Nerve Endings Firing Away

I ended my last year’s reading review with – “I will try not to focus on the number, but rather on what I am reading.” I followed through with my advice because, in terms of the number of books, it seemed like very few, but in terms of quality, I savored much more 1. Let’s dispense with the numbers first, shall we?

I read 25 books, which is half of the number of books in 2020 but around 60% percent in terms of pages. Perhaps it was the ennui that spilled over from the previous November. Precisely 50% of the books were fiction, and only 25% were written by women. Only two books written by women were non-fiction. If nothing, I want to make a conscious effort at reading more non-fiction by women authors. I will not only focus on the topic but also on who wrote it and keep an eye out, especially for women of color.

Back in 2021, one of the most impactful books I read was Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. I resonated so strongly because I’ve witnessed caste discrimination in India and have also seen it rear its ugly head in the U.S. I have written about the parallels in another book I read in 2020. I focus on closing these equity gaps in my professional work in education. Ratchademic: Reimagining Academic Success was another thought-provoking and establishment-shaking book that I loved reading and discussing with my colleagues.

Obama’s The Promised Land was a detailed look into his now-over-scrutinized life. Although I have read his other books and know his origins, reading him is always a delight. Bullshit Jobs, The Mother Tongue, and The Secret Life of Groceries is the classic set of non-fiction books that count as page-turners for me. Through each one of them, I learned something new about a topic that I thought I was well versed in.

Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of our Nature was one hell of a magnum opus, and as fascinating as it was, it took me a long time to get through. However, it held my interest enough to avoid putting it on my Abandoned bookshelf.

My wife was devouring Michael Connelly’s Bosch books. We had just finished watching the Amazon Prime show and loved his character. She confessed that it was her comfort read with the constant are-we-out-of-the-pandemic-yet anxieties. I read one of his books in 2021, and perhaps I should also start reading books like these, just like I had relied on Madame Christie in 2020. The other fiction books I read (The Disappearing Earth, The Guest List, and Silence of the Lambs) were moody and mysterious, so perhaps those added to my blues, although they were excellent books. Andy Weil’s Project Hail Mary was a welcome relief to my nerdy self. But it was just as close to being the feeling-lonely mood.

Like last year, apart from the few promises I have made to myself, I’ll focus on being more mindful of the books I read and not be tempted by “reading challenges” and being intimidated by people’s 52-books-a-year posts.

Happy Reading!

  1. Links for all books are on my Bookshelf page. ↩︎

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