The Best Books I Read In 2021

I love to read. I wish I had more time each day, each week, each month, and each year to read. I learn a lot and am inspired a great deal by the written word.

And I love to keep lists (they are long lists now) of all the books I have read.

My goal each year is to read at least 30 books. I reached my goal in 2021, but with an asterisk. I need to do better in 2022…

What follows are the best books I read in 2021. I hope this helps to inspire some of your reading choices.

My Best Books of 2021:

Why We Sleep (by Matthew Walker) – This was a fascinating book that explained the great value and necessity of sleep. Sleep is something I do not get enough of, but after reading this book, I now take sleep much more seriously. I believe I am sleeping more and sleeping better, but I have a long way to go…

Tony Lazzeri (by Lawrence Baldassaro) – Tony Lazzeri was a great New York Yankee of the 1920s and 1930s. I had not known as much about his career as some of the more legendary Yankees. Now I do. I enjoyed this book greatly.

The Virginian (by Owen Wister) –I don’t read many westerns, but I wanted to read this one as it’s considered the “original” in that genre. Slow moving at points, the book eventually grabbed me and I ended up enjoying it a great deal.

The Bomber Mafia (by Malcolm Gladwell) – I have loved every book that Malcolm Gladwell has written and this was no exception. This book was written in a different style than the other Gladwell books, as this tells more of a single overreaching story. Gladwell’s thinking, reasoning, and the conclusions he draws always make me think differently about things. That’s the mark of a great author. This book was one of his best.

What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted (by Tevi Troy) – This book takes a unique look at the way Presidents communicated throughout history. It was an interesting and unique take on this topic. A big fan, Dr. Troy always includes a baseball reference or two in his books. I look forward to reading more of his works in 2022.

Life of Pi (by Yann Martel) – This fictional story was one I opened, started reading, and was instantly drawn into. It was a quick read. I greatly enjoyed the writing and the story.

The Complete Peanuts (Volumes 1 – 7) – This is the asterisk, as seven of the books I read in 2021 were nothing more than a collection of comic strips. I have always wanted to dive into this treasury of Charles Schulz’ classic comic strip. These volumes constitute the complete collection of every single Peanuts strip. I decided to slowly purchase and read each and every volume. In 2021, I read the first seven volumes. This project took me from1950 through 1964. I have a long way to go, but I am loving every minute of this.

The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth (by Leigh Montville) – This might just be the best book about Babe Ruth that I have ever read. This was the second time I read this book. It was just as good as the first.

The Least Among Them (by Paul Semendinger) – Yes, me. One reason I didn’t have a lot of time to read in 2021 was the work I put into getting this book ready for publication. Writing, revising, editing, and so much more can be a job into and of itself. It was a labor of love. I’m getting great reviews of this book. I guess I did it right, it made National Review’s Books of the Year… (https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/12/books-of-the-year-2021-solace-in-difficult-times/)

This Never Happened (by J.B. Manheim) – A fictional account of a secret army project in World War I that included baseball greats including Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb, and others. This was a mystery and a great story. I enjoyed it a great deal.

I’m Glad They Didn’t Take It Personally (by Jim Bouton) – Ball Four is my favorite baseball book. I have read it countless times. This was Bouton’s follow-up which I had read only once, back when I was a kid in the 1980s. I’m glad I read it again as an adult. I often found myself laughing out loud.

Plain Speaking (by Merle Miller) – I didn’t realize how many books I re-read this year. This was another. I read this in college, probably in 1988. I saw it on my shelf and decided to read it again. It’s Harry Truman in his own voice and as honest as the day is long. A great book.

The Passenger (by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz) – This was a work of fiction, but it was haunting and so sad. Great books make you think about them long after you’re done reading. This one did.

Unbeaten: Rocky Marciano’s Fight for perfection in a Crooked World) – I enjoy reading about sports and athletes. I also enjoy reading about great boxers from the past. I found this book in the Boston Public Library’s Book Sale. I’m glad I did. It was an excellent read.

Apollo 13 (by Jim Lovell & Jeffrey Kluger) – It says a lot when you can read a book, already know how it turns out, and still find each page gripping.

The Baseball 100 (by Joe Posnanski) – Joe Posnanski is such a great writer. They say this book has more pages than Moby Dick. It probably does. Moby Dick was a struggle for me to get through. This book was a delight. I loved every word. I’ll read this book again and again. I just can’t wait for the follow up… I want to read Posnanski’s take on the next 100 players!

All The Way: My Life in Four Quarters (by Joe Namath) – I always wanted to learn more about Joe Namath. I’m glad I picked this book up. It was such an nice and easy read, I felt like I was talking to Joe himself. I keep hoping he stops by my house (he doesn’t know me) just so we can continue the discussion.

Honorable Mention:

These books were also ones I greatly enjoyed in 2021:

A Brotherhood Betrayed (by Michael Cannell)

The Baseball Gods Are Real, Vol. 3 (by Jonathan A. Fink)

The Captain and Me: On and Off the Field with Thurman Munson (by Ron Blomberg and Dan Epstein)

Vicksburg (by Donald Miller)

Happy New Year To All!

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