Another year complete, another set of books scratched off the “To Read” list. And another batch even longer added on! My total number of books dropped this year from 15 in 2020 to 9 in 2021. Still, a higher number than 8 in 2019! This is partly due to taking on some massively long biographies as well as Molly reading to the boys for a good chunk of the Summer as she wanted to read the Chronicles of Narnia with them.
The highlight of my list this year is starting, and finishing, the Alexander Hamilton biography by Rob Chernow. I had been wanting to read this book for several years now and finally built up the courage to take on this 818 page monster. I’m currently following it up with Chernow’s 904 page Washington: A Life and plan on then moving to his 1,104 page biography on Grant. Should be an educational couple years!
Huey Long: Started in early September 2020 and finishes in February 2021 – this biography by T. Harry Williams is nearly 900 pages full of anecdotes and first-hand accounts from interviews. It is well researched and is really the authoritative biography on all things Huey. Despite being a 900-page political biography, it’s a very interesting and colorful read. I really enjoyed the deep-dive into this chapter of Louisiana history and look forward to similar reads in the future.
Alexander Hamilton: The book that inspired the musical that inspired the parody. I started this one in February and finished in October. I admit I did take a couple breaks in between for some quick summer readings, so maybe could have finished a month or so sooner. Still, it was a great read that I found both educational and entertaining. Chernow’s got a great writing style and I plan on reading more from him.
The Old Man and the Sea: My first small break from Alexander Hamilton came in May as I read this in a few days while on a quick trip the the beach. Hemingway’s writing always pleases me, even if it can be a bit depressing. A much better book than Moby Dick!
I, Robot: My second small break from Alexander Hamilton came one month later in June for our second quick beach trip (it’s nice living just a few hours from the Gulf of Mexico). This one I also finished in just a few days. This was the first time I read a book by Asimov though he’s been on my “To Read” list for a while. It certainly won’t be my last! This book is actually a series of short stories that are woven together by acting as anecdotes by a character connected to each. I typically enjoy Science Fiction and this is one of the better books I’ve read in that genre.
Is This Anything: After finishing Alexander Hamilton in October, I toyed with reading this book by Jerry Seinfeld. Ultimately I was disappointed by it and didn’t finish. I didn’t hate the book and found it read well, but just had other things I wanted to read more. This book is just a written record of Seinfeld’s material, which would probably make for a good coffee table or bathroom book, but not necessarily a sit done and read cover-to-cover book. I like Seinfeld’s comedy and the material here did make me smile, but it’s much better hearing him perform the material with his much better timing than what I can conjure in my head.
Washington: A Life: I’m loving this book. Despite being one of the more famous of the presidents and founding father’s , Washington really remains an enigma to me. I’m enjoying reading this book and learning more about the character, strengths, and flaws of Washington – separating the man from the myth. Started this book in October and am about 25% of the way through.
Reading to the Boys
Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian – I’m grouping all these together as I read them during the first half of the year to the boys. I didn’t really care for the, but the boys loved them. Levi has started reading some more in this series on his own. I was happy when Molly gave me a break from them and started reading the Chronicles of Narnia, which is far superior!
Old Yeller: I started this when Molly finally the Chronicles of Narnia in September. I thought the boys would cry more, but they didn’t and were ready for the next book once I finished.
The Templeton Twins: . Took about two months, but I wasn’t reading consistently to the boys every night. This is a really silly book with a simple story. I love the writing style of this book and recommend it for a quick, funny read for kids.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins: Just started this with the boys a week or so ago. Another fun and easy read.
“To Read” list:
Some of these have been here years. Some will be here for a long time still before I get to them. Some here will be usurped by others I see and jump the queue. However, this is what I think I might read soon, in no particular order:
- The Earl of Louisiana: Got this one biography of Huey Long’s brother Earl for Christmas. It’s currently sitting in my backpack! I might take a short break from Washington: A Life to read this one. It’s only about 250 pages so shouldn’t take long!
- Grant by Ron Chernow
- Every Man a King: The Huey Long autobiography still is close to the top the list.
- Ike’s Spies: Started this in 2019 and I hope to get back around to finishing, or at least progressing, this book at some point.
- Dune: As mentioned earlier, I did try this one this year but moved on. I’ll keep it on at least for a while.
- The Good Neighbor: Biography of Fred Rodgers. Started listening to the audio book in 2019 on a road trip. Listened some more late in 2020. Will try to listen more in 2021.
- A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland
- Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast
- Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America
- The Catcher in the Rye
- Leonard: By William Shatner
- Animal Farm: By George Orwell, another classic from the same author as 1984
- Charlie Wilson’s War
- True Grit: Two great movies made from this book, so it must be good!
- Asimov’s Foundation Series
- Thomas Jefferson: By Jon Meacham
- The Book Thief: By Markus Zusak