10 Books I Read in December And 25 Favorite Reads from 2021

2021 was my best reading year, since I started tracking my reading in 2018. You can’t manage what you don’t measure! And December was a chill reading month.

My goal was 52 books, a book a week, but I’m ending the year at 115!!! I’ve said it in a past post, but I never thought this dyslexic kid would get to a place where she reads over 100 books. I don’t think I’ll ever stop shouting from the roof tops about this accomplishment.

Side note: I was obsessively trying to finish a book before midnight on the 31st, but then I realized I had the ultimate life hack on my hands…

This was my first full month with my library card, my first full month with the Kindle I got myself for Black Friday, and my new true love Libby, so I don’t have the typical stack because many of my books were audiobooks and ebooks.

Here’s everything I read in December:

  1. Skin of The Night by Claire D. Bennett (ebook)
    • I love a spicy romance read and this one delivered. Smutty books deserve their due, because that was the foundation of my reading in 2020, and this book reminded me why!
  2. The Memo by Minda Harts
    • I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. This is one I would recommend to all women in the workplace because there’s a real lack of professional development books written for women of color, specifically Black women. This book had some really great pieces of advice that would benefit all women, and I particularly loved the chapter specifically for white women. Harts clearly wrote this for Black women, and her editor let her, and I love that for us!
  3. Lucky by Marissa Stapley (ebook)
    • This was a really lovely book. I saw someone describe Lucky as enigmatic and I think that’s the perfect description. I was constantly rooting for her even though she was a criminal who deserved to be punished. I think if you like Thelma and Louise, I Care A Lot, Heartbreakers, grifter stories in general, this will be up your alley.
  4. We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers
    • I was expecting this book to include some step by step guides to practical money management, where she would break down how to budget, how to negotiate bills, etc. But really this was about the money mindset, goal setting, and dreaming big when it comes to money. This isn’t the best for budgeting, personal finance, or intrepreneurial pursuits, but this is lovingly written by a Black woman for Black women. Other marginalized folks will learn a lot from it, and especially white people, but this is a FUBU situation.
  5. The Comeback by Ella Berman (ebook)
    • This book was both engaging and hella boring. Grace gave me Jennifer Lawrence vibes. I also loved the juxtaposition of the clearly creepy Michael Bay guy versus the more handsome/charismatic producer. I would recommend this book to someone who followed all the Me Too trials and explosion in Hollywood, I can imagine a lot of women would like it.
  6. The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass (audiobook)
    • If this hadn’t been an audiobook I don’t know if I would have finished reading this! I’m not sure what I think of this book. It was a very AHS style story like Tate in Murder House, then there was a queer romance and coming of age story in there, and on top of all that was this story about race. Mistakenly people used Get Out as a comparison, but there wasn’t a moment of this that reminded me of Get Out except for when the white kid kept talking about it being the slave’s fault in the Crucible. Otherwise, the slightest mention of race makes folks think any book is like Get Out.
  7. We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz (ebook)
    • This was a lifetime movie, a full on lifetime movie! It’s not that the book was bad, there were just so many things to make certain plot points fit that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. It was clear that the author was writing an Amanda Knox meets Natalie Holloway story. The girls were very Amanda Knox mixed with Bad Seed, and the story of the Spanish American man at the center was very Natalie Holloway. I would watch this as a show I think. Overall it was a quick read, lazy, but a fun time, and I can see why it was a Reese Witherspoon book club pick. If you end up liking this one I would recommend – One by One, The Push, The Lightness, Verity, and The Herd.
  8. Range by David Epstein (ebook)
    • I wasn’t a massive fan of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and this felt like the antidote to that book. Bill Gates recommended this book, and I knew I needed to check this out. With the proliferation of AI, being adaptable and gaining new skills quickly is going to be incredibly valuable to get ahead. This one felt like validation of my ultralearning pursuits and self taught/studying. I really love that it in a wicked world being less rigid is a life hack. Overall this was a really good book but incredibly repetitive.
  9. How Not To Die Alone by Logan Ury
    • I’m not someone who dates, and because I really didn’t date when I was younger, the whole realm of dating is scary and overwhelming to me. This book was incredibly helpful. Because Ury approaches dating from a scientific way, and mixes in the emotions, it makes the task feel less daunting. I can see why Ali Abdaal recommended it. It allows you create a measurable approach to figuring out if you have dating right. I also got a ton of great ideas for work, and how to improve my interpersonal relationships with people.
  10. The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll (audiobook)
    • This book is the equivalent of a Netflix series that you want to tell other people to watch, but they have to sit through 6 hours of super boring shit to get to the pay off in the last hour. The housewives element was entertaining, I felt like it was a little over wrought at times. Also, the Goaldiggers show was unnecessarily convoluted. Maybe because I was listening on audiobook, but some of the plot was so slow it was hard to follow, like the Soulcycle spoof mixed with Tom’s. Overall the ending was worth the payoff, but I wish it hadn’t taken such a long time commitment. If you are a housewives fan, this is the one for you!

And now for my 25 favorite reads from 2021, in no particular order:

  1. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
  2. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
  3. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
  4. The Hidden Habits of Genius by Craig Wright
  5. The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene
  6. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
  7. Working Backwards by Bill Carr and Colin Bryar
  8. Think Again by Adam Grant
  9. Anna K by Jenny Lee
  10. Ego is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday
  11. A World Without Email by Cal Newport
  12. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
  13. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
  14. White Ivy by Susie Yang
  15. Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner
  16. Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
  17. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
  18. Practicing Parisienne by Marissa Cox
  19. Bad Fat Black Girl by Sesali Bowen
  20. Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
  21. Steal Like an Art by Austin Kleon
  22. The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll
  23. The Intimacy Experiement by Rosie Danan
  24. How Not to Die Alone by Logan Ury
  25. Courage is Calling by Ryan Holiday

Like always, if you made it this far, enjoy this episode of the Nike podcast with Range author David Epstein that I think is just brilliant !

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