Books read, 2021

The above photo collects what I read in 2021 all in one place, in four stacks on my living room floor: from left, mass-market fiction, nonfiction, fiction and nonfiction about or from Southern California, and lastly, fiction of a literary bent.

By my count, I read 43 fiction books and 34 nonfiction, not quite the overwhelming victory for fiction I had hoped for, but better than 2020, when fiction was leading by only one. (Here’s my 2021 post.) Fourteen were audiobooks from libraries of books I owned physical copies of; these are enjoyable and helped me speed up through my backlog.

More egregiously, of my 77 books, only 11 were by women, either as writer and editor or, in four cases, as co-writer or -editor with a man. (Whoever compiled the Bourdain book, by the way, is uncredited — so probably a woman, right?) I’ll try to do better in 2022.

My most-read authors were Edgar Rice Burroughs, 14; John D. MacDonald, six; and Mark Twain, four. I completed the John Carter of Mars series and all the Tarzans I care to read, and got through half the remaining Travis McGee mysteries. And I’m in sight of finishing all of Twain’s major works.

As the above indicates, few of my 77 books were new or recent, and most weren’t even recent purchases. I’m continuing to work my way through a deep backlog of books bought back to 2002 and still unread. Tell us what you read in 2021, if you like, and whatever trends you noticed in your own reading.

1. “King Kull,” Robert E. Howard and Lin Carter

2. “The Prince and the Pauper,” Mark Twain

3. “Emperor Fu Manchu (Fu Manchu #13),” Sax Rohmer

4. “A Princess of Mars (John Carter #1),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

5. “The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper (Travis McGee #10),” John D. MacDonald

6. “The Gods of Mars (John Carter #2),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

7. “Warlord of Mars (John Carter #3),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

8. “Dress Her in Indigo (Travis McGee #11),” John D. MacDonald

9. “Anthony Bourdain: The Last Interview,” Melville House, publisher

10. “Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews,” Jonathan Cott, editor

11. “Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California’s Inland Empire,” Gayle Wattawa, ed.

12. “Desert Oracle, Vol. 1,” Ken Layne

13. “The Lady in the Lake,” Raymond Chandler

14. “The Long Lavender Look (Travis McGee #12),” John D. MacDonald

15. “Tarzan Untamed (Tarzan #7),” Edgar Rice  Burroughs

16. “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” David Sedaris

17. “Becoming Ray Bradbury,” Jonathan R. Eller

18. “Our Towns: A 10,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America,” James Fallows and Deborah Fallows

19. “Tarzan the Terrible (Tarzan #8),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

20. “A Tan and Sandy Silence (Travis McGee #13),” John D. MacDonald

21. “The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories,” H.P. Lovecraft

22. “Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery,” Scott Kelly

23. “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Mark Twain

24. “A Long Way Down,” Nick Hornby

25. “Thuvia, Maid of Mars (John Carter #4),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

26. “My Middle Name is Color,” Dee Marcellus Cole

27. “The Game-Players of Titan,” Philip K. Dick

28. “Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series,” Gary Gerani, ed.

29. “The Chessmen of Mars (John Carter #5),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

30. “The Squares of the City,” John Brunner

31. “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” Baroness Orczy

32. “The Scarlet Letter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne

33. “The Scarlet Ruse (Travis McGee #14),” John D. MacDonald

34. “The Master Mind of Mars (John Carter #6),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

35. “Marooned on Mars,” Lester del Rey

36. “The Man Who Sold the Moon,” Robert A. Heinlein

37. “The Brothers of Baker Street,” Michael Robertson

38. “San Bernardino, Singing,” Nikia Chaney, ed.

39. “We’ll Always Have Paris,” Noah Isenberg

40. “American Moonshot,” Douglas Brinkley

41. “Secret Stairs,” Charles Fleming

42. “A Fighting Man of Mars (John Carter #7),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

43. “Writing Los Angeles,” David Ulin, ed.

44. “Preserving Los Angeles,” Ken Bernstein

45. “Becoming Los Angeles,” D.J. Waldie

46. “Holy Land,” D.J. Waldie

47. “The Life and Times of Los Angeles,” Marshall Berges

48. “The Turquoise Lament (Travis McGee #15),” John D. MacDonald

49. “Surviving in a Ruthless World: Bob Dylan’s Voyage to ‘Infidels,’” Terry Gans

50. “The Swords of Mars (John Carter #8),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

51. “Kidnapped,” Robert Louis Stevenson

52. “Girlz ‘n the Hood,” Mary Hill-Wagner

53. “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians,” Mark Twain

54. “Tarzan and the Golden Lion (Tarzan #9),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

55. “The Record Store Book,” Mike Spitz and Rebecca Villaneda

56. “A Man on the Moon,” Andrew Chaikin

57. “More Dreamers of the Golden Dream,” Susan Straight and Douglas McCulloh

58. “Always Running,” Luis Rodriguez

59. “To Your Scattered Bodies Go,” Philip Jose Farmer

60. “Photos of People at the March on Washington, August 18, 1963,” TM and D.D. Givens

61. “All of the Marvels,” Douglas Wolk

62. “Benchley — Or Else!” Robert Benchley

63. “Is This Anything?” Jerry Seinfeld

64. “Men and Cartoons,” Jonathan Lethem

65. “Synthetic Men of Mars (John Carter #9),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

66. “Tarzan and the Ant Men (Tarzan #10),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

67. “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls,” David Sedaris

68. “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” Robin Sloan

69. “The Essential Groucho,” Stefan Kanfer, ed.

70. “The Portable Hawthorne,” Malcolm Cowley, ed.

71. “The American Claimant,” Mark Twain

72. “Girl in a Band,” Kim Gordon

73. “Llana of Gathol (John Carter #10),” Edgar Rice Burroughs

74. “Funny Girl,” Nick Hornby

75. “Historic Mission Inn,” Barbara Moore, ed.

76. “Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever,” Ellen Weil and Gary K. Wolfe, editors

77. “Inter State,” José Vadi

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