Reading, New Year’s Post

Sarah Buttenwieser
3 min readJan 1, 2022


Finished well before midnight, 12–31–21

Books Read 2021

1. Ask Again, Yes Mary Beth Keane

2. Breathe: A Lettter to my Sons Imani Perry

3. The Feminist and the Sex Offender Judith Levine and Erica Meiners

4. A Burning Megha Majumdar *

5. Emergency Contact Mary H.K. Choi

6. Yes No Maybe So Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

7. Lightning Flowers Katherine E. Standefer *

8. Normal People Sally Rooney

9. Detransition, Baby Torrey Peters

10. Halfway Home Rueben Jonathan Miller *

11. Three Women Lisa Taddeo

12. Four Days and a Year Later Barry Friedman *

13. Tell Me How You Really Feel Aminah Mae Safi

14. Surviving the White Gaze Rebecca Carroll *

15. Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times Katherine May *

16. Shuggie Bain Douglas Stuart

17. Yolk Mary H.K. Choi *

18. Already Toast Kate Washington *

19. Miracle’s Boys Jacqueline Woodson *

20. Ordinary Light Tracy K. Smith *

21. Can’t Even Anne Helen Petersen

22. The Joke Was On Me: A Comedian’s Memoir Barry Friedman

23. Klara and the Sun Kazuo Ishiguro

24. The Rejection that Changed My Life Jessica Bacal *

25. susan, linda, nina & cokie Lisa Napoli

26. The Light of the World Elizabeth Alexander *

27. Edie Richter is Not Alone Rebecca Handler

28. The Whiteness of Wealth Dorothy A. Brown *

29. The Souvenir Museum Elizabeth McCracken *

30. Pregnant Girl Nicole Lynn Lewis

31. The Sum of Us Heather McGhee *

32. Goodbye, again Jonny Sun

33. The Last Thing He Told Me Laura Dave *

34. Michael Lewis The Premonition *

35. Instructions for Dancing Nicola Yoon

36. Almost Flying Jake Maia Arlow *

37. Somebody’s Daughter Ashley C. Ford

38. Thanks for Waiting Doree Shafrir

39. Crying in H Mart Michele Zaumer *

40. Between Two Kingdoms: a Memoir of a Life Interrupted Suleika Jaouad *

41. Jacob’s School Play Starring He, She and They Ian and Sarah Hoffman *

42. Learning in Public Courtney E. Martin *

43. The Other Black Girl Zakiya Dallla Harris

44. No Cure for Being Human Kate Bowler

45. The Ugly Cry Danielle Henderson *

46. When Breath Becomes Air Paul Kalanithi *

47. Obie is Man Enough Schuyler Bailar

48. Preventable Andy Slavitt

49. Parachutes Kelly Yang

50. Tick Tock Essays on Become a Parent After 40 Edited Vicki Breitbart and Nan Bauer-Maglin * (I have an essay in this collection)

51. Supremely Tiny Acts: A Memoir of a Day Sonya Huber *

52. Hard Landings: Looking into the Future for a Child with Autism Cammie McGovern *

53. Long Live the Tribe of the Fatherless Girls T Kira Madden *

54. Stranger Care Sarah Sentilles *

55. Birthing Black Mothers Jennifer C. Nash

56. Afterlife Julia Alvarez

57. The Wealth Hoarders Chuck Collins *

One of my prime activities for 2021 was to read. It’s been delightful, interesting, challenging, and soothing. I read some beach reading books, although I didn’t actually go on that kind of vacation (or much of anywhere at all, ever). I read for what seems to have been a short-lived book club, which had me try a couple of books I might not have picked up at all. I read to learn about wealth in this country and the pandemic and more on adoption and grief (a key topic for me, so be it) and love and family.

I starred books that captured me and that came to me, because I know the writers. I contemplated double star, but I don’t know what someone else will love. I will say that for me, these books shaped or reshaped my perspective: Lightning Flowers, The Whiteness of Weallth, Between Two Kingdoms, Learning in Public, Hard Landings, Strangger Care. Many books wowed me and offered insight into worlds I don’t know much about from Detransition, Baby to Ordinary Light and Crying in H Mart.

I wanted to say something profound about reading with (for me) a vengeance, but really, I think elementary school teachers have it right and should get the last word: D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read). Really, given how the year’s beginning, we should be able to continue our time at home, reading for the winter months.

** with special thanks to Lexi Wright High Five Books



Sarah Buttenwieser

Writer, brainstormer, networker — follow me on Twitter @standshadows