With a week left in the year, I’ve read 92 total books, including 26 in print and 66 via audio. These eight are the best of 2021.
THE WINTER SOLDIER, by Daniel Mason
Obviously the title grabs your attention in the Marvel-saturated world of the 21st Century, but it has nothing to do with that. This is set around World War 1 and follows the life of Lucius, a young surgeon from a wealthy Austrian family. He goes to the frontlines of the war and quickly has his expectations upended. Resources are scant and his schooling doesn’t prepare him for the brutality of battlefield injuries.
He’s not the eponymous Winter Soldier, though; that title belongs to a shellshocked infantryman who looks healthy but is otherwise nonresponsive after a terrible battle. His case intrigues Lucius, who breaks certain medical protocols in order to observe and study this patient. As a result the patient is subjected to brutal punishment from his commanding officer, and Lucius suffers for years with the memory of the Winter Soldier’s pain.
That’s all I want to say here. I’ll do a video later on my channel. Beautiful book, I kept wanting to go back to it.
GONE TO THE WOODS, by Gary Paulsen
I said most of what I want to say about Paulsen on my livestream about him back in October, when I found out he’d died. Terrible loss, but the man leaves behind a bibliography of 200 books or more. This one–a novelized autobiography of his childhood–just might be his magnum opus. His childhood freaking SUCKED and yet he still managed to land on his feet in his late teens. The story of how is very moving.
ALL YOU NEED IS KILL (Manga edition) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
Also covered this one on YouTube and it’s my second-most popular video. I’ve read the light novel several times and the graphic novel is even better.
UNSHACKLED, by Zachariah Parry
This is the year that I’ve started to study more about investing and what to do with my money so that I don’t die piss-poor broke in my eighties. Zach Parry’s book made me want to throttle anyone who ever told me to put money into a 401k.
Short version: invest instead in IGICs. Read this book to know why and then contact Zach. The end.
FINAL FLIGHT by Peter Stekel
This one’s also going to get a video, so I’ll spare you the excessive details. Short version is that an Army plane crashed in the Sierra Nevada mountains back in the 1940s with four servicemen aboard, and their bodies weren’t found until the mid-2000s. It’s a freaking amazing story and Peter Stekel deserves a huge amount of respect for the work he did in straightening out this tangled history.
DUNE, by Frank Herbert
I’m a latecomer to the Dune universe. Here’s a podcast episode I recorded with my wife explaining everything I loved about it.
TOLKIEN’S ORDINARY VIRTUES, by Mark Eddy Smith
There’s no shortage of books written by blue-collar philosophers who read popular series and offer up their two cents on what it all means. Nevertheless, this one ended up on my radar, I was intrigued, and then thoroughly satisfied with the author’s insights on The Lord of the Rings. I’ll be reading it again and teaching things from it to my children.
BLACK REDNECKS AND WHITE LIBERALS, by Thomas Sowell
Oh hey look, we’re back to fighting over racism and other stupid bull crap in 2021, at the behest of our shady media overlords. Yay! Ugh.
Thomas Sowell has written a ton of excellent books on the subject of race and demographics, backed by exhaustive research and sensible analysis thereof. Everyone who reads the filth and lies peddled by the 1619 Project would do well to rinse their mouths out with Sowell’s work. And if you don’t, well, he’s black, so you’re only ignoring him if you prop up white supremacy.
Don’t like that argument? Guess whaaaaaaaaaaaat…
So that’s my 2021 for you. Hope you liked it. Stay tuned for more next year, this train will never stop. Check out my other reviews at http://www.UpstreamReviews.com, and subscribe to my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/GrahamBradley/.