Reading summary for 2021

Below is a list to books I read in 2021, along with links to books which I reviewed (Often, I reviewed several books in the same post, so you may have to look down to find the book in question). In 2021, I read 54 books. 41 were non-fiction, 8 were fiction, and 5 were books of poetry. 20 of the books I listed to on audible, the rest were read on paper. I reviewed 30 of the books. That’s one more book than 2020, and seven less reviews. To see my 2020 reading list, click here.

Last year I said I need to read more fiction and I read one more than 2020. Interestingly, when I looked at books by month, fiction often came out on top.

Here’s a breakdown of my non-fiction reading (Some books appear in more than one category).

History (Including Biographies). 13
Theology (Including devotions and commentaries). 16
Essays and Short Stories 8
Humor (I need to read more!) 4
Nature 6
Politics 3
Memoir 10
The Art of Writing 2

My reading list by month (with a photo of the book that I found most intriguing for each month):


Ronald W. Hall, The Carroll County Courthouse Tragedy (History)
Charles Simic, The Book of God and Devils: Poems (Poetry)
Lisa Deam, A World Transformed: Exploring the Spirituality of Medieval Maps (Theology, History)
Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation (Theology, Politics, History, Audible)
David Sedaris, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls 
(Essays, Humor, Audible)
Amy Peterson, Where Goodness Still Grows: Reclaiming Virtue in an Age of Hypocrisy (Theology)

Hard to decide between Lopez and Nguyen!


Barry Lopez, About this Life (Memoir (Audible)
Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer (Fiction, Audible)
Anne Melyn Cassabaum, Down Along the Haw: The History of a North Carolina River (History, Geography) 
Charles Simic, The Book of Gods and Devils (poetry)
Sarah Arthur, Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany  (Devotion)


Lisa Deam, 3000 Miles to Jesus: Pilgrimage as a way of Life for Spiritual Seekers (Theology, History)
Tilar J. Mazzero, The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It. (History, Creative Non-Fiction, Audible)
Nick Offerman, Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemaker  (Essays, “History,” Audible)
Thomas Long, Hebrews (Biblical Commentary)
Ron Rash, Among the Believers: Poems (Poetry)
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree (Fiction, Audible) 
Karen Cecil Smith: Orlean Puckett: The Life of a Mountain Midwife (History) 
Julie Salamon, Rambar’s Ladder: A Mediation on Generosity and Why It is Necessary to Give (theology)


Robin Wall Kimmer, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses (Nature, Memoir, Audible) 
Sarah Arthur, complier, Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide (Devotion)
Barry Dickson, Maybe Today: Poems  (Poetry)
Garrison Keillor: That Time of the Year: A Minnesota Life (Memoir)


Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North  (Fiction, Audible)

Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible (Fiction, Audible)


Aaron McAlexander, Greasy Bend: Ode to a Mountain Road  (History, Essays)
Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here  (Fiction, Politics, Audible)
Luke Timothy Johnson: Hebrews: A Commentary (Biblical Commentary) 


Gregory Orr, A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry (Writing)
Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot  (Nature, Essays, Audible) 
Erik Larson: Isaac’s Storm: A Man, A Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History (History, Audible) 
John Ketchmer, Sailing a Serious Ocean; Sailboats, Storms, Stories and Lessons Learned from 30 Years at Sea (Memoir, Audible) 
Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited (Theology, Race)
Casey Tygrett, As I Recall: Discovering the Place of Memories in our Spiritual Life (Writing)
Carl Hiassen, Tourist Season (Fiction, Humor, Audible) 
Robert Anderson, Daniel: Signs and Wonders, International Theological Commentary (Biblical Commentary)
Chet Raymo, The Soul of Night: An Astronomical Pilgrimage (Nature, Essays) 


Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer (Non-fiction, Baseball, Biographies, Audible)
Christiane Tietz, Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict (Biography, theology)
Admiral Eugene Fluckey, Thunder Below:  The USS Barb Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare (History, Memoir, Audible)
Richard Lischer, Open Secrets: A Memoir of Faith and Discovery (Memoir) 
Alistair Begg, Brave by Faith: God -sized Confidence in a Post-Christian World (Biblical Commentary) 


Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn (Fiction, Audible) 
George Saunders, Civil War Land in Bad Decline (Essays, Humor, Audible)


Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 4.2 The Doctrine of Reconciliation  (Theology) 

Terry Tempest Williams, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks (Memoir, Nature, Audible) 


Anton Chekhov, The Complete Stories of Anton Chekhov, 1882-1885 (Short Stories, Audible)

Peter Wehner, The Death of Politics (Non-fiction, Political)

Philip Yancey, Where the Light Fell (Faith, Memoir, Audible) 

John Hassell Yeatts, A Long and Winding Road (History, Memoir, Stories)

Gregory Orr, River Inside the River: Poems (Poetry) 


Makoto Fujimura, Art of Faith: A Theology of Making (Theology).

Philip Conner, A Song for the River (Memoir, Nature, Audible) 

Anthony Everitt, Alexander the Great: His lLfe and His Mysterious Death (History, Audible) 

I have two of these books on my reading list again, for 2022. I listened to Jesus and John Wayne, but I have the paper copy and I would like to read it and then write a review. I also want to reread and then write a review of Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited.

What books did you read in 2021? What are your reading plans for 2022?


23 Replies to “Reading summary for 2021”

  1. You commented on the list on my blog a few weeks ago, so you know what I read in 2021. You and I have some overlap and as you know, I’ve taken a number of your recommendations to heart and have never been disappointed. I’ve had “Where Goodness Still Grows” on my TBR for a while, as well as something by Ron Rash. I recently heard about “Jesus and John Wayne.” What did you think?

    1. I have wanted to reread Jesus and John Wayne–I have a hard copy of the book (I listened to it the first time). I think she makes a lot of important observations about how patriarchy has done some terrible things for the gospel and how merging politics and religion is a disaster for religion.

      1. It just popped up from the library on my kindle waiting list, so I will be reading soon. Coincidentally, I just heard the author on a podcast. Smart lady. I’m looking forward to reading this.

    1. I think she makes many valid points that need to be considered in today’s world. When politics merge with religion, often the faith loses out.

  2. Many thanks for sharing your books. It certainly is a good list 🙂
    I hope 2022 has started well for you.

    All the best Jan

  3. Congrats on an awesome reading year! I liked Narrow Road To The Deep North. I’ve read It Can’t Happen Here and Civil War Land, but I don’t remember them very well. I hope you’re reading lots of good books in January.

    1. I read so many good books in 2021, but “Narrow Road” is one of the top. I have also started to read (and then misplaced) Basho’s book by the same title. He was the 16th Century Japanese Haiku poet who is referred to many times in Flanagan’s book.

      1. Sage
        I will be extremely interested in your review of “Jesus and John wayne”
        I read it.

        1. Thanks, Timm. You might check some of my notes made above about it. I am not sure when I will get around to rereading it, but soon 😉

  4. I really like the way you put together this post. I think I’ve only read one from your list (the Erik Larson about the hurricane), but there are several others I’d like to read. The Sinclair Lewis book is on my Classics Club list.

  5. Quite a list! Your finds always inspire me to learn more about… everything. I think I’ve only read one of these: Boys of Summer.

    My own list was a far more modest 27 this year.

    1. I think 27 is still pretty good–a lot more than most! “The Boys of Summer” was a wonderful book. Sadly, almost all of those guys have since died.

  6. I have a few of those books already in my pile to read based off your earlier reviews. I’m making progress now that it is too cold to do much outside.

  7. Ooh, there are some fascinating books on this list! That medieval maps book and Barth are still on my wishlist… I’d like to read the Veuve Clicquot book too! And Keillor. And more Checkov…

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