My 2021 Reading List

The last few years I’ve set a goal to read 52 books during the year. This is about a book a week. In 2020, I read 127 books with about half being fiction and half being non fiction. In the years prior, I read about 36-45 books during the year just shy of the 52 book goal.

This year I decided to do something a little bit different with my reading. Rather than picking a random book off the shelf after finishing up a previous book, I decided to plan out my books for the year. I picked 4-5 books per month and wrote them out on a list. Yeah, I know that probably sounds weird to you. It did to me too since I’ve never done it before.

There are a few bigger reasons I decided to do this. First, I want to read books I already own instead of buying new ones. This not only helps with being grateful for what I already have, but also helps save money throughout the year. If you don’t know this already, I spend a lot of money on books throughout the year, and even have a section in my budget each month specifically for learning. Saving money on books is a big savings.

The second reason I wanted to do this was to read on a variety of topics from various perspectives. I divided my books up into loose categories and tried to pick a few each month from different categories. The different areas ended up being leadership, personal development, fiction, business / finance, faith, memoirs / biographies, and culture.

The third reason to do this was to create a simple plan to follow. Rather than starting a few and finishing only some, I have a list for each month and a clear plan for what I intend to do.

Those are the biggest reasons I chose to go this route as well as that it was something new and fun. Each month I will give a roundup of the books from the previous month and my thoughts on them. Some of them I will write a more in depth summary on in a separate post.

Some months, I tend to get through more than the 4-5 books I have allotted, so during those months once I finish my list, I can choose any “wildcard” book(s) I’d like to read. These could be on any topic that I feel like reading at the time and don’t follow any rules. Some months I may get to these and some I may not.

A question you may have is, what if you don’t finish all the books each month? That’s a great question. Since I carve about 20 minutes to read every morning, I tend to get through a book a week regularly. I also listen to some of these on audible with my monthly credits, so when I am in my car I tend to listen to a book which helps. Now, if I really don’t finish those during the month, I will likely add them into the next month or save them for another month when I have free space to read. If I don’t finish them by the end of the year, that’s okay. They will then make it to next year’s list.

To remind me of my goal and make it exciting, I organized all the books on my shelf together by month. I have January through December all lined up next to each other. When I finish them, they go back on the shelf and as the year goes on, more and more shelves will be read books instead of the to be read books. Having a visual reminder for me of my goal helps me make progress on it.

Below is the list of each month’s books totaling 49 books planned for the year.

January

  • Come Matter Here
  • Richest Man in Babylon
  • My Name is Hope
  • Mans search for meaning
  • Midnight Library

February

  • God Has a Name
  • 4th and Goal everyday
  • Be Fearless
  • Just mercy

March

  • Beginners pluck
  • Leadership language
  • Weird
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God

April:

  • Dirt
  • Developing the leader within you 2.0
  • Ego is the enemy
  • Get to the point

May

  • The glass castle
  • White fragility
  • Awe
  • Sabin

June

  • Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
  • 2 second lean
  • To Hell with the Hustle
  • The Color of Compromise

July

  • Entreladership
  • Born to Shine
  • Free to Be Me
  • Be the Bridge

August

  • Building a Story Brand
  • Gifts of Imperfection
  • Becoming a Person of Influence
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

September

  • The Color Purple
  • Rebel Talent
  • Simply Tuesday
  • You are a Badass at Making Money

October

  • You Are the Girl for the Job
  • 168 Hours
  • The School of Greatness
  • Slavery by Another Name

November

  • How to Be Antiracist
  • Dance Stand Run
  • Stillness is the Key
  • Subtle Art of Not Giving a *

December

  • The Untethered Soul
  • The Color of Law
  • Understanding Thomas Jefferson
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad

What are the books you’re looking forward to reading in 2021? Have you read any of those on my list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or if there’s any I should add to my “wildcard” list!

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