Best Books I read in 2014

Did you get a chance to read any from the ones I suggested in 2013? I sure made it a point to lend those to as many people as I could. Even though I bought a Kindle this year hoping that it would help me reduce my paper footprint and will help me improve my reading habits, I couldn't find as much time for reading as I would have liked to. Most of my reading was compressed into few short sprints. And here are the ones which I found the best:

1. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - If you have read this book, seeing this book here wouldn't be a surprise to you. I found this book in a Reddit post called 'books that single-handedly made you change your life'. After reading the book, finding it in that list didn't seem too far fetched either. This was Dostoyevsky's magnum opus about which he said that he had written everything that he ever wanted to say in that one book. And boy, has he said it. 

Illustration by Yours Truly

Illustration by Yours Truly

This is a voluminous work by all measures - it took me a long time to read it. It would have taken even longer had I paid attention all the time to the incredible detail that he has put in explaining the human nature and behavior. It is amazing to see when some authors weave psychology together with great storytelling to give us a beautiful reading experience. 

I can go on and on in praises of this book but nothing that I can say would do justice to its depth. Suffice to say, read this book, and you will not be disappointed. 

2. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac - As I wrote in my book review, it filled me with an energy for life even with just its backcover. I would recommend this even before Kerouac's otherwise more popular On The Road. From the book review:

The back cover speaks of lines such as these: "descriptive excitement", "poetry jam sessions", "marathon drinking bouts". And never have I felt such a violent surge of energy inside me to go explore the world and do something crazy. I am not sure how much of it would I be able to do but it has made me sit down and write these few lines at the least.

3. Daily Rituals : Find Inspiration, and Get to Work by Mason Currey - This book tells us the daily habits and rituals of the leaders who have shaped our history and culture. Learning about the lives of all the great scientists, musicians, writers, politicians had a profound impact on me. It is surprising to see how many of these people were creatures of habits. I learnt that the best work is produced under constraints, usually self-imposed. A lot of my regular activity on this blog can be credited to inspiration from this book. 

Other notable mentions:

  • On The Shortness of Life by Seneca - Almost made it to the list except because of the reason that I read it only a week back and I like to give a book some time after reading to check how much of it stays with me. 
  • Show Your Work by Austin Kleon - As a writer, this book couldn't have come to me at a better time. It shows a no-nonsense way of the Whats, Whys, and Hows of sharing your work online. 

Hope you get around to reading some of these books. For more book recommendations, articles on minimalism and leading a simple life, you can sign up to the mailing list