We are now halfway through the year and this is a good chance to revisit any goals you set back in January. One of my goals for 2021 was to read at least one hundred books this year. So far I’m two books ahead of schedule! If reading is one of the areas you want to spend more time, here are my thoughts on what I’ve read so far. I hope it provides ideas for your next great literary adventure.
Below are the books Iâ€™ve read since January of 2021 with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher.
In addition to this list, you might also check out:
- my reading lists from previous years
- recommendations on how to become a better reader
- my top 15 theology books
- the 2 books Iâ€™ve personally written
- my goodreads account
- a Bible reading plan you can download and use
Click on any of the titles below to get to a link to buy it. (Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com).
- The Spirit of Wine by Stephen Lloyd-Moffet (4). There are a few books that do a really good job of exploring the intersection between wine and theology and this is one of them. Itâ€™s become one of our recommended reads for Communion Wine Co.
- The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann (5). Perpetually rereading this profound beauty.
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (4). Iâ€™m going to tackle some of the Russian classics this year. This book lives up to the hype.
- Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain (3). Iâ€™ve been more interested in how food is made and Bourdain was legendary for taking people on a journey with food. Although there isnâ€™t much depth to it, this book is wildly entertaining.
- Is This Anything by Jerry Seinfeld (3). A collection of jokes spanning decades from one of the greats.
- Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King Jr. (4.5). A behind-the-scenes look in the midst of much of the conflict King faced. Offers more of a real-time perspective into what he was doing.
- The Unusual Suspect by Ben Machall (3). An interesting look at a guy who attempted to be a modern-day Robin Hood.
- The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale (4.5). Offers a nuanced look at how and why we need to change the way we view police in our culture.
- The Life Written by Himself by Avvakum Petrov. I was surprised by how interesting this old classic of Russian theology proved to be.
- Work by James Suzman (3). A history of the concept of work. It offers a unique perspective on the subject and was interesting to consider in light of my recent radical career change.
- The Invisible Hook by Peter T. Leeson (3). This book explores the economy of the pirates of old. It offers a surprisingly interesting way to view this part of history.
- How I Built This by Guy Raz (3). This is a good overview of some concepts of entrepreneurs. It doesnâ€™t dive deep as much as offers you a helpful collection of stories for examples to draw from in your own journey.
- Canâ€™t Hurt Me by David Goggins (4). An insane look at the life story of a Navy Seal and one of the toughest dudes Iâ€™ve ever heard of. Provides a good motivation boost for whatever you are working on as well.
- Living With a Seal by Jesse Itzler (4). Jesse invites David Goggins to live with him and train him for a month. Iâ€™d recommend reading #13 and #14 on this list back-to-back.
- Zero to One by Peter Thiel (3). This takes a look at the nature of progress and how to tap into it if you want to build something new.
- Fit for Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond (4). This is the book that gave me my â€œonly fruit till noonâ€ axiom. A very interesting look at how your body digests food.
- The Sprout Book by Doug Evans (3.5). Sprouts have become my new secret weapon and I have even been growing them myself. If you read this book youâ€™ll realize how healthy they are for you and why you need to figure out a way to get them into your life.
- Weird by Olga Khazin (4). This is a good cultural perspective book that explores the nature of people who never quite fit in with others and why.
- Integral Christianity by Paul R. Smith (3.5). This book has parts that make you think (a lot) and other parts that donâ€™t make much sense. While it may be difficult for a new Christian to navigate, I think this is one to ponder together with others.
- American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (4.5). Such a brilliant book that allows you to get into the shoes of someone who risks it all to cross over the border into America.
- Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner (3). This is something that Michelle and I want to get more into in the future and Turnerâ€™s book offers a great 101 level introduction into the idea.
- The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (4). I read this a number of years ago but thought Iâ€™d revisit it in this new season of mine. Itâ€™s hard to apply many of the ideas, but Ferriss thinks in such a different way that it prompts you to challenge many things you consider to be normal.
- Jesus and John Wayne by Kristen Kobes du Mez (5). A brilliant journey through the history of Christianity in America over the last handful of decades. A must-read for all my Christian friends living in the states.
- The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson (4). At this point, Iâ€™ll read whatever Larson writes next. This book is a great look at how Churchill handled the war with Germany.
- Still Learning by India Oxenberg (3.5). A riveting story from someone caught up fully in a bizarre cult. Allows you to see inside and get a glimpse into how certain leaders manipulate and abuse others.
- The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon (4). This is technically a cookbook, but it is so beautiful and so unique and so worth your time!
- A World Without Email by Cal Newport (3.5). While this isnâ€™t Newportâ€™s best work, he does a good job showing why we shouldnâ€™t be as dependent on email as we are.
- Sphere by Michael Crichton (4). I read this years ago and decided to revisit it. This is a great novel and a really unique story with great character development.
- Secrets of the Sommeliers by Rajat Parr (3). This was interesting for me in my current line of development but admittedly would be a bit much for the typical person.
- The Stand by Stephen King (3). This sucker was 47 hours on Audible and didnâ€™t need to be. A decent story of a post-plague world but it didnâ€™t wow me after all of that investment.
- On Writers and Writing by Margaret Atwood (2.5). I love learning more about the craft of writing, but this one felt a bit too nebulous for me. In addition, I listened to it on Audible and it was one of the few examples of books that are made worse by the author reading them.
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dyostovesky (3). I was expecting this to top Crime and Punishmentâ€”which I read earlier this yearâ€”but to my surprise, I liked it far less. Still worth reading though.
- Stealing Home by Eric Nusbaum (3). A trueâ€”and very sadâ€”history of Dodgerâ€™s stadium and the people who had to be displaced to make it a reality.
- Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis (3.5). This is good sustenance for anyone looking to create something. It isnâ€™t life-altering material but it is the kind of read you often need to keep you going.
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (4). Finally got around to reading this classic and it was absolute enjoyment. A great story and the audiobook version makes Long John Silver a delight on the ears.
- The Story of Wine by Hugh Johnson (3). If you care a lot about wineâ€”or happen to be building a company combining wine and Jesusâ€”then thereâ€™s a lot to glean from this one. If not, you will likely find this quite a bit tedious.
- Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss (3). If you are one of the weird people like me that enjoy books on grammar then youâ€™ll find this worth your time. If not, at least read the title explanation on the back cover.
- The Cactus League by Emily Nemens (2). A story about spring training baseball in Arizona. While there is obviously a lot to interest me in that, I felt that the story overall didnâ€™t develop as it could, and then it dropped off abruptly.
- The Angry Chef by Anthony Warner (5). A total surprise gem. Loved this book way more than I ever would have guessed. Click the link to read my blog post as to why.
- The 99% Invisible City by Roman Mars (3). A behind-the-scenes look at infrastructure and what goes into cities. If you are even remotely engineering-minded youâ€™ll find a lot to interest you.
- Consider This by Chuck Palahniuk (3). Another book on writing but actually focuses on the life of the writer in particular. Filled with plenty of engaging and bizarre stories.
- Extra Life by Steven Johnson (3). I thought this would be about how to live longer as an individual but explores how we are all collectively living longer. Offers a unique view of historical and cultural progress.
- Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy by Tim Harford (3.5). This was surprisingly similar to books #40 and #42 on this list. It offers an interesting look at historical progress and how we got here.
- Why by Mario Livio (3). An exploration of what makes us curious and why it matters. I love curiosity and I think we collectively need far more of it.
- Youâ€™re Leaving When? by Annabelle Gurwitch (4). An engaging memoir about aging and life and finding humor in it all. A really fun and thought-provoking read.
- We Begin at the End by Chris Witaker (4). A well-told fictional story that explores who we are and who we want to be. The characters are engaging and likable and the story draws you in.
- The $100 Startup by Chris Guillabeau (3). Similar to #34 on this list, this book gives you a good dose of motivation and encouragement if you are trying to build something.
- Dear God by Bunmi Laditan (4.5). A beautiful surprise of a book. Click the link to read my review of it.
- Learning to Be by Juanita Campbell Rasmus (3). A refreshingly honest and vulnerable look at the pressures of full-time ministry and how one woman handled it when it became too much.
- Noise by Daniel Kahneman (3). A fairly heady account of why we often donâ€™t make the logical and objective decisions we think we do. This is worth reading for anyone who makes major decisions for their job.
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (5). This is a delight of a story and is incredibly well-written. Surprisingly engaging and moving.
- K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches by Tyler Kepner (4). This is a really good book on the history of baseball and the nature of the sport itself. Highly recommend.
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