My 2019 Reading List

I love to read. Fiction, non-fiction, history, memoir, tech books.. as long as a book is put in front of me, I read! It's like the Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter series -- I totally get her reading addiction and empathize with it too :)

Unfortunately I don't get as much time as I would like to read now a days what with work and daily grind, but my insomnia ensures at least 20-30 mins of quiet reading baked into the day before turning off the lights. It's like a silver lining to my nightly sleeping ritual.

2019, I am happy to report, was an excellent year when it came to bedside reading. I was able to work in a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. By the end of the year as December rolled in, all I wanted were light beach fiction reads to put me in the mood for holidays and our warm beach vacation - and that's just how I ended the year, with some feel good easy to read fiction!


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In the non-fiction category, one of the best reads of the year was Becoming by Michelle Obama which I absolutely loved. I have always looked up to Michelle Obama, but reading the book made me appreciate her even more and also made her more human. It was truly delightful to read and recognize the potential she has and the hardships she endured to get to where she is against all the odds. Full of small life lessons everywhere. I highly recommend it!

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The second book equally loved was Hit Refresh by the Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. As a leader I have always appreciated the hard task of changing the culture of an old behemoth that Microsoft was, how challenging it can be to hit refresh so to speak for such a large ship and how he maneuvered it so effectively, being a lifelong insider but also being an effective voice for the new era of the company. Along with his leadership of Microsoft a second theme woven into the book is his family life and challenges of raising a child with disabilities - how those personal struggles taught him what he considers his signature leadership trait - empathy.
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Leading Matters: Lessons from My Journey is a crash course of 10 essential leadership traits written in a very engaging way with multiple personal anecdotes by former Stanford president John Hennessy. It is a delightful and thought provoking read.
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I love to read historical books - so Daisy Goodwin's Victoria was a beloved read this year chronicling the first few years of the new 18 year old queen's reign on the British throne, how she struggled to get the respect being a young woman at throne in a largely male dominated society and how much support of just one person, her Prime Minister, meant to her at the time and perhaps how critical it was for her to have confidence and mentoring of that one person at that critical juncture of her reign.


Asian American Fiction:

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It was not planned for but somehow or other I ended up reading a lot of high quality Asian American fiction this year. First of which was a great graphic novel Pashmina - which was an accidental discovery when finding YA books for my daughter in the kids section of the library. It's a tale of a teenager of Indian origin in US - it is as much a book of her navigating her way through the teenage years as it is about women's empowering - a delightful graphics read!

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Sophia of Silicon Valley is by a local valley author - while not a memoir it is widely understood to be loosely based on life experiences of the author as tech executive in two big valley companies. Perhaps it's a novel that will appeal more to the tech women in the valley than general audience, but it has my recommendation for all women neverthless.

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I also enjoyed reading Unlikely Adventure of Shergill Sisters and Memoirs of a Geisha - both wonderful books focused on lead women characters. The former in particular I picked up thinking it would be a light read but it turned out to be filled with complex well drawn characters. The later is a wonderful portrait of a Geisha life in Japan many years ago pre world war II.
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Other book in this category I read and enjoyed is The Milk Lady of Banglore - based on an expat's experiences settling back into Banglore after years of NYC life.

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General Fiction:

I love to do light reading particular when going through stressful work cycles - this year's light reads were a delightful mix of the Only Woman In the Room, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Kalahari Typing School for Men, Angel Falls, Winter Garden, A Bend in The Road and Little Fires Everywhere.

I am thinking about and planning my 2020 reads now! The first book I am waiting on hold at our local library is the Alpha Girls and may go for another Daisy Goodwin historical book too. Here is to hoping the new year is filled with delightful adventures reading and exploring as many books as we can!! Have a very happy and prosperous new year!


Nupur said…
Like you, I read before bed and it is a time I look forward to every day! I've added a lot of these books to my to-read list! The only one here that I've read is Memoirs of a Geisha and it was very interesting.
PJ said…
Thanks Nupur! I'll be very interested to know which books you read and how you liked them :) Happy reading.