Books I read in 2020

Thats the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.

Jhumpa Lahiri

***** Reading Challenge 2020 ******⠀

I have taken up a challenge for this year, to read a book a week – 52 books in total. I have missed reading just for fun for the last couple of years due to GMAT Prep and then my MBA, but now that all of that is done and dusted I want to get back to my love….

Book 1/52 : The Faery Queen’s Daughter⠀
I have always been fascinated by the touch of magic and enjoy reading such books that take me away on a journey to a different realm. It was fun quick read. ⠀

Book 2/52 : Keepers of Kalachakra⠀
This a book that seamlessly blends facts with fiction and creates a beautiful fusion of modern science with age old Vedic concepts. It was an interesting read-only thoroughly enjoyed it. ⠀

Book 3/52 : The Price of Time⠀
A fascinating premise about life expectancy blended into a thriller with a few philosophical questions thrown in that will definitely make you think, a good read!

Book 4/52 : False Impressions⠀
A typical Jeffrey Archer page-turner. I have been a lifelong fan of Archer and this one doesn’t disappoint. Seamlessly blends the world of art and espionage.

Book 5/52; Book 6/52: Skyward and Starsight by Brandon Sanderson⠀

Mr. Sanderson is undoubtedly a great fantasy writer, of course after J.K.Rowling 😛…..I loved reading his Mistborn series and the Skyward series hooked me from the very start as well….. The character definition was great and the story captivating. I read two books of the series back to back and I m looking forward to the third one-day whenever it releases. 

Book 7/52: The Mastery of Love by Miguel Ruiz⠀
It’s a practical guide with interesting insights that will help with any relations in life not just romantic relations. It was an interesting read that can give you a different perspective.

Book 8/52: Nothing Ventured (William Warwick#1) by Jeffrey Archer⠀

First book of the Warwick series written in Archer’s definitive style…. Loved the flow and the crispness of the story, can’t wait for the sequel to come out.

Book 9/52: The Mother I Never Knew by Sudha Murthy
This is a short book that consists of two novellas. This book is about two men on a quest to find the mother they never knew. Sudha Murthy’s prose is devoid of pretensions but sometimes it feels like she wrote the stories in her mother tongue and then just translated it to English. So though the stories are contemporary and interesting, there are parts that feel disjointed. But all in all a good read. 

Book 10/52: Three in Death ( in Death series) by J.D Robb

I am a prolific reader of the “In Death” series by J.D Robb. I love the “whodunit” suspense and the characters of Roarke and Dallas that she has created. So loved reading the short stories in the series. ⠀

Book 11/52: The Day I stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murthy⠀
A collection is short stories by Sudha Murthy. All these stories come from interesting lives and have lessons to reveal. Some of these stories are great and some are a tad bit more preachy that I would like, but all in all an okay read.

Book 12/52: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks⠀

This is a psychological thriller about a woman who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. The protagonist is book smart but not people smart. The premise of the book is interesting and the book is written in a way that keeps you hooked. Though the climax falls a little flat for me. All in all an okay read. 

Book 13/52: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins⠀

It’s a book recommended by Oprah’s book club. This is a fictional novel about a Mexican bookseller who has to escape cartel-related violence with her young son, fleeing to US. I am not sure about the veracity of the so called facts mentioned in the book, but it is definitely a gripping read. It has the compulsive readable quality to it. The narration is tight and the flow great. Though there is a lot of controversy around the book for it’s veracity, I enjoyed reading this one.⠀

Book 14/52: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie⠀

This is an old book for sure, but I have always been a huge fan of Poirot. So it was good to re-read this old classic. Agatha Christie is a literary genius in my opinion and I love her for creating Poirot-the quirky little masterpiece! This book was one of her first books and the mystery instantly hooks you. The language is a bit different but kinda takes you back to that era and makes you dream of the English countryside. Loved revisiting this gem.⠀

Book 15/52: Vendetta in Death (In Death #49) by J.D. Robb

I love the “In Death” series by J.D.Robb and have read all the 48 books published so far in this series. This is the 49th book and it was a good read. This series is situated in the future (circa 2050) with technological advances not yet common at this time, but the human emotions n psychology remains the same. I love Eve Dallas’s character, her tenacity and her love for an equally mysterious Roarke (her hubby). And the books in this series are psychological thrillers which never disappoint. This book is no exception.

Book 16/52: How to Get Back Up: A Memoir of Failures & Resilience by Neil Pasricha

Neil is a good story teller and he talks about resilience through his life stories. This is a book about self-discovery, persistence and finding your own place in the world. The fact that he is a first generation son of an Indian immigrant, a major part of hos story was very relatable.
There are some valuable lessons in this book like the three B approach to tackle life – bucketing, batching and bridging and the three major questions to ask when faced with challenges:

  1. Would it matter on my death bed?
  2. Can I do something about it?
  3. Is it a story I want to tell.

There are some parts that I don’t agree with, but overall a good read/listen. I would definitely recommend this one.

Book 17/52: Golden in Death (In Death #50) by J.D. Robb

In the latest “in Death” series thriller, Eve Dallas investigates a murder with a mysterious motive and a terrifying weapon. This is the 50th book in this series and doesn’t disappoint like its predecessors, but it was a bit slower from me than the previous books. It was an okay read.

Book 18/52: The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Author Chitra Banerjee takes us back in time to this story that is half history and half myth. She gives a voice to Draupadi, also known as Panchali, the heroine who was responsible for the war of Mahabharata. I had always wanted to read this book and I must say that I struggled to complete it. This is a book about Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas and the one responsible for the Mahabharata war. I was expecting the author to have given it a feminist twist and showcase Draupadi as a strong woman, who was never recognized for who she was in her time. But in my opinion the author fell short in that and portrays her as this bitter, jealous and insecure women who was wholly consumed by vengeance, which was how she has been portrayed forever. I wish the author had taken her creative freedom and given us a different take on an age old story. Entirely disappointed with this read.

⠀Book 19/52: We should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This a personal and eloquently-argued essay by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which was adapted from her much-viewed TEDc talk with the same name. It tackles the question – What does “feminism” mean today? With humor and levity, Adichie offers her readers a unique definition of feminism for the 21st century. This is a very relevant book and in my opinion this needs to be read by everybody alive.

⠀Book 20/52: The American by Rajeshwari Nukala

How often do you get a chance to read a book written by a friend??? I did! This is a book written by a dear friend and I must say Rajeshwari did a wonderful job! The book is a light, funny, and sassy uptake on the life of an immigrant who comes to the US chasing the wonderful “American Dream” for success, comfort, and luxury! The book is written in a simple language and it is very relatable. I especially liked the internal dialogue of Sonam (the protagonist) that runs through the entire novel.

She tackles a lot of current issues in a lighter vein (gay rights, family entanglement, societal norms, cliches, etc), and sometimes I wished she didn’t every issue into this book. All in all I enjoyed reading this book thoroughly and it felt like I was having a conversation with Rajeshwari the whole time. I finished this book in 3 hours flat, it was unputdownable. Definitely recommend this to all who love sarcastic, dry wit and need a good laugh!

⠀Book 21/52: Becoming by Michelle Obama

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. History has always shown time and again that women are almost always overshadowed by powerful men but Michelle has shown that women can be powerful on their own and not get overshadowed by men and most certainly not by her powerful husband. She had clearly shown that a woman can be her own person and be powerful in her own way and create her own path. In her memoir, Michelle invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her. She describes her triumphs and her disappointments (public and private), with honesty and wit, and tells her story as she lived it – in her own words and on her own terms. This book is very relatable and also inspires you to be your best and do your best at every step of the way! Listening to this book in her own voice gave it a lot more meaning and enjoyment. This should be required reading!

⠀Book 22/52: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

This is a fantasy, science fiction novel by David Mitchell. This novel was called one of the best novels of 2014 by Stephen King and won the “World Fantasy Award” in 2015. The title refers to a derogatory term the immortal characters use for normal humans, who are doomed to mortality because of their aging bodies.

This book is divided into 6 parts, each set during different time’s of Holly Sykes’ life. It took almost three parts of the book to be done, before Mitchell gets to the meat of the plot line. At times it was a bit dragging and confusing (esp Crispin Hershey’s parts of the story), but all in all a decent read. If you are not a fan of science fiction/fantasy genre, I would steer clear of it.