9 Books to read in 2021 Facebook Twitter Email This Post Great Hearts Academies January 6, 2021 From fiction to autobiographies, and historical works to great works, Great Hearts Academies recommends reading these nine books in 2021. Vaclav Havel: The Power of the Powerless The Power of the Powerless (Czech: Moc bezmocných) is an expansive political essay written in October 1978 by the Czech dramatist, political dissident and later politician, Václav Havel. The essay dissects the nature of the communist regime of the time, life within such a regime and how by their very nature such regimes can create dissidents of ordinary citizens. The essay goes on to discuss ideas and possible actions by loose communities of individuals linked by a common cause, such as Charter 77. Officially suppressed, the essay was circulated in samizdat form and translated into multiple languages. It became a manifesto for dissent in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other communist regimes. Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird One of the most cherished stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime. Thomas Sowell: Charter Schools and Their Enemies Charter Schools and Their Enemies is a 2020 book by American economist, social theorist and author Thomas Sowell, in which he compares the educational outcomes of school children educated at charter schools with those at conventional public schools. He argues that charter schools on the whole do significantly better in terms of educational outcomes than conventional schools. He believes the school system in the United States is in need of reform and makes the case for why the charter school movement is a force for good and how it will help to bring about that reform. It is Sowell’s 56th book and was published on his 90th birthday. Alfred Lansing: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage The harrowing tale of British explorer Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 attempt to reach the South Pole, one of the greatest adventure stories of the modern age. In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day’s sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men. When their ship was finally crushed between two ice floes, they attempted a near-impossible journey over 850 miles of the South Atlantic’s heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization. In Endurance, the definitive account of Ernest Shackleton’s fateful trip, Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing and miraculous voyage that has defined heroism for the modern age. William Sanders Scarborough: Autobiography – An American Journey from Slavery to Scholarship This illuminating autobiography traces Scarborough’s path out of slavery in Macon, Georgia, to a prolific scholarly career that culminated with his presidency of Wilberforce University. Despite the racism he met as he struggled to establish a place in higher education for African Americans, Scarborough was an exemplary scholar, particularly in the field of classical studies. He was the first African American member of the Modern Language Association, a forty-four-year member of the American Philological Association, and a true champion of higher education. Scarborough advocated the reading, writing, and teaching of liberal arts at a time when illiteracy was rampant due to slavery’s legacy, white supremacists were dismissing the intellectual capability of blacks, and Booker T. Washington was urging African Americans to focus on industrial skills and training. The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough is a valuable historical record of the life and work of a pioneer who helped formalize the intellectual tradition of the black scholar. Michele Valerie Ronnick contextualizes Scarborough’s narrative through extensive notes and by exploring a wide variety of sources such as census records, church registries, period newspapers, and military and university records. This book is indispensable to anyone interested in the history of intellectual endeavor in America, Africana studies and classical studies, in particular, as well as those familiar with the associations and institutions that welcomed and valued Scarborough. Ann Radcliffe: The Romance of the Forest This novel, although not as well-known as Radcliffe’s later works, is thought to represent her work at its best. More than just a work of suspense and mystery, it is a work of ideas–a discussion of the contrasts between hedonistic doctrines and a system of education and values. For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. Hugh Thomas: Conquest: Cortes, Montezuma, and the Fall of Old Mexico Drawing on newly discovered sources and writing with brilliance, drama, and profound historical insight, Hugh Thomas presents an engrossing narrative of one of the most significant events of Western history. Ringing with the fury of two great empires locked in an epic battle, Conquest captures in extraordinary detail the Mexican and Spanish civilizations and offers unprecedented in-depth portraits of the legendary opponents, Montezuma and Cortés. Conquest is an essential work of history from one of our most gifted historians. Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground Dostoevsky’s most revolutionary novel, Notes from Underground marks the dividing line between nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction, and between the visions of self each century embodied. One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence. In full retreat from society, he scrawls a passionate, obsessive, self-contradictory narrative that serves as a devastating attack on social utopianism and an assertion of man’s essentially irrational nature. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose Dostoevsky translations have become the standard, give us a brilliantly faithful edition of this classic novel, conveying all the tragedy and tormented comedy of the original. Willa Cather: Death Comes for the Archbishop Willa Cather’s best-known novel is an epic–almost mythic–story of a single human life lived simply in the silence of the southwestern desert. In 1851 Father Jean Marie Latour comes to serve as the Apostolic Vicar to New Mexico. What he finds is a vast territory of red hills and tortuous arroyos, American by law but Mexican and Indian in custom and belief. In the almost forty years that follow, Latour spreads his faith in the only way he knows–gently, all the while contending with an unforgiving landscape, derelict and sometimes openly rebellious priests, and his own loneliness. Out of these events, Cather gives us an indelible vision of life unfolding in a place where time itself seems suspended.