Favorite Books from 2021

As you may know I love to read! I finished a total of 262 books in 2021 (kind of a cool number for a marathoner).

It broke down to 131 fiction and 131 non-fiction. About 30% of these were audio books. Pro tip: with the app Libby you can get free audiobooks through your local library.

Below I provided a list of my fiction and non-fiction favorites from 2021.

Books mentioned on MTA Podcast episode #371

If you are reading this post because of podcast episode 371 The Truth About Goals here are the books we mentioned. (Note the following links are Amazon affiliate links).

My Favorite Non-Fiction Books from 2021

There are a lot of books here so I’ve tried to categorize them. I’ve also marked my absolute favorites with an asterisk *.

Running Related Books

  • *Bravey by Alexi Pappas
  • Abdi’s World by Abdi Abdirahman
  • I Hate Running and You Can Too by Brendan Leonard
  • Return to Center by Rocky Snyder
  • Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham
  • A Runner’s High by Dean Karnazes
  • Stronger Than the Dark by Cory Reese
  • Out of Thin Air by Michael Crawley
  • Exercised by Daniel E Lieberman
  • Out and Back by Hillary Allen

Self Improvement and Meditation

  • *The Practice of Groundedness by Brad Stulberg
  • *Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodrin
  • *Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett
  • *Dusk, Night, Dawn by Anne Lamott
  • 13 Things Mentally Strong Parent’s Don’t Do by Amy Morin
  • The Art of Mindful Living by Thich Nhat Hahn
  • The Person You Mean to Be by Dolly Chugh
  • How to Do the Work by Nicole Lepera
  • Radical Compassion by Tara Branch
  • New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

Psychology and Science

  • *When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H Pink
  • *Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  • *When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate
  • Behave by Robert M. Sapolsky
  • Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain by Shankar Vedantam
  • The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
  • Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
  • Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection by Vivek H. Murthy
  • Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear by Eva Holland
  • The Art of Dying Well by Katy Butler
  • Clean: The New Science of Skin by James Hamblin
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

Survival and Adventure

  • *Deep Survival by Lawrence Gonzales
  • *The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter
  • The Impossible First by Colin O’Brady
  • Leave Only Footprints by Conor Knighton


  • *Black Elk by Joe Jackson
  • *Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
  • A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Lacante
  • Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
  • A Higher Call by Adam Makos
  • A Promised Land by Barak Obama
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  • The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
  • *The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs
  • A Most Beautiful Thing by Arshay Cooper
  • The Honey Bus by Meredith May
  • The Psychopath by Mary Turner Thomson
  • Unlikely Warrior by Georg Rauch
  • Flying on The Inside by Rachel Gotto
  • The Puma Years by Laura Coleman
  • Where There’s Hope by Elizabeth Smart

Society and Culture

  • *Nomadland by Jessica Bruder
  • *$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J Edin
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
  • One Billion Americans by Matthew Yglesias
  • Missoula- Rape and the Justice System in a Small Town by Jon Krakauer
  • Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
  • Walk in my Combat Boots by James Patterson
  • The Things Our Fathers Saw by Matthew Rozell
  • Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle


  • *Inward by Yung Pueblo
  • *Clarity and Connection by Yung Pueblo
  • The Essential Rumi by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
  • Devotions by Mary Oliver

My Favorite Fiction Books from 2021

  • *Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • *Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderso
  • *Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
  • *Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith
  • *Stone of Farewell & To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams
  • *American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  • *Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
  • *Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone by Diana Gabaldon
  • In This House of Brede by Rumor Godden
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  • Malorie by Josh Malerman
  • The Cipher by Isabella Maldonado
  • I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
  • The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn by Tyler Whitesides
  • Sanditon by Jane Austen
  • Armada by Ernest Cline
  • The Terminal List by Jack Carr
  • Moonglow by Michael Chabon
  • The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
  • The Huntress by Kate Quinn
  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
  • The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  • The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs
  • Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis
  • A Column of Fire & The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

Trevor’s List from 2021

Trevor also loves to read and consumed 84 books in 2021. Here is his list:

Running Related

Self Improvement / Business

  • The Practice of Goundedness by Brad Stulberg
  • This is Marketing by Seth Godin
  • Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
  • Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Malt
  • 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
  • Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt
  • Everything is F*cked by Mark Mason
  • Relentless Solution Focus by Jason Selk
  • Organize Tomorrow Today by Jason Selk
  • Organize Your Team Today by Jason Selk
  • The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patric Lencioni
  • Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
  • Retire Early with Real Estate by Chad Carson
  • You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
  • Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell
  • Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
  • David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell
  • Blink by Malcom Gladwell
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • Stronger, Faster, Better by Charles Duhig
  • Clarity and Connection by Yung Peublo
  • The Visual MBA by Jason Barron
  • Ultra Learning by Scott Young


  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Leonardo de Vinci by Walter Issacson
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
  • Martin Luther by Martin Marty
  • Martin Luther by Eric Mataxes
  • Who is Mark Twain by Mark Twain
  • C.S. Lewis a Life by Alister McGrath

Science, Philosophy, and Theology

  • Useful Delusions:The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain by Shankar Vedentam
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant
  • Some Philosophical Thoughts by C.S. Lewis
  • Some Everyday Thoughts by C.S. Lewis
  • Das Neues Testament (New Testament in German)
  • Love Wins by Rob Bell
  • Worldviews in Conflict by Ronald Nash
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

History and Travel

  • The Shortest History of War by Gwynne Dyer
  • The Shortest History of China by Linda Jaivin
  • Killing the SS by Bill O’Reilly
  • Killing Hitler by Bill O’Reilly
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  • Costa Rica: Eco-Adventures in Paradise in James Kaiser
  • The Italians by John Harper
  • Slovenology (book about Slovenia) by Noah Charney


  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

4 Responses to Favorite Books from 2021

  1. Kayla Utter January 5, 2022 at 8:28 pm #

    I am BLOWN AWAY by how many books you read in a year!! What’s your secret to getting so many done??

    • Angie Spencer January 6, 2022 at 1:42 pm #

      Good question! I guess there isn’t any one secret although there are a lot of factors that play into it. I’ve been a voracious (and fast) reader since childhood, I rarely watch TV so much of my free time is spent reading. I have built in times during the day when I read and typically have several different books going at the same time (I’m currently reading 12 🙂 ). I never go anywhere without something to read. Waiting in a pick up line for a child or standing in line at the store can be great reading time. I often listen to audio books when I’m running on the treadmill or working out and I listen to audiobooks at 1.3x speed. Happy reading!

  2. Marie March 10, 2022 at 9:34 am #

    My favourite book is Becoming Brutal by Claire Smith, So is truly inspirational. I also love A Runners High and Cant Hurt Me. Currently reading The Chimp Paradox. Game changer in understanding the mind and how to control it.

    • Angie Spencer March 21, 2022 at 1:00 pm #

      Those sound like excellent books. I’m going to have to add a couple of them to my TBR list 🙂

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