Skip to content

Ten Books You Should Read in 2021

2020 has been an absolutely insane year. A lot of stuff has happened, including CoViD19, the 2020 election, BLM protests, CHAZ, and libraries being temporarily closed.

So what could be better than some good books to read? Especially if they're inspiring, insightful, and take longer than two seconds to read ;-)

1. Macbeth. This is an incredible play by William Shakespeare about a man who assassinates the King and then takes the throne. He's told by three witches that he will keep his kingdom until the forest marches against him. So he's safe, right?

2. Mao: The Real Story. This is a super huge biography of Mao Zedong, who made China communist. It's well written, insightful, and gives you a whole new point of view of the Cultural Revolution.

3. Intelligence. What if there was only one way to stop a communist alliance from taking over the world? But what if that one way is by subjecting your own people? Then what? Intelligence, Eliza DeMille Robinson's debut novel, has such deep and insightful thoughts on freedom, the fight for freedom, what it means to be free, and the individual's mission. The writing, character building, and plot weaving is outstanding. It's the first in a series (the second in the series is on the printer now but I haven't been able to read it yet) and I highly recommend Intelligence!

4. The 5000 Year Leap. W Cleon Skousen, who served in the FBI for 16 years, has incredible insights into how our nation was made, why it's survived, and how it can be fixed. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about freedom.

5. Coolidge. Calvin Coolidge is my second favorite president of the USA, and this is definitely my favorite biography of him! It's a bit long, but very insightful, detailed, and inspiring.

6. Tyrant: Shakespeare On Politics. Some people say, "those who can't do, write." I don't think this is necessarily true, and I think that Shakespeare is proof of it. His understanding of human nature is unbelievable, and sorely needed today.

7-9. The Reckoners. This fictional trilogy by Brandon Sanderson is an intriguing exploration of power, abilities, and the duty of citizens and people.

10. Glenn Beck's Common Sense. The original Common Sense, written by Patrick Henry, advocated the separation of the colonies from the British Empire. Beck's Common Sense advocates the return to sensibility, an understanding of what makes the USA the USA, and the importance of returning to what we had in the original Constitution.

And There Was Light: #TalesOfYoungHeroes

Jacques is blind, totally blind. It happened when he was seven, and changed his life forever. But despite being blind, or perhaps because of it, he was able to lead a resistance to the Nazi occupation of France at the young age of seventeen.

His autobiography, And There Was Light, is one of the most inspiring, beautiful, stories ever, and you should definitely read it!

#TalesOfYoungHeroes

Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule: A Review

While on a week-long camping trip, I took the opportunity to finally read "Defying Hitler," which I had been meaning to get around for quite some time.

Well, I finished it, and holy cow it was so good! I highly recommend it. (You can find it HERE on amazon)

It follows the stories of roughly twenty or so Germans who defied Hitler, both men and women, Jews and non-Jews, ordinary citizens and military commanders, in their quest to resist the Nazis. Some want to assassinate Hitler, some wanted to have a military coup and remove Hitler and give him a trial, and still other thought it would be impossible to remove him. Regardless, they all were united in their efforts to resist.

It's a very easy, engaging read, almost like a novel. It is full of stories about people and crazy assassination attempts gone awry.

For example, there are three extremely memorable assassination attempts in the book, although there were tons more.

One time, a guy offered to be a suicide bomber. He had a bomb on a ten-minute fuse under his vest, and was showing Hitler around... I think it was a museum? and then Hitler left abruptly in the middle of the tour, and then the guy had like two minutes to dismantle the bomb in the bathroom before it blew him up. So Hitler survived that attempt because the bomb never had the chance to go off.

Another time, there was going to have been a bomb in a military meeting, except at the last minute, it was decided that junior officers couldn't attend, and because the man with the bomb was only a junior officer, he couldn't get into the meeting and blow up Hitler. So Hitler survived that plot as well.

And another time, a bomb was smuggled into a meeting in a suitcase, and a few minutes before it was going to go off, the man who brought it in left the building, and drove home, and the bomb went off. It totally destroyed the table, and completely shredded Hitler's pants, and wounded some of his officers, but Hitler was totally fine, only a few bruises. Well, and a ruined pair of pants. But Hitler survived that attempt as well!

And guess what, after the attempt that demolished Hitler's pants, he got on the radio to assure the German people that he was still alive and well. He said that his survival must be a sign from providence that he was meant to continue with his plans! So, that plan super back-fired!

However, in the end, almost none of the conspirators survived. Almost all of them (I think all but two, but I can't exactly remember) got executed or sent to the concentration camps. They had risked everything -their fortunes, their lives, their family's lives. And they still didn't succeed.

Which makes me wonder, if a ruthless dictator took over America and started doing what Hitler did, would I be brave enough to resist? Or would I be one of those who kept their heads down and waited for it all to blow over?

And how could Hitler take over a nation? Sure there were resistors, but not enough to prevent his taking power. Not enough to prevent a second world war. Not enough to prevent the mass murder of six million Jews.

Ultimately, I think Hitler could not have come to power and did what he did if:

(1) the German people had been classically educated, instead of trained on the conveyor belt.
(2) people had not been timid in their resistance but instead have acted decisively.
(3) people would not have let Hitler get little victories, like boycotting Jewish shops, and making Jews wear arm bands. Hitler had to do the little things before he could do the big things, like killing people in the concentration camps.

In conclusion, "Defying Hitler" was a really great book that was very thought-provoking, very fun to discuss, and highly relate-able to our world today.

"How To Stop Worrying And Start Living:Time-Tested Methods for Conquering Worry" by Dale Carnegie

The American culture has some serious issues. We eat too much junk food, have too must stuff, and stress far too much.

Well, the cure to one of those problems is found within an amazing audiobook that I recently discovered. Titled "How To Stop Worrying And Start Living:Time-Tested Methods for Conquering Worry," it is by Dale Carnegie, author of "How To Win Friends And Influence People."

I have finished listening to disc one of nine, but it's so good and there is so much wisdom that could totally change my life if I chose to act on it! (Which, ahem, I will...:-))

For those of you interested in listening to it, you can find it here.

How To Fight A Hydra

Here is another quick update for "new way to read." It's been going good, but with quarantine and everything, I do have a smaller limit on books I can check out, so #ProjectOtulissa is being put aside for now.

However, I am deciding to notch up all of my reading by approaching books with a question in mind. For this book I just barely finished (How To Fight A Hydra), the question was, "how can I combat overwhelm and start achieving my dreams?"

And yeah, I got answers. I love books! :-) :-) :-)

And yes, I highly recommend How To Fight A Hydra, it's a really quick and enjoyable read but also a super deep parable.

Here are the seven lessons I got out of it:

~Just follow your dreams! People are going to try to stop you; don't listen to them. They don't know how capable you are.

~Learn from the great people of the present/past.

~Getting a QUALITY EDUCATION matters!

~Your fears may be justified, but they are useful. Acknowledge them, then act in spite of them.

~Go slowly; don't go so fast that you get yourself "killed." Know what you're getting into. But also, don't spend your whole life planning! At some point, you have to stop researching and start doing.

~Learn to recognize your treasure and adapt your plans accordingly; it might not be exactly what you thought it would be, but it's still going to be amazing.

~And finally, take advice from those who have succeeded, not those who have failed or given up. Learn from those who know what they're talking about and use it in their own life!

A New Way To Read: Part Four

Holy cow, it's been a crazy week! I've had my last classes of the school year and I'm just finished day one of two of finals. And I still found time to read, so yay me! ;-) Oh, and I made myself TWO shirts! One is already blogged about; the other not... but it's coming!

And yes, this time I actually got a good book for my #newwaytoread challenge (Rivers of Wind, book 13). Sadly, I again only read one, because I was very busy reading Be Obsessed Or Be Average and No They Can't: Why Government Fails -But Individuals Succeed (which was a pretty good read).

But here it is...

~Knowledge opens up new worlds
~Be open to intuition; logic isn't everything

In other words, love learning and learn as much as you can (check!) but know that sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts and get to work.

So here is what I am going to do:
~Despite school closing this week, I'm going to keep on reading and learning, and, as I learned in another Guardians of Ga'Hoole book, discussing what I learn.
~I'm also going to do more than learn; for example, I'm going to spend more time with siblings, keep designing and sewing clothes (and learning new techniques!), eating and cooking yummy (but healthy) foods, biking and rollerblading, and keeping an eye out for new adventures and opportunities for growth.

A New Way To Read: Part Three: Lessons From Otulissa

Hello people,

This is my second update in my New Way to Read. So I only had the chance to read one book this week (because I accidentally put holds on the WRONG book :-() but I got some really good stuff out of it anyways. Only one is Otulissa-related, so that's all I'm sharing this week. Don't worry... next week's will be way more... meaty.

So, cue the anticipation music.... dun dun dun....

And without further ado, I give you the lesson I got from The Golden Tree (which is book 12 in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series)...

-Know when to say no!

Does that make sense, or not? If not, allow me to explain.

This one is about respecting yourself and your limits. For example, if your schedule is packed full, and someone wants you to do something more, its best to say NO. If someone wants you to do something that will harm yourself or others, it's best to say NO.

And so on and so forth...

But also... make sure you say yes when it's time to say yes.

A New Way To Read: Part Two: Lessons From Otulissa

It's already been a week of doing this! And yes, I started Project Otulissa before I started my blog.

I've learned some really cool things! I've read three books in the fifteen book series so far (no, I'm not going in order): The Burning (book 6); The Rescue (book 3); and The Siege (book 4).

Here is what I've learned:

~Stand up for what is right; do it precisely and powerfully and you'll make an impact.
~Book learning isn't everything.
~Your value is about you, not the family you're born into.
~Know that we can learn and have fun at the same time.
~Know that you can learn from other people, even those with "less intelligence."
~Dare to stand up for truth.
~Do what you know is right despite your fears.
~We have to acknowledge reality - that life is more than books, simulations, and study - before we can really live up to our full potential.
~After you read something, you need to discuss it.

Wow, lots of good stuff!

So here is what I plan to do based on these lessons:

~Discuss what I read (blog posts like this one are a part of discussion).
~Spend less time in books, or, in other words, try harder to find the balance between life and academic stuff.
~Learn from anyone and everyone.

So yeah, this week has been great! I'm already preparing to check out my next three books (#2; #7; #8) for this next week's reading. And also... you should read this series, Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky. It has amazing lessons on leadership, duty, mentors, freedom, and mission.

A New Way To Read

I have decided to take reading to a whole new level.

As I was pondering these last few weeks (which, thanks to CoViD19, are full of ponder-time, AKA nothing to do) I realized that the book character I am most like is Otulissa from the Guardians of GaHoole series by Kathryn Lasky.
Why?

I wrote, “I am probably most like Otulissa from Guardians of Ga’Hoole. Super nerdy, way too good at bragging, always willing to share TMI, but with deep fears that she will fail, that she won’t be enough no matter how much she knows or how hard she studies.”

Okay, but what does that have to do with taking reading to a whole new level?

Well, here’s the answer. I am going to read all the books in the series that include her (for the bazillionth time), but this time, I am going to do it while taking notes on her challenges, her victories over her challenges, her mentors and how she learns, and anything else.

I have to tell you, over the series she really changes. Not a bad, ‘wow, is that even the same owl?’ change, but she is polished. It’s really cool to watch.

So basically, I am going to glean all the wisdom I can from her and use it to polish myself.

Of course, this is going to be a process, not an over-night transformation.

And, of course, I’ll keep you guys updated. I’ll put in a new post about this every week. But until the next article... *salve!


*Salve is Latin for “goodbye” and it’s pronounced SAHLL-wayh