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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

2021: My Year in Books and Reading

Back in July of last year, I had posted my 10 favorite reads from the first half of the year. I am glad I did that because I realized that both the quality and quantity of my reading went south in the second half of the year. Not that I had a bad 6 months in reading. There were some really stellar books but not as many as I hoped.  

First half of 2021

To recap, these are what I loved from the first half of 2021.

I strongly recommend all the above 10 books but the ones that I still remember vividly are Almost American Girl, Good Talk, So You Want to Talk About Race (So good that I couldn't even review it - all I can say is read it), They Called Us Enemy, and Gender Queer (also so good I couldn't review it).

Second half of 2021

There was a lot in life and work during the second half of the year. My years seem to trend that way - I typically start off willing to juggle a lot and then halfway through the year, lose steam. What I need to do instead is do less, but do those more often. These are my top reads from the second half of 2021.

Other than Passing, I am yet to review the rest. I'm hoping to burn through the list over the next couple of months.

Top 3 from 2021

If I have to pick 3 from the above 17 books (ugh, who tries to do this!), if there are only 3 books from this list that you can read, then please bump up


1. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

2. Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

3. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

I did not include So You Want To Talk About Race, but that's because I consider it required reading. 


And now, some bookish stats...

Because who doesn't like charts?

105 books read   |   13751 pages read

~3.28 days per book on average   |   ~64 pages per day on average

One of my goals in 2021 was to better the above four numbers (compared to 2020). The good news is that they are better but the not so good news is that they are only slightly better. Still, my reasoning behind looking at the above 4 numbers is to make more reading time in my life (instead of wasting that time in instascrolling or doing busy work).

Around the mid-year point, I abandoned most of the reading challenges I took on, and kept some of the prompt-based challenges, well, to get ideas from the prompts. I've learnt that I can only focus on challenges for a few months at a time. Beyond that, it becomes a chore or something I don't care for anymore.

Yes, you did see it right that half my 2021 reading was picture books. I guess I do read a lot with my kids. Also interesting that bulk of my reads are 4 or 5 stars. I believe that's because I DNF what I'm not enjoying and also know well what books I tend to enjoy. All win-win. I'm surprised I read almost the same number of books in print as in ebook form, though it may be that picture books are skewing that ratio.


What's your biggest takeaway from your reading in 2021?