Last Wrap-Up of the year – Books I read in December 2020

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RRKReads 2020 reading goals

Namo Namaha friends. 2020 is finally over. I have never sent off any other year with as much relief and gusto as this particular year.

I have no idea how 2021 will be, but, boy am I glad that 2020’s over. Though I did see some highs, universally, we may all agree that it was a pretty dreary, sad, and lonely year. And not everybody was as lucky as us to see through the year.

With prayers and wishes, I begin this year and I wish all of you a very happy, peaceful, prosperous, safe, and healthy year ahead. 

So, on that note let’s get started with my December wrap-up, my last wrap-up of the past year.

As I mentioned in my yearly reading update post, I had a great year reading-wise (Thanks for the small mercies, I guess 😏). I had set a goal of reading 100 books in 2020 and I managed to complete 101 books (Special thanks to mangas and graphic novels 😀, I definitely wouldn’t have achieved my goal without them.

In December, I read about 19 books, most of them were books that were part of my Discard-pile challenge, specifically the books that I wanted to complete by the end of 2020. The list of books is given below:

Discarded-Pile Challenge TBR (To Be Read)

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Let's Talk Money by Monika Halan
  • Beartown by Fredrik Backman
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • The Book of M by Peng Shepherd
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • Man's Search for Meaning by Victor. E. Frankl

Let’s see how I fared in that challenge, shall we?

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Progress 100%

It was good as a supplementary read. I do not have any strong feelings towards
this book. It was good. I enjoyed Tolkien’s reading immensely! It was so
nostalgic. Almost like reading an old letter from a friend/parent.

RRKReads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd
Progress 100%

This book, especially the ending, blew my mind.

1. India. My country and its culture is mentioned so liberally throughout the book that I would have loved it even if nothing else had been good about this book. But, fret not. This book has an amazing story, slow though it is.

2. Story and the Ending. I loved the story and I probably will need to read this book again just to better understand the ending and the nuances of this story as a whole.

I can’t say any of the characters appealed to me very much. They were neither likable nor unlikeable. This is a book that you might read if you want to be intrigued or if you are curious about the deeper questions of our existence. But if you want a character-driven story then this might not be the one for you.

It begins off fast, gets quite slow in the middle, and ends with a bang. But, throughout the book, I kept wanting to know what happened next and that’s an excellent indicator.

I am a person who reads the end of the story just to see if it’s a tragedy that I must discard or not. So, now you know that I don’t care a bit about spoilers. But, this was one book that I didn’t reach for the last pages right at the beginning. I was more interested in the journey than the end, for once!

Also, it took me a while to figure out why this book was named The book of M , quite silly of me really 😀.

Ideally, this book is a 4.5 ⭐s read for me. I did have problems with the pacing and characterization, but because this book is a strong contender for books that I might re-read (if you know me at all, I am a staunch no-re-read fan) I am giving this book 5 stars. I might revisit this rating once/if I re-read.

RRKReads Rating⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Let's Talk Money by Monika Halan
Progress 100%

First of all, there’s nothing new in this book that you haven’t already read in the 100’s of self-help finance books. So go in knowing that.

But, this book is well-catered to an Indian audience, which was amazing because most of the books I have read have almost always catered to an exclusively Western audience.

Additionally this book’s written in such a humorous, down to earth manner that everybody from a common man to a finance expert will not only enjoy this but also come out of it with a few key implementable learnings.

Well worth our time. Do give this one a try.

RRKReads Rating⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Progress 100%

Check out my review of this book here.

RRKReads Rating⭐⭐⭐⭐

I couldn’t start Beartown by Fredrik Backman, but, I completed and loved another book by the same author which was And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer.

I finished this book at 12:12. Is that relevant? Not really, but after shedding copious amount of tears reading this amazing novella,I needed something to balance myself and the strange symmetry in time was almost like a sign. A sign telling me, “calm down, everything balances itself out eventually!”

This novella broke my heart into pieces and lovingly stitched it back.

I have bookmarked entire pages in this book. Fredrik Backman’s writing style is as usual superlative. The only other book I have read from him is the nonfiction “Things my son needs to know about the world” that too was a great read. But this could be my favorite amongst the two. I have been putting off reading his other novel Beartown. But, I am so glad I read this when I read it.

How do you tell a kid about mental illness? Which is more painful? Losing a person but having their memories with u or having the person devoid of his own memories, with you? The contrast was beautifully elaborated.

This heartwrenching story is a must read.

RRKReads sentiment rating: Invest grade – book worth buying & adding to your collection.

RRKReads Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Now, on to the last two books from the Discard pile challenge. I couldn’t motivate myself to pick up Circe by Madeline Miller, again. Sadly it’ll remain in my discard pile, not sure for how long. I also couldn’t bring myself to pick Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor. E. Frankl. Just not in the mindset to read such hard-hitting books. I might pick it up again sometime when I can handle and digest it better. 

So that’s the status of the books I wanted to complete by 2020. The 14 other books that I completed in December were all my mood reads and are as follows.

  • The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
  • The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
  • Art Matters by Neil Gaiman
  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
  • Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
  • The 4% Fix by Karma Brown
  • How to be a Writer by Ruskin Bond
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • And then there were none by Agatha Christie
  • The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver
  • Tea Dragon graphic novel series - Books #1, #2 & #3 by Josie Silver

And… that’s a wrap guys! Both of the year 2020 and of my reading. How did you fare with your reading? What were your absolute favorites? and What are your goals for this new year? 

Do share your thoughts with me on my SM channels @twitter, @instagram, or @goodreads. You can even join me at my book club in discord or @ bookclubz, and buddy read books with me. Let’s keep the bookish conversation going. 

Till then, stay safe and blessed. Om Shanti.🙏

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