Welcome to another “Year of Books” without any reviews. I think the only new year resolution I should have is to write reviews when I’m finished reading a book, but it’s a promise I’m going to break, so the discussion ends here, so does the idea of resolutions.
This year was okay when it came to reading. Nothing went as planned, or more precisely, I did not read anything that I planned to read in 2020. I remain amazed by my behavior, but it’s so repetitive that I don’t care much about it. It tells a lot about me, doesn’t it? I don’t know. I’m over-analyzing everything because I went from one book to another without much care or thought.
The good thing is that I read good books. Every book I chose, it was thoroughly engaging. I think I got lucky, as to find good books means sometimes you spend a good chunk of time, which is something we do for the sake of finding a good book, and I didn’t do it, but I think most of the time we get lucky. This year’s reading material was the product of luck. If I’m being honest, I’m not aware of where I found these books. I have absolutely no memory of it. Happily, I was not “fooled by randomness”.
I’m aware that the list is not diverse, but neither was my curiosity or interest. Over the last few months, my interest has shifted from learning about Religion, Politics, and Philosophy to Neuroscience and Psychology. History fascinates me, but laziness carried me on its back, so I was unable to read any decent history books apart from a few (probably one).
Another positive thing that happened is I achieved the Goodreads’ Reading Challenge of reading 12 books, and I did it early. They were on my reading list for a long time, probably. It felt good when I finished the challenge, but now it doesn’t mean anything. The anticipation of reward wins.
Anyway, here’s the list –
- Behave – Robert Sapolsky
- Sex at Dawn – Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales – Oliver Sacks
- You Are Not So Smart – David McRaney
- Prometheus Rising – Robert Anton Wilson
- The Self Illusion: Why There is No ‘You’ Inside Your Head – Bruce M. Hood
- Good Economics for Hard Times – Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo
- The Rape of Nanking – Iris Chang
- The Road to Wigan Pier – George Orwell
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption – Laura Hillenbrand
- Science – Non Fiction
- What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions – Randal Monroe
- “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character – Richard P. Feynman
- The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice – Christopher Hitchens
- Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
- The Prophet – Khalil Gibran
- Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue – John McWhorter
Overall, it was a decent year for reading. I don’t remember the vast majority of things I read, but I’m aware of the information in bits and pieces. The books that I’ve mentioned carry weight. The good decision would be to go through some of them a couple of more times, especially “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky and “Good Economics for Hard Times” by Abhijit V. Banerjee.
“Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue” by John McWhorter turns out to be an impressive read. “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris was light and hilarious. “The Rape of Nanking” by Iris Chang and “The Missionary Position” by Christopher Hitchens brought the side of history I was unaware of throughout my life. “The Road to Wigan Pier” by George Orwell made me realize how underrated some of his works are. “What If?” by Randal Monroe and “You’re Not So Smart” by David McRaney is something that I can recommend to anyone without much thought. “The First and Last Freedom” by Jiddu Krishnamurti is something that I can go through again and again as I’ve always found his words simple but complexly layered. The book carries the vast majority of answers one might be looking for related to life, in general.
The rest of the books are good, too. No time was wasted, no regrets were carried. I’ll post another blog if I get time to decide what I’d like to read this year. Till then, see you, and Happy New Year.