CURRENT EVENTS: Books Read in 2021

photo inside of A1 Bookstore: 6067 Navarre Rd SW, Canton, OH 44706

Happy New Year! 

It’s that special time of year again…you know what I’m talking about: January! The month to make and break resolutions, recover from holiday hangovers, and of course that most important event of all–reviewing the books I’ve read in the past year! You know you’ve been waiting for it. 

Seriously though, several years ago I started keeping a list of the books I read as part of a local library challenge to read fifty books a year. For every fifty books, the library would put your name into a raffle to win a gift card. I’d never bothered to count the books I read before, so I started keeping track to enter the raffle, and lo! a post-holiday tradition was born. One of these days I’d like to be able to enter twice!

So, I hope that by sharing the books I’ve enjoyed–and a few I didn’t–you might find your next great read! I consume books in multiple genres and formats, so I’ll indicate which ones as well as link to where you can find them:  Amazon, Audible, local sources, or free/low cost downloads from other places. Since my appetite for books exceeds my ability to buy all the ones I’d like, many on my list are library holds, while others were purchased from local authors or indie presses; I try to spend my dollars where they’ll have the most impact and support content creators. Enjoy!

BOOKS READ 2021:

1 Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler (ebook via Humble Bundle)

2 Naked Toes: second edition by Sara Minges (Trade paperback)

uplifting and personal collection of poems about inner strength

3 Jacaranda by Cherie Priest (ebook via Humble Bundle)

4 Evidence of Starving by Sandra Feen <ebook unavailable. Email author at poeteach@msn.com to buy a paperback copy for $7 (postage included)>

moving and vulnerable poems on the theme of consumption

5 Erotica Romana by Johann Wolfgang Gothenburg (ebook via Overdrive)

6 A Little History of Poetry by John Carey (ebook via Overdrive)

7 Paradise Lost by John Milton (audiobook via Overdrive)

this epic poem, arguably the best poem written in the English language, needs no introduction, so all I’ll say is if you haven’t read this yet, READ IT. It’s staggeringly beautiful.

8 THE GREAT COURSES: Life and Writings of John Milton (Prof. Seth Lerer) via AUDIBLE

9 City of Truth by James Morrow (ebook via Humble Bundle)

10 The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (ebook via Overdrive)

11 The Witcher: The Last Wish (short story collection) by Andrzej Sapkowski (ebook via Overdrive)

12 Black like Me by John Howard Griffin (ebook via Overdrive and The Ohio Digital Library)

13 In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan (audiobook via HOOPLA)

14 Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick (ebook via Overdrive)

15 The Prestige by Christopher Priest (ebook via Overdrive)

16 A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (ebook via Overdrive)

17 Limit Theory by Ronald E. Holtman & illustrations by Amanda Vacharat (hardback via Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Main Library)

18 Lock In by John Scalzi (ebook via Overdrive)

19 Head On by John Scalzi (ebook via Overdrive)

20 Damned novel by Chuck Palahniuk (ebook via Overdrive)

21 Doomed novel by Chuck Palahniuk (ebook via Overdrive)

22 The River Styx, Ohio, and Other Poems by Mary Oliver (hardback via Library)

23 I Bring the Fire: Wolves by C. Gockel (ebook via NOOK)

24 I Bring the Fire: Monsters by C. Gockel (ebook via NOOK)

25 I Bring the Fire: Chaos by C. Gockel (ebook via NOOK)

26 I Bring the Fire: Fates by C. Gockel (ebook via NOOK)

27 Whiskey Sweet by Sara Minges (poetry collection, ebook ARC via author)

28 Iliad by Homer (audiobook, 1st part of Audible book HOMER translated by WHD Rouse, read by Anthony Heald, ILIAD AND ODYSSEY)

29 Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara (AUDIBLE audiobook)

30 I Bring the Fire: Warriors by C. Gockel (ebook via NOOK)

31 I Bring the Fire: Ragnarok by C. Gockel (ebook via NOOK)

32 Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly (ebook via Manybooks.net)

33 On the Bus with Rosa Parks by Rita Dove (hardback via Barberton Public Library)

34 Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer (Trade paperback poetry collection)

35 Metamorphosis by Ovid (AUDIBLE audiobook)

36 BEASTARS VOLUME 1, story and art by Paru Itagaki (Graphic Novel via Library loan)

37 Dreaming of Babylon by Richard Brautigan (audiobook via HOOPLA)

38 The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (ebook via manybooks.net)

39 Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (ebook via manybooks.net)

40 Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster (ebook via manybooks.net)

41 BEASTARS VOLUME 2, story and art by Paru Itagaki (Graphic Novel, paper)

42 The Prince and The Pauper by Mark Twain (ebook via manybooks.net)

43 THE GREAT COURSES: English Grammar Boot Camp by Anne Curzan (AUDIBLE audiobook)

44 Ancient Greece 101: Greek History, Myth, and Civilization by Christopher M. Bellitto (AUDIBLE audiobook)

45 My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

46  300 by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

47 No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre (Book Analysis): Detailed Summary, Analysis and Reading Guide (ebook via HOOPLA)

48 Y: The Last Man, Vol 1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

49 Y: The Last Man, Vol 2: Cycles by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

50 Y: The Last Man, Vol 3: One Small Step by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

51 Y: The Last Man, Vol 4: Safeword by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

52 Y: The Last Man, Vol 5: Ring of Truth by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

53 Y: The Last Man, Vol 6: Girl on Girl by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

54 Y: The Last Man, Vol 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

55 Y: The Last Man, Vol 8: Kimono Dragons by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

56 Y: The Last Man, Vol 9: Motherland by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

57 Y: The Last Man, Vol 10: Whys and Wherefores by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (graphic novel via HOOPLA)

58 The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman (hardback via library checkout)

59 The Good Place and Philosophy: Get an Afterlife by Steven A. Benko (ebook via HOOPLA)

60 Feminism in Greek Literature by Frederick Adam Wright (audiobook via Librivox.org)

61 The Bible Repairman and Other Stories by Tim Powers (gifted paperback)

62 Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes (ebook via Overdrive)

63 BEASTARS VOLUME 3, story and art by Paru Itagaki (Graphic Novel, paper)

64 The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (ebook via Overdrive)

65 Hesiod: The Works and Days/ The Theogony/ The Shield of Herakles by Hesiod (audiobook via Librivox)

66 One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (ebook via Overdrive)

67 Gawayne and The Green Knight by Anonymous/ Charlton Miner Lewis (ebook via Project Gutenberg)

68 College Hacks by Keith Bradford (paperback)

69 Evidence of Starving by Sandra Feen (paperback chapbook)

<Even though I read this in January as an ebook, I’m including it again, bc it’s a different format and therefore a different experience. Email author at poeteach@msn.com to buy a paperback copy for $7 (postage included)>

moving and vulnerable poems on the theme of consumption

70 BEASTARS 4 by Paru Itagaki (Trade paperback)

71 Swim by Faryl and S.T. Hoover (ebook via Kindle app)

–(from my Amazon review) “This is the book I was reading when my son told me, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but stop reading and watch television with the family!” It’s absorbing, mesmerizing, and hard to put down.”

72 The Philosopher’s Apprentice by James Morrow (ebook via Overdrive)

73 Poetic Memoir Chapbook Challenge by Barbara Marie Minney (misspelled on cover as Minnie)

74 Whale Day and Other Poems by Billy Collins (hardback)

75 Storm Front: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (ebook via Overdrive)

76 The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (ebook via Overdrive)

77 Dear Youngstown by Karen Schubert (paperback)

78 Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (ebook via Overdrive)

79 Working Hypothesis by Charles Malone (paperback)

80 Playlist for the Apocalypse: Poems by Rita Dove (ebook via Overdrive)

81 Woman with a Fan: On Maria Blanchard by Diane Kendig (paperback)

82 Versed in Country Things by Robert Frost (Photographs by B.A. King) <hardcover>

83 Miracles: The Wonder of Life by Walt Whitman <small hardback>

84 A Threadbare Universe by Jason Baldinger (paperback poetry collection)

85 I Will Pass Even to Acheron by Amanda Newell (chapbook via Rattle magazine subscription)

86 The Just City by Jo Walton (ebook via Overdrive)

87 Fool Moon (Dresden Files #2) by Jim Butcher (ebook via Overdrive)

88 Grave Peril (Dresden Files #3) by Jim Butcher (ebook via Overdrive)

89 Summer Knight (Dresden Files #4) by Jim Butcher (ebook via Overdrive)

90 Death Masks (Dresden Files #5) by Jim Butcher (ebook via Overdrive)

91 Stopover by Rikki Santer (perfect bound book)

92 Blood Rites (Dresden Files #6) by Jim Butcher (ebook via Overdrive)

#

CURRENTLY READING

Dead Beat (Dresden Files #7) by Jim Butcher

As you may have noticed, I’m hooked on the urban fantasy series,the Dresden Files, which I started a month or two ago: Harry Dresden is a wizard working openly in modern Chicago while facing all sorts of supernatural threats and cracking wise. It’s packed with action, adventure, and a fair amount of silliness. Harry Dresden is a rogue that’s both action/superhero and comedian. The novels are mysteries that unpack a fantasy world that gets more complex with each novel. They’re so much fun. I love them!

Tachyon by William F. DeVault

The other book I am currently reading is Tachyon by U.S. Beat Poet Emeritus William F. DeVault. He writes romantic poetry that’s strong on form, beat, rhythm, rhyme, and imagery. Each poem is exquisitely crafted, and since I’ve loved his poetry in the past I know that I’ll love this book as well. I’m only a little bit into the book at the moment, since some poetry takes me longer to read than others. In general, I read poetry more slowly than fiction, because with poetry it’s important to savor the lines; good poems benefit from multiple readings. Fiction can be approached the same way, but poetry focuses on the form and nuance of individual lines. However, fiction is usually more concerned with plot and character. There is overlap too, which is always enjoyable! 

*

Next Friday, I’ll also post a companion piece on my Patreon, listing my favorite reads in the past year–including some I didn’t list here because they were not read from start to finish. If you’d like to read it, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

*photo taken by myself of A-1 Books in Massillon, Ohio. The bookstore is located inside an old gas station and shares the building with a towing company.

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