I read 20+ books this year. For some it is a lot, for others just a few. Personally, I am very happy with having read so many good books. I invest a lot of time and thought in picking them. Thus, most of what I read this year has been brilliant. Making a best-of list is hence difficult. But, I'll give it a shot.
You can also check out the lists from the last couple of years.
A few years ago, I visited the hill town Mussorie with my family. One evening, while roaming the streets after dinner, I found a thrift store selling books at throwaway prices. Among the many I bought, there was one called 'Living Carelessly in Tokyo and Elsewhere' by John Nash. It is a memoir of an American who had migrated to Japan, learnt Japanese and translated many Japanese books into English. One of them is by Kenzaburo Oe. And my word, what a book it is!
A personal matter is a dark, poignant piece of art. It requires patience and lingering on the words to admire their beauty. It is a semi-autobiographical work where the protagonist deals with the birth of his mentally disabled child. In real life, Oe has a son who is under developed and forms the basis of many of his works.
I consumed it as an audiobook and found myself rewinding multiple times. Reading it would have been preferable. It is one of those books which make you wish you knew the original language to truly understand the magnificence of this work. If you are still not convinced, did I mention that Oe is also a Nobel laureate?
Another Audiobook. I discovered this via a blog I follow (Wait But Why) much before the movie. And as most books-movies go, it is so much better than the movie version. I actually slept in the movie, literally. Even if you have seen it, I would recommend reading/listening the book. There are so many details, incidents and twists and turns that have been missed or changed in the movie. The performance on my audiobook was outstanding to help the matters.
A fun fact: This book was released iteratively in a serial format with feedback from people on the internet. On completion this was released for free only for its rights to be later bought by a publishing house.
This was the book on which the movie 'Everest' was based on. It is funny that so many of the books I pick up are later made into movies. Again, this was much before the movie was released. And unlike 'The Martian', Everest and Into Thin Air are quite comparable in their execution. However, like always, reading is much more recommended.
This is a great insight into the life and mind of Musk who is a modern day hero for me. Musk’s most endearing trait to me is his hyper rationalism. His endeavours are grand - on the scale of humanity and probably beyond.
His efforts in all the companies together surmount anything seen ever before. Granted that he may not have started Tesla or Solar City but without his drive to get things done, they may not have reached the state they did.
I don't remember who recommended it. Perhaps someone in my Facebook feed. It is a collection of stories from the North East region of India. The author, Janice, has done an incredible job at weaving beautiful, dreamy stories. You know the times when you read a book and instantly want to be transported to that time and place, that is what this book did to me.
It doesn't matter if you are religious, atheist or agnostic, you have to agree that Mythology is interesting. The stories are colorful, grand and capture your imagination. Jaya did all this and more.
7. Shatranj ke Khiladi (Hindi Edition) - Munshi Premchand
A simple short story by Munshi Premchand. I read this in Hindi and it was a delight since we don't really read much in Hindi nowadays.
I read this non stop on a flight with sleepy eyes but found it unputdownable. It is a brutally honest autobiographical account by Amanda Palmer.
Other Notable mentions:
- How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia - Mohsin Hamid
- Hatching Twitter - Nick Bilton
- The Catcher in The Rye - J.D. Salinger
- On Writing - Stephen King
Now Reading and probably will find place in the next best-of list:
- Atlus Shrugged
- Man's Search for Meaning
- Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
I hope you get around to reading some of these. Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on them. After all, what does a good book do if not incite deeply polarized discussions.
If you like these recommendations, check out the rest of my reading list here.