Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022!

Happy New Year! I hope it’s off to a good start for you. Mine certainly is. Well, I didn’t reach my goal of 52 books for 2021. But that’s okay! During the last week of last year I managed to read 7.75 short books, putting me at a whopping total of 51.75 books for 2021. That’s not too bad, huh?

Well, it wasn’t quite that number. Turns out some of the “books” I had gotten from the kindle store and from Project Gutenberg were actually short stories. Usually I don’t read short stories, but you know what? They were great! I plan on reading a lot more short stories this year, which wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t start reading some of these stories under the impression that they were novellas. At any rate, that means that I didn’t really even read 51.75 books in 2021.

idc idc idc!

It’s been an incredible year! Along with reading more than ever, I suppose I’ve probably written and blogged more than ever too. I’m happy with that! Without much further ado, I’d like to list the last several books I read in 2021, as well as talk about a few of them. After that, I’ll list the books I’ve read each month of 2021 and say a few things about my favorites!

Final books Read in 2021

First up, I really want to highly recommend that you read The Eyes Have It by Philip K. Dick. It’s a short story and it’s hilarious. This story is about a man who discovers a horrifying secret hiding in plain sight; aliens have been living among us on Earth!

from Wordsworth’s Grave And Other Poems – William Watson

Then there’s Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. This one is a pre-Dracula vampire novella with a strong sapphic current throughout. A mysterious plague is killing off young people in the village near a castle where teenage Laura lives with her widowed father. After a carriage overturns near their property, Laura’s father agrees to look after a sickly girl around Laura’s age while her mother completes a journey of grave importance. The girl, Carmilla, is determined to become close friends with Laura, but refuses to disclose simple things about herself, like her last name or her hometown. It’s a pretty short book and can be finished in about 2 hours or so.

And finally, I want to recommend The Willows by Algernon Blackwood. This book was horrifying. When 2 men find themselves camping on a rapidly shrinking island in the Danube during a flood they struggle to maintain their composure. Will they escape, or will they succumb to their fears?

Almost all of the books listed here can be read for free online via Project Gutenberg or Internet Archive. As such, the title of each book will be a link to a free version of the book that you can read online! Several of the books, however, are newer editions and not available for free. For those, a link to the Good Reads profile has been provided.

January

April

July

October

February

May

August

November

March

June

September

December

Well goodness, before I say anything else…. I must have miscounted! Because having everything listed here, it seems that I really did read 52 books/novellas/short stories in 2021. Well, 52.75. The .75 I keep mentioning is Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott. I’ll tell you about that some other time though.

Of the books that I’ve read last year, there are several that I’ve decided I need to read again.

Along with these, I’ll be revisiting 2 of my favorites, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Venus in Furs by Ritter Von Leopold Sacher-Masoch. I think that these five books will complement each other quite nicely, and hope that they will provide interesting insights when read back to back.

J.L. Seagull

Driven to explore the unknown and to test his personal limits, Johnathan Livingston Seagull has to choose between accepting tradition at the cost of his individuality, or self-fulfillment at the cost of alienation from his family and his friends and from everyone he’s ever known.

Steppenwolf

Despising the bourgeois but unable to escape society and his own bourgeois tendencies, Harry Haller is depressed and suicidal. He is of a dual nature, both man and wolf, struggling to reconcile his intellectual pomposity with his carnal desires. That is, until he meets a woman who shows him what it means to live.

Pan

Shunning society and choosing to live as one with Nature, Lieutenant Glahn soon finds himself fallen in love with the village trader Mack’s daughter, Edvarda. In order to woo her, he finds himself acting irrationally, only to discover that his lover is equally as capricious as he.

Frankenstein

Hungry for scientific fame, Victor isolates himself from family and society in order to chase his ambitions to fruition. His obsession with his studies and experiments turns into an obsession with destroying the very thing he worked so hard to create. This obsession leads him further still into alienation and evil.

Venus in Furs

Highly sensual and madly in love with a woman who refuses to marry, Severin decides that if he can’t be Wanda’s husband then he would rather be her slave. Repulsed by the thought of combining pleasure and pain, Wanda eventually submits to her lovers wish as he searches for freedom within the confines of subjugation.

Each of these books deals, in some way or another, with feelings of alienation and desire for authenticity, with love (be it familial or romantic), with ego, and with human nature in general. They’re modernistic, romantic, and philosophical works of art.

Aside from Steppenwolf, I’ve read each of these books multiple times. And including Steppenwolf, I feel that I’ve learned something important every time I’ve read throughthem. I’ve walked away from these books a changed man, as it were. The trouble is that it’s difficult to find the words to describe what exactly has changed. In a sense, each of these books has inspired and challenged me to let go. They’ve also taught me that letting go is not a one-and-done type of thing; letting go is a continual process. It takes practice until eventually, hopefully, it becomes habit.

Or…maybe not. Maybe letting go as a habit isn’t a goal to aspire to. After all, how much discernment is lost with habit?


Thank you so much for reading!

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comment 2 comments
  • Nana

    Happy New Year Sam.
    Be you, be happy & be safe💋❤️

    • sam 🪱

      Happy New Year! 😊

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