This year I read 61 books, about ten more than average, roughly equally split between fiction and non-fiction. As I get older, the number has begun to creep up. I’ve always been a reader. A speed-reading class in high school gave me techniques for increasing speed and comprehension, and I still occasionally use some of those.
Of this year’s list, here are 15 highly recommended favorites.
- Blood Sugar by Sascha Rothchild. First time cheering for a killer, a multi-murderer, in fact – and I bet you will, too.
- These Women by Ivy Pochoda. A murder mystery propels the story, but the power here is getting to know some remarkable women in south LA and their stories.
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. Immensely creative approach to the classic immortality story. Everyone I’ve suggested it to has loved it.
- Deacon King Kong by James McBride. I loved every page of this book. McBride paints characters so vivid and lovely, the time spent with them was just heaven. I was so sad to see it end, although it was a satisfying conclusion.
- Random by Penn Jillette. Jillette’s mind fascinates me and I’ve read nearly all of his previous books, seen his live show, his movie about Vermeer, and many of his YouTube videos.
- Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. His book The Martian was marvelous and even the movie version turned out pretty good. He makes an effort to get the science right in his stories. Project Hail Mary imagines the first connection with an alien species. It is right on so many levels while being a terrific story.
- The Investigator by John Sandford. Sandford must have done all he feels he can with Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, moving here to Davenport’s daughter, Letty. Like Sandford’s other books, I’ll read them all.
- All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer. I loved the Mick Herron books (Slow Horses series) and a friend recommended Steinhauer. This was a fascinating story that kept me guessing, right up to the end. Very well done.
- Leviathan Falls by James S. A Corey. This was the ninth and last book in this series. I’d read all the previous books as well as the “in-between” short stories.
- The Church of Baseball by Ron Shelton. This movie struck so many cords. I outlined why I truly loved this book here.
- How to Be Perfect, by Michael Schur. Schur produced the four-season TV series The Good Place which I loved. If you saw it, you couldn’t miss Schur’s interest and fascination with Ethics. Here Schur puts most of the good parts of all my Philosophy and religion textbooks into one entertaining and simple book.
- Jump First, Think Fast by Frank O’Connell. Reading a book written by a friend and co-authored and edited by another good friend has its special moments. In this case, I’ve recommended and bought the book for friends as gifts and they’ve all loved it. Newsletter subscribers may have seen my review of it.
- Think Again by Adam Grant. Probably the one book on this list I wish everyone in the world would read.
- Why We Did It by Tim Miller. Not typically a book I’d pick up, but the idea of getting a better understanding of how our current political situation got to be where it is today, drew me in. While I am glad I read it and better understand how today’s politics work, it left me more cynical than I was before, although I still have some hope.
- The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow. These authors propose and support the idea that our remote ancestors were not nearly as primitive, childlike, warlike, and thuggish as history portrays. Recent breakthroughs in archaeology and anthropology show a dramatically different story.