5 books I read in 2021 that made me think

Abhishek Prasad
4 min readOct 31, 2021
Up all night with anxiety, was rewarded with this view

One of the few quotes I love to follow is by Newton, ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ I try to do something similar by reading some books written by people who have been on this earth longer than I have, or have left their legacy by writing literary works for the following generations to read. I thought might as well share some of the ones that I loved to read this year so that if it can help anyone else, it would be my way of paying it forward.

I will list the top 5 books I felt had the most impact on my way of looking at life(a little pessimistic with a dash of optimism and episodes of positivity).

Convenience Store woman

This book really sent shivers down my spine as it shows a person who is just not capable(physically and mentally) of fitting into society and has constant trouble coming to peace with what’s expected of her. Made me question a lot of “whats” because the “whys” are very subjective. It shows how acceptance is the key to being at peace regardless of what society says, no matter how “low” one's point of happiness can be.


The book goes through an in-depth and very disturbing account of events that lead up to and the aftermath of the Columbine school shooting massacre. What stands out to me is how the world reacted to the massacre. It just seemed obscene as to how such an event led to a lot of media fiasco and books published, which gave rise to a cog in the system that used this tragedy to generate, what I assume, tons of money. All at the expense of the grief and sheer sadness of the people affected. The book does an amazing job at staying as impartial as possible and reports on this truly sad incident.

The gulag archipelago

Took a while to finish, simply because there was so much cruelty and sadness in this book, paired with constant lockdowns in 2021 and just a bad mental state. Nonetheless, it is very very important that we don't forget about the past and definitely not the dark times that happened in the past. It can only help us learn and try not to repeat them again. Although, it is easy to blame some ideologies for the tyrannical reigns of such leaders, which some people still follow and stick to. The book just made it more apparent why democracy is there as a concept.

Fathers and sons

I could not hold back tears at the end of this literary masterpiece. The characters are beautifully developed throughout the book. Some challenging social norms, some sticking to the old ways of things, showing the true colors of the “generational gap”. The book was based two whole centuries ago, the generation gap was there then and it is still here now. And it will continue to remain, but the emotions of love and care(or the lack thereof) remain the same between people.

The art of the good life

There is a culture of greed and hustle around us. Some of us gladly welcome it while others struggle to try to embrace it since everyone else is doing the same. This book challenges that notion and puts you at a little bit of ease to curb the anxiety of not being good enough in your own eyes. There are quite a few good chapters in this book that show why we will never be good enough for ourselves and how the only thing that can fix it is being okay with how things are and not taking things personally. Even though I read this book, I keep forgetting the situations it mentions and get super stressed when things are tough. But it’s a nice one to come back to, where the stressful scenarios just prove the content of this book right, once they are over.

So these were the top books I read in 2021, although it has not finished. But I hardly feel any other book I read before the end of this book will change the list. Do check out the reading challenge Goodreads has and set one for yourself for 2022 if you fancy. The main thing is to remember to enjoy reading, rather than be stressed about it.

Until next time, try not to worry too much 😉.



Abhishek Prasad

Full-stack software engineer @carsomeMY , newbie lifter, still trying to figure things out and sow things to reap