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Best Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2020

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Out of the 48 or so books I read in 2020, 25 percent — that’s only 12 books — were non-fiction. The rest were fiction books and children’s tales.

I started reading non-fiction in 2017 when I started this blog On My Canvas. I always read stories and novels, but nonfiction wasn’t a big thing around me. Not that reading fiction was a trend in my social circle either. I can count the selected few readers amongst my friends, batch mates, and colleagues at my fingertips.

There was one guy in college who loved Shakespeare and read philosophy. There is a poetry lover and creator who is still a great friend. Some of the elites from Vidya Mandir and other high-class Delhi schools could talk about Mark Twain and J.R.R Tolkien but only seldom did I see them with a book. Or maybe I wasn’t noticing books at that time myself. 

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Best Fiction Books I Read in 2020

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I write because I read. I grow because I read. I can never be bored because I read.

Out of the 48 or so books I read in 2020, 75 percent — that is 36 books — were fiction. The rest were non-fiction books, children’s stories, and travel books.

Even though most of my writing is personal growth and travel-focused, I also write short stories and personal essays.

And for any kind of creative writing — travel, short stories, and even self-development — reading fictional books is crucial. Otherwise, how would I know how to describe a scene on the street or a conversation amongst two people sitting in a cafe? How would I keep the articles interesting and give them a story arc? A beginning, a middle, and an end, you know.

Apart from helping me write, fiction short story books and novellas are interesting and entertaining. They teach a lot about the history of the world. Fiction books also unravel the behavior and inner workings of human beings. (Here are 21 books that changed my life.)

So while The Outsider taught me how straightforward life can be, Gora and Anna Karenina showed me a lot about the desires and limitations of human beings while telling the history of India and Russia. I wouldn’t have known so much about the Brahmo Samaj and the Russian high class if not for those two books.

I’m thankful.

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Highs and Lows of the Year 2020 – 2021 Plans Included

First of all, I thank my loyal and kind readers who return to On My Canvas time and again. Without you, this blog wouldn’t be this positive, experimental, and inspirational place it is becoming. I appreciate your company and promise to keep this platform as peaceful, honest, fun, and informative as I had intended on Day One. 

To stick around to see for yourself, subscribe to my weekly newsletter. There I send weekly updates, my writing, best thoughts of the week, things I have been reading, off the hook travel tips, stuff I’ve been watching, and my life updates, too. It is the best way to stay connected with me.

If you like the kind of ideas I share, you will find that newsletter informative, enjoyable, and compact. So go here and subscribe now, or use the subscription box below. Welcome along in this journey of travel, discovery, and personal growth 🙂

Now let us talk about 2020. 

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How to Find Your Passions – Playing Devil’s Advocate

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How to Find Passion, Hard Questions to Test Your Passion, How to Follow Your Passion, and What If One Doesn’t Have a Passion

You can jump to the individual section right away through this Table of Content

  1. How to find your passions
  2. Questions to ask yourself to test your passions
  3. How to pursue your passion
  4. What to do if you don’t have a passion

 

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Three Thriving Years of On My Canvas – And Future Plans

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And just like that, On My Canvas completed three thriving years on the internet.

Congratulations to us all who have been part of this budding platform through which I want to spread love, life, and hope. I cannot thank my readers enough for sticking with me all the while, for sending me immensely inspirational messages day and night, and for asking me to write more and more. On some hard days, I could not have done it without your endless emails and witty comments.

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21 Best Books To Change Your Life [They Changed Mine]

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Has anyone ever asked you to read books to change your life? I would go as far as to say reading is one of the synonyms of personal growth.

I started reading books, both fiction and non-fiction, sincerely only for the last five years. But during this time, I read some books that shifted the course of my life. They exposed me to unbelievable facts. They laid open the science I didn’t know exist. They told me stories I could never imagine. They made me cry like I hadn’t before. They made me laugh as if I had nothing to worry about. They accompanied me when I was lonely. They told me life can be lived in many ways. They reassured me it was okay to be who I was. But that I could learn, too.

By a life changing book, I don’t necessarily mean a bestseller.

By life changing books I mean those in which the most obvious things have been said in the simplest form; or those that tell the history of life not as how people want us to know but how it happened; or those that show life writhing out of the mouth of suffering with full force; or those that remind us of adventures we had as little children that give sense to our today, too; or those that seem long and convoluted but essentially they talk about things we have always ignored; or those that make us reconsider if the thing is worth beating ourselves about; or those that make us look at life with a child’s eyes again; or those that make us ask questions we were too scared to even think about; or those that unravel the science behind all this and help us be a little less clueless; or those that give us hope that change is nothing but little things done every day; or those that show us compassion and tell us we are okay as who we are.

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Life Lessons to Excel in Your 30s

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Rules to Live Your Thirties By.

On my 30th birthday three years ago, I had written 30 life lessons my twenties had taught me. From exercising regularly to fixing a hung laptop before anything else to not running after money but finding my calling and chasing experiences were the core learnings of my 20s.

As I’m about to turn 33 in less than two weeks, I found myself riding the life lesson wave again. “How am I managing life in the 30s” question stared at me.

Contrary to how it might look like, I always say that age is just a number(as many of my friends told me when I asked them to contribute to this article). Ignoring my steeping age that rushed towards my 30th birthday like a break-less ambassador car and blocking my parents who looked at me as if the time for me to do anything good had gone by, I shifted my life gears in my late 20s — changed my career, left my apartment to travel long-term, found the love of my life, took physical health sincerely, and finally chose life skills over money and ignored short-term gratification.

Though my late 20s lifestyle has poured over into my thirties, life feels different now. Personal awareness and growth have been the top priorities on my mind since I graduated into the 30s decade.

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Why You Should Break The Routine, Sometimes

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To Break the Routine or Not to Break the Routine?

 

I woke up feeling low-spirited today morning.

As my 7:10 am alarm rang, I extended my arm and fumbled for my phone on the floor, where it lays at night. I switched off the alarm. Then I pulled my arm inside my white duvet again and closed my eyes. My partner shut off his 7:20 am alarm, too.

While he pushed his phone under his crumbly pillow, we took a peek at each other, and then our eyes closed.

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Don’t Feel Like Working? Read This

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What to Do When You Don’t Want to Work?

 

What do I do when I don’t want to work?

I have put my computer aside more than once to cry over an unjust email or to get my fair share in a fight with my partner or another close friend. 

I have had bad days. I have sometimes taken off on those hard days. Instead of writing, I went out on a drive and bought tiger prawns or cried and slept or read Charles Darwin while drowning myself in chamomile tea.

These bouts of sulking in my misery or fighting followed by pampering and sometimes spending time with the other fighter of the duel leading to the exhilaration and then to that moment of clarity where I justified the time spent crying as just another day lived and felt that life was as clear as a night sky have sometimes lasted for an hour and up to a day or even more.

One young summer of my life, I was living in Himachal, the home of the Himalayas. While learning the flute, practicing yoga, working on my blog, and trying to stick to Vipassana meditation techniques, I didn’t realize that I had buried myself under a lot of pressure to be the perfect Bohemian. Ironically, I was on a laid-back mountain staycation.

One Friday, my abuse of self-expectations pushed me to the abysmal depths of moroseness. I didn’t even want to lift my feet to walk to the bathroom. I spent two to three days lying in bed and weeping and sleeping and avoiding everyone and then hiking to a mountain alone.

 In the two days of nothingness, I ignored all work, didn’t practice the flute, and put the yoga and meditation aside for wiser people. And on the third day of the rendezvous, I hung out with my travel friends and chatted away in the sun while eating palak paneer with garlic naan.

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Creative Routine and Rituals – How to Dream and Create Consistently

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While some people can’t focus until they have meandered around for hours and finally give in to guilt, others sit and get amazing work done by just holding the pen right: having a daily creative routine could be complicated or could come simple and natural. 

What does a creative schedule even mean? A schedule that inspires creativity and helps the creators (writers, painters, entrepreneurs, designers, artists, and other creative professionals) forge their imaginations most desirably.

Also, creativity is subjective. A coder is creative when she can write a 100-line code in 10. A marketeer is creative when he can sell toothpaste such as Pepsodent to the human race. 

Anyone with original ideas (in or out of their work sphere) is creative. 

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77 Deep Questions About Life [And My Answers]

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Important Life Questions to Ask Yourself

 

I remember a quote that once said, ask the right questions. Over the years I have realized that questions are much more important than answers. Without asking the right queries we can never hope for the right knowledge.

But it took me a while to even understand what questions I should ask of myself. Some of those doubts were always there in the background, hovering, emphasizing that I didn’t understand life. I had a vague feeling that I was dismaying over things that didn’t matter while ignoring the universal realities that would pull me out of my little problem bubbles. But I wasn’t sure. And I never took out time to pin those deep questions about life, and, hence, could never answer them.

The process of questioning deepened when I started writing and reading full-time. As I had redesigned my life from a corporate cycle of drudgery, I was too eager to question everything and to be better at things. It was like I had found vigor again. The more life changing books I read, the more I understood, and the more life questions I had.

As Franz Kafka once said, “Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate… but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins.”

The effort continues.

I am putting down some thought-provoking questions that have hitherto found me here. I have followed a natural course and have clubbed thematic questions together.

I have answered all the questions to keep an account of my thoughts on the matter. As you will see, I have some answers, but some of the questions to life still dodge me. You can completely ignore my responses and find your own.

Along with the important questions about life and their answers, I am also putting down the books that have helped me understand the matter.

I plan to update these self reflection questions and answers year-on-year or whenever my understanding changes.

Till then, I present to you the questionnaire of life from my lens.

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