2021 Top Ten List of Books and More

Seeing that Doug "Blue Skunk" Johnson has shared his list of books, I thought I might take a look back at the titles dotting my backtrail. I shudder at making a list of all of them, since it feels like I inhaled stories at an astonishing rate. And, looking over this list, I can see there are a few I may have read and forgot to jot down at Goodreads (not all my reading is through Amazon...sheesh, I forgot to include print books).

Anyways, Doug writes he had a good year. I have had one as well given how much time I spent reading. There's an almost inexhaustible supply of solid writing to work through. There is a lot of time to read during commercials and pauses in action no matter what you watch these days. It's a pleasure reading and watching for a reason, so multi-tasking is no biggie.
 It’s been a good reading year. My goal was only 48 books and I whizzed by that. I tended to spend a lot more time reading than watching anything on Netflix or Prime. Not sure if that will be a continuing trend or not...I read both fiction and nonfiction, with the non-fiction being often more impactful than the fiction.
I have to say, reading is so much fun for me. If I'm not listening to books, I'm reading them while on the treadmill or reading while waiting for something or other. I know my librarian friends may not appreciate my complete disinterest on the Texas banned book list, but hey, I've been gathering those and working them slowly into my future reading lists. 

But to be blunt, if it doesn't have sci-fi, fantasy elements, then it really could just be historical fiction (yawn) no matter what disenfranchised folks are empowered. I will probably read more of those in 2022. Maybe I'll make a list of those...for now, I have lots of other great books to read!

Bad Habits

Some of my bad reading habits? I read ALL the time, while watching television, waiting in a car to pickup food, while my wife drives (after all, she said it was OK since my reading out signs bothers her), and before I fall asleep at night. The last habit is the worst since my night isn't done unless I've read something.

What bad habits around reading do you have?

Memories of Tales Lost

My favorite tale is the one I can't remember. I usually don't read books more than once since I can remember them. For example, reading Louis L'Amour is difficult since I read all his books in high school. I literally have those stories in my head and it is evoked each time I touch the book or select it in my ereader. For that reason, the best stories are the ones that are forgettable.

Of course, nonfiction is the opposite, right? You don't often want to forget your nonfiction reads. For those, I have to re-read them as much as possible, take notes, try to build those neural pathways to ensure I don't lose the ideas and concepts. As I get older, making a list of vocabulary words and their meanings makes more sense than when I was a child. (and thanks to that early experience, I now know what to do...a valuable life lesson, there).

The books below are organized by fiction and nonfiction. Some of the fiction, if not all, may be young adult. I suspect I read one book in this genre, and Amazon decided to shuttle a whole bunch more in my direction. Darn them. Of course, I'm not interested in adult tales of romance or any of that stuff. But stories of world building, rich culture, violence against primal evil, well, those are captivating.

My Reading Habits

Like you, I find that I read different books on different devices. Long stories, I keep on my phone. I rely on apps like Google Books and Amazon Kindle app to make it easy to follow them. For my tablet, I try to read nonfiction. In fact, I end up starting nonfiction on my phone then shifting it over to my tablet.

What Am I Reading Now?

This is a question I get from time to time. I really do tear through fiction books quickly, so by the time I publish this blog entry, I may already have finished them. Nonfiction books, well, I tend to brood over those. One interesting thing I've learned about nonfiction is to read a chapter or two from different books a day. In that way, my brain doesn't get overwhelmed all at once by one topic. You'll see the necessity of that when you see what I'm reading.

  • Fiction
    • The Wheel of Time. This is a fantastic series of books by Robert Jordan with a conclusion written by Brandon Sanderson. I started re-reading the series when the Amazon Prime series came out. The changes they made to adapt the story made me long for the story the way Jordan told it. Wow, it's an amazing read after all these years....sort of like reading George R.R. Martin's books as an adult rather than a ravenous reader in his teens.
    • He Who Fights with Monsters: A LitRPG Adventure (with Audible). I love Audible version and this one came recommended. The authors include Shirtaloon and Travis Deverell. I just got it, so it's in my queue.
    • The Dragon Mage Academy: The Complete Series: Books 1-7 Box Set. This series of books, by Cordelia Castel, came recommended to me by Stephanie DeYoung on Twitter. It is young adult (YA) fiction and the story begins quite funny.

  • NonFiction
    • How To Read a Paper. By Trisha Greenhalgh. This book has me itching to write a blog entry with a focus on education, and I'm only into the first chapter. Some books, you have to read with a pen in hand.
    • The Four Agreements. Don Miguel Ruiz. This really comes off as a New Age book, but I'll see where it lands. It's an easy read
    • An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.
    • The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story. Nikole Hannah-Jones.

  • NonFiction Books I Have Started Reading But I'm Taking Extra Slow:
    • An African American and LatinX History of the United States. Paul Ortiz
    • An Introduction to Formal Logic with Philosophical Applications. Russell Marcus.
    • Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results. James Clear.
    • Logic for Dummies. Mark Zegarelli.
    • Logic for Philosophy. Theodore Sider.
As you might imagine, I have a book that fits every mood here. Most of the logic books make me want to knock my head against the wall.


  • Terry Mancour
    • Footwizard: Book 13 of the Spellmonger Series (awesome series)
  • Jonathan Moeller
    • Ghost in the Sun
    • Dragonskull: Sword of the Squire
    • Tales of the Shield Knight
    • Cloak of Blades (Cloak Mage Book 4)
    • Dragontiara: Warden
    • Ghost in the Lore
    • Dragontiarna: Storms
    • Ghost in the Talisman
    • Avenging Fire (Cormac Rogan Book 1)
    • Shield Knight: Monarch
    • Dragontiarna: Visionary
  • Wilbur Smith
    • River God (The Egyptian Series Book 1). A great story, but...meh. Some folks may like it since Wilbur Smith is masterful with his storytelling. Too bad he passed away this year.

Fiction - Young Adult

  • Dragon Assassin Omnibus. A YA series by Arthur Slade. Great stuff. The one redeeming quality of YA fiction? Humor.
  • Books Amazon recommended I read and I did for a moment's entertainment, but now wish, perhaps, that I hadn't (that's too harsh...they are great stories, although YA).
    • Scott Bartlett and Joshua James
      • Relentless Box Set: The Complete Fleet Ops Trilogy
    • M.R. Forbes
      • Forgotten Space Book 1
      • Forgotten Space Book 2: Formation
    • Duncan M. Hamilton
      • The First Blade of Ostia.
      • Jorundyr's Path: Wolf of the North Book 2
      • The Wolf of the North: Wolf of the North Book 1
      • The Society of the Sword Trilogy
      • The Squire: Blood of Kings Book 1
    • D.K. Holmberg
      • First of the Blade Book 1: Unbonded
      • First of the Blade Book 2: Unseen
    • Jacob Peppers
      • A Warrior's Burden: Book One of the Saga of the Known Lands
      • A Warrior's Redemption: Book Two of Saga of the Known Lands
    • Brandon Sanderson
      • Skyward



    • Cassandra Speaks: When Women are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes. Elizabeth Lesser. A great read, perspective altering.
    • Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth. Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford.
    • How the Word is Passed. Clint Smith.
    • Lies My Teacher Told Me. James W. Loewen.


    • Good Without God. Greg M. Epstein. Interesting perspective, although I found Bertrand Russell a bit easier to agree with.
    • The God Delusion. Richard. Dawkins. Another interesting read.
    • White Evangelical Racism. Anthea Butler. Great stuff. I wouldn't want to be an evangelical today.

  • Research-Based

    • Collegial Coaching. Dr. Katie Alaniz. I got to review this book and write something for the book jacket. What an honor and I'm grateful to Katie.
    • Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument. Stella Cottrell.
    • Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. Zaretta Hammond's fantastic explanation of the topic, and a must-read for all educators.
    • The Fundamentals of Teaching: A Five-Step Model to Put the Research Evidence into Practice. Mike Bell.
    • Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from Neuroscience and the Classroom. Juddy Willis and Malana Willis
    • Visible Learning for Science, Grades K-12. John T. Almarode, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, John Hattie
Of course, there are many books I have re-read. And many books I started then discarded. There are even some I read, and returned. But one point I haven't shared is audio books.

Audible Stories

I "read" all the time in the car, especially on the way to and from work, or any trip that is 10 minutes or longer. Here is what I have queued up in my Audible:
  • Listening to...
    • Craig Alanson's Expeditionary Force Series: Fallout. The adventures of Skippy the beer can continue. Want to laugh in space? This is the series to listen to.
    • J.W. Webb's The Complete Chronicles of Corin an Fol. This is a plodding story that I have about 68 hours (and I've already listened to hours of it already) left to listen to. So, it's my fall back when other audio books end unexpectedly.
    • The 1619 Project. I really can only listen to a chapter of this book at a time, maybe one chapter a week. It's that powerful, moving, and sad.
  • Listened to already:
    • Matt Serafini's werewolf tales, like Feral and Devil's Row
    • Michael J. Sullivan's The Crown Tower
    • Craig Alanson's Breakaway, Brushfire
    • Marc Alan Edelheit's The Tiger's Imperium, The Tiger's Wrath

My Top Ten List

Ok, wow, that was a long list. Of those all, which are my top ten? Doug Johnson has a few fascinating titles that I haven't read at all on his list. I maybe heard about Ezra Klein's book, Why We're Polarized, but not much else. I might suggest a more Epicurean approach (rather than Stoic), but hey, we can't all be hedonists.

So...here are my top 10 books:


  1. Craig Alanson's Expeditionary Force Series: Fallout. The adventures of Skippy the beer can continue. Want to laugh in space? This is the series to listen to. This is the latest in a series of hilarious, sci-fi misadventures of Skippy and his monkeys, er, humans, and his band of space pirates. I highly recommend Alanson's work.
  2. Jonathan Moeller's Dragontiarna series. A great series of books that span worlds, include dragons, and more. He brings Ridmark's story to an end in Dragontiarna: Warden, and what an amazing journey (over 13 books easily). Easily my most favored character in any series of books I've read.
  3. Jonathan Moeller's Ghost in the Sun. Again, another final story to end Caina's good work. An amazing story. I love Moeller's portrayal of Caina and Kylon, almost as much as I love his Cloak Mage series (better get to writing the next few, Conan!).
  4. Terry Mancour's Spellmonger series latest installment, Footwizard. I love how Terry brings all the pieces together into this latest in the series. You can tell the author got tired of listening to all the whiners saying, "We want more!" and packed in critical details and events.
  5. B.N. Rundell's Rocky Mountain Saint: The Complete Series. This was a fun frontierman type series of stories. I could have done without the proselytizing every other chapter, but those parts aside, Rundell was entertaining read.


  1. How the Word is Passed. Clint Smith's book really rips the blindfold off on America's past and present being built on enslavement of others. It will make you weep. I read it and Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me at the same time and they reinforced each other. It was like having two historians whacking you over the head from either side. It highlighted my own ignorance in this area and it has taken me awhile to process it. The 1619 Project and Indigenous People's History books underscore and affirm Clint's work.
  2. Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. Zaretta Hammond's fantastic explanation of the topic, and a must-read for all educators. Zaretta's work really helped me process Clint Smith and James Loewen's books. It gave me a framework, and I highly recommend reading them.
  3. The Fundamentals of Teaching: A Five-Step Model to Put the Research Evidence into Practice. Mike Bell.
  4. Cassandra Speaks. Elizabeth Lesser. Wow, just wow. 
  5. Visible Learning for Science, Grades K-12. John T. Almarode, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, John Hattie
Ok, so those are my top ten books. No wonder I'm so brain dead.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


doug0077 said…
Great post, Miguel. You blow right past me as a reader (and thinker). Never thought about reading different types of materials on different devices or formats. I'm pretty much an iPad reader...

Hope you have a good 2022 reading year!


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