By Juhi Bansal

Also read: Favourite Reads 2018 | Favourite Reads 2017 | Favourite Reads 2016

As I write this I am reading my 55th book this year. How did I manage it? I have no idea! It just happened. Also, I worked out religiously this year but more on that later! Out of all the books that I managed to read this year, atleast 15 were completely new genres and authors. (You see I wanted to challenge myself sufficiently <hiding my face emoji>). I’ve read books on AI, Astrophysics and even Calculus this year- ofcourse they don’t feature in the top 6 because they all need a second read before I can make sense out of those :D.

You can check out the entire list on my Instagram with short reviews. Now over to my top favourites this year.

Becoming by Michelle Obama: Autobiography

My first audiobook this year and at 18 hours it’s longer than most audibooks I have listened to so far by a good margin. It took me a long time to go through with it (largely because I only ever listen to audible while working out) but I wouldn’t have the book any other way. Michelle Obama’s powerful and confident voice lends further weight to an already captivating story. I was hanging on to every single word. As an African- American working mother in the public eye she went through so much and yet soldiered on. “Becoming” is going to be my go-to for any confusions I might have about how I want to go about my life. I have always admired the Obamas but reading this book took my respect for them to a whole another level. Love this line from the book: “He could live in the ocean, I needed a boat!”

Factfulness by Hans Rosling: Non-Fiction, Business

If I had to pick a life changing book, this will be it! How many times do you read the newspaper or look at data and say the world is going to the dogs? Even with all my sunny optimism I had increasingly started feeling the future was doomed and all because of the news and data we are fed everyday.

Hans Rosling talks about factfulness and it’s a revelation! The book is full of publicly accessible data (UN, World Bank and the like) converted to bubble charts and graphs which are easy to read and comprehend. How wrong could you be about your own country and the world? I suggest you pick up the book and take the quiz right at the beginning. If that doesn’t convince you to read the book, nothing will!

It’s a book that should be made a mandatory read in all B-schools because biased data is one thing but not consuming data in its entirety is a whole different story. Read this book not only to look at the world factually (supported by real data) but also to feel positive about where the world is going! 

21 Lessons of the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari: Non-fiction, Civilization & Culture

I read a combination of Audible/ ebook for this book. I read Sapiens last year and was already a fan of Yuval’s by the end of it. In 21 lessons he discusses 21 problems (for the lack of a better word) we are facing/ going to face in the near future. He discusses varied topics from Big Data to AI to Religion to Politics to Education and gives you a detailed insight into each of these. His voice is mostly pragmatic and he is not offering solutions- just telling you as it is. If you need a low-down on what are some of the key challenges for us and our kids- this book is a must read. Most of these topics are extremely relevant in our day to day lives and reading the book will help one understand how to navigate them.

I am all set for Homo Deus now but I think I can only do one Harari book a year so 2020 it is! 🙂

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: Fantasy, Comedy

What an absolutely hilarious book! In my quest for reading newer genres and dicovering famous authors I ve not read before, I picked Good Omens up. Also, because the series on Amazon Prime is on my watchlist and it made sense to read the book first.

I am totally in love with both Crowley and Aziraphale. Poles apart but oh so similar. Whoever said devil and angels don’t get along needs to see their chemistry :). It took me way longer to finish this book than I normally do but thats always the case with me when I pick up new genres. I am warming up to “fantasy” now. 

Sacrifice by Sharon Bolton: Fiction, Psychological Thriller

Have you ever felt so completely taken in by a story that it doesn’t matter how it ends- you just want to absorb it all. Sacrifice is so spell binding in its depiction of Shetland and the scary old Nordic tales that you cannot help getting sucked into the world. Whether you’re into the genre or not, Sacrifice is a must read.
On a slightly unrelated note, did you know Surgeons in the UK are referred to as Mr/Ms/Mrs and not Drs.!

This is Sharon’s debut book! I am a big fan of her writing but coming up with a book like Sacrifice as a first attempt is no mean feat even for her!

BearTown by Frederik Backman: Fiction, Sports

It’s a delightful read! I’ve read Backman’s other books before but this story is like no other. On the surface it’s a book about a sport I know nothing about and have no interest in. But the way he weaves it beautifully with the characters and human nature- I hung on to every single word. Your heart will break into a million pieces as you read the book but you’ll be left hopeful and happy by the end of it. The insight into why anyone does what they do and the how layered love is, is just incomprehensible and still he deals with it beautifully.

The Defense by Steve Cavanagh: Fiction, Legal Thriller, Action

I’ve read my fair share of Grishams and Steve Martinis over the years. Nothing beats an intelligent legal thriller. I am glad I got introduced to Eddie Flynn. My new favourite protagonist. Street smarts meet courtroom antics meet edge of the seat thrill. I think I ve found my next binge read in Steve Cavanagh.

Pics from shoot for Sutraa

Outfit: Shraddha Agarwal

Pics: Tejaswi Ghagada

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  • Reply Sneha December 6, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Gorgeous Juhi- can see the 100 day challenge effect! Also, 55 books! Really!

    • Reply Closet Buddies December 6, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you so much Sneha! 100 day challenge ka to pata nahin but yeah even I am amazed at my reading feat this year. Pat on the back 😉

  • Reply Payal Joshi December 6, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    55 books! I have not read even 10% percent of it this year- you truly are multi talented. Also, lovely pics

    • Reply Closet Buddies December 6, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      thanks so much Payal. It’s simply a case of giving up on social time for some me time. Prioritize!

  • Reply Paresh Kumar December 6, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    I started Sapiens 6 months ago and have not been able to finish it yet. How did you do it?

    • Reply Closet Buddies December 6, 2019 at 12:22 pm

      haha it does take a bit of patience- but frankly I found it interesting. Took me longer than most books but managed to finish it.

  • Reply Rudrakshi June 29, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Quite a lovely read !! I have been searching for a bridal blouse design, just the same as yours for my wedding reception, I am so happy that i found your blog !! Keep the inspiration coming ! XOxo

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