2022: My Worst Year in Books

At least, since the past 8 years or so. It was a year of all time lows when it comes to reading. Remember how i mentioned here that this was the year of not growing? I think that is also reflected in my reading.

The primary reason for reading less is obviously phone addiction but I think it was stimulated majorly by entering a reading slump sometime around October because of a book I wasn’t enjoying. I might have mentioned this before, but I have a hard time DNF-ing books. I understand life is too short to read books you are not enjoying etc etc, but when I have picked a book, there’s usually some reason associated to it and I can’t let go. Funnily, that book is now getting interesting for me.

So, in what terms was the year bad for reading?

  1. I read less. I finished only 13 books this year, I know my last book opinion mentions 14 but that’s because I didn’t realise until now that I had left my 10th book midway. I only realised while randomly passing time on Goodreads.
  2. Also, Goodreads tells me that I only read an average of 143 pages per book. Honestly, since the past few years, I haven’t read huge books but this is specifically low I guess and it brings me to my next point.
  3. 3 out of the 13 books were essentially short stories. I have talked about them here.

What am i essentially doing to change things this year?

I purposely stay away from annual book challenges because i have participated a couple of times and I get too caught up without actually enjoying the book. Therefore, i am going to take certain approaches that work for me:

I am a slow reader and a forgetful one, so I am going to give my books enough time to savor them. Things that motivate me to read more are not going to be numbers but something else:

1. first of all, I’ll try to read at least 5 physical books that I have purchased since 2018. So, I have bought a lot of physical copies since 2018 (because I remember a particular book bought at that time). i hardly have read any of them since i mostly read on my Kindle, so this is one challenge that i am giving myself.

2. as last year and last-to-last one, I am going to read more books out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to put a count to this and get intimidated but this would be my number one goal books wise.

3. I’ll read with more intention. If you scroll through my book opinions from 2022, you will realise that I picked a lot of books randomly while browsing Kindle or Netgalley. While there’s nothing wrong with that and spontaneity in this department is good, I’ll intentionally do less of that this year. The reason is very basic actually – I want to read a lot of things and do not end up reading them. So, i shall plan a bit. Of course, spontaneity will be welcome when I pick up pace.

4. Most needed and most difficult – Spend less time on phone.

Happy New Year 2023

Ringing in the new year with best wishes for all of us. Here’s to a happy, healthy and fulfilling new year 2023 for all of us!

Meanwhile, there are some 2022 roundup posts that I’ll be bringing in the new year! See you on the other side ❤️

My Regrets of 2022

Kind of a sad post, and probably not the best timing but I just wanted to let it out.

I thought hard for this post, kind of introspected why I am feeling that 2022 was blah and I kind of know why.

What I am feeling is that it was not the year of growth for me. There are some personal goals that I didn’t even care about, professionally I became more complacent, albeit knowingly. I am getting a feeling that becoming complacent even knowingly was not the best for growth.

I could improve my routine heavily because of my husband and I finally getting to live at our place which led to some small wins in consistency, however, there also I struggled with growth. One, I became more consistent with working out, but lacked in improving their duration or quality. Second, I became more consistent with eating healthier but didn’t manage to give up on snacking as much as I should have.

These are the things that are now affecting me and since I am usually one to go with the flow, I am worried that I might get too caught up in 2023 towards fulfilling these goals. I really hope that I don’t get too caught up but manage to do things at my own pace which also satisfies and keeps me and people who matter happy.

Wishing a happy new year 2023 for all of us!

May Favorites

Okay, this is the month after which I stopped logging my monthly favorites. I had this one in drafts and, to be honest, its a very random set of things I made a note of, but I am still making it live.

Mango Lilac Sling Bag: I had a wedding to attend in Baroda and I was in need of some things for my trip which is when I ordered this bag on Myntra. Its a basic bag but I liked it a lot because it was a very compact design and super light weight plus it looked better than in pictures. Basically, it superseded my expectations. However, the moment I got the bag, I was randomly browsing Myntra again and saw that the bag got discounted heavily. Sadly I returned it then to buy it again at the discounted price. However, by then, my trip was done and my need was not there anymore, so I just never bought it again. I am not able to find the bag now on Myntra, but here’s a picture in a different color.

Carlton London Heels: I ordered them the same time as this bag and the only reason to put them in my favorites is that they were perfect for my purpose, I needed a basic golden pair which goes with all Indian wear but is low heeled enough for comfort while looking pretty.

Classique Cake: I saved the best for the last. This is a home baker in Surat and if you see yourself in Surat, you have to try their cakes. I don’t have a big sweet tooth but these are really best of the best.

Edit: I didn’t add this in May and neither did I try this in May but writing about Classique reminded me of a bonus favorite. Blue Vanilla Patisserie on Swiggy/Zomato has one of the best cheesecakes I have ever tried. I am pretty sure I’ll get some packed next time when I am flying back to Delhi.

Share some of your favorite things in this year or this last month, it’ll be fun!

Book 14 of 2022 | Why is my hair curly?

For the first time on this blog, I have caught up to write about just as many books as I have read. It is obviously sad because that means i have managed to read pretty less. The reasons for that are: a) my current read which sent me in a reading slump of more than 2 months, b) being obsessed with reading Reddit threads at night instead of reading or phone addiction in general.

A short note on reading habit before the actual review: Remember this post? A lot of you appreciated it and while I barely continued this practice, at least it initiated me into reading articles more mindfully. As for books, I already used to savor what I read but I mostly forget what I read. Hence, going forward, you will see a structure to my book opinions. I also maintain a book journal for my notes now and I love doing that. You’ll also see me writing why I chose to read a book. It will sort of help me take a mental picture of the time I was reading that book in. I want to clarify here that I don’t read for ROI (not that that’s a bad thing) but the note-taking may sound like tedious to some of you and that’s totally understandable, but I do it to savor the book reading experience. Goes without saying that I only do it when I like to.

Moving on to the 14th read of this year:

Why I chose this book?

I got this in one of those Westland sales when they were giving away one free eBook a day, really long ago. Westland has since shut shop. 😦

What I liked?

It is a children’s book and a really enjoyable one. The book is about a little, curly haired girl and her daily struggles at school and home. Later on, the book followed to involve a family mystery that the girl helps solve. What I liked most about the book was that its writing style was similar to an old childhood favorite of mine – When Amma Went Away. Basically, if you have read any children’s book by Devika Rangachari, it’s in the same tone.

What did I not like?

I think if (and when) I had kids, I would have been extra judgy towards kids books. for now, i was pretty much happy with it. Just one complaint – I wish the story had a mystery that was more related to the kid’s own life, rather than one focused on overall family drama.

Here’s the link to the book and you can give it a go as a cosy read!

Travel in 2022 | Taking Stock

2022 is a weird one for me, I cannot classify it as good or bad. It had some pretty big sad events for me, mentioned here and here, however, with much gratitude, I can say that my mental strength was alright this year. Additionally, this year I didn’t bother a lot about my unfinished goals (wishes :P) from 2021. They are bothering me now and, let’s see, I would probably need to make another post for it (heads-up – won’t be comfortable sharing all the wishes).

This post is meant to be fun and take stock of all the travel I did in 2022. Albeit less, I have gratitude for this, because I missed traveling only a little bit. I had a lot going on from a family standpoint, Rahul’s father passing away, my father’s retirement event, and later on the year, I was so busy over the weekends too with some or the other social engagements. I am not someone who likes to be on the move all the time (none of the digital nomads, wanderlust etc etc for me please), but I see travel as a change from my very much loved routines. (I say routines in plural because the past pandemic years have made me work from different locations & I am proud to say that I have managed to carve out a suitable physical as well as mental space for me. Also, acknowledging the privilege to do so here). I would definitely like to increase my travels in 2023.

Moving on to the trips:

  1. Jan’22 | Shimla, Kasauli & Naldehra: The year started off with a very fun trip to the mountains with my cousins. For me, the highlight of this trip was the old, colonial style villa we stayed at which also gave us an opportunity to sit in the sun and eat breakfasts at a leisurely pace. Also, this was my first time to the quaint town of Kasauli which seemed like a very laid back, colonial town but i got the symptoms of big C the next day of arriving there and my husband and i just drove back home post testing.
  2. Feb’22 | Jodhpur, Jaisalmer: It’s going to be funny when I mention the highlight of this trip as food again – I loved the hing kachoris at a random shop and also the gol gappe. However, there’s one thing that stood out in this trip. I had been to these cities before and done the forts, sand dunes etc but I hadn’t been to the Golden Fort city in Jaisalmer. It’s basically a proper city dwelling inside a fort! It has markets, cafes, people’s houses – all inside a fort.
  3. Mar’22 | Mussoorie & Nag Tibba Trek: I planned this for my husband’s birthday, but since i am the one who hadn’t been on an overnight trek before, it was more of a gift to me. Of course, I am scared of heights and on the way down, my feet gave away which kind of ruined it for my husband. However, the feeling of reaching the peak was something else and totally indescribably beautiful.
  4. May’22| Baroda: Was here for a wedding and i liked the idea of experiencing a very different Gujju city. how you ask? Baroda has a very service class vibe but combined with a small town vibe. Usually the cities which have a lot of jobs are the metro cities, so Baroda has a very different vibe. Its almost like a town but usually in such places, you see business class more often while that’s not the case here. It’s also where my husband did his first job so it was quite nice to visit his old haunts.
  5. Aug’22 | Bangalore: This was the time when my husband had his office offsite to Spain and I had planned to go with him but had to drop it. Then, I ended up visiting my brother in Bangalore with my parents. It was good to be back in Bangalore after so long. Also, this time we visited IKEA which was good.
  6. Oct’22 | Jaipur: Rahul and I made this trip for a wedding and the wedding was quite fun. However, this trip was fulfilling in many ways. I got to stay with my cousin after a long time and it was good to spend time together. I also got to visit the gorgeous Bar Palladio which I had wanted to visit since long in Jaipur.

Aside these strictly leisure trips, I made two business trips to Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City), multiple trips to Surat to my in-laws and multiple trips to Raipur too where my dad was posted before his retirement. I tried a lot of food places in these cities which I love. I may make separate posts on places i love in surat, as there are a lot of good places to eat in Surat and I’ll love to document those.

Nag Tibba Peak
Bar Palladio, Jaipur
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam