5 books to usher in the new year

by Cindy Zhang


New year, new you, new books to read!

1. “The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of the Whole Stupid World” by Matt Kracht

Photo via Chronicle Books

What better way to bring in the new year than by picking up a new hobby? For instance, birding is a fun, cost-effective way to get more in tune with the world around you. All you need is an observant eye, binoculars and a birding guide like this one. Featuring crude drawings and even cruder language, “The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of the Whole Stupid World” may not be up to “professional” standards, but it sure is a lot of fun. If the world is not yet your oyster and you’re looking for something a little more local, check out “The Field Guide of Dumb Birds of North America,” also by Matt Kracht.

Target Audience: Casual birders, seasoned birders, birders with a sense of humor, birders in general, people who like laughing at birds and birds who hate other birds.

2. “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron

Photo via J.P. Tarcher/Putnam

Are you an artist looking to revitalize your work? An author looking for that motivation to continue a little writing each day? An academic looking to unlock your creative side? “The Artist’s Way” is one of the most famous books for creatives, and if you’re looking to start this new year off in a new creative way, this book is a must-read.

Target Audience: Writers, artists, creatives, soul-searchers, motivation-seekers and potentially STEM majors who realized, “Hey, maybe the arts are for me.”

3. “The Seven Year Slip” by Ashley Poston

Photo via Berkley

Everyone needs two things for a good new year: a non-embarrassing Spotify Wrapped and a good romance book. While the former is out of our hands, “The Seven Year Slip” can fulfill the latter requirement. Nominated in the “Romance” category of the 2023 GoodReads Choice Awards, “The Seven Year Slip” draws readers into a unique world with an even more captivating premise. If you enjoy love stories with a touch of magic, this novel is for you.

Target Audience: Romance readers, those who love the number seven and anyone manifesting a relationship for the new year.

4. “How to Say Babylon: A Memoir” by Safiya Sinclair

Photo via 37 Ink

Speaking of nominees from the 2023 GoodReads Choice Awards, “How to Say Babylon” is one of the most highly-rated memoirs this past year, garnering rave reviews for its sincerity, complexity and raw honesty. “How to Say Babylon” is a book for readers who want to start the new year off by reading something unforgettable.

Target Audience: Thoughtful readers and memoir enthusiasts.

5. Any Childhood Classic

Photo via HarperCollins

This upcoming year, it’s in with the new but not necessarily out with the old. Take a second to reflect on how far you’ve come with a blast from the past and crack open that dusty old copy of “The Giving Tree,” “The Little Prince,” or even “The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar,” feeling that wave of nostalgia come over you. While these books may no longer build your reading level, they still serve as reminders of who we once were and who we could be.

Target Audience: Everyone.

Featured Illustration via Adobe Stock

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