Reading List 2021 into 2022

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.  – Ecclesiastes 12:12 KJV

I read a lot.  Technical journals (AIAA, ASME, ISSF), Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space News, National Geographic, Nat Geo History, Sky & Telescope, Backpacker, others.  Newspapers every day – the actual paper ones (yes, I’m that old).  And, of course, there is my work:  technical reports by the dozen, briefing papers, proposals, etc.  Most of that last is electronic; seems work has gone ‘virtual’ these days. 

But I still have time to read books.  I’m not an e-reader kind of guy; I want to hold the book in my hand and feel the heft of it, the smell of it.  I spend too much time on my electronic devices as it is. 

Looking over past years, 2021 has been typical:  space related books, history, good mysteries, a few religious books, current events, some great literature.  A few ‘re-reads’ of books read decades ago have crept in as well. 

Here is my list of books read in 2021 – in no particular order.  Not a bad book among them:

The Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot

The Cure at Troy – Philoctetes by Seamus Heaney

Giants in the Earth by O. E. Rolvaag

The Good Shepard by C. S. Forester

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

The Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman

The Stargazer by Anne Hillerman

The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman

The Dance hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman

Talking Mysteries by Tony Hillerman and E. Bulow

Prophetic City by Stephen L. Kleinberg

Once A Warrior by Jake Wood

Once they Moved Like the Wind by David Roberts

Kearney’s March by Winston Groom

The Twentieth Maine by John J. Pullen

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

Mercury 13 by Martha Ackmann

Shuttle, Flight by Paul Dye

Go, Flight by Milt Heflin and Rick Houston

Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars by Eileen Collins and Jonathan Ward

Liftoff by Eric Berger

The Poudre, a Photo History by Stanley R. Case

The Definitive Biography of P.D.Q. Bach by Prof. Peter Schickele

Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson

Looking ahead to 2022 I have already accumulated several books either purchased outright or received as gifts.  Ready to read:

Back to Earth by Nicole Stott

Not Yet Imagined – A study of Hubble Space Telescope Operations – by Christopher Gainor

50 Years of Solar System Exploration – Historical Perspectives – Linda Billings, editor

Brave Companions – Portraits in History – by David McCullough

No Barriers by Erik Weihenmayer and Buddy Levy

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

And if Anne Hillerman produces a new Manuelito mystery novel continuing the series started by her father – I will be first in line at the bookstore to get a copy.

The book I am going to read first in 2022 – taken off the shelf from my daughter’s collection, is The Count of Monte Christo by Alexander Dumas.  Everyone should have a little classic literature in their lives.  I’ve missed reading this one and need to fill that blank.  It is, so I’ve heard, a book where nothing is quite what it seems to be.  Maybe a parable for our times. 

Of all of these books, what is my most recommended? 

All of them are good.  But my pick of the year is an old one:  The Good Shepard by C. S. Forester.  It was written in 1955 and Hollywood just made it into the stunning movie “Greyhound’ in 2020. 

But the book – the book as it always does – the book reveals the internal dialog, the fears, and the courage of the principal character in a way that the silver screen with all its CGI capabilities cannot. 

Read that book for its lesson of the importance of character: “Yet these were matters of primary importance, for in war the character and personality of the leader is decisive of events much more than the minor questions of material.”

And finally, 2022 may be the time I take the advice of Eileen Collins, Homer Hickam, and many others to start writing my own book.  There may be a few stories that I need to preserve for posterity.  All mostly true, of course. 

About waynehale

Wayne Hale is retired from NASA after 32 years. In his career he was the Space Shuttle Program Manager or Deputy for 5 years, a Space Shuttle Flight Director for 40 missions, and is currently a consultant and full time grandpa. He is available for speaking engagements through Special Aerospace Services.
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13 Responses to Reading List 2021 into 2022

  1. Tim Gagnon says:

    I’ll be first in line at that book signing Wayne! Happy New Year.

  2. Mark Ross says:

    Happy to hear you’re a Hillerman fan, what a rich legacy!

  3. Spacebrat1 says:

    just finished Homer’s and Nicole’s, and the writing of the first part of my Cape novel…look forward to your story for sure, wishes for a Kind 2022…(disappointed I was not learned enough to have read any from your list)

  4. Norbon Clay Jones says:

    I encourage you to put all those blogs together in a compendium that becomes a book. I’m happy to volunteer as a proof reader of said book (as for content, the only consultative advice I would be able to provide is clarity for the lay person).

  5. Brian Black says:

    Good on you! Don’t forget to read (reread) Moby Dick, and a little Robert Burns never hurt anyone! – most are “forced” to read Moby Dick much too early – as the years flow by, the content, and intent, become more and more manifest!

  6. Superb list, Mr. Hale. Your blog is a “must” read for me. I have a dear friend who has an amazing life story. I encourage her (periodically and appropriately, I hope) to write her book. I hope you will also.

  7. dblumentr says:

    Hi Wayne, enjoy your blog and agree you could spin a yarn. One of my favorite inspirational books when the trials and tribulations of test and verification get too much I like to read “Earth Abides” by George Stewart. The main character has to make some hard decisions. If thats not enough I watch Starship Troopers 3 times lol.

  8. Emily Shore says:

    As a long-time follower of your blog, and your e-mails before that, I’ve been hoping for ages that you would decide to write a book someday. I’ll look forward to more news!

    One very niche request… I remember you saying on Twitter at one point that you had a special place in your heart for Glynn Lunney and Jay Greene. While there can never be such a thing as too many Glynn Lunney stories, I think that Jay Greene is a particularly unsung hero. It would be wonderful to hear more of your memories of him, either in your book or in the blog.

    All the best with your writing.

  9. ppatin says:

    I noticed several astronaut autobiographies on your list. Out of curiosity, what’s your favorite book by an astronaut that you’ve read?

    If you do write your own book I would be one of the first to get it. Paul Dye’s book about working as a flight director was really enjoyable and I’d love to read someone else’s perspective on that job.

  10. Larry Clark says:

    Wayne. Happy New Year. As you will be first in line for another book by Anne Hillerman I will be first in line for your book. You should definitely write it. I thoroughly enjoy your story telling.
    I am well into my own memoir of my Space Program career with no plan to publish. Its for my children and grandchildren.
    But I can recommend a great memoir written by a space program colleague of ours. “Ike, The memoir of Isom “Ike” Rigell”. An amazing career he had starting with being on the launch team of Explorer 1, and retiring during Shuttle.

  11. Zach Cochran says:

    Thanks for sharing your list, Wayne! Consider any book you write pre-ordered, if that’s any encouragement.

    I’ve been engrossed in Eliot’s Four Quartets for the past couple of years, reading through it every couple of months. It’s challenging stuff, but I feel like I gain something each time I read through those verses.

    I appreciate the other books here too; I’ve been meaning to do more reading and less watching stuff this year, and this is a great augmentation to my queue.

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