My Summer 2022 reading list inayatramdas
Books & Stuff,  Reviews

My Summer 2022 Reading List

Summer 2022 has arrived. Since I can remember, I have spent every summer with my nose in the pages of a book, reading until the wee hours of the morning. As I have grown older, moving to multiple countries, I try and keep up with the habit. Although I’ve grown to love non-fiction, I do like sprucing up my selection with a few fiction pieces.

This summer I have decided not to buy anymore books since I am a self-professed book hoarder – just ask my parents whose house is teeming with my collection! I have instead decided to peruse my childhood library.

Here is my Summer 2022 reading list:

1. Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Tell you Everything you Need to Know about Global Politics – Tim Marshall (Revised in 2019)
Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Tell you Everything you Need to Know about Global Politics – Tim Marshall

The book Prisoners of Geography explains how location matters in geopolitics. The book elucidates through ten maps of the world how the location of a country has determined outcomes of major world events and how geographical terrain effects the amount of power a country amasses. The author, Tim Marshall, is a veteran British journalist who has covered conflict across  Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Israel.

Interestingly, the book starts with a chapter on Russia and its dealings with Ukraine, which really helps in understanding the current circumstances surrounding both countries. Furthermore, it explains the concerns Moscow has about the North European Plain that makes Russia vulnerable and difficult to defend. Another chapter recounts how the United States does not have to worry about being invaded by any army, for the most part, due to its unique geographical position.

2. The Marlow Murder Club – Robert Thorogood (2021)
My Summer 2022 Reading List
The Marlow Murder Club – Robert Thorogood

Summer 2022 would not be complete without reading a racy crime novel. Set in a small town in the UK, the story, follows an elderly woman Judith Potts who suspects foulplay in her neighbour’s death. She enlists the help of two other women – a dog walker and a vicar’s wife – to get to the bottom of things when the authorities do not take her seriously. Potts, in many ways, is reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Mrs. Marple character but seems a tad bit sprightly than her.

The narrative manages to weave in mystery and intrigue and even though it leaves clues hanging all over the place, it takes a lot of cunning to spot the killer before you get to the end of the book. After this read, I had to check out Thorogood’s other books (which have been made into TV series) including A Mediation on Murder, Murder in the Carribean and Death in Paradise all of which are really engrossing crime novels.

3. An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination – Cecilia Kang and Sheera Frenkel (2021)
An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination -Cecilia Kang and Sheera Frenkel (2021)

The book An Ugly Truth was the talk of town when on its release in July 2021. Kang and Frenkel are investigative technology reporters at The New York Times whose distinctions include being finalists for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize among others.

The book narrates largely the missteps of Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and others of Facebook. What distinguishes this book from others is that the authors told the story of various controversial misinformation and security scandals through accounts from within the company. Most notably, it takes you through the failure of the Facebook leadership to notice and mend its approaches that are causing harm.

4. A Man Called Ove – Frederik Backman (2015)

A Man Called Ove – Frederik Backman (2015)

Set in Sweden, A Man Called Ove tells the tale of a grumpy yet loveable old man who finds his quiet life upended when a boisterous young family moves in next door. Ove is known as a bitter neighbour, but behind the cranky exterior is a story of loss and sadness. Ove is put-off by the constant interference of his neighbours and the local resident’s association, he just wants to live in peace. But his new neighbours insert themselves in his life – much to his annoyance – only to become his new family.

The story is heartwarming and – dare I say – a tearjerker. It hits you in all the right places. Swedish blogger and columnist Frederik Backman’s debut novel was made bestseller lists everywhere and has been translated in many languages. A Man Called Ove is now even a Swedish film. I felt so elated after reading this one that I had to pick up another Backman – Anxious People (more on that one soon!).

5. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear

This book blew up all charts and was on all social media platforms. I usually do not like self-help books that do the rounds on these channels but I desperately needed to change my habits so I decided to take the plunge. I wouldn’t say that I managed to change my habits entirely – its still a work in progress – but the book does give practical tips to rewiring your system and focussing more on the process and not the goal.

My copy of this book is bookmarked from front to back! Moreover, James Clear is no random blogger or influencer looking to make a few extra bucks. He is a leading expert on habit formation and recommends scientific ways and practical strategies in improving your life. If you liked Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, this book is definitely for you. Duhigg’s book outlines various case studies on habits while Clear gives practical tips.

6. Demian – Hermann Hesse (1919)
Demian – Herman Hesse

I wanted to read this in the original German aber mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut! The book narrates, from the first person perspective, the story of Emil Sinclair raised in a bourgeois family. He describes his upbringing in Scheinwelt meaning both a “world of light” as well as a “world of illusion”. Sinclair is essentially struggling between two different worlds – the real world and the world of maya or illusion.

Sinclair meets a mysterious classmate Max Demian who seems to look right into him and influences him, even during his absence in the course of the narrative. He is always there – skulking at the back of Sinclair’s life. Of note is the narrative on the biblical story of brothers Cain and Abel, a story to which Demian refers quite frequently. Max Demian helps Sinclair see the world from the point of view of the “evil” Cain.

Influenced by Demian, Sinclair breaks away from and revolts against what he deems are superficial ideals of the world. By the end of the book, Sinclair seems to awaken and achieves a realisation of his self.

Hesse, a German-Swiss Nobel Prize winning poet and author, was deeply influenced by Jungian philosophy. He was deeply inspired by Buddhist and Hindu spirituality and uses many concepts such as that of maya. In fact, Demian is considered a semi-autobiographical account. Other well-known publications on these themes include Siddhartha and Steppenwolf.

For me, this book is reminiscent of J.D. Sallinger’s classic The Catcher in the Rye, a coming of age story of a boy who does not seem to fit into society’s expectations of him. In fact Demian is a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story too.

So, there you have it – my summer 2022 reading list. There are so many more books I have on my to-read list this year, but they’ll make it to other lists on this website. I hope I inspired you to pick up some reads off my summer 2022 reading list.

If you’d like to check out other book recommendations click here.

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