  • 11,800+ pages, apparently
  • 11/38 from women authors (gf rightly nags me about this)
  • 18/38 second hand books

I read a lot of famous and well regarded books this year, and they were so good I couldn’t pick a favourite. That said, these are a top 5 in terms of how much they durably affected my emotions and thinking.

  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musing on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary
  • The Nickel Boys
  • Debt: The First 5,000 years
  • Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind The Rise of the Radical Right

As in the 2020 post, clicking the book cover takes you to a short review.

Below are the covers, titles, authors, and ratings of the 38 books I read this year. Click them to read my short review.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick
★★★★

The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
★★★★

Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology

K. Eric Drexler
★★★

Project Hail Mary

Andy Weir
★★★

Steppenwolf

Hermann Hesse
★★★★

The Sciences of the Artificial

Herbert A. Simon
★★★★

Zen in the Art of Writing

Ray Bradbury
★★★

The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle, #6)

Ursula K. Le Guin
★★★★★

The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4)

Ursula K. Le Guin
★★★★★

Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson
★★★★★

An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management

Will Larson
★★★

Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software

Nadia Eghbal
★★★

The Psychology of Computer Programming

Gerald M. Weinberg
★★

Debt: The First 5,000 Years

David Graeber
★★★★★

Beautiful World, Where Are You

Sally Rooney
★★★

The Medium is the Message

Marshall McLuhan
★★★★

Showstopper! the Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft

G. Pascal Zachary
★★★

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

Jane Mayer
★★★★★

The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary

Eric S. Raymond
★★★★★

Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age

Paul Graham
★★★

Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes
★★★★☆

Red Mars (Mars Trilogy, #1)

Kim Stanley Robinson
★★★★

The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck
★★★★★

The Nickel Boys

Colson Whitehead
★★★★★

A Visit from the Goon Squad

Jennifer Egan
★★★★

Jazz (Beloved Trilogy, #2)

Toni Morrison
★★★

The Quiet Revolution

Jim Cairns
★★

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

Ray Kurzweil
★★★★

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering

Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
★★★★★

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

Neal Stephenson
★★★★

The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller
★★★★

100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, from Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith

Sonia Arrison

Silent Spring

Rachel Carson
★★★★★

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Michelle Alexander
★★★★★

Down and Out in Paris and London

George Orwell
★★★★

I’ve set my 2022 reading goal at 40 books.