My Year In Books – 2020

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As some of you know, I maintain a Google sheet to keep a track of the books I read, and at the end of the year, I analyze the data collected over the year. 2020 was no different in that aspect. But what was new though in 2020 was the concept of ‘comfort books’ that a friend introduced me to. This is how he described it:

A comfort book is a book that, whenever it is re-read, transports you to moments of calm in your own life.

These are the books that I have read in the past, which I can turn to as a last resort when I am mentally drained and nothing that I read could hold my attention or help me escape from the reality.

Not every book can be a comfort book! A comfort book should be able to remind you within minutes why you enjoy reading. These books are a treasure that you need to guard – you do not read them so often that they lose their charm, because finding a replacement won’t be easy. You read your comfort book when you want to re-capture the mental space you were in when you first read it.

My comfort reads include The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie The Pooh, the Harry Potter series, stories of Satyajit Ray, and a few stories of Sherlock Holmes.

2020 was definitely full of moments when I had to dip into my comfort books. But I did not include these in the yearly reading analysis that I do.

Here is the visual from 2020 that shows a few insights from my reading activity (click to enlarge).

Book Insights 2020

A quick comparison with the analysis for 2019 shows that I read less in 2020.
While I read for a total of 100 hours in 2019, I could only manage 64 hours in 2020. Similarly, I read 4700 pages in 2019, while in 2020 that was reduced to 3700 pages.

I also looked at my reading streak – there were 7 months where I read for less than 10 days! Not good at all!

Reading Streak 2020

Note that the above two visuals do not contain my comfort books and the time I spent reading those.

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Here is a list of the books that I read this year (excluding the comfort reads):

Never Lost AgainA fascinating look behind the creation of Google Maps and Google Earth, from someone who was present at the very beginning. Highly recommended!
The Seven Dials MysteryThough there is no Mr. Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple in this Agatha Christie mystery, the book is quite interesting and keeps you hooked till the end.
PinocchioThis is a classic that needs no introduction. It is the journey of a wooden puppet from a naughty and lying puppet to a good and loving boy. Quite fun to read!
The Murder Of Roger AckroydOne of the best Hercule Poirot books. If you love murder mystery you must definitely read this.
A Matter of HonourA bit James Bondish, but quite an entertaining book from Jeffrey Archer. You’ll also learn some historical facts.
Voting At FosterganjCollection of short stories of Ruskin Bond set in a fictional town Fosterganj. Makes you want to go to the hills!
False ImpressionAnother Jeffrey Archer novel, the story is set in the backdrop of 9/11. Not one of his best works.
The Eighth GuestA collection of detective stories set in the Mughal era. Mysteries are quite simple but do well in transporting you to the Dilli of the 17th century.
The Richest Man in BabylonThe book can be completed in a few hours and is about how one can become wealthy. The premise is quite simple, and one that you might already be following – save 10% of everything you earn and invest the savings. It gets quite repetitive in my opinion!
Lord Edgware DiesA murder mystery featuring my favorite detective, Hercule Poirot, and his grey cells. As the title says, Lord Edgeware dies. A few days before his wife was heard telling everyone she’s going to kill him and how. But when he does get killed she has an air-tight alibi, even though she was seen at the scene of the crime!
A Pocket Full Of RyeI picked a Miss Marple book after a long time, and this one didn’t disappoint at all. The title and parts of the plot of the novel refer to the famous English nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence”
Big MoneyThis circular, inter-connected plot from PG Wodehouse will leave you howling with laughter! A must-read in my opinion.
The Moving FingerAnother Miss Marple mystery, but Miss Marple makes an appearance quite later in the plot. The book is about a series of anonymous letters that lead to death. Not one of the best Marple mysteries in my opinion.

Agatha Christie and PG Wodehouse are writers from the early 20th century, so you may find the language archaic!

What were your favorite books from 2020? Do recommend me a few books to read this year.

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