Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Reinvention doesn’t always have to involve devastating loss or birds of prey. Mindy Kaling’s second memoir, Why Not Me? is a delightful ode to finding your own self confidence without the impetus of tragedy. Kaling shares insights on her successful career as a TV writer, as well as plenty of juicy gossip and polarizing opinions on romantic comedies. Her wit and humor are infectious, like staying up all night to talk to your very best friend. By the end of the book, you’ll stop saying “I’m not good enough,” and start saying, “Well… why not me?”
To buy: $13; amazon.com
Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit
If you’re trying to go into 2018 with optimism, read Hope in the Dark. Rebecca Solnit makes the case for radical hope in the face of despair. Solnit isn’t suggesting that we all shove down our fears and pretend to be happy, but she does encourage everyone to celebrate small victories and to avoid giving up, even when the future looks grim. After all, the positive effects of our actions are not always seen right away.
To buy: $10; amazon.com.
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes
Whether you’re already a huge Shondaland fan, or only vaguely aware that Shonda Rhimes makes some kind of TV show, you should pick up Year of Yes. This book is an account of a year-long challenge that Rhimes took on: she would start saying “yes” to everything. For one year, at her sister’s request, she reluctantly agreed to accept all invitations and take on all unexpected projects. The result was transformative. Even if this book doesn’t inspire you to set off on your own “year of yes,” you’ll certainly be tempted to try out some new experiences in 2018.
To buy: $14; amazon.com.
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
Santiago is an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of greater things. He’s off on a quest to find worldly treasure, but of course, his travels don’t go quite as expected. The Alchemist is already a modern classic for dreamers of every kind. It’s somewhere between The Little Prince and a self-help book; a fable that will resonate with everyone who’s ever wanted something more out of life. It’s a fantasy novel that will inspire you to achieve your goals in the real world, with unforgettable characters and simply beautiful prose.
To buy: $13.50; amazon.com.
Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe, by Yumi Sakugawa
Many of us go into the new year with high expectations of ourselves: This is the year that we’re all going to be wildly productive, athletic, and lucky in love. But before you start trying to hit all those ambitious goals, though, you should take a moment to breathe. Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe is an excellent book to read if you’re feeling stressed or overburdened. Yumi Sakugawa employs beautiful ink drawings and calming text to help you breathe deeper, let go of stress, and just allow yourself to exist as a being in the universe. If 2018 is anything like 2017, we’re all going to need this book to stay centered.
To buy: $13; amazon.com.
H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald
When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly, she found herself completely at sea. Not sure how to process her overwhelming grief, Macdonald turned to her old love: falconry. Ordinary falcons wouldn’t do this time, though, so Macdonald resolved to raise and train a goshawk, one of the fiercest predators that nature has to offer. H is for Hawk is a poignant and humorous memoir about dealing with grief, hawks, and self-discovery. It’s also the perfect read for anyone who’s looking to give themselves a bold new challenge this January.
To buy: $5; amazon.com.
Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a friend a few years ago, asking how to raise her baby daughter to be a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is her answer. Equal parts fierce and funny, this essay is a powerful reminder that we can all do more to treat everyone in our lives with respect. Adichie is here to remind us of simple realities, like the fact that everyone matters and no one gender is inherently better at cooking. Most of these fifteen suggestions are just as helpful for adults as for babies, for men and for women, for Americans and Nigerians alike. You’ll read this book in about a day, but its lessons will stay with you all year long.
To buy: $11; amazon.com.