Three must-reads & three ‘can avoids’

booksI posted my first book review on Tuesday and soon after received a series of requests for book recommendations. So, if you’re looking for one final book to end the year with, here’s a quick cheat post on what I would recommend based on my 2018 reads.

Three must reads:

  1. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari: Much has been said about this one and with good reason. Without doubt, the best book I’ve read this year. The book takes you through the journey of evolution and makes a number of strong cases on why we are how we are. What I like best though is that Yuval’s sense of humor. It is is a lot like mine and me laughing at quite a few points. I am definitely picking up Homo Deus and 21 lessons for the 21st Century in 2019. Can’t hardly wait.
  1. Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman: It is no secret that Mr. Richard Feynman is the one person dead or alive that I would love to dine with. I have yet to come across anyone (dead or alive) who is as intelligent, humorous and full of zest as he is. Last year I read The Pleasure of Finding Things Out and that was the beginning of this infatuation. If you love science and humor or a good book, pick this up.
  1. Ikigai/The Little Book of Hygge: I sometimes buy books because they are beautiful. That is the reason I picked up Ikigai. Earlier this year, I’d read the book on Hygge on recommendation of a YouTube influencer and enjoyed the light read om how the Danish stay happy. Ikigai explores the secret on longevity based on studies from Japan. It talks about diet, exercise, sleep and other little secrets (hara hachi bu). If you are looking for earth-scattering secrets, stay away from these books; if you’d like a pretty little thing that will put you in a state of Zen, buy this. Or even better, gift it to someone you like.

3 to stay away from

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: I bought this book after crawling through multiple raving reviews on the internet. I hated it. And when I passed it on to my colleague, he had a similar reaction for the simple reason that everything that has been said in the book could have been said in 1500 words or less. It is nothing new nor is it a fine piece of literature. The sense of humor also leaves a lot to be desired. I can give you a dozen other recommendations that would be a better decision than this one.
  1. Zen & the diary of a B&B owner: The best thing about this book is that I do not own it. I picked it up from a library and put it back with a note warning readers to not waste time reading the words between the covers. There is nothing good about the book. It is so obscure that I doubt anyone’s even heard of it.
  1. Six graves to Munich: One would think I do not read fiction going by the 5 books referenced above, but I do. This year, however, less than most other years. I dug this out from my ‘to read’ pile of books while rushing to the airport. I finished it within a few hours. It is an average book and good only for in-flight reading. However, if you are expecting it to be anything like The Godfather, it will be a big letdown. Fun fact: this book is unavailable on Amazon.in and searching for it throws out inappropriate results.

Undecided

  1. Less: This book is much loved by many who’ve read it and is undoubtedly a nice read. However, something at the end of the book made me feel like it under delivered. If you have money to spare or find it at a library and are willing to take a chance, this is worth a shot. Do let me know what you think.

That’s all for now folks. No more talking about books this year. Which one are you picking up for December?

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