Books I Read in 2019

I know I am late to the party here in all possible senses. I have wanted to do these lists ever since I began reading for knowledge (2012) and this specific list since I closed 2019 with the best-ever reading record in my life so far (28 books). So, here goes a list of all the books I read in 2019 along with a short description of how I feel about them. The descriptions are based on my notes that I scribbled after finishing the books.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – Finished it in 5 minutes. I can’t say I totally agree with the message (that unconditional love is the only love), but still amazing. (B+)

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari – Brilliantly written and eye-opening, especially about anthropology. (A-)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – A classic story and one that I feel every reader should read at least once. (C+)

It’s Normal! by Mahinder Watsa – Sex ed basics for the ignorant. A book that every Indian couple should read, ideally together. My go-to gift to newly marrieds. (B-)

Educated by Tara Westover – Devastating, powerful, and mind-blowing account that seems too good to be true. A great reaffirmation to the power of education. (A-)

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell – One of my all-time favourites, this still remains a great account on poverty. (A-)

The Crow Eaters by Bapsi Sidhwa – A mix of history and comedy, this one introduced me to Sidhwa and her powerful writing about Parsis. (B-)

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Absolutely stunning horror book that also gives you a lot to chew on about mortality and friendship. (A-)

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson – A disappointing read that attempts and fails to trace the English language. Probably Bryson’s worst. (D+)

The Road by Cormac McCarthy – Another dystopian novel I picked up due to all the buzz but a bit too repetitive and inconsequential for me. (C+)

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – Fresh crime novel that kept me engaging till the last page. (A-)

Lanny by Max Porter – Rubbish. (D+)

The Wall by John Lanchester – A good reading experience but a weak dystopian novel. (B-)

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli – Pretentious nonsense. (D+)

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead – Ordinary crime story discussing spine-tingling racism in backward America. (B-)

Exhalation by Ted Chiang – Wonderful short stories about ethics, human nature, and futuristic tech. A very good read. (A-)

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – Second time reading and still hilarious yet massively sexist (which is my only problem with the book). (A-)

How To by Randall Munroe – A great follow-up to What If?, one of my most favourite books of all time, this one kept me gelled to my Kindle for hours. (A-)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – Charming, best book I read in 2019. (A+)

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – Another fabulous dystopian novel that is worth a read every few years. (A-)

The Heat and Dust Project by Devapriya Roy and Saurav Jha – Cringeworthy travelogue written by writers who behave like cheap gram influencers. (D+)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell – Confirms my dislike towards romantic stories. A gimmick. (D+)

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin – Close contender for the best book I read in 2019 just because of the 13-point virtue table that needs a bit of update and is ready for use even today. (A)

Normal People by Sally Rooney – Reminded me of my own relationships. A very good book on millennial romance. (B)

Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl – A solid account about her life as a gourmet magazine publisher. Makes me want to apply to Conde Nast. (B-)

Pure by Andrew Miller – One of the best grippy horror books I have ever read. A fantastic story. (A)

The Vegetarian by Han Kang – Mind-numbing perfection. (A+)

Ending this quickly so that I can get back to reading and create a list for 2020 as early as January. TN.

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