My Top Five Reads since 2019

I realize, I’ve been reading but haven’t been writing about the books I’ve read so far. That does no good, considering the short term memory I have. 🙄 So last weekend, I spent some time reminiscing my kindle collection.

I’ve read twenty eight books since last year and I might as well write about them all at some point but this post is dedicated to my top five reads since 2019.
They had a deep impact on me. (& my perspective). I highly recommend these, if you haven’t read them already.

1. One flew over the cuckoo’s nest

Category – Fiction

Mental Institution has always been a stranded Island and one can’t imagine what goes on with the lives of patients in there. This book offers a whole new window to that world. It is actually setup in a psychiatric hospital, narrated by a patient in there.

It details very well, the mundane routine of patients, how they become used to the bureaucratic hospital regime and why they accept their fate in this mental asylum.
Will they ever get better? Will they be a part of normal society again? You will doubt the answers to above throughout this read.
The plot of this book takes an interesting turn when a new admit enters this psychiatric center and challenges the rules and authority.

This book is marked in fiction category but the characters drawn out in this book seem so real that I found it largely alluding to real life situations.

Overall rating 4.5/5
(not 5 b’coz I found a small part of this book, a bit flimsy)
Note: There is a also a movie on this book from 1975.

2. Midnight in Chernobyl

Category – Non Fiction

Just about the time, I was reading this book, they launched an HBO series showcasing this nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. It was a five episode series and although they captured the central plot impressively, they didn’t do enough justice to “the making of Chernobyl”.

Years before the actual nuclear explosion happened (26 April, 1986), the inadequacies of this nuclear plant made it vulnerable to fail. It managed to bypass all security standards. The Soviet government was aware of this and at the same time very competitive.
The aftermath of this crisis was equally disastrous. (largely due to the fact the Soviet govt hid the disaster from its own people and the world). This severely affected the reputation of Soviet Union.
This book uncovers the whole story, detailing all events that went into the making of world’s worst nuclear disaster. (till this date)
Not to forget the character build up in this book, which is so strong that I found myself boiling in anger in many scenes.

Today, Chernobyl is open to tourists. They built a giant dome covering this radiation site. The Ukrainian government is trying to capitalize on this abandoned site, citing that it is completely safe. I would like to go (visit), but I doubt if it really is safe. Could it be a propaganda to promote revenue?

Overall rating5/5

3. Educated

Category : Non Fiction

I’ve read this book somewhere in Dec 2019 but I can still reckon clearly, the struggles of Tara Westover (the author of this book). I found this book remarkable coz the experiences that Tara shares in this book are very personal and extraordinary.

Tara was not registered at her birth. She didn’t exist in any government records up until she was nine.
Her family (including her parents and six siblings) was mormonic and extremely rigid. They boycotted all public amenities (including doctors, hospitals and even schools). Tara was loosely home schooled.

In spite of this large disconnect, Tara held on to the conviction of existence of a world outside this bubble. She understood the value of education. She tried by all her means to be educated. This book is a beautiful story of Tara’s journey from her life in isolation to life in real society.

She ended up pursuing an MBA in the University of Cambridge. She now lives a life away from her family.

Overall rating5/5

4. Maybe you should talk to someone

Category – Non Fiction

To be honest, I picked this book to understand a therapist’s perspective on his or her patients. I’ve always been intrigued about what really happens in a therapy session. I have not been to any. (not that I want to ). But this book, just gives enough insights.
It is actually a therapist’s account of her patients (disguised) as she details her sessions with those patients. She is candid in expressing her view about the situation and how she relates those to her own life.

What is interesting to see is that the author (therapist herself) consults another therapist to tackle the problems of her own life. The vulnerability with which she shares her own experience with this other therapist helps you visualize therapy in general, as a third person.

I loved this book as it was a perfect bedtime read. I finished this very quick.
By the way, for those who do not know – American TV show “In treatment” is another popular fictionalized account of therapy sessions.

Overall rating4/5

5. Sapiens

Category – Non Fiction

There never has been a simplistic view of Human history described before Sapiens. Now, I am not a fan of reading history (I find it hard to remember chronology), so I didn’t pick this one for six months.(even though I had a hard copy). But I have to admit, I was glued to this after I read its first few pages.

Sapiens is the kind of book that will help you understand why we are, the way we are. It feels like history demonstrated by someone who understands psychology. It explores the basics like why we (the homo sapiens) survived while all our ancestors became extinct? How agriculture changed our lives? How industrial and scientific revolution shaped our complex society? What challenges lay ahead of us? (and other interesting questions)

I liked this book as it helped me understand the present and what lies ahead of us, while reading the history.

.Overall rating : 4/5

Appendix :

Full list of books I read since 2019

  1. Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely
  2. How to win friends and Influence people- Dale Carnegie
  3. I can’t make this up life lessons – Kevin Hart
  4. One flew over the cuckoo’s nest – Ken Kesey
  5. Educated – Tara Westover
  6. Resilience – Eric Greiten
  7. The Gene – Siddhartha Mukherjee
  8. Me talk pretty one day – David Sedaris
  9. Dreams from my father – Barack Obama
  10. Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
  11. The four agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
  12. Brexit – Ian Dunt
  13. Switch – Chip and Dan Heath
  14. Maybe you should talk to someone – Lori Gottlieb
  15. A river in darkness – Masaji Ishikawa
  16. Hyperbole and a half – Allie brosh
  17. Humans – Tom Phillips
  18. Man’s search for meaning – Viktor E Frankl
  19. Boundaries – Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend
  20. Becoming – Michelle Obama
  21. Sapiens – A brief history of humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
  22. Don’t sweat the small stuff – Richard Carlson
  23. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
  24. The Peter Principle – Laurence J. Peter & Raymond Hull
  25. Midnight in Chernobyl – Adam Higginbotham
  26. Thinking, person’s guide to Autism – Shannon des Roches Rosa (and others)
  27. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
  28. Adulthood is a myth – Sarah Andersen

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