As the world ticks over to yet another year, I have once again not accomplished my reading goal. 2020 easily could have been my year, but the pandemic brought on way too little free time and way too much stress to make reading a priority. That changes this year – here’s the 21 books I’m reading in 2021.
21 Must Read Books I’m Reading in 2021
Some of these books are from my backlog on my own bookshelf, and others are great releases from 2020 that I missed. I’m also catching up on some classics that I just haven’t gotten around to reading over the years.
Obviously, this is a personal reading list of books I’m reading in 2021.
I’m sharing for a few reasons:
- So I can have some accountability.
- In case you’re looking for ideas on what to read.
- Maybe someone wants to discuss these books with me?
All the Light We Cannot See
I’m actually a few chapters into this book (I got it for Christmas) and I seriously can’t get enough.
It jumps between time and multiple characters through the lead up to and during the second world war.
By Anthony Doer – See it on Amazon
Ship of Theseus
A book I started reading years ago but never actually finished, it’s written like an antique novel and new story all in one.
There’s a sub story in the margins, plus plenty of extra trinkets that fall out of the pages as you read for a really unique reading expereince.
By J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst – See it on Amazon
Brave New World
A classic, but one I’ve never read. Hard to believe because I’m such a fan of sci-fi!
It’s set in a future where people are made in test tubes and their destininities are predetermined.
Far ahead of it’s time, Brave New World was one of those books that helped shape its genre. In this case, dystopian sci-fi.
By Aldous Huxley – See it on Amazon
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lustiana
Erik Larson is probably one of the best narrative nonfiction writers of our era, and this book has been on my radar for awhile.
Set during WWI, it tells the very real story of how this trans Atlantic ship, filled with passengers, sank. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that – and this book tells a side of the story I haven’t read.
By Erik Larson – See it on Amazon
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
This is one that’s really high on my “read next” list.
It goes into details about a hidden caste, or ranking system that’s plagued Americans since basically the dawn of civilization.
It goes beyond race and class – this book is more about how bloodlines, stigma, divine will, and others.
By Isabel Wilkerson – See it on Amazon
Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family
My fiancée actually put this one on my radar, but it’s definitely something I would have picked up myself.
Imagine having 12 kids (during the baby boom) and 6 of them having schizophrenia? This family did, and the book explores both the genetic research behind what causes mental health issues, and the emerging world of treatment in mental health fields.
By Robert Kolker – See it on Amazon
The House in the Cerulean Sea
You can’t have a great book list without fantasy, and this one was from 2020 has been highly recommended.
Funny, spirited, and full of whimsey, it’s definitely going to be my palette cleanser between some of the more heavy books on my list this year.
By TJ Klune – See it on Amazon
The Midnight Library
The future librarian in me can’t resist a book like this one. In this book, the midnight library happens to be a place that exists between life and death.
I’m a little hesitant because I didn’t enjoy Haig’s ‘How to Stop Time’, but I’m willing to give him another chance since this story has such rave reviews.
By Matt Haig – See it on Amazon
The Island of Sea Women
After reading Pachinko I’ve kind of been obsessed with historical fiction set in Korea.
It’s the story of two friends who happen to be divers on the Korean coast and spans over several decades. Of course, it’s not that simple – the characters are each Japanese and Korean, and their friendship is caught between warring empires.
By Lisa See – See it on Amazon
How to Win Friends & Influence People
I read this years ago and can’t really remember what it’s all about, yet it sits on my shelf. 2021 seemed like a good time to pick it back up again – especially as I go through so many changes in my person life.
And yes, I do hope to win more friends!
By Dale Carnegie – See it on Amazon
How Happiness Happens: Finding Lasting Joy in a World of Comparison, Disappointment, and Unmet Expectations
This is outside my usual reading style, but I thought I’d give it a shot. 2021 is all about being happy and anything to help that along is a plus!
Fair warning, it does have some pretty major religious undertones. Max, after all, is a minister. But regardless of your beliefs there’s a lot of positive messages. At least from what I’ve read so far.
By Max Lucado – See it on Amazon
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
I actually have the audiobook of this one borrowed from my library and plan to listen to it next week.
Based on a true story, it draws inspiration from interviews with a Holocaust survivor. The book is basically a dramatization of her real life.
It’s one of my most anticipated books I’m reading in 2021.
By Heather Morris – See it on Amazon
Where the Crawdads Sing
This is another one that I missed but had rave reviews. It’s told from the perspective of an abandoned child.
Described as a combination murder mystery, coming of age story, and ode to nature all in one, I’m most looking forward to seeing just what all the hype about this book’s literary style is all about.
By Delia Owens – See it on Amazon
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Everyone could use a little help starting new routines, myself include. It’s been out for a couple years now, and certainly those thousands of 5 star reviews can’t be lying at this point.
I should probably check this one out early in the year for the strongest effect.
By James Clear – See it on Amazon
The Glass Castle: A Memoir
When I was working in a library someone gave me a copy of this book and said I have to read it. I still haven’t.
I think part of the reason I’ve put it off is that it seems a bit dark. I’ve read dark books in the past, but they tend to stay with me for a long time. I want to read it though – so here it is on my list of books to read in 2021.
By Jeannette Walls – See it on Amazon
The Invention of Sound
I’ve been eyeing this book since it came out back in September. I’m a pretty big fan of Chuck Palahniuk’s weird surreal stories.
A friend of mine actually interviewed him in regards to this book, and the conclusion it left me with is that it’s quite the horror story.
By Chuck Palahniuk – See it on Amazon
The City We Became
I’ve been feeling like getting into a new series, and this one looks promising. I love the vintage sci-fi vibe on the cover of this book.
Of course, you can’t judge by the cover, but you can judge by glowing reviews and an interesting story. In this case, it’s about cities having souls of their own. Or in the case of New York, five of them.
By N. K. Jemisin – See it on Amazon
The Space Between Worlds
Another sci-fi for the list (I really do love the genre) this one’s about an outsider who can travel between worlds.
I love multiverse sci-fi and the unique stories it can tell, and this book seems to be no exception. One of the rules include not visiting a dimension where you’re still alive, and the main character happens to be great at dying.
By Micaiah Johnson – See it on Amazon
Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man
Who doesn’t love books about Trump? This one’s written by his niece, and also talks about what kind of family would raise someone like Donald Trump.
Oh yeah, and she’s a psychologist.
By Mary L. Trump, Ph.D. – See it on Amazon
I’m not even going to pretend like I didn’t put this on the list after watching my partner play the new Assassins’ Creed game.
This popular book has been sitting unread on my shelf for a couple of years. With the recent Viking love in my house, now seems like the perfect year to check it out.
By Neil Gaiman – See it on Amazon
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
OK yes I know there’s two Erik Larson books on this list. But I really want to read more historical narratives this year.
This one is more recent, and tells the story of Churchill during the Blitz. What’s most interesting, though, is the focus on his family rather than just the events of WWII.
By Erik Larson – See it on Amazon
I’m going to do my best to update with reviews as I read these books.
Want to see how I’m doing with these books I’m reading in 2021? You can follow me on Goodreads!