I am Sanjana and this is my first post here. I have been wanting to start a blog about my love for reading and writing in almost forever. This post has been in the drafts since July of 2017. But I guess the the fear of failure makes you put away things for two and a half years. So, in all the time that I have had, I have been motivated, nervous and demotivated so many times that I decided that the only way to get out of this vicious cycle is to snap out of it and begin writing. So here I am. I am still wrestling with the thoughts of messing up miserably, but I think I will give it a try anyway.
I started off 2019 by wanting to read 70 books through the year. Honestly, it has not been a great year, reading wise. I managed to read about 28 books and the following are the best of the books that I read this year:
1. Everything is Figureoutable- Marie Forleo
This was the most recent book that I finished in 2019. I had listened to the audiobook and it was just plain amazing. I never thought that I could ever be so hooked to a non fiction. What struck me the most about this book was how beautifully it was written. Very quickly, I forgot that I was listening to a book. It just seemed like I was just talking to a friend. I was obsessed with this from the very first line. I started listening to in on my way to work one day and listened to it throughout the day at work. If you are looking for a book with great advice that is written beautifully, this is it! You will not be able to put it down until you finish it. I believe that this post is also a result of the book!
Favorite quote: “You can do whatever you set your mind to if you just roll up your sleeves, get in there, and do it. Everything is figureoutable.”
2. Becoming- Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is indisputably one of the most inspiring women we all know. This was the first audiobook I listened to this year. Having had the entire world watch their lives from afar for eight years, this book is a beautifully written window into their lives. Written so candidly, she recounts her childhood, her education, socio-cultural and political experiences in the country as she grew up, how politics became a part of her life and her journey through losing her father and becoming a mother herself. This book never feels long and makes for a delightful read.
Favorite quote: “Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”
“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result.”
3. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on love and life from someone who’s been there – Cheryl Strayed
This is a collection of the best columns published by Cheryl Strayed as Dear Sugar. This is again one of those books that gives you amazing advice without sounding preachy. I remember making a long face when my friend first gifted this book to me. ” Just give it a try!”, she said. “You’ll like it”. I was still skeptical. But when I finally did start reading it, I was pleasantly surprised. The responses that Sugar provides are just beautiful and personalized that it makes for a really great read.
Favorite quote: “There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding.”
“Be fearless enough to let love transform you.”
4. Eliza and Her Monsters- Francesca Zappia
Eliza Mirk is a shy awkward girl in the real world, but she is also the popular creator of Monstrous Sea- the webcomic that she has created anonymously. She is an introvert who doesn’t have any friends at school. But in the online word, she is Lady Constellation, the creator of a famous webcomic. She then meets Wallace. Wallace is himself a great fan- fiction writer of Monstrous Sea. Eliza and Wallace get to know and become closer to each other. As Eliza contemplates about revealing her identity as Lady Constellation to Wallace, her secret is accidentally shared with the world.
This book had it all. As a person who has been suffering from anxiety for a very long time now, I think this book does a great job of depicting it. I found Eliza’s character highly relatable, although she did make me want to scream at her during some parts of the story. My only issue was that it took me a long time to get into and actually finish this book. However, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to read a young-adult, contemporary book about mental health in general.
Favorite quotes: “My point is we ascribe value to the things we care most about, but sometimes we don’t stop long enough to take a look at the bigger picture”
“You found me in a constellation.”
5. The Palace of Illusions- Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
I grew up to the stories of Mahabharata. However, all the stories usually were about the male heroes of the story. Numerous tales exist giving us an insight into each of those characters. However, this book is different because of the reimagination of the character of Panchali. We see an entirely new perspective to the character otherwise known for her valor and beauty. Since we have all heard the same story innumerable times, it might take you a while to get used to seeing Panchali in a whole new light. Towards the end of the book, I had mixed feelings about her character. While I grew to be fond of her, she also made me frustrated and in some instances outright despise her. However, I think this is what made me really like the book. Chitra successfully humanizes the character of Panchali by depicting her, not as an epitome of purity, valour or beauty, but as a a human with faults and blemishes. It successfully challenges your perception of the great war and all the characters in it. It is a book for anyone looking for a historical or mythological retelling.
6. One of Us is Lying- Karen M McManus
Five students walk into detention one afternoon and one of them dies. It is soon revealed that he was killed and each of the remaining students had motive. I got hooked onto this book right from the very first page. McManus does a great job of building the story and creating the suspense throughout the book. Even if you might end up solving the mystery long before the book is complete, you will still be addicted to the captivating writing in this book. I agree that this is not one o of the best mysteries that there is, however, it does a great job in mapping the events and building the scene. One of the main reasons that I loved this book was that it was narrated in different POVs, and I really adore those.
There you go! These were the best books that I read in 2019. It really was not a great year for reading. I read a lot of books that I didn’t want to and was hence in a very long reading slump. However, with the New Year right round the corner, I have decided to set my target of reading about 75 books in the coming year. Do share with me below, any advice on how to get over a reading slump and what you get through them.