My Year in Books - 2022

Here’s what I read in 2022 - in order of what I liked most (highest rated first):

1. Project Hail Mary

cover image Author: Andy Weir
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s an exhilarating, quirky science fiction that’s also funny & emotional. The science is imaginative and believable. As Rocky would say:
“Good, good, good.”

2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

cover image Author: J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Excellent conversations, interesting new characters and a few deeply emotional flashbacks!
“Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.”

3. Sophie’s World

cover image Author: Jostein Gaarder, Paulette Møller
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Philosophy 101 - a simplistic introduction to philosophy. The book covers the history of how philosophy developed - right from Democritus in ~400 BC to Socrates, Descartes, Galileo, Hume, Kant & Marx.

The content is easy to absorb since the narrator is teaching philosophy to a 15 year old. Sophie’s world compels you to explore more of the original work of these philosophers and that’s a major win for the book!

4. Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches

cover image Author: Carlo Ancelotti
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Insightful nuggets on leading without noise and drama. Entertaining anecdotes from the footballing world. Carlo has trained some of the best footballers of the modern era and the stories about them are fascinating. Don Carlo’s calm and composed mannerism is straight out of the Godfather universe!

5. The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last

cover image Author: Azra Raza
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Dr Raza’s take on the menace of cancer and the underlying science is easy to understand. The insights on the misdirected research funding are an eye opener. Anecdotes from patients and their struggles are both heart-breaking and inspiring.

I loved the poetic view on cancer - the book is peppered with Urdu couplets to reinforce a point and that makes for a rich reading experience.

6. Understanding the Founding Fathers: An Enquiry into the Indian Republic’s Beginnings

cover image Author: Rajmohan Gandhi
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A good revisit to history for the post-truth world that we live in.
“They were not perfect; they were unable to prevent the great tragedies associated with Partition; but they made a mark on the world; and they left for us a house of which we can be proud, and where we can grow, if we want, in liberty, justice and order.”

7. अपनी अपनी बीमारी

cover image Author: Harishankar Parsai
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

बेहतरीन व्यंग! अगर भारतीय मिडिल क्लास से कभी आपका सरोकार रहा है, तो परसाई जी की सारी कहानियाँ और किरदार आपको अपने से लगेंगे।

8. Into the Wild

cover image Author: Jon Krakauer
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Rather than love, than fame, than money, give me truth.”
Chris McCandless’ value system has a reflection in how his story is told - Jon Krakauer is searching honestly for truth without being judgemental about Chris’ life. His family’s accounts of loss and how they dealt with it were moving. The constantly changing timelines made it a bit harder to follow the story. Like Chris and his life, Into the Wild is intense.

9. Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

cover image Author: Richard P. Rumelt
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Good case studies and a brisk read. It’s a great primer on what’s not business strategy.

10. A Clear Blue Sky

cover image Author: Jonny Bairstow, Duncan Hamilton
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This was a breezy read about not-so-breezy circumstances that Jonny Bairstow grew up in. Cricket is just a backdrop. The book is more about mental health, coping with the loss of a loved one, the burden of expectation and how a closely knit family can help deal with all this.
The book also has interesting anecdotes from the ground. I loved the one with Jonny fielding at short leg against Sachin Tendulkar and remembering how this batsman also played with his father.

11. बनारस टॉकीज

cover image Author: Satya Vyas
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

कॉलेज के दिनों पर लिखी तीन दोस्तों की हल्की-फुल्की सी कहानी है। मसलन इसे हिंदी का Five Point Someone भी मान सकते हैं।
बनारस की भाषा का ज़ायका अच्छा है। कहानी में और गहराई की गुंजाइश है। तीनों पात्रों का चित्रण अच्छा है - दादा का किरदार और संवाद मुझे पसंद आया।

Written on December 31, 2022