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  • Ryan Hogue

Must Read list 2021


With the avalanche of streaming services being pushed on us now and the insurmountable amount of television shows and movies at our fingertips, it seems as if reading and books in general are becoming more and more of a forgotten medium. Most people either love reading or well, don’t. If you do love books then this blog is for you. If you don’t then just let me try one last pitch. We’ve been spending more and more time in our homes this year than ever. I’d feel pretty confident saying that you’ve watched a few shows more than once and are even sitting through shows you don’t even like because there’s nothing new. I mean with streaming services we are watching shows that would come on once a week for 4 months in a weekend's time. Not to mention how much are you paying for all those different services just to see the few shows or movies you enjoy on each one. What if I told you there was a cheap alternative that was more engaging and just as entertaining. Seriously though, what do you have to lose? Sorry if I don’t seem sympathetic to you missing your 14th viewing of The Office. There’s a ton of great books covering all topics and genres but today I’m going to focus on the 5 books coming out this year on my “To Read List”.


A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke

  • “The blistering story of a young man making his Broadway debut in Henry IV just as his marriage implodes—an utterly transfixing book about art and love, fame and heartbreak from the acclaimed actor/writer/director.”

  • The actor who made his debut at 15 releases his first novel in 20 years. The topic of the book may not be groundbreaking but his talent for writing and ability to pull from his personal life have me very excited to read this novel.


Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South by Ben Montgomery

  • “The sensational true story of George Dinning, a freed slave, who in 1899 joined forces with a Confederate war hero in search of justice in the Jim Crow south. “Taut and tense. Inspiring and terrifying in its timelessness.”(Colson Whitehead, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad)”

  • I love books based on true stories and I love books based around historic events so this one is at the top of my list. This is an amazing story written by an extremely talented writer.

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

  • “Just the kind of book we need…The feeling one gets from reading No One Is Talking About This is that Lockwood has paid attention more closely than perhaps any other human on earth to what it’s like to be alive right now.” —Vanity Fair

  • This is another book that I can’t wait to read. As someone who is at the age of understanding technology and the internet pretty well but is also left wondering how we are utilizing it will affect us this book is perfect. Described as one of the best writers of the past 10 years Lockwood is the perfect person to hold a mirror up to society.



Foregone by Russell Banks

  • “A searing novel about memory, abandonment, and betrayal from the acclaimed and bestselling Russell Banks”

  • The topic of this book is what caught me but seeing how it was written is what put it on my list. A story about a storied, and revered man on his death bed being interviewed by a former student and surrounded by his family. The man reveals all his secrets and stories and the novel brilliantly transitions back and forth between his memories and the people surrounding him reacting to them.


We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

  • 'A beautifully written mystery, packed with unforgettable characters' JANE HARPER

  • 'An accomplished and moving story of crime, punishment, love and redemption' GUARDIAN

  • This book is for anyone who likes good story telling. Based on a sheriff and his childhood friend who is just being released after 30 years in prison. This book is a crime read which I’m instantly intrigued in and features twists and heart wrenching moments that remind you why you love books so much.

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