Best Books of 2020 I read!!

Some books take you on a journey and sometimes those journeys are a ride of a lifetime, considering this pandemic to is a Ride of a lifetime that we all are experiencing and becoming a different you. Here is a list of books that made me visually travel and made me come across personalities and understanding different lives.
  • The Ride Of A Lifetime by Robert Iger. 
This was a book that I read totally by accident- I have been borrowing books during this lockdown from a friend and thank god for the recommendation. 
This Book was a beautiful ride into a journey of how much ones goes through to reach the top. But, In an entertainment business & media business, it’s very competitive. During Robert’s tenure, there were so many important acquisitions he acquired and managed to keep re-innovating and to keep Disney relevant as an organisation to an extent that he acquired Rupert Murdoch organisation for Disney and got access to a bunch of media channels including a popular streaming platform of theirs in India the Hotstar app and rebranded Disney+ 
There are so many insights to share, The relationship with Steve Jobs and how he convinced him and manages to acquire Pixar. 
Trivia: 
Wide World of Sports an ABC Broadcasting channel became the 1st U.S Media house to enter North Korea in the late 70s. 
Apple & Disney collaborate for Television Shows on iPod Touch. 
Marvel, 21st century Fox Studio, Star Wars acquisitions by Disney. 
Robert Iger shares some of his lessons. 
  • Tell Great Stories
  • Innovate or Die
  • Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection
  • Take Responsibility, When you screw up
  • Be Decent To People
  • Excellence & Fairness
  • True Integrity
  • Value Ability
  • Ask Question You Need to Ask.
  • Managing Creativity is Art.
  • Don’t Start Negatively
  • Don’t be in the business of playing it safe.
  • Don’t let ambition get ahead of the opportunity
  • We all want to believe we are indispensable
  • A company’s reputation is the total of the actions of Its people and the quality of its products
  • Optimism emerges from faith in yourself and in the people who work for you
  • You need to convey your priorities clearly and repeatedly
  • It should be about the future
  • Treating others with respect is an undervalued currency when it to negotiating
  • You have to do the homework
  • If something doesn’t feel right to you, it won’t be right for you.
This is one of the best books, I have read this year! And another interesting bit of news is recently Robert Iger announced he would be taking the role as the CEO For the popular video app Tik Tok an App that is currently banned in India as there have been ongoing conflicts with China. 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I Wouldn’t have read this book. But, The moment you read It’s written by the former first lady, You know it’s going to be a great read. As it’s going to have things you wouldn’t know about their lives and you also get the chance to know the White House from an insider, The whole architecture, The protocols and the life behind the camera as a president and more importantly Michelle Obama’s journey in life.  If you enjoyed reading the book. You can also watch the documentary ”Becoming on Netflix ”

Charles Chaplin – Autobiography

I don’t like reading artist biographies or autobiography’s who have been part of the entertainment industry. For one they could be biased, one-sided and slightly boring to read. But Charles Chaplin I have been wanting to read for a long time, a couple of days before we went on national lockdown (25th march ’20’ ) I was about to place an order from the e-commerce website, But did not. Also, having read most of the books that I had already ordered and now worried I had no books to read, First I began scrolling from my contacts and messaged a couple of my “friends” if they could lend me some books. After having waited for too long for them to reply, I browsed through my library at home once again! Maybe there is a book I haven’t read and guess what! I found one of the first editions of Charles Chaplin which was tearing apart and I began reading the book, It was one of the best books I must have read on cinema and actor as it teaches you so much about what goes behind an actor during his preparation and how much effort is it to “Act” and being a superstar of the “silent Era” This fascinated me and within five days I had finished reading the book. Right from his childhood to him coming back from Hollywood and visiting his roots in The UK to him finally settling down in Switzerland to have been married numerous time. About five times and having eleven kids to getting the longest standing ovation in the (Twelve Minutes long ) history of academy awards Charles was one hell of a “Charlie.” It’s a must-read for all and besides Charlie, if you want to read another book on an actor you must! And must read Naseeruddin Shah Memoir – Then one day.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
A Book that I have been wanting to read for a while. That was written in twenty fourteen And what better than a pandemic to understand from a doctor on why “Being Mortal” is important and how we aren’t ready to face it and it’s consequences and during this time it’s an apt book to read.
Being Mortal is on the subject of “Death” – Yes, It questions why in medical we don’t discuss death as important as a “life” and how should we deal with the topic of death. 
And the book questions us with some thought-provoking questions – 
  • If independence is what we live for, what can we do when it no longer be sustained? 
  • The real Issues with Nursing homes & how they are solving this problem? 
  • What exactly is the job of one in the medical field – Only to ensure the health & Survival? Or is it also to teach & look into the well being of one? 
  • Is it true – Once someone loses their physical independence – A life worth of freedom is simply not possible? 
  • And Scientist advances have turned the process of ageing & dying into medical experiences & why is it medical world prepared for or in today’s context wasn’t prepared for it? 
You must surely read this book once not only because of what all it makes us question. But because a Doctor himself has shared his thoughts & Experiences on how unprepared we are to face Reality. 
This is a slightly Emotional, Dull and emphatic read. 
Why we Sleep By Matthew Walkers. 
There have been times! When you have not just heard but have been told to sleep, Sleep and complete your eight hours of sleep! Without really knowing or understanding why should you sleep. Then a year’s later when you grow up you find a book -Why we sleep? That answers your questions on the importance of sleep. This book interested me for two reasons one since I too like many don’t like to sleep much and unlike like many who sleep too much. The book highlights how changing your sleep cycle from just a couple of hours to a minimum of eight hours can make you healthier and keep all your levels ( Sugar, Blood, Weight) balanced and under control. 
I also remember visiting the Facebook office & The Google office a couple of years ago in California US and noticing sleeping Pods for the employees to Nap and be more creative. 
And can’t recall if the same 
is being implemented in India where most of the Indian’s are overworked and underpaid and if any of the organisation have sleeping Pods. While reading the book I also read another point where certain Ceos and owners abroad are giving incentives and bonus for people to sleep and not coming to the office half asleep. Even some of the Animals sleep a lot. 
Trivia:
*Lion & Tiger 15 Hrs a Day
*Brown Bat sleep 19 Hrs. Outperforming all MammalsAnd with this whole change with the pandemic, it has taught a lot of us to slow down and take it easy and we should focus on the importance of sleep. Just changing one thing we all as individuals can change our lifestyle. 
Snow by Orhan Pamuk. 
Yes, I was looking to read something different, And Have been wanting to read a book by the Turkish Novelist Orhan Pamuk, But did not know which one to read .his works include the “My Name is Red” ”Museum innocence” and a few others. Fortunately, I have been borrowing books from a friend, And They had Snow and I choose to start reading Orhan Pamuk books. Two things that got me interested in this book is the written description and reading the blurb, This sounded exactly like a mirror image of Turkey, It’s culture and Turks. And since I visited turkey about a decade ago. A Lot of the writing and descriptions were accurate. 
The Story of Snow is about Ka who is a poet, Intellectual from Istanbul who visits Ka on the context of understanding Why Suicide is on the rise. By representing a Print newspaper. But as the story unfolds you realise it’s more than a suicide… It’s about the politics within. The difference between the open mindset and the Conservative culture. To be vocal about issues that are a cause of concern. 
Snow, Is an intellectual and digging in deep into a writer and poets mind and A Turkish Author while living in turkey he has expressed in his writing about turkey so accurately it is very fascinating. This is surely one of the best books I have read this year already. And having read Orhan Pamuk & Elif Shafak both Turkish authors. You realise how different both of their writing style is, But both have portrayed Turkey Beautifully … 

The Gaze by Elif Shafak
The Gaze was the first book that got me interested in Elif Shafak as an author. As the story idea is different – It’s about a couple who change their genders one day and go out for a meal only so that the society doesn’t judge them anymore. 

And a Turkish Writer writing this story with Turkey as a backdrop. What more would you want in a story. The Gaze becomes my third read instead of first as this book was difficult to be found so I began with forty rules of love and then read The Bastard of Istanbul both of these are lovely too and the bestseller for the author. 
Salivation Of A Saint By Keigo Higanshino. 
My 3rd Book from Keigo Higanshino, 2nd one of the year and two and half days of another page tuner from Keigo Higanshino.This has the best read of all the Keigo Higashino books. Writing is so engrossing. Murder has already being committed in the first thirty pages and You might have the hint of who the murderer might me. But How it happens remains a mystery…Until Detective Galileo works around the theory with the Police officers and comes to the conclusion. A Book & author you wouldn’t want to miss reading, Who surprises you with a perfect Murder Crime that you wouldn’t in your wildest thought, imagined to take place like the one mentioned in the books and with logical backstory and supporting evidence, This book is all the more enjoyable where you just want to read more stories like these from Keigo Higanshino one of my new favourite Crime/Thriller who doesn’t disappoint.
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa 
A book that I first wanted to read, When I had visited a bookstore and found the copy on New arrival and since I had a couple of books that I was reading or wanted to read. I hadn’t picked it up and after a month when I was looking to read something new. I thought about reading The Memory Police. Originally written in 1994, but has been adapted to suit 2019-2020. This book is a science dystopian novel like the ones of 1984 George Orwell, But has more similarities with Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand as who is the Memory Police? can easily be compared to Who is John Galt? 
The book was also nominated for shortlisting Booker Prize 2020. And relates to issues like loneliness and being expressive the issues like the lives been controlled by a particular organisation. 
This is the first book, I have read of Yoko Ogawa and it is a book, no matter how many years later you read it. You could relate to quite a few of the issues.
This Book written by yet another Japanese writer that I have read this year Should be on your reading list.
Kafka on The Shore by Haruki Murakami”
Kafka on The Shore by Haruki Murakami 
Is the seventh or eighth books in the Murakami collection that I have read so far and Kafka on the shore has been one of the most enjoyable mysteries to unfold
Murakami has stuck to his elements in his writing. 
Cats, Painting and the characters we want to know more about. 
Though I read “Killing Commemorate” Last year, Before reading Kafka on the shore and though both were on the same lines. Kafka on the shore has been a breeze to read. 
Like all the other Murakami books, Japan has always been a backdrop with every story and a new town or new side of the city is portrayed. 
Kafka on the Shore is a story of Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old boy who runs away from home to escape an awful oedipal prophecy, and Nakata, an ageing and illiterate simpleton who has never completely recovered from a wartime affliction. Kafka’s journey brings him to a small private library in the provincial town of Takamatsu and to a mountain hideaway where the ordinary laws of time no longer apply. But, like Oedipus, the more Kafka tries to avoid his fate, the closer he comes to fulfilling it. Nakata also sets forth on a quest for an enigmatic entrance stone, the significance of which he does not understand. Intellectually ambitious, emotionally intense, and beautifully written.
Man Called One by Fredrik Backman
A Book was written by a Swedish author and blogger, that had been quite a phenomena. 
It was this year, When I was looking to find something new & different…Did I go through My Reading list – Book that I would like to read and began reading this one. About a character (Ove) who is one of the grumpiest men in the town and his outlook to life, and once you read the book or have read it already, you would relate to one’s you have come across in your everyday life. The humour is a little dry but funny. 
This book – Aptly observes not just people, but also their emotional side and Ove a character you just can’t ignore. 

Festive Season – Made in India!! #3

Swami: A Tonic Water brand that has established itself as the best tonic water with flavours like Cucumber & Grapefruit. And also offers regular ( Original, Light and 3 Cal tonic water ) the brand also has got into non-alcoholic beverages like Rum Cola, Gin & Tonic and Pink tonic. They also have Ginger Ale. The taste in Swami is a little drier compared to Schweppes tonic water and Ginger Ale. Your immediate reaction to the taste would be less sweet, but this is a good option for cocktails. Sepoy & Co and 
Bengal Bay are the other two competitors for tonic water but aren’t very popular in the metro cities like Mumbai & Pune yet. 
&Stirred: Looking out for cocktails mixes? This is the one you should try for sure with classic options like Whiskey Sour, Kamikaze shots, Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Pina Colada are worth giving it a try for home parties if you want to have the same experience as having home bartenders. 
There are options like Moscow Mule, Hibiscus Cosmo too.  Starting from ₹50. 
The other option is Jimmy Cocktails that are also available for you all to try. 
Hapusa Gin: Gin has become popular alcohol to have been produced in India, Goa Hapusa & Greater than were the first two brands from the Nao Spirits company. And after it’s rising popularity there were many more who joined the league. Hapusa has an Earthy bold palate, fresh wildflower on the nose with a long smoky finish.₹3500 for Hapusa whereas Greater than has a clean taste from juniper and fresh lemon peel with a zing the finish of ginger. ₹1450 
Other Gin Options from India are below. 
  • Stranger & SonsYou can experience soft notes from the citrus peels, especially from the Gondhoraj lemons. The drink is smooth and warm-bodied from liquorice and a strong cinnamon-like finish from the cassia bark.₹2600
  • Samsara Gin:A floral and citrusy notes along with a subtle hint of spicy earthiness ₹1350
  • Jin Jiji India Dry Gin : Has botanicals such as Tulsi and Chamomile flower and Jin Jiji Darjeeling India Dry Gin, a tea-inspired Gin ₹2200
  • Pumori: Contains a melange of varied flavours including orange peel, aniseed, vanilla, liquorice, nutmeg, cardamom, lemon peel, Himalayan juniper, almond and cinnamon among others.  ₹1750
  • Tickle Gin: Comes in two variants – their Signature Gin that leaves hints of coriander, lemon peel and ginger on the tongue, and the Raspberry Bakewell Gin made from fresh raspberries that give it a fruity and sweet taste followed by flavours of juniper and cassia ₹650
  • Jaisalmer: These include everything from coriander to Darjeeling green tea. A refreshing spirit, Jaisalmer is a must-try for gin enthusiasts. ₹3500
  • Terai Craft Gin: ₹2000

Coffee From India #Kaffeécino #2

Always had a capsule coffee machine at your place and ran out of the Nespresso capsules?
There are a couple of options available. 
Vero Coffee: 
Besides, eating Indian chocolates. I also ended up having a lot of Indian coffee. Having got a Nespresso capsules machine and ran out of capsules. I looked for options and found Vero coffee as the best bet. With variety such as Malabar coffee, Irish Coffee and Arabica coffee. Vero was a surprise package and in all, they have 13 flavours to choose from. Starting from ₹390 for a pack of ten capsules 
Bonhomia Coffee:    This pandemic also allowed me to try another capsule coffee where it’s very economical compared to Nespresso capsules and flavours too are the same as Nespresso, but the highlight they also offer Green Tea & Black Tea for tea lovers and the only tea capsule that are available In India. So both The Tea & Coffee drinkers can enjoy themselves. Bonhomia also has its coffee machines that are worth investing.The pricing too is very economical and the quality is great too. ₹1500 for a pack of thirty capsules 

Instant Coffee:

Rage: An instant Ethiopian Coffee served in a test tube is a brand from Delhi that’s also the first plant-based Coffee in the world and I had been itching to try this one, even though I am not a fan of instant coffees and Rage has been one of the coffee that is Good! 
Roasted Coffee:
Bru Filter Coffee: 
After I ran out of my Italian grounded coffee. I  Tasted the Bru Filter roasted Coffee and it was just like South Indian filter coffee Dark & Strong and is very easily available and well priced 
Sunbean ITC Gourmet Coffee:
ITC has been a huge surprise for me when it comes to the Fabelle chocolates, The Coffee as it’s not easy to associate a company that has been known for Sunfeast Dark Fantasy Biscuits in the FMGC category and otherwise have been identified as a toboacco and hospitality company. 
The Packaging of the product to the taste of the coffee it is one Indian company that’s worth trusting. And having just two options of grounded coffee available one that’s made in the hills of the south and the other one inspired by southern America both the packing have a motif that’s are significant of the coffee region.

Speciality Grounded Coffee:

Cohoma Coffee Company: 
For the longest time I thought it was an international brand the typography used for their brand name and the combinations offered with the beautiful black packaging with a coloured design on the bottles as well as the Tin boxes. This couldn’t have been India and when I googled the country of origin for this there it was an  Indian brand.
This coffee is very bitter in taste and isn’t everyone’s cup of Coffee and those who like their coffee very strong will enjoy it.  
Araku: it’s not every day you hear about coffee that’s more popular in Europe than in India for the packing and for the flavours it has to offer. Araku isn’t necessarily strong or dark coffee but is mild with interesting coffee notes like peppers, Red fruit and dark chocolate that’s the signature collection to the toffee, Dark chocolate and sugarcane been the selection collection and many more collections to offer. They also have capsule coffee and a wider range for the European market that isn’t available in India Yet. 
Araku should be on your list to try… 
Third Wave Roasters: A speciality coffee place from Bangalore! That I had been reading a lot about and so when I was looking to try something different I tried their signature south Indian Filter Blend and it tasted and reminded you of the strong, Dark South Indian coffee. Third Wave Roaster also has cafes in Pune & Hyderabad besides Bangalore if you would like to visit them or you can order them from Amazon!  
The packing of Third Wave Roaster reminded me of Blue Bottle the USA coffee Chain that offer an interesting range of coffee flavours and the simplicity of the design in packing. 
Subko: While reading a  digital magazines publication issue! I came across this cafe in Mumbai! Though they were supposed to open in March! The lockdown forced them to keep shut! And a few months later they opened in Bandra. I haven’t been to the cafe yet! As I am not in Mumbai anymore…
But, that did not stop me from trying out their roast by ordering them from their website. They have a range of roast right from Meghalaya to the southern estate. 
The packaging and the taste of coffee are well balanced. I ordered the Woodway estate that has flavours of Carmel, Dates and cocoa a good coffee option if you are looking for something that’s not sweet but also slightly dark. 
KC Roaster- Marahulla Grounded Coffee : 
Home became the new destination. I had just ordered Pour-over Coffee equipment. 
It’s like having drip Coffee, that’s known as V60 as it’s a 60-degree angle in a v shape where you need to add filter paper and have a carafe below for the coffee to drip down. So to enjoy this I ordered grounded coffee from one of my favourite cafes in Mumbai.
And having already enjoyed all Indian homegrown coffee & chocolates. This has been one of the smoothest coffees with notes of Cocoa & Caramel. 
Kelagur washed was another good smooth coffee that was not too strong even though it’s said to be an ultra Dark Roast 
but had the taste of dark chocolate and a little buttery. You should try these two from KC Roaster. 

A Year Made In India -Chocolates #1


The Indian Chocolate and coffee experience this year has been a good surprise especially when you don’t have the options of going out at all. 
Amul chocolates :
Dark chocolates, it wasn’t easy to find good dark chocolates as such in India. 
And when you have run out of your Lindt dark chocolate stock, And aren’t going to be travelling until things settle,  imports to aren’t coming by easily. You have to look out for options. And Amul dark chocolate was the only option I had in my city. Yes, I have had mason & Co and Fidler & Frank in the past. two of the finest dark chocolates I have eaten. But unfortunately, they aren’t available in my city, and I am a little hesitant to order them online. Amul chocolate became my saviour. It’s got the perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness. And if you haven’t tried it yet. 
You are underestimating one of the best Indian Brands that have flavours like Mocha, Orange, Hazelnut and single-origin flavours from Venezuela, Peru, India 
₹100 onwards for each bar of chocolate 
All Things Chocolate:  I am not sure! How many of you have even heard about this? These chocolates were divine! The combination and the feel of the packaging make you wonder are these truly from & Made in India, Jaipur These chocolates were so good! That we made a special visit to the Clove store in Mumbai to pick them up. 
₹180 onwards for each bar of chocolate 
La folie: One of my favourite cafe in Mumbai, Bandra and when you hear they also have chocolate you want to try the dark chocolate. But with jaggery replaced instead of white sugar, this chocolate wasn’t tasting like chocolate though… ₹250 for each bar of chocolate 
Soklet Chocolates:   Hadn’t known about this brand at all until I visited foodhall in Mumbai last year and discovered and tried it recently  The mint Nibs with dark chocolate and was slightly disappointed with the taste as it was more like honey after taste. ₹200 onwards for each bar of chocolates 
Dider & Frank:   If there is one of gourmet make in India Chocolate who’s whole range I have tried is this one right from the coffee, Orange and Mint chocolate all are very very good!! ₹300 for each bar of chocolate 
Mason & Co:  Bassed in Auroville, Tamil Nadu.A Chocolate that’s I first noticed at a cafe in Mumbai, The Pantry and a few later noticed it again Blue Tokai it was a few months later did I finally try the 70% Dark Chocolate and it was good! This was the first time I tried a gourmet Indian dark chocolate that has flavours like Mint in Dark Chocolate, Espresso dark chocolate and Coconut Dark Chocolate. ₹295 for each bar of chocolate. 
Fabelle: ITC ( Indian Tobacco Company) It is difficult to associate a Cigarette brand and hotel chain with Chocolates especially when you think of chocolate it’s always Cadbury. But, if you haven’t tried the range of Fabelle chocolates from ITC you certainly have missed trying out one of the most underrated chocolates that just melt in your mouth. There are chocolate bars as well tin gift boxes available from Fabelle. ₹450 for each bar of chocolate. 
Smoor Chocolate: A Cafe Brand from Bangalore that is known not only for their cafe but their chocolates too. I tried the cranberry Dark Chocolate and instantly loved the taste of the chocolate. Smoor since the last time I tried has a range of things to offers. Dark thins, Brittles and a whole new range of dark chocolate additions. 
₹300 onwards for each bar of chocolate. 

How many have you tried? And which one is your favourite?

Why we Sleep By Matthew Walkers. 

There have been times! When you have not just heard but have been told to sleep, Sleep and complete your eight hours of sleep! Without really knowing or understanding why should you sleep. Then a year’s later when you have grown up you find a book –Why we sleep? That answers your questions on the importance of sleep. This book interested me for two reasons one since I too like many don’t like to sleep much and unlike like many who sleep too much. 
The book highlights how changing your sleep cycle from just a couple of hours to a minimum of eight hours can make you healthier and keep all your levels ( Sugar, Blood, Weight) balanced and under control. 
I also remember visiting the Facebook office & The Google office a couple of years ago in California US and noticing sleeping Pods for the employees to Nap and be more creative. 
And can’t recall if the same as being implemented in India where most of the Indian’s are overworked and underpaid and if any of the organisation have sleeping Pods. 
While reading the book I also read another point where certain Ceos and owners abroad are giving incentives and bonus for people to sleep and not coming to office half asleep. the  
Even some of the Animals sleep a lot. 

*Lion & Tiger 15 Hrs a Day

*Brown Bat sleep 19 Hrs. Outperforming all Mammals 

And with this whole change with the pandemic, it has taught a lot of us to slow down and take it easy and we should focus on the importance of sleep. Just changing one thing we all as individuals can change our lifestyle. 

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