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Favorite Books of 2022

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This year I read about forty books only (apart from children’s books, online journals, and print magazines). As I don’t bother to finish the books I don’t like, most of those forty were strong books. I am sharing here the ones that suffused me with courage and child-like wonder, showed me the beauty and the ordinary genius of everyday life, reaffirmed that we are shadows of our childhood, and equipped me with tools to understand life better.

Without these books I wouldn’t have been who I am today, I wouldn’t have known that ecstatic state of being out of this world that they rollerbladed me into, and my journey as a writer would have stagnated. (My all-time life-changing books are in the link.)

As a runnel of rainwater runs to meet the brook, writers run towards this common wellspring of inspiration, which is nothing else but the river of all great writing ever written. Like a thirsty tiger, we kneel, bend our knees, and drink from it every so often. Here, very humbly, I offer you some drops from that wellspring so not only you could make more sense of everything around you, but also see the beauty in all this.

Shall we?

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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.

Here are the creative fiction books I loved the most in 2020, that helped me understand something better, moved my life ahead, or made me feel as if with the characters I had progressed, too.

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21 Life-Changing Books You Shouldn’t Miss [They Changed Me]

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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 six years (linked are the best books of the category I read in 2020). 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 the books in which the most obvious things have been said in the simplest form; that tell the history of life not as how people want us to know but how it happened; that show life writhing out of the mouth of suffering with full force; that remind us of adventures we had as little children that give sense to our today, too; that seem long and convoluted but essentially they talk about things we have always ignored; that make us reconsider if the thing is worth beating ourselves about; that make us look at life with a child’s eyes again; that make us ask questions we were too scared to even think about; that unravel the science behind all this and help us be a little less clueless; that give us hope that change is nothing but little things done every day; that show us compassion and tell us we are okay as who we are.

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