2021: A Reading Reflection

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🛣️ My reading journey has been transformative. From the changing mindset of not liking or wanting to read, to reading over 50 books in the past two years, to absorbing, and, more importantly, applying the information I’ve read, perhaps the word transformative is an understatement.

Unlike last year (see my reflection post), I did not see an overall theme, or themes, of the books I chose to read in 2021. More or less, they were recommendations from people I follow online, people I follow IRL (friends, family, etc.), or books that happened to find their way into my hands and were checked out at my local library. I will admit though, this year I stepped outside my “normal-reads comfort zone,” and I am quite glad I did (more on that later).

Below I categorized my reads into two sections (listening and reading—that’s right I started listening to audio-books!) If you have never gotten into audio-books, I would highly recommend it. You can even rent them with Helium Books!

🔊 Audio-books (13 total)

Fiction (9 total)

  • Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens

  • And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling

Non-Fiction (4 total)

  • Educated: A Memoir - Tara Westover

  • Braving The Wilderness - Brené Brown

  • Becoming - Michelle Obama

  • Greenlights - Matthew McConaughey

📚 Physical Books (27 total)

Fiction (6 total)

  • All About Us -Tom Ellen

  • A Christmas Visitor - Anne Perry

  • A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman

  • The Midnight Library - Matt Haig

  • Difficult Women - Roxanne Gay

  • A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles

Non-Fiction (21 total)

  • The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu - Dan Jurafsky

  • Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die - Chip & Dan Heath

  • We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • Ego is The Enemy - Ryan Holiday

  • Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • Stamped - Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi

  • Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • White Rage - Carol Anderson

  • How Black College Students Learn Code-Switching - George B. Passawe

  • Start With Why - Simon Sinek

  • Subtract - Leidy Klotz

  • Bomber Mafia - Malcolm Gladwell

  • Option B - Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant

  • Think Again - Adam Grant

  • Farsighted - Steven Johnson

  • Curious - Ian Leslie

  • Dare to Lead - Brené Brown

  • Bad Feminist - Roxanne Gay

  • Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? - Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Yes to life - Viktor Frankl

  • What the Dog Saw - Malcolm Gladwell

Out of everything I read and listened to, below is a compiled list of books I would recommend, books that weren’t as good as I thought they'd be, and books that surprised me (...in a good way)!

Books That I Recommend

  • Think Again - Adam Grant

  • A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles

  • Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • Curious - Ian Leslie

  • Bomber Mafia - Malcolm Gladwell

Books That Weren’t As Good As I Thought They'd Be

  • Ego is The Enemy - Ryan Holiday

  • Start With Why - Simon Sinek

  • What the Dog Saw - Malcolm Gladwell

Books That Surprised Me

  • Greenlights - Matthew McConaughey

  • Educated: A Memoir - Tara Westover

  • A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman

Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a few moments to discuss my most enjoyable reading experience this year. I decided to listen to the Harry Potter series and it was utterly fantastic. I was transported to Hogwarts and felt as if I was this floating being following the main characters (Harry, Ron, and Hermione) throughout their journey of coming into themselves.

Unashamedly, I loved this series so much that after completion, I threw a Harry Potter themed party (see picture below—yes, that is me dressed as the Dark Lord: Lord Voldemort (a.k.a. He Who Must Not Be Named, a.k.a. Tom Riddle).

Aside from something to look forward to each day, Harry Potter provided a different experience for me in terms of the type of books I consumed. Up until then, I rarely ventured in fiction, but greatly loved the escape from the real world it provided.

I enjoyed lots of great books that I otherwise would not have read if it wasn’t for people recommending fiction titles. For this I am deeply grateful, as it opened brand new styles of writing, stories, and books to be loved, appreciated, and read. I will carry this love for novelty throughout my reading journey into next year and beyond. Now speaking of next year…here are a few titles on my reading list for 2022! 🤗

  • All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr

  • Anxious People - Fredrik Backman

  • Sources of Power - Gary Klein

  • The Choice: Embrace the Possible - Edith Eger

I am always down for book recommendations so please comment with books you enjoyed in the past and your thoughts on the books I read/listened to in 2021.

As always, I appreciate you! Keep on elevating and Happy New Year! 🍾

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