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New Year – new beginnings

The exercise of setting New Year’s resolutions is ancient. The Babylonians are often credited with starting the practice 4,000 years ago, followed by the Romans, and later Christians. Today, the religious undertones are mostly gone, but looking back and then forward in self-reflection and determination (no matter how brief) is still very much part of our collective culture. This month’s book recommendations look at new beginnings.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. A socially awkward neatnik, Britt-Marie comes across as critical and fussy. Britt-Marie faces various trials, including coaching a children’s soccer team, as she slowly truly finds herself and the confidence that accompanies self-assurance.


The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune is the first book in the series of the same name. It was nominated by Goodreads as Best Fantasy in 2020. Solitary Linus unexpectedly finds an unlikely family while on the job as a case worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth.


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig takes the reader on a journey of discovery along with Nora. The midnight library is full of stories of each life lived and numerous possible lives unlived. Nora must decide what makes a fulfilling life that is worth living in the first place.


Bewildered by Laura Waters is a memoir following the author’s five-month journey into the wild and untamed landscape of the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand. Laura ditched her life to find herself and what nature can teach us about relationships and emotional wellbeing.


Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir by Matthew Perry. Published in 2022, this book lays bare his life, full of humor, intimacy, and ultimately the peace Matthew found in sobriety. The audiobook is narrated by the author.


Self-Help by Lorrie Moore is a little book of fictious stories with guidance about topics like “how to become the other woman” or “how to be the child of divorce.” Lorrie uses humor and poetic prose to guide the reader through relationships and explore new beginnings.


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman probes loneliness and ultimately healing. This is the “smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as Eleanor realizes the only way to survive is to open your heart,” states the book blurb.


The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by Emily Freeman is a practical guide to make “clear the decision-making process chaos, quiet the fear of choosing wrong, and find the courage to finally decide without regret or second-guessing,” states the book description on Goodreads.


Discover the Power of Gratitude by Lillian Carlyle is not just another book about thankfulness; it is a roadmap to a life filled with boundless positivity. Through captivating stories, expert insights and practical exercises, the reader learns to harness the incredible power of gratitude.


Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes.  In this journey of self discovery, author Jessica Pan takes on the personal and often uncomfortable challenge of living life as an extrovert. For an entire year, Pan fights her natural introvert tendencies by putting herself in social situations she would normally avoid – things like stand-up comedy, traveling alone and making friends on the road – all to become a little braver in life.




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