I started reading when I was in the third standard and we were finally given our very own library cards and were allowed to borrow books from the school library. The first book I borrowed was one of the Noddy books series by Enid Blyton. I stayed with Enid Blyton for a long time. Series after series I would stay with the characters and the world created by Enid Blyton. Famous Five, Naughtiest Girl, The Secret Seven, I read them all. Those books became the foundation of my reading journey. Slowly I ventured to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys.
Over the years I read hundreds of books. I didn’t keep any record of them. I just consumed with voracious hunger. Then I was introduced to GoodReads in 2012. I started by entering the books I had already read. I quickly realized that I was too lazy to remember the exact year for each of the books or rather remember all the books I had read in almost two decades of my reading life so far. So I added the main books I could think of such as the Harry Potter series or maybe the Paulo Coelho books and many others.
Then I started my very first Reading Challenge. In 2012 I read 100 books. Till date that has been my highest number of books. I haven’t been able to replicate that and now I am not even sure I want to read 100 books in a year again.
As of today, I have 539 books marked as read on my GoodReads account. As I go through each year, I can see what I was thinking or feeling during that time. Which Authors I was crazy about. What was my emotional state? What was I learning? There is so much history hidden in the books I have read. If anyone wants to understand me, one just has to see the progression of books over the years.
In 2012, I read a lot of P.C.Cast books. They still remain some of my favourite fantasy books. I read the Millennium series and got so traumatized that I gave away my box-set to a friend. Seeing the books scared me enough to keep me awake most of the night. I also read Percy Jackson series this year which ultimately led me to learn a lot about Greek Mythology. I read many books by Jodi Picoult too and I must admit that I cried more than I should have. Amongst the 100 books, I gobbled during 2012 were a lot of classics, a lot of Mills & Boons too many romance and even a few dragon books. There were a few non-fiction too but most of my book list is full of fast-paced fiction books.
In 2013 I quit my job and went to get an MBA degree. The change from corporate to college was a big one and it got reflected in my reading too. I managed to read just 58 books that year. This year was a lot of Meg Cabot books and not just her Princess Diaries series. I read almost everything Meg Cabot wrote. There were more of Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks books. I even read a non-fiction book – India Unbound basically as I was starting a serious course so I thought that my reading too should reflect that. But honestly, I love reading the non-serious books. The serious book was painful to read. I do not wish to relive those moments again.
2014 had a similar book count. I read 60 books that year. Many more books by Meg Cabot and Nicholas Sparks were consumed. I read many series that year. His Dark Materials, Hunger Games, as well as the Artemis Fowl amongst others. This was also the year I read my very first Nora Roberts book and I was instantly hooked. I was introduced to another one of my favourite books this year – Daddy Long Legs. I can’t remember how many times I have read this book since. But it was 2014 when I found many treasures for my life.
2015 was another year of major life changes. I finished my MBA course and got a brand new job in a brand new city. Moving and making a place for myself was not that easy. And my emotional state is aptly reflected in my choice of books I read that year. In 2015 I read 67 books. Many of those books were either dystopia books/series or they were really dark literature. By dark literature, I mean that the characters had an unusually difficult life and despite the story having a romantic storyline, there wasn’t always a guaranty of a happy ending. I did read a lot of Nora Robert too so I guess that kinda balances out the dark literature I consumed.
As my work progressed in 2016, so did my workload and the associated stress. Amidst all that I managed to read just 31 books in 2016. Still, I read a lot of books that became important foundational pillars for my personal growth. Books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and even books like The Martian and Man’s Search for Meaning and even fiction like Me Before You taught me a lot about mental health. I learned more about mental health from the famed book by David Burns. 2016 was the time I started admitting to myself the challenges I was facing and I was trying to understand my mental health better. Books helped me a lot. I also read a lot of non-fiction that year. I was struggling with a lot of stress but I was also trying to find help. My choice of books from that year shows that.
In 2017 I read 30 books. This year is more difficult to categorize. My reading was all over the place. I am not seeing any obvious pattern. I read a few books on mythology, a few books on writing skills, many romance novels, some dark fiction, some motivational and feel-good novels, some non-fiction, some absolutely crappy novels. It was like I was drowning and grasping at anything I could get my hands on. The book list is random and I suppose that is reflecting my mental state.
2018 is a surprise for me. As per GoodReads, I read a grand total of 11 books that year. I am still trying to digest this number. 11 books in an entire year. I was severely depressed in 2018. I was not able to read for months at a time. I might have read some books and failed to update on GoodReads but I highly doubt that. I really don’t think I read more than 11 books that year. This has to be my personal lowest. I was at my personal lowest that year. On the personal front, many things were happening. I lost my grandfather and a few months later I met my husband. For my birthday that year, he gifted me a Kindle and a book called The Rosie Project. That sweet gesture meant a lot to me and honestly, it helped a lot with my mental health too.
2019 was an eventful year. I got married, left my job and moved to another city to be with my husband. This was the year I decided to fully focus on my writing and start building a new career in that. I read 42 books in 2019 and a lot of those books were about writing craft teaching me how to improve my writing. I read a lot of fantasy too along with re-reading Harry Potter. It was a good year. I was getting back to being myself. I was healing. There is nothing better than re-reading old favourites to heal.
I still don’t know how to talk about 2020. That was a year no one is going to forget anytime soon. I managed to read and enjoy 70 books in 2020. Even I am surprised how did that happen. With everything that was happening in 2020, I was sure the stress would be too much for me. But somehow I was OK. In 2020 I read a lot of writing craft related books. I also read many short novellas. But that balanced out the man long books I read particularly of Brandon Sanderson. I got hooked on Brandon Sanderson. The world he created was a safe place to hide. I read a few books by Neil Gaiman too. But this was the only year thus far in my life where I read more non-fiction books than fiction books. I read like crazy in 2020 and I loved it. I hope I’ll be able to keep the momentum going in the coming years.
So, this was my Reading journey particularly focusing on the last few years. It was a fun exercise to go through my list of books I read on GoodReads. I do not use GoodReads for recommendations but it is proving to be a great place to record what I have been reading.