21 Books in 2021

In 2021, I read 21 books with a total of 7284 pages (averaging 20 pages per day).

Below I wrote a very short review for each of these books, maybe one of the books sounds interesting to you and hopefully soon lands on your bookshelf. ๐Ÿ˜‰


The second Dune trilogy

by Frank Herbert

God Emperor of Dune

The fourth book in the series and the start of the second “Dune Trilogy”. With this book, the story in the universe of Dune goes to the next level. Most of the known characters and planets from the first three books are left behind as the book takes a big time leap into the future.

God Emperor is probably the most special from all of Dune. It is pretty slow, without much action and gets somewhat philosophical. The dialogue between the new characters (the God Emperor being one of the most interesting in the whole series) really got me thinking sometimes. Probably not the book you want to read on the side while chilling at a sunny beach.

Recommended? If you read the first three Dune books, you must give this a try, but go in with an open mind and be prepared to experience a new kind of Dune. ๐Ÿ™‚

Heretics of Dune

After another big time jump to start off the last era (book 5 and 6). There are a lot of new cool characters and interesting concepts and ideas. Compared to the previous book, this is almost an action thriller, so a complete step up in speed, it never gets boring.

Recommended? If you got through God Emperor and are still hungry for more Dune lore, go for it. If not, book 4 is also a good, clean-cut ending.

Chapterhouse: Dune

The finale of the saga. Although I liked it, for me it’s the weakest of the 6 books. But it’s still Dune and still very good. The open ending is good, but it’s a bit sad to know that Frank Herbert could not fully finish Dune, as he was working on Dune 7 when he passed away. So we will never know the full story.

Recommended? If you’ve come this far, you might as well finish it.

Remembrance of Earth’s Past series

by Cixin Liu

The Three Body Problem

A technical, hard-Sci-Fi, Hugo-award-winning book by a Chinese ex computer engineer. Sounds dry and complicated. It is actually a bit slow in building up the story in the beginning, but it’s just the slow unfolding of a great mystery. Knowing next to nothing about this book (I absolutely recommend to go in “blind”), it was a great joy to figure out what was happening and exploring the author’s very intriguing world building.
A small nitpick for me were the Chinese names, because I had a hard time remembering them.

Recommended? If you like space, mystery and cool world building, you need to read this.

The Dark Forest

BRILLIANT! These pages have so many interesting ideas and concepts in it and the story just continues to impress. As soon as you think you figured it out or the journey comes to an end, a small detail from 200 pages ago catapults the story into the next act. I would like to write more about this book but it’s not possible without spoilers. Just read it, it’s great!

Recommended? Some people say, you only read the first book as a build up for this second book. I think the first one is great as well but I agree, read this book if you even enjoyed the first book just a little bit.

Death’s End

In the third and last book of the series, the story goes wild with even crazier concepts and ideas. It also contains the most terrifying idea of the whole series, the Staircase Project. This book will challenge your brain and expand it until you’re totally mind-blown. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Recommended? I didn’t like the end that much at first because it went a bit too far from the main plot for my taste, but it’s a good finish to the trilogy and well-worth the read.

Flowers For Algernon

by Daniel Keyes

The start and the end of the book make you wonder when you became so stupid. Then you realize it’s just the book (or more precisely how the ink is arranged upon the flattened dead-tree-pieces). But for the most parts of the book your brain works fine and the story is also kinda neat.

Recommended? If you want a fun little novel to read before bed or in public transport.
Update 1 year later: read it! it’s very cool and kinda unique how the book plays with you and the story is good!

Brave New World

by Aldous Huxley

If 1984 is a pessimistic Dystopia about an almighty state, Brave New World is the same but in happy. Interesting counter-perspective to 1984 with a similar message.

Recommended? You won’t regret reading it, but you also won’t miss anything if you don’t (assuming you’ve read 1984).


by Hermann Hesse

At the time of writing this review, I don’t remember much from the story. I just know that the book made me feel good and a tiny little bit wiser when I finished it. Will probably re-read it in the near future.

Recommended? Yes. It’s a short (100-150 pages) and light novel about philosophy and spirituality, why not try it out?

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea

by Jules Verne

An old, classic novel. And it felt that way. For today’s standards and my personal taste, it was just slow and boring. The whole book felt like a long build-up without any highlight. I am aware though that the book was first published in 1872 and that it’s ideas were revolutionary and finest Sci-Fi for that time.

Recommended? Instead of reading this classic by Jules Verne, go up into the Jules Verne Bar in Zurich, drink a Mojito and enjoy the view. ๐Ÿ™‚


Digital Minimalism

by Cal Newport

Check out my post about this book.

Why We Sleep

by Matthew Walker

A highly praised book about sleep: how it works, why we need it, how we can improve sleep, what happens if we don’t sleep. It’s very interesting to read and made me care more for my own sleep and I made sure to improve the quality of my own sleep by applying some of the tips from the book.

But the book might actually be deeply flawed. Please read this analysis from Alexey Guzey where he fact-checks the first chapter and finds a lot of weird and wrong statements.

Recommended? Not anymore after reading the post from Alexey, but you should still try to get a good night’s sleep. ๐Ÿ™‚

Austin Kleon’s Series About Creative Work

Three nice little books with some good ideas and inputs for working creatively. They are short and nicely illustrated, very good for re-reading in half an hour to get some motivation and inspiration.

Recommended? If you do any kind of creative work and need some inspiration.

The History Book

My third book from the ยซBig Ideas Simply Explainedยป series. I read one of these books per year (have read the Science and Psychology Book, currently reading the Philosophy Book) to get a broad overview about a topic that interests me. It’s written very understandable, has nice illustrations and pictures and sums up a topic pretty good.

Recommended? Yes, if you want to get to know the basics of a topic or just want to expand your general knowledge.

Art of War

by Sun Tzu

I don’t remember how or why I got this book. It’s literally just some war tactics and strategies from a 2500 year old dude. Didn’t take away much from the book. Maybe it subconsciously helped me to win some Civilization VI games against my friends though. ๐Ÿ™‚

Recommended? No.

Uncommon Knowledge

by Tom Standage / the Economist

Just some random stories and fun facts. A small and light-hearted book. Provides me with 42% more opportunities to ask my friends “Do you wanna hear a fun-fact?” followed by intense eye-rolling and gaining-as-much-distance-as-possible-from-me.
Fun fact: people claim to despise my fun facts but secretly enjoy them!

Recommended? Great if you just need some book for your coffee table.

Computer Science

I wanted and still want to read more computer science books. The clean code books from Uncle Bob were a nice start and are known as classic software engineering books every programmer should have read (or just skimmed) at least once.
Pro tip: re-read the books every year so you don’t forget that your code is garbage. ๐Ÿ™‚

Basiswissen Software test was the material I had to learn for university to become a certified software tester. Pretty dry and not too much new knowledge if you worked in the industry before and did some testing already.

Recommended? Only if your job is also to make the electrified minerals think and do stuff.


by ???

That’s the end of the list. If you have any book recommendations based on this list or just because you think it’s interesting, let me know about it! I’m always happy to find out about new interesting books.

One Comment

Luca 17. March 2022 Reply

Thank you for this comprehensive list, I will certainly read a few books

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