With forty books last year, and sixty a year before that, I had kept a target of reading around fifty books this year. What made it difficult was that this year kept me busy with other things in life (travel, marriages – including one my own) and the fact I happened to select big bulky books this year. So considering that, fifty is not a bad figure.
The book title is followed by its Goodreads rating and a link (embedded in the title) in case you want to check out its review before getting a copy for yourself. Read on!
- Tales of Time and Space (5/5)- Only H.G Wells could have done it. Simple everyday woven stories about simple men stumbling upon ‘not-so-simple’ scientific anomalies.
- The Three Body Problem (4/5)- A highly creative work that breaks the frontiers of science fiction. Very best in the contemporary science fiction genre. Must read for sci-fi enthusiasts
- The dark forest (4/5)- Part 2 of the three body problem continues the saga as the world prepares itself for an alien invasion. The high point is the alien’s perspective of taking on such an arduous task.
- Origin (3.5/5)- After a lull, and below average two books, Dan Brown is back with a fast-paced thriller, this time based in Spain.
- Mr g (3/5)- No other book can teach you about the creation of the universe as this book does. Written in a novel-like style it lays bare all the secrets of big bang and creation of the universe. Must read for anyone interested in astrophysics.
- Dance Dance Dance (3/5)- A usual mix of odd characters in even odd situations. Vintage Haruki Murakami. Though I must say the Haruki Murakami hangover has waned off. (Last year I read ten of his books in a year!)
- A game of thrones (5/5)- Read it for the second time. And enjoyed it even more. While ordinary fiction gets boring once you know a story, the Hallmark of good writing is that it is even more enjoyable during the second read. Read it to know more than what Series revealed, about the various plottings and scheming going on in Westeros.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (3/5)- Childhood revisited. Simple reading, yet so enjoyable.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (3/5)- Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (4/5)- The HP book that I love the most. Most edgy, and the darkest of all books.
- The Hobbit (4/5) – Natural choice if you want to read Tolkien. Easier of his all the books. Became tedious in the end though, with its unorthodox ending.
- The fellowship of the ring (4/5)- Had to read it. Was procrastinating this huge book for so long. Tedious, slow, but worth it. Exceptional world building, great characters. A classic.
- Hard Boiled Wonderland and the end of the world(4/5) – Last of the major Murakmi Books polished off. And a good one, with a usual Murakmi books ability to put you in a trance.
- Divergent (2/5)- Very popular, very much in vogue, but not of my taste. Fast paced and with a good plot, but not that rich characters. Probably I’m over critical for many of my friends have liked it. Go ahead if you are looking for a lighter read.
- Grimus (2/5)- The first of Salman Rushdie’s book. Though disjoint in its plot, it gives a peek into the highly imaginative mind of Salman Rushdie. From this book, he went on to write Midnight’s Children. Also the book that put me in this mad rush to read all of Salman Rushdie’s books. (I have read four of his books by now.)
- Midnight’s Children (4/5)- It’s an epic. A story encompassing more than a generation. Characters so many that you would have to make a list to keep track of them. Convoluted, and branching, which started from a simple premise of a hundred and one children born on the night India got Independence. Each child born is with a special power. Writing is prolific, a tough read, but in the end you get a satisfaction of getting to know this unique style of Salman Rushdie that is gripping, powerful, and enchanting.
- The Satanic Verses (3/5)- One of the most difficult books I’ve read. Long, tedious, and very demanding. The hoopla around fatwa is overhyped. It’s controversial because those who have issues with it must not have read it.
- Shame(3/5)- One of the lighter books by Salman Rushdie. Again he combines history and myth to create a unique story.
- Lord of the flies (5/5)- My best discovery for this year. After Animal Farm, this must be the best allegorical novel of all times. How a simple story of boys stranded on an island turns into a power struggle, survival, rivalry and so much more. MUST READ.
- The house of spirits (2/5)- Very highly rated, but not of my taste. People who love reading/watching drama will like it. On positive note, a sensual novel.
- The Handmaids’ tale (4/5)- Very dark, very dystopian. A sensual ride, prose so real that you will live, and feel each and everything written in this book.
- The Prestige (4/5)- As Prestige (By C Nolan) is my fav movie, I had to read this book. Surprisingly the book has a very different treatment than the movie. And to be honest, not that good as the movie. But intriguing nonetheless.
- Interpreter of Maladies (5/5)- Loved it, period. Very human, very earthly. How J Lahiri drowns us into this small worlds of her characters. Simple, yet so deep. Loved it.
- Selected Stories by Rabindranath Tagore x 2 (4/5)- Second reading. How can one not like Tagore’s stories! They immediately transports you back in time, a couple of decades back, into the rustic villages of India, where people are simple, their problems simple, yet the emotions they evoke are more powerful than anything else out there.
- The Reivers (3/5)- By Faulkner, this book was like Rocket Science to me. After some time, I had to open the wiki page to keep track of the underlying theme, hard to guess reference. But better readers should relish this classic.
- The Dead x 2 (5/5)- Loved this short story by Joyce. (I’m planning to read more of him now) The story of one night, seemingly simple at the outset, will take you by sheer force by the end of it. Such is the power of words! Having read once, I couldn’t help but pick it up once again.
- The Open Boat (3/5)- Four men struggle for survival after escaping from a sinking ship and into a small open boat. Poetic, artistic, imaginative.
- The Blue hotel (5/5)- Short story by Stephen Crane. Five Stars for brilliant prose writing and storytelling.
Get more Creative
- A whack on the side of the head (4/5)- Creative strategies that work! One of the very good books on building a framework around enhancing your creativity.
- The Bell Jar (4/5)- Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity.
- The Getaway Car – wry, wisdom-packed memoir of her life as a writer
Live Better / Purpose / Meaning of Life
- On the shortness of life (4/5)- Life is short, we know it, but we live as if we are going to live for forever. This book helps you realize the importance of every moment that you have got. Once gone, no amount of money and influence can get that back! Read this priceless book.
- Man’s search for the meaning of life (4/5)- What a book! Part memoir, part philosophy, this book changes the way you see suffering. Suffering has a meaning, it isn’t there to harm you. You have to know ‘why’ and then you can survive any ordeal.
- The art of happiness (4/5)- Was on my shelf for a long time. A Wonderful book on the most sought after topic in the world – happiness. And who can be the better one to talk about it than Dalai Lama himself!
- The Blind Watchmaker (4/5)- Excellent book. Along with The Selfish Gene, this book is responsible for turning me away from Creationism, from religion. And I can’t thank Richard Dawkins (the author) for that.
- Seven Brief lessons on Physics x 2 (5/5)- Short but excellent book on the key areas of physics. This book brings together everything. You learn that whatever science out there is not some isolated facts, but part of a bigger purpose of science to unravel the mystery of this nature.
- The Personal MBA (4/5)- A must have for any Business Graduate!
- Body of Science (2/5)- Too much theory.
Learn to write & read better
- Artful Sentences (4/5)
- The Elements of Style (4/5)
- Ten Rules of writing (3/5)
- How to write a Sentence x 2 (5/5)
- The Art of Fiction(4/5)
- How to read a book (4/5)
- Bird by Bird x 2 (4/5)