For the past few years, I’ve been sharing the book recap for the year including byte-sized reviews of the books I read that year. When it comes to fiction I usually stick to my favorite authors like Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse, and Ruskin Bond. But this year, I tried some new writers and really enjoyed their work.
Note to self: Don’t be afraid to explore new genres or authors!
I also used to share insights from my reading activity in the past, (which I track using a Google sheet – more about that here), but I didn’t keep a proper record this time. So, instead, let’s jump right into talking about the books I read this year.
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|This is a superb collection of some of the finest works of P.G. Wodehouse, consisting of short stories, passages from novels, and a few prefaces. This can be a perfect introduction to the comic genius of Wodehouse for someone who is not aware of it, but it also serves as a fun bedside book to be enjoyed slowly. This book also helped me find some gems from PG Wodehouse that I would have otherwise missed reading.
A word of caution though – PG Wodehouse is a writer from the early 20th century when folks didn’t give much thought to political correctness, so you might come across words or passages that do not align with your beliefs.
Highly recommended for P.G. Wodehouse fans and new readers alike.
|Murder In The Mews
|Another book from Agatha Christie’s stable. This is a collection of 4 short novellas featuring Hercule Poirot – Murder In The Mews, The Incredible Theft, Dead Man’s Mirror, Triangle At Rhodes. While the stories vary in quality, you get to witness the genius of Hercule Poirot’s grey cells in each of the 4 stories. I personally liked Dead Man’s Mirror and Murder In The Mews.
Penned during the early stages of Christie’s illustrious career, these novellas are nowhere close to her later masterpieces. However, if you’re looking for a brisk and enjoyable read, this collection will not disappoint you.
|“Something Fresh” by P.G. Wodehouse is the first novel in the beloved Blandings Castle series, introducing readers to the eccentric Lord Emsworth and his quirky family. I learned about this book by reading a passage of it in ‘Week-end Wodehouse.’
What sets Wodehouse apart is his mastery of language and his ability to create a world that is both absurd and endearing. If you enjoy classic British comedy with a touch of farce, this book will leave you smiling and eager to explore more of Wodehouse’s literary creations.
|Taken At Flood
|I don’t think this Hercule Poirot book is one of Agatha Christie’s best. Additionally, the inclusion of a romantic subplot intertwined with the mystery feels rather weak and might understandably raise some eyebrows in today’s world.
|I can’t remember why I chose this book – I’m not usually someone who likes trying new things. But I’m so glad I did! What a remarkable find it turned out to be!
Anxious People, written by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman in his native language was later translated to English. The book is sad at places and makes you cry, but it is also heartwarming, funny, and uplifting! A lot of unexpected twists keep you guessing. At its core, it’s a story that connects with the human side of all of us.
There’s a Netflix series based on the book. While I haven’t seen it, I don’t think it can capture the essence of the book.
A definite must-read!
|A Man Called Ove
|After I finished reading “Anxious People” I was looking for other books by Fredrik Backman. That’s when I discovered this gem. Just like in “Anxious People,” Fredrik Backman does a great job blending that perfect mix of heartache and humor in this book. The way he writes will make you smile, cry, and really care about that grumpy old man called Ove, like you’ve known him forever.
There is a movie starring Tom Hanks based on this book. You can catch it on Netflix, but honestly, the book is much better. A must-read for sure!
|Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
|After enjoying two of Fredrik Backman’s books I decided to explore new authors and picked up this book as a result. It didn’t disappoint.
This debut novel by Gail Honeyman, while not as relatable for me as Anxious People or The Man Called Ove, is well-written with plenty of humor. Eleanor is a socially awkward girl who has a hard time making friends and struggles with emotional trauma that she doesn’t even recognize. The story is both tragic and funny, exploring themes of friendship, trust, and self-forgiveness.
Go for it, I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.
|Masters Of Scale
|The author, Reid Hoffman, has a podcast by the same name and the book has fragments of interview recordings from the actual podcast, but is more structured as it is organized by concepts and also has some additional content.
The book does a good job of inspiring you using a collection of anecdotical success stories, but I would take that with a pinch of salt due to the strong survivorship bias. Having said that, you will find some brilliant insights in this book, and reading it will be a good investment of your time.
|The Almanac Of Naval Ravikant
|This is a collection of various tweets and interviews of Naval Ravikant, compiled and structured by his friend Eric Jorgenson. It is a self-help book and based on where you stand on this genre, you will either find it full of pearls of wisdom or cliche quotes! I see a lot of LinkedIn influencers using the content from this book (at times without any credits!). The book is available for free online on the official website, but if you need a paperback you can get it from Amazon.
|14 Stories That Inspired Satyajit Ray
|Satyajit Ray is a well-known figure among Indian cinema lovers. This book brings together 14 short stories penned by eminent writers such as Premchand, Rabindranath Tagore, Rajshekhar Basu, and others, all of which were masterfully turned into captivating movies by Satyajit Ray. Each story is accompanied by its film poster, often designed by Ray himself.
For Satyajit Ray fans, this book is a must-have in your collection. Even for those unfamiliar with his work, get it for a delightful literary treat.
I also came to a realization this year – that I’m turning into a book hoarder! Here’s what I am doing about it.
This was all from 2023. Do share the books that you read this year.
May 2024 be a year of literary delights for you! Happy Reading 🙂