Books of 2021

Books of 2021

I read 19 books last year, which is tied for the most in a year since I began tracking what I read ten years ago. I've really been enjoying reading lately and hope that continues into this year.

📚 19 books
✏️13 non-fiction books
⭐ 6 books I'd highly recommend

Here are a couple of books I'd like to highlight as ones that were particularly good or important reads.

The book every white person should read

The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class by David R. Roediger

Ever wonder how and why people started referring to themselves as white? Why we call our employer boss instead of master? Why slavery took so long to abolish? This book is 30 years old and still as relevant to learn the truth of how whiteness came about and continues on today.

Understanding gambling as a business

Vicious Games: Capitalism and Gambling by Rebecca Cassidy

So much of video games these days is based off of gambling mechanics that I wanted to understand what the gambling industry is really like and this book was an excellent way to learn that. It has a deep dive into the history of gambling as an industry and how it's changed over the years from the perspective of people who have worked or participated in it themselves.

Three similar strikes, three different outcomes

Red State Revolt by Eric Blanc

This book covers three teachers’ strikes in three different states over the span of several years and goes into great detail about the differences of how they were organized and run. It's an exceptional book to learn about what happens when a strike has mass participation versus when it doesn't. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the mechanics of running effective strikes.

Transformative Justice in practice

Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement edited by Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Are you interested in prison abolition, but not sure what might replace it? This book is a range of essays, toolkits, and experiences trying to build up new systems to address harm rather than using punishment as the sole tool. It's an incredible book that's had me thinking for months after I read it and it's one that I'll be going back to many times as I unlearn and re-learn methods of dealing with harm.

Learning to let go of work

Work Won't Love You Back - Sarah Jaffe

Several years ago, Sarah came and interviewed one of the IWGB Game Workers and so I initially read this book because I wanted to see how those interviews turned into a book chapter. I got so, so much more out of this book than that, though. It helped me finally understand how the existence of a career ladder is a way of controlling people rather than helping them and the book does this by talking about many different types of jobs and how people are expected to love them - even when that love is not returned.

The list

Here's everything I read in 2021. The books with a ⭐ are the ones I highly recommend.

  1. Shy Radicals: The Antisystemic Politics of the Militant Introvert - Hamja Ahsan
  2. Tower - Bae Myung-hoon
  3. The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran
  4. Animal Farm - George Orwell
  5. Secrets of a Successful Organizer - Alexandra Bradbury, Mark Brenner, Jane Slaughter
  6. Vicious Games: Capitalism and Gambling - Rebecca Cassidy
  7. Work Won't Love You Back - Sarah Jaffe
  8. On Anarchism - Noam Chomsky
  9. Lean Out - Dawn Foster
  10. The Water Dancer - Ta-Nehisi Coates
  11. Red State Revolt - Eric Blanc
  12. Abolish Silicon Valley - Wendy Liu
  13. The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House - Audre Lorde
  14. Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? - Mark Fisher
  15. Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement - Ejeris Dixon (Editor); Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Editor)
  16. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class - David R. Roediger
  17. Bitter Root, Vol. 1: Family Business - David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, Sanford Greene
  18. Eleanor Marx: A Biography - Yvonne Kapp
  19. The Urban Vegetable Patch - Grace Paul