My Year in Books: 2020

Rishi Taparia
7 min readFeb 1, 2021

There are many superlatives that could be ascribed to 2020 (“Craziest Year Ever” anyone?) “Taps’ Most Active Year of Book Reading” will not be one of them. I worked my way through 15 books last year. Mostly non-fiction, their themes centered on finding meaning, working through troubled times, and creative output. While I didn’t finish my reading challenge of 26 books (I am choosing not to count toddler classics I memorized this year like Ten Apples Up on Top, Dragons Love Tacos, One Button Benny, Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth, P is for Potty, and Goodnight Construction Site), all things considered, it was not a bad year for reading. Below is the list with quick thoughts on each, as well as a link to the Taps’ Notes review if available. If you’re interested, you can find my 2019 Reading List here. Oh, and as I pull together my reading list for 2021 please click the link below and send me your favorite book!

What is your favorite book?

Note: A * indicates a strong recommendation.


The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen*

This book won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It’s easy to see why. Set in the aftermath of the Vietnam war, the story’s narrator is a communist double agent who moves to Los Angeles with other Vietnamese refugees. An incredibly well-crafted story, it explores big questions of identity, friendship, and love while wrapped in a shroud of espionage and war. I highly recommend you pick this up!

Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang is my favorite science fiction writer. The author of Arrival (which went on to become a major motion picture), his latest collection of stories does not disappoint.

The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

Set during World War I, this is a story of a young medical resident who enters the bowels of war, expected to treat the sick and the dying despite never previously lifted a scalpel. It was an entertaining read, but I was left wanting more from the ending than I was given.


Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin*



Rishi Taparia

Dad and husband | SVP @LegionTech | Angel @garudavc | Alum @Poynt, @MatrixPartners, @ScaleVP, @MerrillLynch, @NorthwesternU