Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Books I Read in 2016

I love to read. Back in middle school and high school, I used to finish at least 2 to 3 books every month, even more during the holidays. In the last two years, my reading habit has deteriorated as far as books go. Sure, I have begun to read a lot more articles than I used to earlier. But books are books, and in my opinion offer a more edifying reading experience than articles- be it the pleasure of reading fiction or the insight and depth that you gain by spending 300 pages on one idea as opposed to a thousand word article on the same subject.
Here, I have given the (rather short) list of books I read this past year, including brief personal comments and occasional links to my posts on the books.

* -  favorite/recommended

Non Fiction:

  1. Meditations by Marcus Aurellius
  2. *The Art of People by Dave Kerpen
  3. Innovation as Usual by Paddy Miller and Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg
  4. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki- While the previous book is a novel and takes you through a journey, throwing in Zen lessons along the way, this one is more direct, and also more profound in the insights it offers. I read it only once, but this is the kind of book that you must work with on a day to day basis, implementing the practices mentioned into your own life as you go along with the book. Will definitely be revisiting this in 2017.

  5. Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig — I’ve been curious about zen and meditation for a long time now, and stumbled upon on this classic book on Zen. To be honest, for me it didn’t turn out as insightful and useful as I would have hoped. Fascinating read nonetheless.


  1. *Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf - For the perceptive reader, this book certainly offers valuable life lessons... Most people have a tendency to label others and are quick to jump to conclusions about others without making efforts to get to know them. Reducing others to labels and judgments makes us comfortable, giving us a false sense of power over others. We prefer to believe that we completely know the people in our lives. Through Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf tries to refute this fallacious belief, while also trying to guide readers against labelling and pinning people down. She does this by exploring the multiplicity of human nature along with the depths of human character, and by delineating what it takes to truly know a person.
  2. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. The Rainbow by DH Lawrence
  4. *Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie - On the birth of a nation. Memories. History. And how we remember it. Nationhood. India. A Dream....this novel encompasses all of these themes and much more. Perhaps one of the most intelligently written novels I have ever read. Might take you more than one careful read to unfurl the deep layers of this novel.
  5. A Passage To India by EM Forster
  6. *Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro- The last one I read this year. Beautifully written. Ishiguro ropes you in, until the very end. Genre- sci-fi, coming-of-age. Recommend it for all literature aficionados.
  7. *Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery - Hands down, one of my favorite novels. It's a kids book, but I recommend all adults read it- has some profound life lessons on imagination, creativity, and child-like wonder. (See link for more..)
  8. God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy- encompasses themes of love and loss, tracing the journey of two fraternal twins. I found the plot movement a bit slow, but the literary style and  writing certainly compensates for it.

  9. Hyperbole and a Half  by Allie Brosh- It's a comic graphic novel. Definitely a fun read. I'd recommend it purely for the humor, when you're not in a mood to read anything heavy and want to unwind. 

There are definitely more nonfiction books on my list that I want to read, that should have been on this list. This year, my attempt will certainly be to read more, and also to read at least as many nonfiction books as fiction books. Update- 1/9/17: After reading several nonfiction and self growth books, I have learnt that for a lot of these books, there is literally no point in reading them unless you put the suggested advice to action. Often time, it is beneficial to stop reading midway and start experimenting with doing all those things the book suggests, and seeing for yourself how they affect your life. This applies, of course, specifically to books whose content is very actionable and meant for self-growth. For these books, the key is action- actually doing the things suggested by the book.
Here's to a year full of a lot more reading, learning and writing. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you liked reading this post, do comment below. This will encourage me to write more :)

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