What was greatly unusual in the gone year was that I did not have a personal reading goal. Well, speaking of 2020, I suppose a lot of unusualness crept in in all our lives.
For some years, I did participate in Goodreads Reading Challenge but I have stopped pushing myself for it. That said, a lot of new releases of 2020 were on my reading list last year. This was the first time when my focus was not just my set TBR pile but also new releases. I am not someone to grab copies right off the launch date. But I changed that habit last year. Now looking forward to new book releases of 2021. More on that in my next post.
Altogether, I read 52 books the past year and in this post I want to share with you the ones that stuck with me. These are some titles that I will most certainly go back to. Let’s take a look.
Paul Sheldon. He’s a bestselling novelist who has finally met his biggest fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes and she is more than a rabid reader – she is Paul’s nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house.
A boy who can predict the exact date a person will die… An elderly woman who knows that death is close, but learns how to cheat it… A child with a dangerous friend who happens to be invisible… A ghost who can’t stop reliving his suicide over and over again… People you’ll wish you never have to meet, and stories you’ll never forget. Skilfully translated into English for the very first time, these chilling tales from master storyteller Ratnakar Matkari are bound to keep readers of all ages up at night. With every page you turn, you’ll be looking over your shoulder to make sure no one’s there. Look again. Maybe there is!
Set in Lahore, This House of Clay and Water explores the lives of two women. Nida, intelligent and lonely, has married into an affluent political family and is desperately searching for some meaning in her existence; and impulsive, lovely Sasha, from the ordinary middle-class, whose longing for designer labels and upmarket places is so frantic that she willingly consorts with rich men who can provide them. Nida and Sasha meet at the famous Daata Sahib dargah and connect-their need to understand why their worlds feel so alien and empty, bringing them together.
On her frequent visits to the dargah, Nida meets the gentle, flute-playing hijra Bhanggi, who sits under a bargadh tree and yearns for acceptance and affection, but is invariably shunned. A friendship-fragile, tentative and tender-develops between the two, both exiles within their own lives; but it flies in the face of all convention and cannot be allowed.
Faiqa Mansab’s accomplished and dazzling debut novel explores the themes of love, betrayal and loss in the complex, changing world of today’s Pakistan.
You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas. It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible. If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you. Because this book is FULL of impossible things. Are you still reading? Good. Then let us begin . . .
A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.
Such wonderful children. Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror! It wasn’t that she didn’t love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake—a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father. So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic. Just for a little while.
But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meager sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work—children who—one by one—must be destroyed….
Set in nineteenth-century India between two revolutionary moments of change, Twilight in Delhi brings history alive, depicting most movingly the loss of an entire culture and way of life. As Bonamy Dobree said, “It releases us into a different and quite complete world. Mr. Ahmed Ali makes us hear and smell Delhi…hear the flutter of pigeons’ wings, the cries of itinerant vendors, the calls to prayer, the howls of mourners, the chants of qawwals, smell jasmine and sewage, frying ghee and burning wood.” The detail, as E.M. Forster said, is “new and fascinating,” poetic and brutal, delightful and callous. First published by the Hogarth Press in 1940. Twilight in Delhi was widely acclaimed by critics and hailed in India as a major literary event. Long since considered a landmark novel, it is now available in the U.S. as a New Directions Classic. Twilight in Delhi has also been translated into French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, and Urdu.
First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London’s masterpiece. Based on London’s experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike.
That’s the list of best books I read in 2020. These are some of the books with great characters, storylines, and writing. But mostly because they teach you a thing or two about what good novels ought to be like.
Question of the Day
Tell me about the best books you read in 2020. Share the titles in the comments below.
Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem!