My 2014 Reads

It’s very cold today. I sit inside my room, sipping tea and reading what might be my last read this year. Suddenly, I get the thought of bringing out all my 2014 books and see how my year as a reader was. So, here is my list in chronological order:

1) Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Raksha Bharadia (Jan 1st – Jan 25th) – This book was recommended to me by famous radio city RJ, Simran Kohli. 101 short stories share with you some of their most meaningful life experiences, focussing on subjects as varied as love, learning and letting go. These are heart-warming tales, about becoming the best person you can be, having hope in the face of adversity, and being happy with who you are. These stories will help you move forward towards a richer, more fulfilling and rewarding life. I really enjoyed the read. It is a book which I can read multiple times, no matter in what mood I am in. Stories so simple and yet so powerfully described.

2) Where The Rainbow Ends by Anurag Anand (Jan 25th – Feb 8th) – A book from an author I knew of. Picked out of curiosity and after reading great media reviews. A fiction love story. Nice story, great characters, gripping plot and of course, great writing. Myra’s character was the beautiful of all. Felt an instant connect with her. And the end was simply deep and left me teary eyes.

3) Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks (Feb 8th – Feb 28th) – Nobody needs to recommend Nicholas Sparks. I am a die-hard fan of his writing 🙂 For those who cherished The Notebook and readers waiting to discover the magic of Nicholas Sparks’s storytelling, here is an achingly lovely novel of happenstance, desire, and the choices that matter most.. Some stories are so aching that several times, they make you cry for the characters. Some stories are so engaging that you just do not want to go to work but finish just one more chapter. Some stories are so close to heart that you almost begin to find glimpses of the characters in your own lives. Some stories just stay with you forever.

Nicholas Sparks “Message in a Bottle” makes you fall in love with love again. It makes you yearn for your loved one, makes you value love and life even more. After a long time, I have read a love story which stirred my soul.

Last few days, I have not been able to sleep, thinking about these characters. I was in a plane today with my head going dizzy. But somehow could not keep the book aside even for a moment. The characters are so close to reality and yet so far from it. The fact that Nicholas’ own parents had a similar story is all the more painful. Thanks Sir for keeping love alive 🙂

4) The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (March 1st – March 17th ) – A book I picked out of curiosity. One of my friend, Pushkar was reading it and recommended it. The book is a fiction written in the backdrop of Maoist revolution in Bengal. Frankly, I felt the book was over-hyped. The worst part of the book was that it just drags on w/o much purpose, losing flow at many points. This one was a disappointment for me.

5) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (March 17th – March 30th) – Another author whom I love to read. A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love. A shocking read on lives in war times, women oppression. A page turner which did not let me sleep till I finished it. A very heavy read. A book which can haunt you for days long after you have read the book.

6) The One Minute Manager by K.H. Blanchard (March 31st – April 9th) – Picked out of curiosity after a friend who had read it recommended it. A typical self help book. Not my taste.

7) The Immortals of Meluha (Shiva Trilogy #1) by Amish Tripathi (Jun 1 – Jun 15th) – Amish is one of the most successful Indian authors and his trilogy is recommended worldwide. A read which does not let you put the book away till you reach the last page. A great combination of love, mythology, thriller. I would have loved to see more of mythology element though. Also, I do not think relating it to Hindu God made any sense. Just by using their names, there is nothing additional that the book gains. Apart from this, a fantastic read!

8) Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind by Biz Stone (Jun 15th – Jun 23rd) – Amazon recommended this to me 🙂 Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, discusses the power of creativity and how to harness it, through stories from his remarkable life and career. Its an awesome read! A great combination of biography, philosophy, business. What makes it even wonderful is the authenticity and the fact that it is based on the author’s real life. Makes me believe much more in myself. A book which I am sure I am gonna read over and over again. A book which I would recommend to one and all!

9) Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive: 101 Inspirational Stories about Changing Your Life through Positive Thinking by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark (Jun 24th – Jul 9th ) – Picked up as I liked my previous read in this series quite a lot. 101 success stories about the power of a positive attitude. Could not relate to though, as most are non Indian contexts. Not as powerful as some of the other books in the same series.

10) Indra Nooyi: A Biography by Annapoorna (Jul 10th – Jul 17th ) – Picked it up as I respect and admire Indra Nooyi, her achievements, her personality. Wanted to have an understanding of her professional journey. But the book lacks flow, lacks emotional connect, lacks a story, lacks what the powerful lady Indra Nooyi stands for.

11) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Jul 17th – Jul 25th) – Read this book while on my way from home to office and back. While everyone in the office bus complained of the long travel, I found myself lost in this beautiful love story. Even though, the end and the story line are somewhat predictable, the book keeps you hooked. At many times, I could feel the pain which the characters felt. Many a times, I laughed and cried in their journey. Many a times, I pondered over their statements and how deep they were. A book which subtly makes you realize the value of life and loved ones. A book which makes you thank God for keeping your loved ones healthy. A must read if you believe in pain, love, life and relations.

Few lines of the book will probably stay with me for my life. Example: “The world is not a wish-granting factory.”

“Pain demands to be felt.”

“The only person to whom I wanted to talk of Augustus’s death was Augustus.”

12) Lessons in Forgetting by Anita Nair (Jul 26th – Aug 10th) – I picked up this one out of curiosity on seeing its movie’s poster. The book is an emotional ride. The slow pace of the book makes it better to absorb the emotions of the characters. At several occasions, I could imagine the characters in front of myself and feel sad/happy for and with them. A great style of writing too! The title is very very powerful. Forgetting is truly a virtue and helps one move on in life. Anita Nair is now one of my favourite Indian authors and I plan to read all her books.

13) Railonama by Anupama Sharma (Aug 11th – Aug 30th) – A collection of stories around Indian Railways. Compiled and published by one of my dearest friend Anupama, the girl behind Pick-a-Fight. The book is very beautifully compiled and brings forward the importance of rail journeys in every Indian’s life, whether rich or poor, whether young or old. A great collection of stories, most stories are so easy to relate to. Anupama has done a great job in compiling these and bringing such plethora of experiences together in this book. Must Read!

14) Gifted : Inspiring Stories of People with Disabilities by Sudha Menon and V.R. Ferose (Oct 17th – Oct 23rd) – When I released my book ‘Because Life is a Gift’, a media person and a friend of mine told me a week ago, he had read a similar book ‘Gifted’. A big coincidence for me aroused my curiosity. The subject is very very close to my heart and so are the stories. Wonderful book which I would recommend to all. And if you are touched by these inspiring stories and cannot get enough of it, do also read ‘Because Life is a Gift’ 🙂

I feel quite honored that my writing is similar to such big names in the Indian writing as well as Indian corporate industry

15) Why I Failed: Lessons from Leaders by Shweta Punj (Oct 24th – Nov 11th) – Prominent personalities open up about failure and learning from it. A good read. But the stories are so deep that each story can be a book in itself. So, without much context and with each story being so brief, it loses its essence if you do not know the full context of that person’s work.

16) Paperback Dreams by Rahul Saini (Nov 12th – Dec 2nd) – A fiction around Indian publishing industry. A powerful story but not done with the seriousness it deserved.

17) Seven Conversations by Nishtha Tripathi (Dec 2nd – Dec 14th) – Recommended to me by a friend. A book on understanding one’s connection to God and meaning of life through seven conversations of a girl with her mother, friends and God. What is love ? What is happiness ? We all struggle with the same question. Once you start reading the conversation of the character Meera with Lord Krsna it will help you in finding the answer.The book has a very simple story, story of a girl next door. A story of pain and healing. A journey so beautiful. A book which connects you to God without really preaching it or being too loud. The best line of the book

“When loving becomes as involuntary as your breathing – you would have reached the state where loving means simply existing, it is not done to reap any benefits”.

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And of course my own books which I read and reread quite often ..

There were some more…books I abandoned, books I had bought by their covers and then did not quite enjoyed reading. Namely, “The Design of Everyday Things” (went too technical) , “Purpose driven life” ( too much philosophy where I did not find much relevance, “The Mother-in-Law” (picked it up out of curiosity but its very very cliched), “Never Eat Alone” ( not my taste)..

More on my list..”Lean In”, “Quiet” , “Lemon Girl” …

Happy Reading 🙂

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Author of "My Beloved's MBA Plans", "Because Life Is A Gift" & "Corporate Avatars"

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