Books I read in 2021

Some of the books I read last year.

These are the books I finished reading, for the first time, in 2021.1 The list has more literature than I had been reading, and some great practical books. I’ve included a few notes.

  • Mastering Shiny by Hadley Wickham. I read the online version available at Mastering Shiny. I’d like to be more of a master of Shiny, and I find it difficult to create things in Shiny without a lot of debugging. This book was really helpful in that regard, but it also shows me how much practice I still need, and how much more there is for me to learn. I read this while I was putting the Global DLI app together early in the year. Between this book, Stack Overflow, and a lot of trial and error, I got it working. You can watch my video walkthrough of the app to see what it does.

  • Silence by Shūsaku Endō. Andrew Thomson recommended this book to me, or wrote about it in his superb Bridge to the Gods, or more likely, both.

  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

  • The Comanche Empire by Pekka Hämäläinen.

  • How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens. This one was recommended by Jethro Kuan in this post.

  • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. I didn’t realize it would be so fantastical. That took a bit of effort for me, but I did enjoy the breadth of the novel—the subcontinent, the history, the characters.

  • The Black Swan by Taleb.

  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.

  • Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson. I bought this in 2007. I read 10 pages or so then and set the book aside. I’m glad I read it all the way through this year.

  • Antifragile by Taleb. I enjoyed all three of Taleb’s books I read this year, and I’m glad to have finally read them, especially this one.

Last year I wrote this about my reading:

It’s not a competition, of course. But there are so many good books, and I so enjoy reading them, and here’s to 2021 being good for that.

My birthday is coming up, and I’m getting a reading light. So maybe 2021 will see even more books read. But one thing is certain. It will be difficult to beat Hemingway, Hitler, and Bridge to the Gods.

I got my reading light, but found myself using it more for reading children’s literature—C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, Thornton Burgess, and the like. I do have a number of unread and enticing books on my shelves; there remains plenty for me to read.

  1. I read the final pages of Antifragile in early January 2022, but I am including it on the 2021 list. ↩︎

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