One silver lining about all of the lockdowns and stay-home orders last year was that I ended up getting a lot of time to read. A couple of years ago I did a review of the books I had read that summer, and I thought it would be fun to look back at all of the books I finished in 2021. Here it is: every book I read last year!
Let's Get To Work
“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.” – Cal Newport
Gender, Race, and Sexuality
“In other words, the tragedy of heterosexuality is about men’s control of women, but it is also about straight women’s and men’s shared romantic and erotic attachments to an unequal gender binary, or to the heteroerotic fantasy of binary, biologically determined, and naturally hierarchical gender oppositeness.” – Jane Ward
“I am done living in a world where women are lied to about their bodies; where women are objects of sexual desire but not subjects of sexual pleasure; where sex is used as a weapon against women; and where women believe their bodies are broken, simply because those bodies are not male. And I am done living in a world where women are trained from birth to treat their bodies as the enemy.” – Emily Nagoski
“There can be no love without justice.” – bell hooks
“Jemar Tisby accurately writes, ‘Racism never goes away. It just adapts.’ The same is true of patriarchy. Like racism, patriarchy is a shapeshifter—conforming to each new era, looking as if it has always belonged.” – Beth Allison Barr
“The irony is, if these so-called meritocratic institutions actually valued science over religion, they could make use of the evidence-based solutions that do already exist.” – Caroline Criado Pérez
“It’s work to do the emotional labor of pointing out problematic racist thinking, policies, actions, and statements while desperately trying to avoid bitterness and cynicism.” – Austin Channing Brown
“Every man should make a mantra of Rhett Butler’s infamous line to Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind: “You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.” – Ian Kerner
“There’s nothing feminist about having so many resources at your fingertips and choosing to be ignorant. Nothing empowering or enlightening in deciding that intent trumps impact. Especially when the consequences aren’t going to be experienced by you, but will instead be experienced by someone from a marginalized community.” -Mikki Kendall
Books I Learned A Lot From
“It is understandable that the perspectives of men and women on safety are so different–men and women live in different worlds…at core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them.” – Gavin de Becker
“Scientists morph into preachers when they present their pet theories as gospel and treat thoughtful critiques as sacrilege.” – Adam Grant
“Focusing on how others might respond is one way we ruminate, which impacts our ability to act.” – Nedra Glover Tawwab
“I am away from the office and checking email intermittently. If your email is not urgent, I’ll probably still reply. I have a problem.” – Florence Williams
“Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit. “
Trauma & Narcissicm
“I explain that addictions are safe little deadly hiding places where sensitive people retreat from love and pain. No one can touch us there, so we feel protected. But since love and pain are the only things that grow us, we start dying as soon as we hide.” – Glennon Doyle
This Was A Fun One
“Being an immigrant is not for the admin-phobic.” – Helen Russell
“Yet boldness can be one step from foolishness.” – Brandon Sanderson
One With Good Quotes
“My argument is obviously anticapitalist, especially concerning technologies that encourage a capitalist perception of time, place, self, and community. It is also environmental and historical: I propose that rerouting and deepening one’s attention to place will likely lead to awareness of one’s participation in history and in a more-than-human community. From either a social or ecological perspective, the ultimate goal of “doing nothing” is to wrest our focus from the attention economy and replant it in the public, physical realm.” – Jenny Odell
“How many young college graduates have taken demanding jobs in high-powered firms, vowing that they will work hard to earn money that will enable them to retire and pursue their real interests when they are thirty-five? But by the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children to school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, and a sense that life is not worth living without really good wine and expensive holidays abroad. What are they supposed to do, go back to digging up roots? No, they double their efforts and keep slaving away.” – Yuval Noah Harari
Will Be Gifting This Book!
“When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.” – Glennon Doyle
To Be Honest, Not Sure I'm A Fan
“Paradoxically, it is possible that in dying, we will be more alive than we have ever been. The prospect of death will, at last, make us fully aware of how beautiful, how wonderful our life is.” – William B. Irvine
Some Data About What I Read
In total I read 44 books.
I read a lot of ‘beach reads,’ as I enjoy them in between more academic or heavy topic books. I felt like the books touched on a wide array of topics, though none were financial-related this year! I think this is mostly because I read most of my financial content through blogs these days, though I do have a few finance books on my read-list for next year.
Though I felt like I read from a lot of different perspectives this year, I wanted to check out whether this was reflected in the gender and race of the authors. Here’s what I found out.
How Many Books Were Written By Female Vs. Male Authors?
I think it’s valuable to look into the diversity of the authors of the books you are reading. I frequently see reading lists made of all-male, all-white authors. In order to start considering different perspectives on different issues, it’s worth finding out how homogenous your reading list actually is.
I’m happy to see this year I read a lot of books by accomplished women, as well as books by men who are in the tops of their fields.
What About Race?
Interestingly enough the distribution for books by authors of color vs. white authors matches the same percentages as the difference in race. Every author who was a person of color was also a woman, which means I didn’t read any books by a man of color.
I definitely have room to improve here– I hope to read more books by people of colour next year. I clearly need to work on this, because the books on my to-read list below also doesn’t include any men of color.
As one reader pointed out to me after my post reviewing my summer reads, it’s not enough to split reading into ‘Black and white’. It’s important to read books from people with a range of cultural backgrounds and differing political views. How else will we challenge the way we think?
Books about feminism are not just for women; books about racial justice are not just for racial minorities (in fact, it would do the world the most good to consider the opposite). If you are white, read the experiences of authors of color. If you are a man, read the experiences of women. If you are American, read about what it’s like to live in another land.
Is that not what reading is for, to get out of your own skin and get to see life from an entirely different perspective? I read a lot of books this year where I was not necessarily the target audience, yet I learned the most from these.
I’m taking recommendations in the comments!
On My To-Read List for 2022
The Midnight Library – Matt Haig
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy
House on the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune
The Psychology of Money – Morgan House
Queer Magic: LGBT+ Spirituality and Culture from Around the World – Tomás Prower
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World – David Epstein
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Somebody’s Daughter – Ashley C. Ford
Sunreach – Brandon Sanderson
Wallet Activism – Tanja Hester
We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngoni Adichie
Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power of Sleep and Dreams – Matthew Walker
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty – Florence Given