My 23 Books of 2021

My 2021 standouts

I read the fewest books in years in 2021. It makes sense, as I spent much of the year heads down, writing my own book.

The bulk of the reading I did wasn’t books. It comprised of chapters of academic texts, research studies and a lot of interview transcripts and news stories. That said, thanks to my ongoing contributions to NPR Life Kit, a request to appear on the Nerdette podcast for WBEZ and really solid recommendations from friends, I was fortunate to encounter books I would have never picked up on my own.

Also I am part of a book club called Literati, in which you choose one of their famous curators to send you a selection per month. I love it! Susan Orlean is the curator of the “club” I joined. This has been the source at least a few of the books on my list this year.

My 2021 list:

Bark Lorrie Moore
My Inner Sky Mari Andrews
Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity and Change Maggie Smith
Come as You Are Emily Nagoski
Want Lynn Steger Strong
How to Change Katy Milkman
Seeing Ghosts Kat Chow
Let’s Face It Rio Viera Newton
In The Dream House Carmen Marie Machado
Luster Raven Leilani
Kink RO Kwon and Garth Greenwell
The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin Charlotte Cho
Perfect Me Heather Widdows
The Soulmate Equation Christina Lauren
The Family Firm Emily Oster
Version Zero David Yoon
Laziness Does Not Exist Devon Price
I Wrote This Book Because I Love You Tim Kreider
Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life James Hollis
Beautiful World, Where Are You Sally Rooney
Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud Anne Helen Petersen
Love in the Big City Sang Young Park

Must-Read Memoir: Seeing Ghosts, by my sister from another mother, Kat Chow. Kat is really the closest person to a younger sister that I have in my life, and I look to her for advice constantly. She is wise and thoughtful and the kind of writer that pierces straight through you. I read her book en route home from Mexico and bawled my eyes out on the plane.

My Fave Fiction: Love in the Big City, a nostalgic trip back to Seoul for me, but also a glimpse into life in the gay scene in Korea, which deserves a lot more rich storytelling like this. Luster, whose set piece at the end was so well earned. Beautiful World, Where Are You, because Sally Rooney still knows what’s up.

Fave Non-Fiction: Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, by James Hollis, who is my go-to Jungian author. Read him or listen to him on podcasts, that man makes complete sense.

My 2021 Conversations With Authors:

How to Change author Katy Milkman, on the behavioral science we’ve learned about how to stop procrastinating and more
— Laziness Does Not Exist author Devon Price, who shares a crucial message about how our worth does not come from our productivity, capitalism be damned.
Let’s Face It author Rio Viera-Newton on skincare secrets.
The Family Firm author Emily Oster on how to think about your family like a small business.
Too Fat Too Slutty author Anne Helen Petersen, who wrote a new one about the work from home revolution.

Previous Years in Books: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017.

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