The problem with having a bucket list of interesting books is that it keeps on growing. The rate of growth of the list is far more than the rate of check boxing them. Well, the reason is not our reading speed, but the fact that there are far too many interesting books in the world.
So far, I’ve read 17 books in 2019. I must say this was a great year of reading, not in terms of the number but most definitely in terms of quality. Here are 10 amazing books you can pick in 2020 that I stumbled upon in 2019. A list of 10 is pretty manageable, right?
A Ladder To The Sky
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Review: This book left me breathless. Manipulation. Betrayal. This is what you can expect if you decide to read this book. I like the characters who are layered and shades of grey. But Maurice, the protagonist in A ladder to the sky, is dark and despicable. The book is the story of his pursuit of success by hook or by crook. From inception to close, the book is about the protagonist’s ruthless pursuit of fame. What will bother you is not his dark side, but becoming affected by his charm, relentless ambitions and drive to become an accomplished writer. The book deep dives not only into Maurice’s mind but that of his wife, Edith, who aches to become a successful author too.
John Boyne gives a feel of what the so-called ladder climb to the topmost echelons in the literary world entails. The storyline complemented by varying perspectives of the characters, the omnipresent depravity, and the self rationalizing behavior of the characters that the author has put under scanner throughout the book makes for an exceptional read. Moreover, it’s insane how Boyne has written technical aspects of writing in such detail and depth. One of the most interesting books in terms of attention to detail.
The Silent Patient
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Review: I guess it is time that I update my best thrillers of all time blog. The Silent Patient is one of the most gripping psychological thrillers I’ve ever read. Alicia’s life is perfect. So, her act of violence against her husband and not speaking a word thereafter is both an unfortunate domestic disaster and a mystery. Theo, a psychotherapist, beset with uncovering her motive for killing her husband, is letting the mystery consume him.
I liked the writing style of the book. It wasn’t too intense, but alluring in some inexplicable way. I guess reading it from Theo’s point of view adds character to every word that is written. The plot flows well, and will keep you hooked. All the characters are all solid and well-developed.
P.S. The book is going to unnerve you at some level. I still don’t know what I am feeling, but I feel mistrustful.
Review: Hands down one of the most epic books on mythology. (The best one is still The Shiva Trilogy though, for two reasons: Firstly, because it’s grandiose and secondly because it is by my B school alum).
Circe is Madeline Miller’s masterpiece, and if you are a fan of fantasy novels, you can’t miss this one. Circe is born to Helios, the Sun God, and the mightiest of the Titans. Though a goddess, Circe is made an outcast as she is born a nymph without any powers, has neither the look nor the voice of divinity. Repudiated by her clan, she gradually and eventually turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft. Circe with all her divinity (not so much according to her clan though) and witchcraft is very relatable.
The enticing journey of a woman, who stands up for herself, fights every demon that crosses her path and discovers the invincible powers she is bestowed with, is very compelling.
The story is packed with mythology references and stories, and with Greek gods and goddesses that are beautifully intertwined into Circe’s journey. One of the most interesting books of all times.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Review: This is one of the most ingenious and profound books I’ve ever read. And no characters have been more extravagant than the two protagonists in this book. Evelyn Hugo had my undivided attention from start to finish. She isn’t a black and white character and not even just shades of grey. She is a whole spectrum and that’s what makes her memorable. Evelyn, now in her seventies, and once the heartthrob of Hollywood, decides to tell her life story to the world.
Often we see the lives of celebrities through the lens of media, rumors, and hearsay. This book has most brilliantly taken us through Evelyn’s life from her perspective. All her struggles, compromises, experiences, choices and decisions that have made her the person she is. You get to see her world from her eyes, all the people she met while her journey to the sky. Monique Grant is chosen by Evelyn to pen her memoir. Monique is a novice and herself perplexed of what made Evelyn choose her.
My Sister, The Serial Killer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Review: Page turner. Simply wow. There’s thrill, constant dread and anticipation. It is a story of two sisters Korede and Ayoola. Korede is a diligent and hardworking. Ayoola is the polar opposite of her sister and also a serial killer who ends up killing her boyfriends. Korede always comes to the rescue of her notorious sister. That said, both sisters are flawed in their own unique ways and not very relatable. Nevertheless you are intrigued by the characters and will feel connected.
That is until Tade, a handsome doctor that Korede has a liking for and a friendship with, becomes besotted with Ayoola.
Deep down, Korede is angry, jealous of her beautiful, favored sister, but she always comes to her rescue. Ayoola is self-absorbed, flaunting her beauty, and appears not to notice the stress and strain she causes Korede.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Genre: Non-fiction, Business, Crime
Review: Elizabeth Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 with a breakthrough idea of a medical device that could produce lab results by a mere finger prick and with just a drop of blood. The device had the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry. One small problem, though. The medical device was a work of fiction.
This is the only book on the list based on reality. Nevertheless, the story is quite incredible and no less than any carefully contrived gripping fictional plotline. Elizabeth, the ambitious entrepreneur, makes for a brilliant protagonist. Theranos, the silicon valley startup that was lauded as the Apple of the healthcare tech world, is one of the biggest scams that Silicon Valley has ever seen.
This book uncovers how the ambition of an entrepreneur to hit a billion mark and the commendable investigative journalism that lead to its fall. This journey entails drama, thrill, deceit, lies, megalomania, cheating, intimidation, the adulation that one can only imagine. This is one of the most interesting books based on Silicon Valley.
The Nickel Boys
Genre: Historical Fiction
Review: This is another poignant and deeply touching book on inequity and racial discrimination that Black people had to face in America. The Nickel Boys is based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and altered the lives of thousands of children. It is heartbreaking to think of all the horrors that young people had to go through. In a little over 200 pages book, the author was able to arouse deepest empathies.
Elwood, one of the protagonist’s only crime was to take a ride in a car that was stolen of which he wasn’t aware. It is unfortunate what happens to him in the Nickel School considering his beliefs, his life and his respect for the law. On the other hand, Turner, the other protagonist, is more cynical and tries to dissuade Elwood from his ideals.
This book brilliantly holds together a story, case, and multiple philosophical leanings through its characters. The deeply ingrained racial discrimination that was once a part of the American Society and its dehumanizing and horrifying bearing on people will surely leave you heartbroken.
The Great Alone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Review: I have to admit this book gave me perspective. On how to better handle and limit the affect of difficult and sabotaging relationships in life. This book is so much more than just life in Alaska that I thought it would be. By the way, the title of the book is derived from a poem about Alaska’s isolation and beauty. The book gives a detailed description of how life is in Alaska and how it’s fraught with dangers and yet how it is thrilling. Reading this book is no less than a roaller-coaster ride of emotions and adventures. I love the human Additionally, if you are a fan of reading plots set in different time periods, you are going to love this one. It is surprising how some books create such unforgettable feels of time and space in our minds that last for a lifetime. This is one of them.
The Hate You Give
Genre: Young Adult
Review: I am different and don’t fit in. This entails its struggles and advantages, but I am not going to talk about that here. When I first picked this book, I thought it is primarily about racism and what people have to go through because of racism. But the story, at least for me, morphed more into personal conflicts of being different. The book takes you through these travails from the eyes of a school-going girl who is seeking her priorities. Between her perpetual predicament of either being fitting or being true to herself, we too learn a lesson of standing up for ourselves and being true to things that matter to us.
This is an astounding read! Characters have been written beautifully. Perceiving the treatment of the black community through the eyes of Starr Carter, a sixteen-year-old girl, a witness of the murder of her childhood friend Khalil, is saddening. However, the book isn’t all that sad. It’s about growing up and standing against all odds.
Review: Omg, I was overwhelmed and engulfed in thoughts not my own but of all the characters and perhaps Angie’s. It’s not a usual read. The book has fair share of intrigue and suspense. The character development, the courtroom drama and the take on the lives of Korean immigrants has been beautifully done. Looking at the nitty gritties of human behaviour and interactions through Angie’s eyes is just magnificent. The take on challenges faced by immigrants and nuances related to bringing up an autistic child seem very real and humane. At the same time, I wouldn’t deny that there were a few elements in the books which I think could have been done differently. At times it gets too dramatic and a few of the characters are detestable. All in all, it is an intelligent book that ensures a fine balance between the story line and characters.
Deciding on a book and committing your mind space to it is not easy. I get it. That is why I thought of compiling this credible list of good reads. I hope you have a good time reading these interesting books and complete the target you set out for reading. If you liked the post on interesting books that I read in 2019 please like, share and subscribe.
To meet other interesting books listed genre wise, check out the Book Shelf.
Keep Reading. Chao!