Total Books Read – 25
Total Pages Read – 8,990
Average Rating – 4.5

With my ever-expanding intake of non-fiction taking its toll on my reading time, I had trimmed my annual Goodreads Reading Challenge from 50-60 to just 25. Despite that, at one point, it seemed I wouldn’t even be able to complete the challenge. However, a late reading surge, thanks largely to the ample time I spent commuting on flights, buses, trains, and cruises over the course of my vacation, helped me get over the finishing line.

The year couldn’t have started on a better note as I finally completed Alan Moore’s much-acclaimed Watchmen graphic novel, a birthday gift from my wife. It was rather fitting because I would also end the year with HBO’s brilliant Watchmen series. Needless to say, the book became one of my top five favorite reads of all time.

Another truly cherished reading experience from 2019 was N.K. Jemisin’s phenomenal Broken Earth trilogy, which will go down as one of the most relevant fantasy series of the last decade. The Fifth Season, the first book in the trilogy, introduces us to a refreshingly original fantasy world, which has mysterious floating obelisks and is constantly rocked by earthquakes. The Obelisk Gate continues the journeys of Essun and Nassun, the estranged mother and daughter, before The Stone Sky brings the series to a fittingly Earth-shattering conclusion.

Although I ended up reading just one book from my most favorite author, Brandon Sanderson, it was all the more special because I’d managed to snag a signed copy (thanks to my best friend) of his new YA series Skyward. Another major highlight of the year was Blake Crouch’s Netflix-bound Recursion, one of the finest time-travel thrillers I’ve ever read. The newest sci-fi entry from Daniel Suarez, author of cult phenomenon Daemon, Delta-V flattered only to deceive. While Pierce Brown’s original Red Rising trilogy remains one of my most favorite SFF trilogies of all time, the newer additions Iron Gold and Dark Age failed to meet the series’ lofty standards, albeit being very decent reads.

I’m a huge fan of David Baldacci’s whodunnit thrillers. His latest entry in the consistently impressive Amos Decker series, Redemption will probably go down as my favorite thriller of the year. While I had decided to skip the first book in his Atlee Pine series, I did a buddy-read of the second book, A Minute to Midnight, with my mom. Having thoroughly enjoyed Joy Ellis’ Beware the Past, I liked its equally chilling sequel Five Bloody Hearts as well.

Among non-fiction, the biggest eye-opener was Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty, which was an illuminating read on why some countries are rich, while others remain poor. Its brilliance lies in the simplicity of its core concept. I finally got around to reading the much-hyped Sapiens, which against all odds, just didn’t work for me. Being a cybersecurity consultant, I thoroughly enjoyed Andy Greenberg’s Sandown, which paints a chilling picture of how future wars will be waged in cyberspace and questions how little we have done to prevent it. Freddie Wilde and Tim Wigmore’s new book on T20, Cricket 2.0 was a fascinating insight into how cricket’s newest format has evolved over the last decade or so.

I read a few novellas (mostly for stat-padding), including Agatha Christie’s Three Bling Mice as a precursor for the amazing play, The Mousetrap, and a sci-fi short story collection Forward, featuring stories from award-winning and bestselling authors such as N.K. Jemisin, Blake Crouch, and Amor Towles. While this marks the first time in a few years that I haven’t read any Saga, I made it up in the graphic novel section with Jonathan Hickman’s groundbreaking X-Men relaunch, House of X / Powers of X, which herald a bold new direction for the X-Men and superhero comics in general.