|Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay.|
I read 115 books in 2021. Many of my friends read more than 200, but I could only squeeze in about 2 a week. Here's the breakdown, if you're interested. Plus a few highlights, recommendations, and such.
My most read genre - crime/thriller/mystery. And yes, those are all different, but lumped together I read 32 books in this broad category. I guess I really like action and thrills, crime and guesswork.
I think I included a couple of John Grisham novels in this category as well. Really enjoyed A Time for Mercy and Camino Winds, both sequels to earlier books: Jake Brigance and Bruce Cable tales, respectively. Also read Sooley by Grisham (a basketball fiction) and liked that a lot.
Second most read genre (24 books): western and contemporary western. Reading my way through the Longmire novels by Craig Johnson (well listening to the audio versions of the stories). Highlights here was finishing the Walt v Bidarte story arc in Depth of Winter. Talk about nail biting story telling.
A new discovery is the Concho series by A.W. Hart, another modern western from Wolfpack Publishing. My writer friend, Charles Gramlich is writing under their house name and is working on book 5, I think, even as we speak. If you like modern western rogue lawmen, check Concho out.
Oh, and I also like the Grizzly Killer books (also by Wolfpack Publishing - are you seeing a trend here?). These mountain man novels are by a writer named Lane R. Warenski and are very good.
Coming in third at 21 books is science fiction, dystopia, fantasy. And again, yes, all different genres. But heh, it's my list.
Favorites this past year include: Dune (a re-read, first time was in high school - this was also the longest book I read at over 600 pages); Edge of Valor by Josh Hayes and Direct Fire (Drop Trooper, book 4) by Rick Partlow (both indie writers of military sf and published by Aethon Books); and Ty Johnston's dark fantasy sequel to the Kobalos Trilogy called Ghosts of the Asylum.
As for post-disaster novels (not quite dystopia, but "what if" thrillers that explore society after the lights go out, I enjoyed Kyle Mill's Vince Flynn novel, Total Power; and Franklin Horton's sequel to The Borrowed World; and Fracture Event by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear.
I put literary and historical fiction together for my 4th category and read 15 books along these lines. Memorable novels include: Queen's Gambit; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; books 3 and 4 in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon series now called The Last Kingdom; Of Mice and Men; re-read The Screwtape Letters; and also re-read Lord of the Flies, which, btw, was the most popular books on Goodreads that I'd read, joining 3,727,599 other fans who read it in 2021.
YA and Romance (not even related) is my 5th grouping and weigh in at 14 books. I very much enjoyed two middle grade novels - The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. As for romance, I'm reading everything my niece Elizabeth Maddrey is writing and quite liked her Hope Ranch Christian romance series.
Least read category - which needs to change! - is non-fiction. Only read 9 books here including some really good ones like: The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (re-read, well, listened to audio version); a friend's book - Beyond the Mountains: A Hmong Memoir by Khoua Thao; and The Babylonian Captivity of the Church by Martin Luther (from 1520).
Add those totals up and you should have 115 books. May get in one more by year's end.
Next question: how did I consume these books? Well, there was a bit of overlap as I sometime would read an ebook at night and listen to the audio version during my drive to work. But round numbers, I read 50 ebooks, listened to 37 audio narratives, and flipped the pages of 25 paperbacks (plus 3 hardbacks).
Final note: I abandoned 8 books this year. I won't mention those, of course, but that's a bit of a change for me these past few years. I've found relief in not finishing a book! Used to be I'd have to struggle through but nowadays, if I can't get into the book by 20 or 30% then I'm outta there. Freedom!
I think that's about it. I probably forgot to mention some good books but I think I could heartily recommend all those listed above. What does your end-of-year reading list look like? Feel free to comment or find my FB post that covers this same info. Have a great reading year in 2022!