That time of the year when I look back at the best books I read in the year gone by. This also means compiling my list of Best Books of 2016 and sharing it with you.
Personally, my book reading went down a lot this year. The reason is simple – IndiTales, my travel blog is taking more time than ever. At the end of the year, I am not too happy with what I read, so here is a note to self – whatever you read, choose well.
I read about 47 books, more of non-fiction than fiction – but that has always been the case. Biographies dominated this year, of which 3 were biographies of 3 leading men of Bollywood.
Feedpost featured AnuReviews in its list of Top 100 Books Blogs in the world.
I share the best of books of 2016 that I read with you, in case you were lost them in the stream of reviews:
Best Fiction Books of 2016
The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern – lovely story of a marble collector and beautifully narrated.
A case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif – An old book that I missed reading for years. A beautifully crafted set of stories leading to the death of a politician in Pakistan.
A House without Windows by Nadia Hashmi – a beautiful book that introduces you to the world of Afghan women – thankfully by not projecting them as victims.
Kashi ka Assi by Kashinath Singh – This is the only Hindi book I read this year and it was probably the best book of the year. My travel to Varanasi later this year was enriched because of this book. Read it.
The First Storyteller by Varun Gwalani – In Varun Gwalani, I discovered a promising writer who can build a fantasy world with his words. Keep an eye out for him.
The Secret Sanctuary by Stephen Alter – If you have kids around you, buy them this book, that would help them observe the flora & fauna around them. In fact, when I visited Landour this year, I took a walk around Jabarkhet – the forest described in the book.
Non-Fiction – Best Books of 2016
The Lost Generation by Nidhi Dugar Kundalia – a lovely documentation of professions that used to be.
Bread, Chocolate, Wine- slow loss of foods we Love by Simran Sethi – Simran traces the journey of 6 most commonly consumed addictions – Bread, Wine, Coffee, Chocolate, and Beer. A bit academic in nature but enjoyable nonetheless.
India’s Broken Tryst by Tavleen Singh – Lovely portrayal of the two extreme ends of India, both of which the middle class fails to see.
Love Everyone by Parvati Markus – on Neem Karoli Baba – This is a book that opened up the world of devotees – how it is their devotion that makes a Guru.
Me, The Jokerman by Khushwant Singh, Maya Dayal – This books is so quintessential Khushwant Singh that you have to read it.
Biographies – Best Books of 2016
Like I mentioned before, I read biographies of 3 leading men of Bollywood –
Shammi Kapoor – The Game Changer by Rauf Ahmed – amazed to know the amount of work Shammi Kapoor used to out on his songs and dances – no wonder they are evergreen.
Shashi Kapoor by Aseem Chhabra – discovered the international star in Shashi Kapoor
Anything But Khamosh – Shatrughan Sinha Biography – this is the best researched and best-written biography. It also feels more honest than most Bollywood biographies I have read.
Two business biographies from two different eras of business but with common lessons to learn:
Jamshetjee Jejeebhoy of Bombay by Jesse S Palsetia – the guy who built his fortune in Bombay and has immortalized himself with institutions he left behind.
Alibaba – house that Jack Ma built by Duncan Clark – the Chinese poster boy and his journey to being one of the most successful businessmen of our times.
I read the biography of J Jayalalitha. Amma: Biography of Jayalalithaa by Vaasanthi just before she was hospitalized in Chennai. She comes across as someone so strong that you would fall in love with her strength. How much she went through to be where she was. A determined lady.
The best biography was of this girl from North Korea who managed to escape from the country and made history of kinds – beautifully written story and a story that keeps you on edge all the time for you know it is real and not fiction Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee & David John.