My reading life in 2021 ended up being better than I had anticipated although I didn’t read as intentionally as I had hoped. However, I did end up reading 24% nonfiction, of which one title was a poetry book and eleven were devotional or theological. As usual, the bulk of my reading (almost half) was mystery fiction.
I read a good number of older books this year—17 titles were written before 1960, not counting my Agatha Christie rereads.
I never did get to a Russian novel or Shakespeare last year, but I did read a few books of essays and discovered a new-to-me mystery series written in the 1960s and ’70s as well as a new-to-me middlebrow novel author whose books were delightful English country village stories.
Top ten books from 2021:
- The Dawn of Redeeming Grace by Sinclair Ferguson – a Christmas devotional that I listened to in the weeks leading up to the holiday
- Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund – if you haven’t read this book by Dane Ortlund, don’t let 2022 go by without picking it up. It is one of the best books on the love of Christ for us that I have read. Unsurprisingly, he relies on many of the Puritan writings and this is also a great introduction to several of the best of the Puritans.
- This Beautiful Truth by Sarah Clarkson – a helpful, thoughtful memoir on Christianity and mental illness
- Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne – an excellent book on this important, often neglected, aspect of the Christian life
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – a heartbreaking memoir on a doctor’s last days but so beautifully written that it was worth the tears
- Business as Usual by Jane Oliver – a delightful epistolary novel about a young woman who decides to fill in the year before her wedding by working in a large department store in London.
- The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave – a thriller that I couldn’t put down and haven’t quite been able to forget since finishing
- O, The Brave Music by Dorothy Evelyn Smith – a bittersweet coming-of-age novel
- The Snow Woman by Stella Gibbons – the story of an old woman who stopped trying to live decades before but when she receives a visit from an old friend, suddenly her life takes a new turn.
- West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge – a coming-of-age story about a teen boy, an older man, a girl with a mission, and two giraffes as they travel across the United States in the 1930’s.
My intentions for 2022 are a bit scaled back, considering the fact that I didn’t hold to my goals very well last year. A few things I’d like to do:
- Read all the categories in the 2022 Literary Life Reading Challenge
- Read a Russian Novel – Inspired by Laura Vanderkam’s reading of War and Peace last year, I decided to read one chapter a day of War and Peace in 2022. So far I’m enjoying it although I’m struggling to keep all of the characters straight. I may need to create a cheat sheet.
- Read at least three theology books. I will be reading Genesis commentaries for the Bible class I’m leading, but I want to also read some theology this year. At least one of them needs to be an older title (pre 1900).
- Read at least 25% nonfiction again this year.
While I set a Goodreads goal for 2022, I’m not as concerned with how many books I read this year as what I read. I want to leave lots of time for rereading and for serendipity. Plus I do some reading for my job and am part of a book club with a book to read every month.
Were you satisfied with your 2021 reading? Do you have any intentions for 2022? Please share them in the comments.
3 thoughts on “Reading Life 2021 and 2022”
My reading goals for 2022 is to reread the whole Wheel of Time series (going 35 pages a day, it’s actually pretty doable), and to slowly work my way through one theological work while listening to lectures by the author. Outside of that I know I’ll have plenty to read anyway, but I find if I keep my goals simple then the rest is just a happy bonus
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Wow! Reading the whole Wheel of Time series is a commitment! I look forward to hearing what you think of it. I read the first 7 or 8 back when they were coming out but lost steam when I had little kids.
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Joy, you’re an inspiration. I love reading but for various reasons it took a back seat last year. Thank you for listing your best fiction and non-fiction reads in 2021. I love Brit Lit, and Jane Oliver’s Business as Usual is at the top of my to-read list. I hope you’ll have a great reading year in 2022.