So, I wrote out all of the books I read in 2021 back in early January, and then never got back to finishing this post. I like giving at least short reviews of the books I’ve read, but it takes some time, so I kept pushing it off.
Shorter reviews this year than in past, but this – finally published! – post is for all of you who said just post it, even if I can’t give all the books “justice” with a full review. Even a 1-5 star note is better than not sharing the list at all. So here it is 🙂
Ps – part of why I haven’t finished this post? Because I’ve spent my evenings reading books instead.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
I’ve now tracked my reading list for three years, and I have to say, I really enjoy writing these blog posts. We also recently added a “Readers Nook” channel on our Women’s Personal Finance Discord, and it was the nudge I needed to open up my computer and get to putting my thoughts down on paper again. Really, I could talk about books forever. They’re one of my favorite things.
Have favorite book recommendations? I want to hear them! Audiobooks have really leveled up the amount of reading I do now, so I always have at least a couple of books being read at once. PS – ignore anyone who says audiobooks don’t count as real books. It’s ableist, and let’s leave that nonsense in 2021. Plus, all our brains are fried thanks to this ongoing pandemic, and so if audiobooks are what get you reading again, go for it, and enjoy yourself.
I closed out 2021 with 64 books completed, thanks to a combination of audiobooks, hard copy books, and books read to the kiddo at bedtime. Most were checked out from the library, so I didn’t spend nearly the amount of money that it would have cost to purchase them all outright. If you haven’t looked into Libby or Overdrive for ebooks and audiobooks, I would highly, highly recommend them.
1. Shameless by Nadia Bolz-Weber
I love everything written by this woman. If you are an unfundy Christian – especially someone still working to unpack some of the more traditional beliefs you grew up with – this book is for you.
2. You Can Farm by Joel Salatin
I… did not love this book. I wanted to, but there was just something *off* about it. After learning more about Joel Salatin, it made a lot of sense. Kinda the Dave Ramsey of permaculture, if you will.
3. A Year Without The Grocery Store by Karen Morris
This one was…. Kinda boring. Basic preparedness. And way too much focus on storing “regular” foods rather than looking at producing your own / working on any kind of local community resiliency.
4. Farm City by Novella Carpenter
This book was straight awful. I ranted about it on Twitter as I read it, but basically, this memoir was basically the stereotypical white girl “farmer” made flesh.
5. Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha
After Farm City, the bar was low, and this book did clear it. Enjoyable enough, but not one I will re-read. Also a great story of why you absolutely should not pass off all the financial stuff on your partner.
6. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
I finally got around to reading a book by Michael Pollan because he gets mentioned so often, but I could have skipped it. Very pretentious and doesn’t have much “new” to say. I deleted his other books off hold at the library after finishing this one.
7. The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
This book was my favorite “farming” memoir to date. Much more realistic and interesting than the ones mentioned above. I *did* reserve her second book after finishing this one.
8. Growing A Revolution by David R Montgomery
Seeing a theme here yet? Clearly, if you have favorite farming / sustainable agriculture / memoir type books to suggest, I’d love to hear them. This book was about no till farming and soil regeneration, and solidified my choice of having chickens, even at a small scale.
9. Health At Every Size by Lindo Bacon
Struggle with your weight / body image? Go read this book.
Feel strongly that obesity is a choice / one of the biggest dangers of society today? Go read this book.
Basically? Go read this book.
10. Good Husbandry by Kristin Kimball
I checked this one after reading her other book on her experience farming in Upstate New York. While I enjoyed it, I’d say that The Dirty Life was better. Both worth the read though, regardless.
11. Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price
After Purple shouted out about this book (and then I kept hearing about it from others in the personal finance space), I added it to my list. One I will be re-reading to remind myself and let it sink in (maybe? Still struggle with this a ton).
12. Lentil Underground by Liz Carlisle
My favorite regenerative farming / sustainable agriculture read of the year. Coincidence that it was the one written by a woman? Perhaps not, but it was head and shoulders above the others. And then I absolutely bought the lentils talked about in this book when I spotted them at the store.
13. Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer
I read Robin Wall Kimmerer’s other book Braiding Sweetgrass in 2020, and it was a balm for my soul during the early stages of the pandemic. This one, while an interesting read, didn’t capture me in quite the same way.
1. Caelen’s Wife, Secrets of the Heart, Moirra’s Heart, Isle of the Blessed by Suzan Tisdale
Your basic Scottish romance “fluff” reads that were a lot of fun. When I struggle with reading, some easy/fun reads help to bring me back in. These would be considered “guilty pleasures” if I considered there to be such a thing with books. But no. All reading is good. What you enjoy and gets you to read? That’s a good book.
5. The Edge of Forever by Suzan Tisdale
More Suzan Tisdale. There’s a reason why she’s a very popular author.
6. Forever Her Champion by Suzan Tisdale
+1 to this one.
7. Salamandastron, Outcast of Redwall, Lord Brocktree, Mariel of Redwall, Pearls of Lutra, Eulalia, The Long Patrol by Brian Jacques
The Redwall books were our bedtime reads with the kiddo. The husband and I both read these books as kids, and it’s been really fun to read them together at night. Even more special is they’re the same copies of the books from my husband’s childhood.
14. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I read this book in school (didn’t we all?) but I hadn’t read it since then. I remembered it being longer, but the re-read had me realize there’s a reason why it is one that gets read in schools. And hopefully won’t be deleted from school lists.
15. Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
Trigger warning – this is a book about a flu pandemic. The flu in the story is much more deadly and faster than Covid, but it was definitely a surreal read during a global pandemic. The author even has one of the characters stock up on toilet paper – I’m impressed she saw that coming, even if the rest of us didn’t.
16. The Indian in the Cupboard, Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The kiddo enjoyed these books, and they’re clever, but they are definitely dated and tinged with “noble savage” casual racism. I’m fine that we haven’t read the third book and probably won’t unless the kiddo remembers and wants to. (Again, not censoring books, though we will talk about the problematic parts).
18. The Prophecy by Kim Sakwa
So this book was so unmemorable that I had to look it up to remember what it was about. Basically, I was looking for more light Scottish romance / historical fiction a la Suzan Tisdale, but this one did not pass muster.
19. Song of the Lionness Quartet (x2), The Immortals Quartet (x2), Protector of the Small Quartet (x2), Trickster’s Duet (x2) by Tamora Pierce
Thanks to Gwen, I finally got to re-reading the Alanna books and they were even better than I remembered. And then I got the kiddo hooked via Audiobook, so I got to listen to them again. Will definitely be re-reading them again before another two decades go by.
47. The Disappearance of Emily, The Ghost Camper’s Tall Tales by Elizabeth Pantley
One of my mom’s books! Her first fiction novel was what got me back into reading in 2020 after my brain turned to pandemic mush, and each subsequent book in the series has been better than the last.
49. Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, The Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
These were audiobook re-reads. I’ve read them a number of times, so they’re great for “background” listening or late at night when I can’t fall asleep. I’m being patient and getting through the whole series first before I read the newest installation. It’s #9 of #10 in the series, so I figure there’s no need to rush to be left on yet another cliffhanger.
51. One Second After by William R Forstchen
This book gets mentioned a ton in prepper circles, and I now understand why so many hardcore preppers (especially conservative ones) focus on the potential of an EMP attack. The author definitely does a good job weaving a terrifying story.
PS: Here, you can look back at the books I read in 2020 and 2019.
14 thoughts on “My 2021 Book List”
My two favorite permaculture books are Gaia’s Garden and Practical Permaculture. Good references, and both with PNW ties. Still looking for that compelling memoir though!
I own Gaia’s Garden but have not read it yet 😅
An impressive list! I like how honest you are about the farming books that you *didn’t like*. I have read and enjoyed The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball but not read her 2nd book yet.
Also i haven’t read The Omnivor’s Dilemma yet and now I feel less guilty about this haha.
And I have Laziness Does Not Exist on my list because of purple too!
I am a big fiction fan, including Diana Gabaldon, and I can say that Tell The Bees That I Have gone is good – in my opinion actually better than book number 8, which to me felt like it had too many storylines going on and needed a firmer editorial hand 🙂 But yeah, no rush to get to it.
Yeah, I’m excited to read it – but it’s not the “end” of the series. And Im enjoying the re listen in order.
I highly recommend Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
I actually did like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but In Defense of Food and The Botany of Desire were much better in my opinion.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is one of my all time favorites 😍
I also did a massive Tamora Pierce reread! I read all of Tortall, but saved Emelan for this year. I love them so much!
I think anything by Ray Bradbury is a poignant read, similarly JG Ballard.
My first four star rating of 2022 was The Vanishing Half. I set myself a goal of reading 100 books this year so I am loading my e-reader constantly with library books (I quit about half the books I read because I am picky!) My favorite series from last year was Throne of Glass. If you like Outlander, I would recommend Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati, there is a whole series that follows a spunky English teacher living in early America and they mention a run in with Jamie and Claire during a battle (Donati is writing friends with Gabaldon) Nonfiction: I really enjoyed Bossypants by Tina Fey (like I laughed the whole time) and At home in the world by Tsh Oxenreider (I’ve read it three times) and Into thin air by Jon Krakauer.
I’m impressed you quit so many books! I just can’t do it lol
I really enjoy your book lists thanks for sharing! My all time favorite fantasy books are the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss: The Name of the Wind, Wise Man’s Fear, and book 3 to come hopefully soon. I can’t recommend them highly enough. And the author is also a very cool person doing amazing things, like raising millions of $ for Heifer International through his charity Worldbuilders.
Ooooh I haven’t read those!!