Best Books: New Years

Oh how I do love thematic reading. Christmastime, love to read something Christmassy. Halloween. Valentines. Even Thanksgiving. In the spring I always think Anne of Green Gables, and in the fall, Harry Potter. I have been getting in the habit of yanking at least one book from my holiday lists as I arch ‘round the year, so I thought it would be nice to add a New Years’ list. As usual when I come up with a “Best Books” list, I mostly let other people determine it for me: this is what other people said was good reading when a new year begins. That means I have read very few of them (so far) and can not give recommendations. I tried to keep it to titles that would be good year after year and also a list that has real breadth to cover a multitude of resolutions and even meaningful fiction. It’s not a long list, but how many New Years’ do we get in a life, you know?

For a short book list for self help, see HERE. To start a book club for the year (even a couple book clubs based on new year thinking), go HERE.

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  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  • Dear Ijeawele, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (*)
  • Talking to Strangers¸ Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read, Philippa Perry
  • We Are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Tiny Habits, BJ Fogg
  • Goodbye, Things, Fumio Sasaki
  • Thinking Fast and Slow¸ Daniel Kahneman
  • Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media, Jaron Larnier
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
  • Candide, Voltaire
  • Survival of the Thickest¸ Michelle Buteau
  • Please Like Me and Nothing Like I Imagined, Mindy Kaling
  • This is Big, Marissa Meltzer
  • Becoming, Michelle Obama
  • Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Lori Gotleib
  • Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come, Jessica Pan
  • Atomic Habits, James Clear
  • Everything is Figureoutable, Marie Forleo
  • The Friendship Formula, Caroline Millington
  • Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit
  • Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes
  • Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe, Yumi Sakugawa
  • H is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald
  • Amazing Peace, Maya Angelou
  • Wake Up to the Joy of You, Agapi Stassinopolous
  • The Wellness Mama Cookbook, Katie Wells
  • Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin
  • Own It, Sallie Krawcheck
  • The Perfect Blend, Tess Masters
  • The Prime, Kulreet Chaudhary
  • The 4-Hour Body, Timothy Ferriss
  • Living with Intent, Malika Chopra
  • Clean Soups, Rebecca Katz
  • Thrive, Arianna Huffington
  • The Fast Metabolism Diet, Haylie Pomroy
  • Rising Strong, Brene Brown
  • Trim Healthy Mama Plan, Pearl Barrett
  • Everything You Need You Have, Gerad Kite
  • Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
  • The Achievement Habit¸ Bernard Roth
  • Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
  • After You, Jojo Moyes
  • Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, Camille Pagan
  • The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende
  • Dear Mr. You, Mary Louise Parker
  • Spark Joy, Maria Kondo
  • The Road to Little Dribbling¸ Bill Bryson

I’m going to do something I’ve never done before, and repeat some lists that I already used. I’ll make them look different. Expand on them. The thing is, before January, I posted some ideas for book clubs and personal reading goals this year, and in there I included some lists of journals and planners. These are great lists to have when you come up on a new year. So here they are, bigger and better:


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  • Decomposition Notebooks
  • Leuchtturn Bullet (or other) Journal
  • Dotted Grid Notebook
  • Minimalism Art Classic Dotted Notebook
  • Simple Elephant Organizing Notebook
  • Amber and Rose Handmade Saari Notebook
  • Anthropologie The Well Journal
  • Paperage or Moleskin or Amazon Lined (or other) Journal Notebook
  • Rite in the Rain All-Weather Side-Spiral Notebook
  • Riley Reflections Intentions Journal
  • 52 Lists for Calm Journal
  • Maple Creek Gifts Personalized Journal
  • The List Journal (Owl and Zebra Press, yes, that’s me)
  • The Feelings Journal (also Owl and Zebra Press)
  • Tree of Life Writing Journal
  • Good Days Gratitude Journal
  • Sifxxu Colour Blank Notebook
  • Bamboo Bullet
  • Tumbiteri Meri A5 Bullet Dotted Journal
  • Hobonichi Techo Original Book
  • Milligram Non-Diary Daily
  • Stalogy 018 Editors Series
  • The 5 Second Journal
  • Get Your Sh*t Together Journal, Sarah Knight


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  • Kokuyo Jibun Techo Diary
  • Little More Daily Organizer
  • Moleskin Classic 12 Month
  • Leuchtturn1917 Weekly Planner
  • MiGoals Goal Digger
  • Open Sea Luminaries Planner
  • JSTORY Large Weekly Planner
  • Traveler’s Weekly Vertical Planner
  • Fabriano Inspiro Weekly Diary
  • Appointed Year Task Planner
  • Octaevo Agenda A Year of Sun
  • Wonderland222 Tomoe River Weekly Planner
  • Roterunner Purpose Planner
  • Ponderlily Weekly Planner
  • Lemome Planner
  • Smythson Soho Agenda or Wafer Agenda with Pocket
  • Brepols Back to Paper Diary Notebook
  • Clever Fox Planner
  • Day Timer
  • Agendio Customizable Planner
  • Golden Coil’s Customizable Planner
  • Plum Paper Customizable Planner
  • Panda Planner Daily Planner or Rocketbook
  • Blue Sky Weekly and Monthly Planner
  • ARTFAN Weekly and Monthly Planner
  • Emma Chamberlain The Ideal Planner
  • Intelligent Change Productivity Planner
  • Rifle Paper Co. 17-Month Planner
  • Layers Daily Life Planner Duo
  • Day Designer Daily Planner
  • Bestself Self Journal
  • Ban.Do Classic Daily Planner
  • The Non-Planner Datebook, Keri Smith *


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  • The Keri Smith Deluxe Boxed Set, Keri Smith
  • Bibliophile: Reader’s Journal, Jane Mount
  • Finish This Book, Keri Smith
  • The Imaginary World of ____, Keri Smith
  • How to be an Explorer of the World, Keri Smith
  • The Wander Society, Keri Smith
  • Live Out Loud, Keri Smith
  • The List Journal, Owl and Zebra Press
  • The Feelings Journal, Owl and Zebra Press
  • I Wrote a Book About You, Clarke and Edge
  • Q&A A Day, Potter Gift
  • A Couple’s Guided Memory Journal, Studio Oh!
  • Complete the Story, Piccadilly
  • Write the Story, Piccadilly
  • The Book of Me, Peter Pauper Press
  • One Line a Day, Chronicle Books
  • What I Wore Today, Gemma Correll
  • 642 Things to Draw, Po Bronson
  • 642 Things to Write About, Po Bronson
  •  The How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci Workbook, Michael L. Gelb
  • The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal, Julia Cameron
  • Start Where You Are, Meera Lee Patel
  • Art Before Breakfast, Danny Gregory
  • Get Messy Art (online journaling community)
  • Story by Story, Brenda Hudson
  • Azure Dreams Journal, Peter Pauper Press
  • 1 Page at a Time, Adam J. Kurtz
  • I Am Here Now, The Mindfulness Project
  • 365, Noah Scalin
  • The Art of Getting Started, Lee Crutchley
  • Letters to My Future Self, Lea Redmond
  • The Scribble Diary, Lisa Curry
  • Start Now!, Kate Neckel
  • Ready, Set, Novel, Baty and Grant
  • The Fashion Journal, Ohh Deer
  • Year of the Doodle¸ Dawn Devries Sokol
  • The Dream Journal, Knock Knock
  • Map My Heart, Dominic Evans
  • Write Here, Write Now, LaRue and Less
  • The Steal Like an Artist Journal, Austin Kleon
  • How to Be Happy, Lee Crutchley
  • No Mistakes, Keiko Agena
  • The Wild Unknown Journal, Kim Krans
  • Write the Poem, Piccadilly
  • Bibliophile Reader’s Journal, Jane Mount

I also had a desire to include the best books to get you started in a hobby, but that would have taken days of research, because there are so many hobbies and I’d have to boil each hobby down to just a couple books. I could do it, but it would take forever and would have holes. Here are some of my more-or-less-hobbies: painting, collaging, photography, embroidery, hiking, camping, roller skating, yoga, drawing, home design, fashion, cooking, baking, leisure cycling, movie-viewing, working out, blogging, eating out, singing, listening to music, not to mention science, history, and philosophy, among other special interests like astronomy, mycology, archaeology, marine biology, etc. And ones I would like to learn/re-learn: knitting, crocheting, making clothes, pottery, mosaic-making, flying (yes, a plane), piano, a stringed instrument, also etc. Suffice it to say we are in a time when you can find out what you want to know to join a community, learn about something new, and participate in any and all of these hobbies and the ones you are interested in, as well. Just look it up, do a little digging.


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