What kept me afloat in 2020: Books

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books saiqa parray

“Deep reading allows you to connect with the world’s most creative, intelligent and inspiring people, twenty-four hours a day’’

Robin Sharma

2020 was a quagmire, things completely got haywire, people got stuck and those who got infected by the well-known virus suffered from a different mental trauma altogether. It was an unprecedented and inevitable situation for each and every inhabitant of the earth. While some people jeopardized their mental health by worrying about the situation, some were quite calm and used this time for personal development and for reviving their lost interests. I too managed to get my hands on a great range of books starting from ‘Diary of a young girl’, which is from the 1940s, and ending at ‘The rudest book ever’, which is from 2019. I have always loved reading but I never had time to do it as avidly as I did in 2020. I didn’t do any kind of research for the selection of these books, I just read whatever I found nearby and was amazed that all of them turned out to be awesome. Below is the list of books and how they are worthy of a read:


Most of you might have read this one, this comes straight from the diary of Anne Frank, a young girl from Amsterdam who was a very keen observer of life. Anne’s story is quite relatable for most of us though her situation was far more arduous than ours. They had to flee their home and go into hiding to save themselves from ending up in concentration camps where all the Jews were being tortured. The book has a very vivid description of the annex where they were hiding. There is a quote from this book that I would like to reiterate, “paper has more patience than people”. Anne needed someone to confide in and finally decided to write all the happenings of her life in a diary which she named Kitty. This book is a very strong historical record and it capably manifests all the problems faced by the people in hiding and even by those in concentration camps. Anne died of typhus and later her father devoted himself to sharing the message of his daughter’s diary with people all over the world.


This one is written by Robin Sharma, a self-help guru. This is a life-changing book. It is the result of exhaustive research done by him. It highlights the importance of waking up before the sun and making the most out of a day. He so beautifully writes, “The time you least feel like doing something is the best time to do it” and these words so aptly strike my nerves. We mostly prefer to do things when we feel like doing them and not when they’re ought to be done. He has also provided a working schedule that equally focuses on the activities which re-energize a person and help him in the long run. I’ll say that this one is a must-read for this generation as we are always in a rush of getting things done and we still fail to accomplish what we want to accomplish. We are in a need of living a fuller life where we can also address the passions which we got detached from due to the paucity of time and this book is going to help that way.


Written by one of the youngest Nobel peace prize winners, Malala Yousufzai, with the help of Mary Lamb, this book takes you through the struggles of a girl living in the beautiful Swat valley of Pakistan. This book is an autobiography in which Malala enunciates her desire for education despite being threatened by the most active terrorist group of that time. Her endeavor never fell short of effort because her father also dreamed of a place where every child could get an education under one roof. Malala’s activism for women’s rights and women’s education cost her three bullets out of which one went into her head. But She became the world’s youngest Nobel peace prize winner and continued her conquest at a larger radius later. One of my favorite quotes from the book which you too will find worthful is, “we realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced”.


This book is by Apurva Purohit, president of the Jagran Group, one of India’s largest multimedia conglomerates. I think each lady who aspires to rule the corporate world someday must go through it. Apurva very diligently articulates that how things like working after marriage are not par for the course for women. According to her, either at home or work, there’s latent institutional discrimination and social prejudice at play. She has provided some wonderful insights on how to counter these roadblocks. Through personal anecdotes and real-life stories of women professionals, she offers some indispensable lessons that can present us a breakthrough and help us to excel in whatever we do in life. There’s a remarkable thought provided by her wherein she asks you to be a relatable role model for people and show them that there exists a similarity between them and you because if you present yourself as someone so special that no one can follow your path, you would fail this responsibility.


This was a completely different one, both in terms of its name as well as the content. Written by Shwetabh Gangwar, this book gives you a reality check of life and as the cover of the book says, it gives you insanely practical ideas to free your mind find from all the unnecessary crap. As human beings, we have filled ourselves with so much emotional baggage that we hardly know what is important and what isn’t. Shwetabh builds a strong point when he says people are weird because that’s the best perception we can have about them and that gives us the flexibility to disallow ourselves from being swayed by their thoughts. He normalizes all sorts of rejections and helps us out from yet another difficulty of life. My very favorite quote from this book is “choose satisfaction, not happiness”. You’ll probably find more while going through it.

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