2020 was quite the year for reading. I don't keep track of the exact number of books I read every year, but my consumption increased quite a bit. I started a handful of new mystery series, read more books dealing with issues that I'm interested in, and dove into the comic/graphic novel world even more. I've also noticed that since the pandemic hit, everyone around me is reading more as well - my wife, family members, and friends. It's lead to a lot more "what are you reading" conversations and book swaps, which has been a nice change of pace from talking about politics :). I hope it keeps up in 2021.

Also, hit me up with a link if you posted your reading list this year!

A Colony in a Nation

Chris Hayes

The #BLM movement prompted me to learn more about the history of policing in America. Chris Hayes was on the ground in Ferguson and does an excellent job of looking at the historical and political decisions that lead to racial conflict. Probably my favorite read this year.

Buy on Amazon

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Malcolm X & Alex Haley

From a street hustler to a prisoner to an activist, Malcolm X's life story is fascinating. And while I didn't always agree with what he had to say, his constant growth and evolution were inspiring. He was seeking the truth until the very end.

Buy on Amazon

Detroit: An American Autopsy

Charlie LeDuff

LeDuff, a former reporter for the Detroit Free Press, is a fantastic storyteller. He manages to tell the story of Detroit's spectacular rise and fall by interviewing everyone from his brother to union bosses to long-time residents.

Buy on Amazon

God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State

Lawrence Wright

This book came along at just the right time for me and did a great job articulating the love/hate relationship I have with Texas. A must-read for any Texan that struggles with its politics and ignorance. Here's to turning Texas blue one day.

Buy on Amazon

Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin

"The past will remain horrible for exactly as long as we refuse to assess it honestly." It's hard to believe that James Baldwin had these thoughts over 60 years ago. A short collection of essays that necessitate a careful and considered read.

Buy on Amazon

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

Alfred Lansing

Maybe it's a coping mechanism, but reading about a bunch of sailors that got stranded over 850 miles from civilization in 1914 (and survived), made me feel a little bit better about being stuck in my house during a pandemic.

Buy on Amazon

Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace

Michael Morton

Morton rotted in jail for 25 years, quickly convicted for the brutal murder of his wife. When the technology became available, DNA evidence exonerated him. What's crazy is this all happened in my old neighborhood in Northwest Austin. Best true crime novel I've ever read.

Buy on Amazon

Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi

Neal Bascomb

Eichmann wasn't just your run-of-the-mill Nazi. He was one of the principal organizers of the Holocaust. A group of Jewish secret service members covertly tracked him down, captured him, and brought him back to Israel for trial. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Buy on Amazon

Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit

John E. Douglas & Mark Olshaker

I picked this up after watching the David Fincher produced series on Netflix. It sucked me in - Douglas will present a particular characteristic of a serial killer and walk you through the various killers they used to create the profile. Chilling, but fascinating.

Buy on Amazon

Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge

Mark Yarm

Similar to Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain, this book pieces together a bunch of interviews to tell a linear narrative. Fair warning: you need to be really interested in the history of grunge (and specifically Seattle) to get into it - the book is over 600 pages long.

Buy on Amazon

Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'N' Roll

Peter Guralnick

Guralnick wrote one of my favorite music books, the 2-volume biography on Elvis, and for this book, he spent 25 years interviewing Sam Phillips. On top of learning about Sun Records, you also get mini-biographies of guys like Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike Turner, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash.

Buy on Amazon

Doom Patrol: Book One

Grant Morrison

I've been reading a lot more comics this year, and Doom Patrol has been my favorite. A lot of the "all-time great" issues started feeling redundant - misunderstand superhero kind of stuff. But the originality, the characters, and the sheer absurdness of Doom Patrol have been a breath of fresh air.

Buy on Amazon

The Fade Out: The Complete Collection

Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

I've also been gravitating towards owner-created graphic novels (how did it take me this long to discover Image). Brubaker is most famous for his Captain America: Winter Soldier story arc, and Sean Phillips' artwork perfectly complements his writing. Plus, I'm a big fan of mysteries.

Buy on Amazon

Head Lopper Volume 1: The Island or a Plague of Beasts

Andrew MacLean

Dave let me borrow these, and it just seems unfair that this little indie comic (written and illustrated by one guy!) can be so good and so original. I went through all three volumes pretty quickly. It's like Dungeons and Dragons on acid.

Buy on Amazon