Last year in 2021, I read 37 books. This is quite a substantial number for me, because firstly I don’t like to read and secondly, this is way above my average of 10 books per year.
The scope of books that I’ve read has drastically increased and my appreciation for wide range of subject matter has increased accordingly.
Now having surprised myself at the number of books I’m able to devour, I’m keen to up my game this year.
2021 Supercharged Reading
With the lockdown still in effect and my working from home, I’ve seized the opportunity and time to consume loads of books. This has indeed been a unexpected pleasant side effect of being under lockdown. 2021 has certainly turned out to have some benefits after all.
When the lockdown started, I was all about watching as much Netflix as possible, but you can only do that for so long before your mind gets sick of it. Luckily I have a large selection of books here at my home; these are books that my parents had accumulated over the years through their studies, hand me downs, donations, etc. With all this time on my hand, and my getting sick of staring at computer screens, it was time take a crack at this treasure trove of books.
A Big Lesson Learned
As a kid when you’re in school, you’re always presented with lame curriculum books to read. The books are almost always determined by some stodgy old geezer, or perhaps a committee of stodgy old geezers who are totally out of tune with what kids enjoy. This results in uninspired book choices and disinterested kids. I suspect that’s why I had dim view of books as a kid.
Now that I’ve had the pleasure of reading a vast range of books over the years, I’ve come to realize that there is an infinite amount of great authors and books out there. The most interesting ones I read last year were:
- John Grisham (The Rainmaker, The Appeal, The Confession, The Testament, The Pelican Brief)
- Ken Follet (The Third Twin, Dangerous Fortune, Night over Water)
- David Balducci (Memory Man)
- Agatha Christie(Lord Edgware Dies)
- Michael Crichton (The Great Train Robbery, The Terminal Man)
- Orson Scott Card (Enders’ Game)
- Arthur C Clarke (Rendezvous with Rama)
- David Graber (Bullshit Jobs)
- Alfred Bester (The Stars my Destination)
- Dr Michael Gregor (How Not to Die)
- Noam Chomsky (Necessary Illusions )
- Microbial Burden: A Major Cause Of Aging And Age-Related Disease by Michael Lustgarten
- and loads of others
The full list of books I read during 2021 can be found here on GoodReads.
A Small Lesson Learned
I’ve had the pleasure of reading on a kindle and an large screen iPad, and I must admit that reading an actual book is way better. Now without a doubt, the technological kindle and iPad provides loads of convenience, and a wonderful way to have access to a cornucopia of books on demand; but I love the way an actual book tells you so much about what you’re about to read. The cover design always looks better in real life, the weight of the book gives a sense of how dense it will be, skimming through the book tells you if a large part is reference or not. All these tactile aspects confers so much more enjoyment when reading an actual book. And this is profoundly useful when you’re looking to consume more books.
Suggestion for other Readers
If you’re someone like me who is not a natural book reader i.e. someone who is not fond of reading, then I would suggest this approach to becoming a more avid reader.
First read a wide array of popular books across many genres. Read thrillers by Michael Crichton, science fiction by Phillip K Dick, anthropology by Barbara Ehrenreich, physics by Stephen Hawking, etc, etc. These books and authors are well known for a reason. One of these will capture your attention and amaze you enough to be hooked to continue reading.
Second, once you’re hooked, read more by those authors you really like; and more than likely they’ll have published much more material you’ll enjoy. By the time you’ve exhausted their material, you’ll be yearning to read more.
Then repeat the process.
Anytime I’m getting tired of exploring new books, I return to what I like such as Michael Crichton or Ken Follet. Then once I’m tired of that, I explore another subject or author. Rinse and repeat.
Very quickly you’ll find yourself consuming way more books.
I’m very happy with the quantity and quality I read last year. It really came as surprise that I could read so much.
Although I could try to read much much more this year, my aim is to read another 37 books this year as well. If surpass 37 books, then that will be a welcome achievement.
I’ve already completed the first book of the year, so I reckon I’m off to a good start. I just finished Ken Follet’s “Eye of the Needle”. It’s highly recommended.