📚 I read 36 books in the first half of 2021:

  • Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
  • Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Expert Guide to Sleeping Well by Chris Idzikowski
  • Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
  • Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card
  • Mockingjay (Hunger Games, Book Three) by Suzanne Collins
  • Humanology by Professor Luke O'Neill
  • Radical Kindness by Angela Santomero
  • Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card
  • Shadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card
  • Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card
  • The Storm Before the Storm by Mike Duncan
  • Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • Failure Is Not an Option by Gene Kranz
  • Waking Up by Sam Harris
  • How to Do the Work by Dr. Nicole LePera
  • I Am C-3PO – The Inside Story by Anthony Daniels
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt
  • Feeling Good by David D. Burns, M.D.
  • The End of Everything by Katie Mack
  • The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, Book One) by James Dashner
  • iGen by Jean M. Twenge
  • Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez
  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

In 2020 I set a goal to read 24 books (two per month). I read 65. Here they are:

  • The Road to Sparta by Dean Karnazes
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  • Rework by Jason Fried
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Ruined by Design by Mike Monteiro
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  • The Impossible Climb by Mark Synnott
  • How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  • Getting Things Done by David Allen
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • Lost Moon by Jim Lovell
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • The Caledonian Gambit by Dan Moren
  • Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
  • The Bayern Agenda by Dan Moren
  • About a Boy by Nick Hornby
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Aleph Extraction by Dan Moren
  • The Simple Life Guide To Decluttering Your Life by Gary Collins
  • Racing the Beam by Nick Montfort
  • The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  • The Art of Solitude by Stephen Batchelor
  • Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  • More From Less by Andrew McAfee
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Brotopia by Emily Chang
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Rules for Living with Less by Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus
  • Prepare to Meet Thy Doom by David Kushner
  • The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless
  • Happier at Home by Gretchen Ruben
  • New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  • Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • The Warrior Ethos by Stephen Pressfield
  • Springfield Connection by Mike Reiss
  • North by Scott Jurek, Jenny Jurek
  • Deep Work by Cal Newport
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
  • Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin
  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
  • The Myth of the Garage by Dan Heath, Chip Heath
  • Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
  • Have Yourself a Minimalist Christmas by Meg Nordmann
  • Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil
  • Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  • A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

📚 Finished reading: Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger, ISBN: 9780395670293

This was terrific. It was probably more detailed than most people would care for, but it was right up my alley.

📚 Finished reading: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, ISBN: 9780307476074

I love everything about this book. This was my third read through and I was delighted to remember all the details I had forgotten.

📚 Finished reading: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, ISBN: 9781781100516

This was the second time I read this with my son. I think we both got more out of it this time. This is probably my second favorite book of the series and my favorite of the movies.

📚 Finished reading: Getting Things Done by David Allen, ISBN: 9780743520348

I have mixed feelings about this. The first time I tried to read this I didn’t make it very far on account of the boringness. Recognizing that it is hugely influential (and probably so for a reason) I made a second attempt (this time in audio form), and I was able to get through it without my mind wandering too far away.

There’s a lot to like here. It’s funny to me how much Allen clings to paper even in the updated 2009 version of the book. Some of his principles seem to apply equally well to all humans, while others are highly focused toward corporate managers. This is definitely worth a read.

📚 Finished reading: 1984 by George Orwell, ISBN: 9781784043735

I first read this about seven years ago. It was one of the first fiction books I actually enjoyed. It’s certainly not a happy story, but it is endlessly fascinating. I find it odd how the world Orwell crafted here is so widely known, while the actual story he told in that world is far less so. There were large sections I completely forgot, so much of this seemed new to me. I think I probably enjoyed it even more this time around.

📚 Finished reading: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan, ISBN: 9780735224155

This book was excellent. Pollan takes a deep dive into modern research using psychedelic drugs, underground psychedelic therapy, history of psychedelics, as well as numerous 1st and 2nd hand accounts of psychedelic trips. Incredibly entertaining, and very well written, this book fascinated me from start to finish.

📚 Finished reading: The Impossible Climb by Mark Synnott, ISBN: 9781101986653

This wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it was quite good nonetheless. I often scramble up rocks while running, but I’m certainly not a climber like these people. The similarities between climbing culture and ultrarunning culture are sometimes striking. The book is part memoir, part climbing history, with the remainder focusing on Alex Honnold’s free soloing. Most of the content of the book is covered (in considerably less detail, though with added visuals) by the two excellent documentaries Valley Uprising (2014) and Free Solo (2018).

📚 Finished reading: Ruined by Design by Mike Monteiro, ISBN: 9781090532084

Opinionated, polarizing, challenging. Unfortunate that the people who could benefit most by reading this book are the people least likely to read it.

I. Loved. This. Book.

📚 Finished reading: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, ISBN: 9781781100486

I first read this three years ago, out loud, to my son, a dyslexic 2nd grader. Now that he’s closer to Harry Potter’s age we reread it together. In some ways it was more enjoyable this time (he frequently pointed out differences between the book and the movie). In other ways the book made me more sad before (did I just completely forget all the ways the Dursleys tortured a child?). It’s also interesting to ponder how much and how little Rowling had planned out the entire series at this point. Good book. Good read.

📚 Finished reading: Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, ISBN: 9780385348621

This was good. Lots of entertaining anecdotes and (some) supporting data. In my opinion the most useful section of this book was her “four tendencies” framework, which the author later spun off into its own book (which I plan to read).

It’s hard not to compare this to James Clear’s Atomic Habits, which I read last May. I feel like Atomic Habits had more useful advice and had a cleaner, more methodical structure. However, Better Than Before made me laugh more. Both good. Both useful. Both recommended.

📚 Finished reading: The Road by Cormac McCarthy, ISBN: 9780307386458

What a fucking punch to the gut this was. I knew nothing about this book going into it and I had a more visceral reaction to it than I did to 1984 or Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Dolores Umbridge may be more evil than Voldemort). It didn’t help that the two main characters (The Man and The Boy) are roughly the same age as me and my son. This was a very, very tough read (emotionally). I’m glad I read it, but I’m probably not going to return to it in the future. Not fun.

📚 Finished reading: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, ISBN: 9781443418195

I enjoyed this. A lot of the specific advice from her project wouldn’t necessarily apply to me or lots of other people, but it’s useful to see this as one possible recipe.

📚 Finished reading: The Road to Sparta by Dean Karnazes, ISBN: 9781609614737

Great book. I read it last year, but I decided to read it again with The Boy when he chose this for his school book report. Dean sometimes takes shit from other ultra runners for self promotion, but we think he’s terrific. There’s a lot to like here.

📚 Finished reading: Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, ISBN: 9781938793196

I love this book. This was my fourth or fifth read through, which is probably more than any other book I’ve ever read.

📚 Finished reading: Allies by Alan Gratz, ISBN: 9781338245745

The Boy picked this one up at a school book fair and I read it with him. It was a bit gruesome and upsetting at times, but he didn’t seem to mind reading that kind of stuff right before bed. He enjoyed it and has since picked up another similar book by the same author. I thought it was fine.

📚 Finished reading: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, ISBN: 9780064401883

I read this one with The Boy as he was reading it in school. I didn’t love it, but it did have some good parts.

📚 Finished reading: How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t by Andrea Owen, ISBN: 9781580056809

I didn’t get much from this one. Admittedly, I’m not the target audience of women with low self esteem, but this was heavy on anecdotes and light on science. Very life-coachy. Maybe it would have seemed better if I hadn’t just finished the amazing Lost Connections book.

📚 Finished reading: Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari, ISBN: 9781632868329

Excellent book. So much new (to me) information in this book. Full of well cited scientific research. Audiobook read by the author was very moving at times.

📚 Finished reading: Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance by Christopher McDougall, ISBN: 9780307742223

Good, but not as good as Born to Run. The style of this book was nearly identical to Born to Run, though I found it much more difficult to follow the story this time. I did enjoy the story of Greek resistance fighters during World War II, it just didn’t seem very coherent.

📚 Finished reading: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, ISBN: 9780307476869

Second time through. Great book. Great movie. I’m not sure which one I like more.

📚 Finished reading: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss, ISBN: 9780307591166

Where do I begin with this one? The “lifestyle design” and travel parts of the book are actually pretty good. There’s a lot of interesting advice, and much of it is even somewhat useful. The business advice, though, is a mess. Most of it seems pretty sketchy (this guy comes from the infomercial world). If you have to follow up a piece of business advise with the disclaimer, “THIS IS LEGAL!”, then you may want to reconsider your life choices.

Audiobook from Apple Books.