Favorite Books in 2021

January 22, 2022

Last year, my reading was a little different. I read more books (36 vs 16) and less graphic novels (59 vs 65) than the previous year. I read most of the books using the Hoopla and Libby apps on my Android tablet.

The books I enjoyed the most were

  • Laika - Graphic Novel
  • I heard about this book from Marvel comic writer, Dan Slott. It is about the famous dog that was launched inside Sputnik 2. The account is from the point of view of the woman who trained Laika and is mostly fictional. The book is heartbreaking, but done with excellent story telling

  • Resident Alien vol. 6 - Graphic Novel
  • This is the last volume of the Resident Alien series. The series is about an alien that crashes on earth and takes up the disguise as the town doctor in Patience, Washington. The book ties up several loose ends from the previous volumes. It also lacks the mystery element that the other volumes have, but It is an excellent closing of the series. If you saw the SyFy series by the same name, I recommend reading the graphic novels it is based on. They are very different and much better than the series.

  • Androids by Chet Hasse
  • Chet Hasse is well known in the Android community for his podcast, Android Developers Backstage, and for his presentations at many Android conferences. I've seen him talk at the Big Android BBQ and Android Dev Summit. This book captures the early history of Android at Google in the form of interviews with the developers who built it. I love history and found this book interesting because of my interest in Android and the fact that I know who many of the people in the book are.

  • Duke: A Life of Duke Ellinton by Terry Teachout
  • Duke Ellinton has always been one of my favorite composers. I read his autobiography many years ago. This book paints a totally different picture of Ellington. He didn't always give credit to the musicians who composed parts of his most famous songs. He was a habitual womanizer and lived beyond his means for most of his life. However, he was generous to the men in his band and tolerant of their many personal issues and the difficulties they could cause. The book detailed his life, but also talked about the music in detail. Duke was a complicated person and this book helps me put some perspective on his music.

  • Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughn by Elaine M. Hayes
  • Another book about one of my musical idols. I think Sarah Vaughn is one of the best Jazz singers ever. While the book covers her life outside music, I really enjoyed learning about recordings I was not aware of and the stories behind them.