2020 in books
2020 has been a unique year for me. Of course, the pandemic plays a huge part but is just one part. I have been on parental leave for most of this year; more on that maybe in another post. Unfortunately, the circumstances as they are have resulted in me not being able to read as much as I intended.
Unlike previous years, I thought I’ll do more of a summary of my readings. A complete list can be found under the bookshelf heading.
In the search for ways to overcome the downward spiral of productivity due to the pandemic I read Atomic Habits, Getting Things Done, and How to Take Smart Notes. Of them, I think “How to take smart Notes” was the most useful. The main idea presented was the Zettelkasten method, where you take notes such that each note is self-contained and very specific. Notes are connected through topics referenced in the note, so you don’t need to explicitly organize the notes.
Of all the books, I think Factfulness and Age of Kali were my favorite this year. Factfulness presents approaches to handle and make sense of the overload of data available to us without falling prey to the fake news industry. And Age of Kali was a short glimpse of India in the ’90s. It was a pleasure to read, but more importantly, it was a means to reflect on India’s transformation in the last few decades.
Of the books I have read in 2020, I would suggest Factfulness and MBS as the absolute must-read. MBS sketches the life of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and gives an insight into the Middle East’s geopolitics.
In the coming year, I hope to complete Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, which I have been trying to read for a long time now. Also, I hope to read The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic Thought and Believing Women in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an to continue my journey in deconstructing misogyny and patriarchy that has seeped into our society and, more specifically within Islam. A journey which I started this year with Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence and Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective. Apart from that, in the following year, I hope to start learning more about ethics and ethical systems.