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  • Writer's pictureAndrew G. Cooper

The Top 10 Books and Scripts I Read in 2021

2021 has come and gone and 2022 is here! Now it's time to look back at all the books and scripts that I read over the last twelve months. I started this tradition last year (if you're interested, you can read my top ten recommendations from 2020) and am happy to be keeping things alive for 2021. If you missed it, you can also read my annual list of the top plays I saw from 2021.

As I mentioned in my recent post about goal setting, I have a loose goal of reading 52 plays (one per week) and 26 books (one every two weeks) each year. I count audiobooks, audio play readings, as well as typical printed books/plays. New this year, I'm also including a few screenplays that I read in the "scripts" category along with the plays I usually read.

So without further ado, here are my top five recommendations of books that I read in 2021:

  1. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

  2. Cosmos by Carl Sagan

  3. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

  4. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

  5. Le Petite Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

As a fun fact, I read my first book in French this year! I'm still a very beginner french reader, but I have a few more books now to try for 2022. Here are all the books I read in 2022 in chronological order:

  1. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

  2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

  3. Stardust by Neil Gaimon

  4. Cosmos by Carl Sagan

  5. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

  6. The Universe Within by Neil Turok

  7. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

  8. Extraterrestrial by Avi Loeb

  9. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

  10. Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going by Neil deGrasse Tyson with James Trefil

  11. The Mill conceived by Daryl Cloran and Matthew Fadzean, written by Matthew Fazdean, Hannah Moscovitch, Tara Beagan, and Damien Atkins

  12. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

  13. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

  14. Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

  15. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

  16. Le Petite Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  17. Dæmon Voices: on stories and storytelling by Phillip Pullman

  18. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

  19. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

  20. The Dark Crystal Bestiary: the definitive guide to the creatures of Thra by Adam Cesare, foreword by Brian and Wendy Froud, illustrated by Iris Compiet

  21. Walking in this World by Julia Cameron

  22. Save the Cat! Writes for TV: The Last Book on Creating Binge-Worthy Content You'll Ever Need by James Nash, based on the books by Blake Snyder

  23. Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: Inside the Epic Return to Thra by Daniel Wallace, foreword by Lisa Henson

  24. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

  25. Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock: The Ultimate Visual History by Jody Revenson and Noel Murray, forwarded by Neil Patrick Harris

  26. Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting that You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

  27. Babylon's Ashes by James S. A. Corey

  28. Monster of the Week by Michael Sands

  29. The Complete Guide to Cryptocurrency by Michaela Cavallaro

As a writer, reading other people's work is so, so important. It helps me find what I like and what I don't like and gives me a sense of what else is out there right now. This is why I've added some screenplays to my list this year and will do so next year! Here is my list of five recommendations for plays for you to read:

  1. The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Eric Rose and David van Belle

  2. The Huron Bride by Hannah Moscovitch

  3. Now We Are Brody by Matthew MacFadzean

  4. King Henry V by William Shakespeare

  5. Tooth and Claw by Michael Hollinger

My number one recommendation is now available to read in Three Impossible Plays, an anthology from Ghost River Theatre. All three plays in the book are definitely worth reading if you're interested in theatre, especially devised theatre!

And here is the full list of plays I read in 2021. I should also note that some of these plays I read for work and some of them are from audiobooks/podcasts so they may be unpublished.

  1. End Days by Deborah Zoe Laufer

  2. Henry IV Part II by William Shakespeare

  3. Struck by Eric Rose

  4. Laila Pines for the Wolf by Hassan Adbulrazzak

  5. The Goalie by Carolyn Ziegler

  6. The Mire by Madeline Hunter Smith

  7. Modern Prometheus by Eden Middleton

  8. The body is gone by Gabby Bernard

  9. Flesh & Ghost by Gordon Pengilly

  10. SoulSwap by Oliver Bailey

  11. Escape Pod by Matt Dale

  12. Överdrive by Nick Shostak

  13. Arkangel by Liam Salmon

  14. SPY! The Glorious Mind of Agent GARBO by Ken Mastel

  15. Artemis by Gillian Clark

  16. Bloody Business: A Scottish Play by Robey Sabo

  17. Home for the Holidays with book by Cayley Wreggit and score by Alixandra Cowman

  18. The Rookery: A Play for Stellar Sea Lions by Elaine Ávila

  19. It starts With Me by Chantal Bilodeau

  20. Drip by Yolanda Bonnell

  21. Now We Are Brody (The Mill Part I) by Matthew MacFadzean

  22. The Huron Bride by Hannah Moscovitch

  23. The Woods by Tara Beagan

  24. Ash by Damien Atkins

  25. Ice Flow by Phillip Braithwaite

  26. The Highest Step in the World by Eric Rose and David van Belle

  27. The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Eric Rose and David van Belle

  28. King Henry V by William Shakespeare

  29. Steamy Sessions in a Singapore Spa by Damon Chua

  30. Appealing by Paula Cizmar

  31. GIANT by Eric Rose and David van Belle

  32. Other Side of the Game by Amanda Paris

  33. Tooth and Claw by Michael Hollinger

  34. Canary by Hanna Cormick

  35. Between the Sheets by Jordi Mand

  36. Winners and Losers by Marcus Youssef and James Long

  37. Life on Paper by Kenneth Lin

  38. This is How We Got Here by Keither Barker

  39. Bed and Breakfast by Mark Crawford

  40. Café Daughter by Kenneth T. Williams

  41. Kamloopa: an Indigenous Matriach Story by Kim Senklip Harvey with the Fire Company

  42. Extinction by Hannie Rayson

  43. Rossum's Universal Robots by Karel Čapek

  44. 7 x 12 by Heidi MacDonald

  45. Endgame by Samuel Becket

  46. Blackjack by Derek Davidson

  47. Othello by William Shakespeare

  48. Absolutely Nothing of Any Meaning by Sunny Drake

  49. The Word is a Seed is a World is a Deed by Clare Duffy

  50. Mythic Quest Pilot by Charlie Day, Megan Ganz, and Rob McElhenney

  51. Make Your Mark by Alec Berg and Bill Hader

  52. Lawnmower Dog by Ryan Ridley

Do you like my recommendations? Want more? I send one recommendation (could be a book, a podcast, a show, a board game, whatever!) each month in my newsletter. You can sign up here.

And that's it for my wrap up of 2021! I would love to hear what you recommend for reading from last year. Leave a comment below or shoot me a message on twitter. As you can guess, I'm always on the search for new books and plays and screenplays to read.

Happy Reading to all of you in 2022!

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