I’ve put together my reading list for 2021– books on faith and personal growth, family life, history and social issues, fun reads, business reads, and more. Check out the list for reading inspiration and ideas.
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I asked what you all wanted to hear about first in 2021, and what books are on my reading list this year won. I’m so glad, because this just means we can be friends.
Books have always been exciting to me, and even though it can be a lot harder to work in time to read these days, it’s definitely not impossible. Audible and bluetooth headphones have helped tremendously, in addition to starting out the year with a break from screens to give me a chance to reset some habits.
I’ve put together a list of the books I hope to read this year, organized by categories. I hope that you enjoy finding some new titles, and by all means, let’s chat about some of them in the comments!
A few things to know about this list before we jump in:
- I’ve filled this list with wonderful books that I hope to read this year. I fully expect to not get through all of them, though that would be great if I did. I like to read multiple books at a time and will usually be halfway through a handful of books on any given day.
- I like to do a mix of hold-in-my-hand-flip-the-pages books as well as audiobooks. We’ve been Audible members for several years and love the service. The quality is excellent and there are so many books that we listen to again and again. I made a note next to the books I plan to digest as audiobooks.
- I already have at least half of this list, but will get the books I don’t have during the year once I have finished the ones I own. I do purchase a lot through Amazon, but also have a wonderful used bookstore nearby.
- I don’t read all books the same way. Some nonfiction books I skim or pull off the shelf to read a chapter when an occasion or mood calls for it. There are also books on the list that I plan to read together with my husband or with friends. I looooove talking about books with other people.
When to read:
This is always the question, isn’t it? When exactly can we make time to read? You’ve probably heard the general advice of making sure you have books in reach in different spots in your house. That definitely helps. It’s also as simple (and as hard) as making the choice to open a book when it would be easier to sit and scroll.
In addition to that basic advice, these are some of my favorite times to read:
- When I’m cleaning. I wear my bluetooth headphones almost all day, so it’s very easy to turn on a book to listen to while I wash dishes, tidy the house, and so on. (Listening to books also make these tasks much more enjoyable).
- At the park. When the weather is nice enough, we can head to the park to let the kids play and give mama time to read. I usually pack at least three books so I have options.
- Family reading time. We don’t do this consistently, though I’d like to make it more of a habit. Everyone reading together (different books) is also just a great way to model a love and enjoyment of reading for your kids.
- After the kids go to bed. I’ve started a habit most nights of making myself a cup of tea and reading in bed.
- As I go to bed. My husband and I both listen to books when we are going to sleep. I usually choose something I am mostly familiar with, and set a sleep timer on my phone.
My Reading List for 2021
Finish from Last Year
- In Vital Harmony, Karen Glass — This book has been so helpful in learning more thoroughly about the principles in a Charlotte Mason education.
- Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson (Audible)– My husband started listening to this last month (and says it’s transformational), so I’m waiting for him to finish before I resume so I don’t lose his place.
- The Lazy Genius Way, Kendra Adachi — I have been taking my time working through this book so I can really digest and consider all of Kendra’s excellent advice.
These are the books I tend to re-read every year, or ones that I have simply been wanting to revisit.
- Adorning the Dark, Andrew Peterson (Audible) — I have this on Audible and paperback. I love listening to books read by the author, especially memoir type books, so I will listen again sometime this year.
- Mere Motherhood, Cindy Rollins– I’ve read this memoir by Cindy Rollins a couple of times. It’s so encouraging and instructive.
- Stepping Heavenward, Elizabeth Prentiss– inspiring and instructive story about a woman and mother striving to live for God.
- Little Women & Little Men, Louisa May Alcott (Audible) — I listen to both of these books at least once a year. They are some of the best parenting books I’ve read.
- Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery (Audible) — I have listened to this book by the Anne of Green Gables author multiple times, and I just love the story so much. I’m sure I’ll listen at some point this year, probably to keep me company while doing chores.
- Gospel Primer, Milton Vincent (Audible) — I have this on Audible and paperback. I will likely try to take in both formats. This book is a short book, but such a wonderful refresher on the gospel that we can all use over and over.
In addition to regular Bible reading and the devotionals I switch between, these are the books on my list to ready for my faith and my soul this year.
- Everlasting Is the Past, Walter Wangerin, Jr — I found this memoir style book on Rabbit Room Press. The description sounded relatable. I’m enjoying so far.
- Share Your Stuff, Laura Tremaine — This book releases in February and I’m so excited to read it! I will definitely be forcing my friends to read it with me.
- Hinds’ Feet on High Places, Hannah Hurnard — I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while after hearing positive reviews of it (beautiful illustrations, allegory similar to Pilgrims Progress). I grabbed it when it went on sale with the last Amazon B2G1 free sale.
- Heaven in Ordinary, Malcolm Guite — Short reflections on God and nature. Also from Rabbit Room Press.
- Another Gospel?, Alisa Childers — I have seen this book on progressive Christianity recommended multiple times. I’m looking forward to reading it this year.
- The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, David Johnson — Very interested to read this author’s insights and counsel.
- Bittersweet, Shauna Niequist — Coping with change and disappointment.
- Every Moment Holy Volume 2, Death, Grief and Hope — VERY much looking forward to this second volume of everyday prayers, especially with its focus on sorrow and hope.
- Hidden Art of Homemaking, Edith Schaeffer — This book has also been recommended many times by likeminded women. I’m looking forward to reading her practical, creative, and God-centered approach to keeping a home.
- The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kork, M.D. — I’ve heard that this is both a very heavy book, and a very good one too. I’m sure it’ll take me a while to read, but will be very insightful at the same time.
Parenting & Marriage
- Five Love Languages for Children, Gary Chapman — I know my love language and my husband’s, but I want to intentionally consider how to best express love for my kids this year too.
- Mama Bear Apologetics, Hillary Morgan Ferrer — Another book constantly recommended, and one very timely and needed, I’m sure.
- Introverted Mom, Jamie Martin — A friend loaned me this book because both the title and the author make me want to read this book!
- Families Where Grace is in Place, Jeff VanVonderen — As we have gotten older and wiser, not to mention having more kids, we have shifted from a more authoritarian approach to parenting to one more rooted in grace and understanding. This book looks so good and has great reviews.
- Communication in Marriage, Marcus & Ashley Kusi — Honestly communication is not a strength of our marriage. We are going to read or listen to this book together and discuss.
- Mother Culture, Karen Andreola — Homeschooling isn’t just about the kids. It’s about the rich life of the mother too. That’s what this book discusses.
- Mind to Mind, Charlotte Mason & Karen Glass — I love all of Karen Glass’ books and read at least one each year. This one puts Mason’s last work in contemporary language.
- Educating the Wholehearted Child, Clay & Sally Clarkson — This book has been on my “to read” list since we started homeschooling. I’m going to try and finally read it this year.
- Literary Life Commonplace Book, Angelina Stanford, Cindy Rollins, & Thomas Banks — Honestly, I’m here for anything Cindy and Angelina put out.
- Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan (Audible) — I’ve actually already finished this one this year! Its SO GOOD. I will definitely be listening again at some point.
- The Scarlett Letter, Nathanial Hawthorne — I read this in high school, but am sure reading it as an adult with more life experience will be completely different.
- The Queen’s Gambit, Walter Tevis (Audible) — This book is free on Audible Plus and has great reviews…so why not?!
- Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, Gabrielle Hamilton (Audible) — I totally stole this book from a friend’s reading list. It sounds great!
- The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard, John Birdsall (Audible) — My mother-in-law introduced me to James Beard. I can’t wait to hear more about his life. (This and the one above will definitely be books to listen to).
- Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis (Audible) — I want to read/listen to this book after hearing about it in Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
- Fantastes, George MacDonald — Same as above.
- A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, & A Great War, Joseph Loconte — This topic and these authors fascinate me so much! I’m going to try and read this one with my husband, probably after the kids go to bed.
- Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson — I’ve wanted to read this book for a while. It’s always highly recommended, and a needed subject to learn more about.
- Seeds of America Trilogy, Laurie Halse Anderson — I started this trilogy last year, but hope to finish this year. The books are very well written.
- Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry — I’ve wanted to read this author for a while after seeing a friend share so many of his quotes!
- Under A Wild Sky: John James Audubon, William Souder — Audubon is our focus for nature study/artist study in homeschool this spring, so I bought a biography to learn more about him myself.
LITTLE HOUSE DEEP DIVE
We’ve listened to the Little House books for years, but since this time period is our history focus this year, I figured it would be the perfect time to go a little deeper.
- Caroline, Sarah Miller (Audible) — I’ve already listened to this book, and while I had high hopes for it, I would only give it three stars. Good, not great. I returned it on Audible.
- The Wilder Life, Wendy McClure — I’m super excited to read this book! I’ve already started and so far its funny and interesting.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Family Collection — I found this book of Laura’s newspaper articles in a used bookstore a while ago. It’ll be great to read while learning more about the family and the time period.
- Letters of A Woman Homesteader, Elinore Stewart — So happy to have stumbled upon this book at a used bookstore recently!
- Stretched Too Thin, Jessica Turner — If this title isn’t my life, I don’t know what is. I hope this book gives me some practical strategies for being a work-at-home mom!
- Atomic Habits, James Clear — This book is on everyone’s list! I bought it last year, but 2020 wasn’t the year to adopt new habits. Let’s see if 2021 will be…
- Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, David Epstein — This concept fascinates me!
- The Flavor Bible, Karen Page — Of course a food blogger should read this, right?!
What is on your reading list? When do you find time to read? I’d love to hear!
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Rachel McDonald says
How do you go about choosing your booklist every year? Are you wanting a certain number of books?
What a great list! I’ve read The Lazy Genius Way, Adorning the Dark, The Blue Castle, Introverted Mom, Becoming Mrs. Lewis, and Letters of a Woman Homesteader. I enjoyed all of them! I am thinking about rereading Adorning the Dark and Mere Motherhood this year as well. Cindy Rollins has been such a mentor mom to me with the podcasts I’ve heard her on that I want to learn more from her.
The Warmth of Other Suns and Seeds of America trilogy are on my TBR list as well.
I recently posted on my blog about some of the books I plan to read in 2021.