Thursday, December 29, 2016

The books of 2016

I would pick up a book and start reading.  I would read and read and read, maybe for two or three months.  I wouldn't want to give up on it just yet.  Let me try for a few more days, I would think.  And then, finally, I would just end the misery.  A hundred pages into the book, maybe, and I would never set eyes on the rest.  The scarring would be so deep that I wouldn't take any more books for the rest of the year.  And then, the year end, and new year resolutions and the cycle would repeat again.  I was embarrassed and hurt.  I wasn't like this.  I would read a lot in my school days as well as in my Engineering days.  It's just that with the advent of the internet, and YouTube and host of other streaming sites, the amount of distraction had increased manifold that I couldn't invest my time in books with the same amount of focus that I had in the past.  In spite of the many bleak reading years, I would still complete one or two books in a year and those were mainly fiction.

Personally, I was fed up of giving the excuse, "I just can't read anymore.  I used to read a lot in my college days." I realized that that was the lamest excuse I gave to others when discussing reading habits.  I could as well have said, "I have lost interest in reading books.  I just read snippets online and watch movies and series, one after the other." I could also not bring myself to say, "I have no time." The "not reading" habit was also affecting me emotionally.  I wanted to read but couldn't get myself to read books.  The feeling of not completing a book hurt a lot.  Only a fellow reader can understand what I was going through.

And then, after many years of huffing and puffing, in 2016, I set myself a pretty ambitious goal of completing 12 books by the end of the year.  I started with a couple of parenting books, then biographies, a couple in fiction and lots of non-fiction.  A couple of books later, I had got myself into a rhythm.  My TV time reduced a lot.  As soon as we put our son to sleep, we would quickly finish our evening chores and I would get into a world of my own.  It was my time.  I didn't want to waste watching TV or browsing useless stuff on the internet.  It was magical (not a hyperbole).  I could understand what makes Elon Musk tick.  What exactly happened to Christopher McCandless in Alaska? How to treat infants and toddlers with love and respect? The most riveting and emotionally draining book I read was When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi.  It was simply fantastic.  By the end of the book, I was literally in tears.  I read some really inspiring mountaineering experiences - climbers summiting Everest and K2.  I read about three or four novels. By the end of the year, I realized that I had totally grown out of fiction.  It didn't interest me as much as it did in the past.

Overall, I was happy to be back in the midst of books.  I also realize that there is a lot of time to do things that you really like.  After a point, reading was like an addiction.  I just wanted to keep going.  The target was 12.  But, by the end of the year, I had read 25.  Here goes my list of books that I read in 2016.

I hope 2017 can be as enriching as 2016 as far as reading is concerned. 

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