My Year in Books: 2021

In 2021, I continued to work my way through the chronological “greatest books of all time” list, focusing primarily on books I already own (with occasional trips to the library).  I finished the 18th Century and moved into the 19th Century.  One of the highlights was the four volume Dream of the Red Chamber (also know as Story of the Stone), one of the four classic Chinese novels.  (I had previously read The Water Margin and Journey to the West/Monkey, two of the other classics.)  But I veered off the greatest booklist path a few times.  I read two books on recent biological discoveries – I like to keep up-to-date with science. I read some art books, as part of my recent obsession with art. And I read some history/biography.  My niece gave me a 2018 Frederick Douglass bio as a gift, so I read that and then of course I needed to read Douglass’s autobiography. And a friend raved about the first volume of Rick Atkinson’s American Revolution trilogy, so I checked that out as well.  Another friend loaned me The Pueblo Revolt, which helped provide historical context for our vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico in September/October.

Here are the books I finished in 2021 (in chronological order by publication date), with my 1-5 star rating:

  1. The Social Contract (1762). By Jean-Jacques Rousseau (4/5)
  2. The Vicar of Wakefield (1766). By Oliver Goldsmith (4/5)
  3. The Sorrows of Young Werther and Selected Writings (1774). By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (4/5)
  4. Dangerous Liaisons (1782) By Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (4/5)
  5. Confessions (1782). By Jean-Jacques Rousseau (4/5)
  6. Dream of the Red Chamber (Story of the Stone) (1791). By Cao Xeuqin (and Gao E) (5/5)
  7. Autobiography and Selected Writings (1791). By Benjamin Franklin (4/5)
  8. Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1794). By William Blake (4/5)
  9. Kant: Selections (1770-1797). By Immanuel Kant. Edited by Theodore M. Greene (4/5)
  10. Faust: A Tragedy, Part One (1808). By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (4/5)
  11. Persuasion (1817). By Jane Austen (4/5)
  12. Faust, Part Two (1832). By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (4/5)
  13. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845). By Frederick Douglass (4/5)
  14. Art: A History of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture (1976). By Frederick Hartt (5/5)
  15. The Pueblo Revolt (1994). By Robert Silverberg (5/5)
  16. Modern Art in the U.S.A.: Issues and Controversies of the 20th Century (2000). By Patricia Hills (4/5)
  17. Why Evolution Is True (2008). By Jerry A. Coyne (4/5)
  18. Speaking of Art: Four Decades of Art in Conversation (2010). By William Furlong (4/5)
  19. A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth (2015). By Peter D. Ward (3/5)
  20. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (2018). By David W. Blight (5/5)
  21. The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 (2019). By Rick Atkinson (4/5)

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