Monday, 6 January 2014

Brajesh : My Top 10 Reads of 2013 – Books

I read over 50 books last year, and possibly purchased over 100. While I can nail the number of books read exactly to 57, the number for purchased books will be an approximation, as my wife is in-charge of ordering books for both of us. The genres I read last year, were wide and the authors varied. As with every attempt of life, some reads were delicious, some obnoxious. Fiction, Travelogue, Cartoon Collection, Literary Classics, Thrillers, Leadership Guide, Anthologies, Mythological and Speculative Fiction, my last year read-list had it all.

Through the year I clicked a phone picture of every book I read, posted the same along with a short review on my Facebook Album “Soul Food (Books) in 2013″. My wife, the more disciplined writer and chronicler gave space to my reviews on her own blog – “Kim’s Bookshelf” (started in 2007), which she promptly re-titled “Kim and Brajesh’s Book Shelf”.

It is thanks to this FB album and blog that I am able to construct this post. I also rate every book on a five point scale along with my reviews. The list below consists exclusively of 4.5+ raters. My “Top 10 Reads of 2013″  list has 6 Fiction, 2 Non Fiction and 1 each from Travelogue & Management genre. A click on the title of the book will take you to a short review hosted on our site.

Top 10 Reads of 2013
10. King Solomon’s Mines. A Quest in Ethiopia by Tahir Shah [Travelogue] 
9. Goat Days by Benyamin [Non Fiction] (Translated from Malayalam) 
8. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez [Fiction]
7. How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid [Fiction]
6. The Visitor by Lee Child [Fiction]
5. Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child [Fiction]
4. Why CEOs Fail by Dotlich & Cairo [Management]
3. The Kill List by Frederick Forsyth [Fiction]
2. Cain by Jose Saramago [Fiction]
1. Our Moon Has Blood Clots – The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits  by Rahul Pandita [Non Fiction] This also gets “My Book of the Year 2013″ mention. This was one of the only two books to get the perfect 5.0/5.0 score in 2013.

As you would have noticed that some of the prominent genres are under-represented in the list above, I thought it would only be right to compile another  list of top 5 honorable mentions for the lover of other genres. Each of the below books got a rating of 4.0/5.0,  except “Madhushala” which was the second book with a perfect 5.0/5.0 rating for the year. 

Top 5 Honorable Mentions (other genres)
  1. Madhushala by Harivanshrai Bacchan [Hindi Poetry]
  2. Popcorn Essayists by Jai Arjun Singh [Collected Essays on Movies]
  3. Cat v/s Human. Another Dose of Catnip by Yasmine Surovec  [Cartoons]
  4. 9 to 5 Fit by Namita Jain [Health & Fitness]
  5. 99 Thoughts on Ganesha by Devdutt Pattanaik [Mythology]
I would like to mention that these lists consist of books “I” Read in 2013, and NOT releases of last year. While the list does have many releases from last year, it also has classics from yesteryear.  Hope this list  and the linked reviews will give you motivation to pick-up a few and feel the same joy as I experienced.

This article would be incomplete, without mentioning  the 4 books which my friends released in 2013. Each of these are an inspiration to me personally.  All four of my friends mentioned  below are my heroes and role-models. It takes enormous courage to write a book and enormous talent to write good ones like these three have done. So I would recommend each of these, even though I don’t rate books written by my friends.. 

Friend’s Books
  1. The Secret of Leadership by Prakash Iyer [Management]
  2. A Mentor A Novice & A Cup of Cappuccino by Subrat Padhi [Management]
  3. A Pinch of This, A Handful of That by Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal [Food]
  4. Leadership – it’s in your DNA by Rhea Duttagupta [Leadership]
Books Read in 2014 (My Life Line)

I am excitedly looking forward to 2014, as you can see from the attached picture of my reading pile.This pile is going to explode dramatically, courtesy my annual pilgrimage to  Jaipur Literature Festival coming-up in end January.

I also wish you all a Happy Reading New Year for 2014. Keep reading till we meet again.

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