Books and reading

Books have been my company during sad times and happy times. Growing up as an only child in a small town in India, books helped me disappear into worlds far away from my home.

I started with mystery novels-Secret Seven, Famous Fives, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series, novels full of drama and passion -Danielle Steele and Sydney Sheldon series, books on Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Self Help, and now Memoirs, and Biographies.

I’ve read as a kid, as a teen, and now as an adult, there’s always a book tucked away in my purse. Reading is more than a hobby, it is what lights me up, after a day of work. I’d rather read than scroll, any day.

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.

Bookshops are my happy place. I remember vividly the numerous trips to the bookstores with my dad, waiting eagerly for weeks for the next book in the series to show up in that one bookstore we had in our small town. During the 2020 pandemic, when we had to shelter in place, I missed browsing the aisles of my library and the local bookstores.

Here are a few books that changed my perspective of the world and life. Perhaps they also made me a better human!

  • The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
  • Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Things That Matter by Joshua Becker
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 
  • Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying by Bronnie Ware
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
  • Rework by Jason Fried
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  • Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
  • Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  • The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun
  • The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

On Writing Well

by William Zinsser

I’ve always enjoyed writing as a hobby. Recently I’ve taken more interest in writing as I began working with the Documentation team at WordPress. This book is an excellent guide to understanding the craft of good writing with practical tips and examples.

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The Choice: Embrace the Possible

by Edith Eger

This book is her memoir and is made of three parts- one part about her trauma, and one part about how her body reacts to the trauma. Lastly how she deals with her patients and through them understands her own emotions and heals herself on the path to helping her patients.

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The Everything Store

by Brad Stone

When I picked up this book, I expected a lot of business jargon and wasn’t quite sure I would get through the 350 pages. Brad narrated the stories in simple easy-to-read English. It was quite fascinating to read about the brainchild behind Amazon.

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

by John Berendt

This is a non-fiction novel, a category I never knew existed. This is also the first crime novel I read since my teen years. I would never have picked this one if not for the recommendation from a friend.

In spite of a slow start, this book is entertaining and captivating, with quirky characters and funny rituals. I was fascinated by the historical old town, Savannah, in Georgia where the story happens, to the point where I googled the place and made a mental note to visit Savannah someday.

I Am a Girl from Africa

by Elizabeth Nyamayaro

“I Am a Girl from Africa” is about the life of a girl who beats all odds to achieve her dream of working for the United Nations and her struggles along the way.

It’s unlike any book on Africa I’ve read, filled with stories from her life in Africa, peppered with beautiful African proverbs.

The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World

by Laura Imai Messina

This book along with the pandemic crept into my subconscious and made a subtle shift in my perspectives and my priorities in life and work. It helped me get a deeper understanding of my losses, and be more gentle with myself and my reactions to life events. Sometimes, it’s comforting to know that “you’re not the only one”.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by Greg McKeown

“Essentialism” was the first book I read in 2021. After a year through the pandemic, I was ready for a fresh start. This book helped me discern what’s essential to accomplish and what’s best ignored. It will make a great re-read at the beginning of every year.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

by Marie Kondō

An introduction to the KonMari Method, a storage and tidying method advocated by Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant.

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Last updated: Nov 5, 2023