2022: My Year In Books!

As I am about to welcome the last week of 2022, I am thinking to myself, how did this year fly by SO fast! This year I found myself having less and less time for cooking, instead I had my fill of the kitchen fun on weekends and those special days when we were entertaining dinner guests. I did however travel a lot (mostly for work but also some long overdue personal visits) and read a lot. 

Reading has been particularly satisfying this year as I happened to hit upon an eclectic collection of highly satisfying books. I also tried to hit the local bookstores wherever I traveled internationally and stuffed a paperback in the side pocket of my luggage so I always had an interesting story to get lost into on those long airplane rides :)

As I look back at the year, these are my year's personal best reads - mostly the books I read but also one or two which my daughter read or made me co-read 😃 which we both thoroughly enjoyed!

First off I found myself fully engorssed into two popular pager-turners: first is The Giver of Stars from Jojo Mayes and second is The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Neither of them are 2022 releases, but I read them this year and I must say both books left a lasting impression on me. The general book theme I usually go for are books with a leading strong female character which both of these books more than obliged :) 

The Giver of Stars is based on a true story of the Packhorse Librarians. Based in rural Kentuky they are a group of women who become part of Eleanor Roosevelt's travelling library. These brave women weathered the forces of convention and gender stereotypes and on horseback travelled dangerous paths through gorgeous landscapes of rural Kentucky to deliver books to the remote families who rarely have access to any - and through this build a strong bond of female friendship that last for their lifetimes and become their lifelines!

Another awesome read, and my most favorite read of the year was by a debut author, a fantasy fiction based on Ramayana story of Indian mythology - not a topic I usually jump to, but boy am I happy I stumbled upon this gem - Kaikeyi by Vaishani Patel. 

Kaikeyi may be one of the most vilified queen of the famous Indian epic story, Ramayana, where she is depicted as a jealous queen who wants to see her son on the throne of Bharata and thereby uses the boons given to her by the King to send her stepson (Lord Rama) to 12 years of exile through her scheming. 

This book is a re imagined tale told from Kaikeyi's perspective where we see an incredibly strong, determined and influential woman who is not ready to accept the destiny as outlined for her but instead is set to make a mark in a world predominantly dominated by men and God. Reading the story makes you nostalgic but also rethink some aspects of the story many of us have heard growing up - to me it's a narrative that tells nothing is black and white but instead everything has it's grayscale. I truly loved this book and looking forward to re-reading it again sometime soon!

Lastly, another fantastic book we read at work is The Culture Map by Erin Meyers. It's a great guide for navigating cultural differences and understanding that the culture we grew up from has a profound impact on how we interact with others. It's also filled with many useful tips and strategies of how to interact with different cultures. I have worked in international companies for many years so I was skeptical picking this up wondering how much I'll really learn but it was very interesting to read about how different cultures evolved and interact. While we all must remember there are differences within every culture and one rule rarely applies to all, it's still a useful read to understand how cultures interact at a broad stroke. 

Finally, two books both me and my daughter really enjoyed are Room to Dream by Kelly Yang and the Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer. Room to Dream is a book from the Front Desk series about an Asian American girl and her journey through normal day to day happenings at school, home and about pursuing her dreams of being a writer. We have enjoyed all books in this series, but this one is our favorite :)

The Land of Stories is a series of 6 fantasy books where twins Alex and Conner explore a unique world of classic fairy tales where all the known and beloved characters come alive and various adventures await! We have read 4 of the 6 books and 5th one is on my daughter's reading table ready for the Christmas break 😀

My TBR pile is already overflowing and I can't wait to see what reading adventures await in the new years! Hope you had a wonderful 2022 and happy holidays!