The books you read in a year can to an extent define the kind of year you have had. So towards the end of 2013, I sat down to look at what I was reading through the year and what came out is a mixed bag. Let me talk about the books that left an impact on me this year.
In Non-Fiction quite a few memoirs dominated my reading this year. Most poignant were the memoirs of Rahul Pandita in Our Moon has Blood Clots where he talks about the personal experience of being a part of Kashmiri Pandit Exodus from Kashmir Valley. I could not eat properly for few days after reading the book, it was so moving. Ma Anand Sheela’s memoirs give an insiders story of Osho’s Ashram but it could have been any other ashram. I loved her story and enjoyed interviewing her. She is the most prompt person I have met in my blogging journey. Tavleen Singh’s memoir throw light on the journey of Sonia Gandhi from the drawing rooms of Delhi to ruling the country. Salman Rushdie’s memoir Joseph Anton was exhausting.
In travel books Sudeep Chakravarti’s Highway 39 takes across the Eastern most states of India – Nagaland and Manipur and opens it up for us to know them. Dar Dar Gange by Abhay Mishra and Pankaj Ramendu takes us across the river Ganga and gives a glimpse of the exploitation it is going
through. Around India in 80 Trains by Monisha Rajesh is a fascinating journey across the variety of Indian trains and across its four corners. Sanjeev Sanyal’s The Land of Seven Rivers gives a very interesting geographical history of the country with many amusing observations.
In Business books How Stella Saved the Farm by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble breaks the norm of how business books are written by using a fable to convey the principles of Innovation. Vinay Dabholkar & Rishikesha T. Krishnan’s – 8 steps to Innovation talks about very practical aspects of Innovation in large organizations. The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen of Google looks at the future of super connected world from policy perspective and how it would impact us.
In Fiction, I read a few brilliant translations – The Lonely Monarch translated by Swapna Datta whom I also got to meet at Publishing Next conference in Goa, Dozakhnama by Arunava Sinha, Raja Ravi Varma by Vikrant Pande and Cobalt Blue by Jerry Pinto. The best fiction that I read this year is for sure The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti – a book that introduced me to the world in and around Israel. 50 Writers, 50 Books by Pradeep Sabestian, Chandra Siddan is a beautiful analysis of Indian literature in almost all Indian languages. Unfortunately not all the books mentioned here are available but hopefully someone will work on making them available.
Tell me what were your best reads of 2013!