Best Books of 2021

Over the course of 2021 I read approximately 100 books, mostly physcial books, though some through audible and some electronic. These are books that I read in 2021; many were published before 2021. When I sat down to write this post I was aiming for 10, but in the end I have ended up with seven.

Best Political Memoir / Politics Book: Chief of Staff: Notes from Downing Street by Gavin Barwell

This memoir from Gavin Barwell details his time as Theresa May’s Chief of Staff. It is not writtien in a traditonal diary format but instead grouped around key areas and events over his time in office. The book explains how the role of chief of staff works in a UK context and provides an insight into some of the behind the scenes elements of politics.

Best Autobiographical Work: A Walk from the Wild Edge by Jake Tyler

This is a book that chart’s Jake’s walk around the coast of Britain. However it is less a travelogue than a personal story of Jake’s mental health, begining with a breakdown that led him to quit his job and his walk around Britain undertaken as part of his personal recover. Jake is a local writer who grew up in Maldon, Essex and this was an interesting read.

Best Non-Fiction: How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates

Gates book presents a clear summary of what needs to be done to address the climate crisis. Gates takes a technical approach looking at the current levels of emissions (51 billion tonnes) and how they break down and need to be reduced.

Best Fiction: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

This is an ‘alternative history’ work of fiction that charts the life of Hillary Rodham if she had not married Bill Clinton. This was a great read but it scored mixed reviews in our book club. I think that to get the best out of this book you need to have a good working knowledge of US politics as it helps you to understand some of the choices Sittenfeld has made.

Best Book to Improve Subject Knowledge: Plate Tectonics: A Very Short Introduction by Peter Molnar

This is one of a number of books from the ‘A Very Short Introduction ‘ series that I own. This book is really useful for the A Level geography syllabus as it takes a slightly deeper look at the mechanics and impacts of plate tectonics than covered in A Level textbooks but still entirely accessible for both students and teachers.

Best Leadership/Management Book: Radical Candor by Kim Scott

This book is the best leadership book I have read in a long while. This text goes through how to be honest at work while still remaining humane. Scott takes us through ways that this can be done and also explains that candor is needed to be kind in the long run.

Book to Promote Better Reading: This is the Canon: Decolongize your bookshelf in 50 books by Anim-Addo, Osborne and Sesay

This is a book that I have started but not finished; as I originally saw the book in the libary and flicked through it but then purchased a copy. My aim will be to read the 50 books that it profiles – at a rate of one a month over the next four years.

The full list of books that I have read in 2021 can be found on Goodreads here.