Transform Your Year with These Must-Read Books

By Kelley Boymer
16 Jan 2024

As we embark on a new year, it’s the perfect opportunity to cultivate habits that foster self-reflection, ignite curiosity, and open our minds to new perspectives. One of the most enriching ways to kickstart this journey is through thought-provoking books, offering profound insights and inspiring stories that encourage introspection, spark curiosity, and cultivate an openness to new ideas. This curated list of books promises to be your guide in embracing the transformative potential of literature. Let this curated collection of books be your guide to a year filled with growth, insight, and the joy of reading.

Looking for more book recommendations? Check out: The Best Books to Read in Honor of Women’s History Month and The Best Books You Read in 2022.

Must Read Books This Year

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

In Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, May has such a beautiful way of sharing the importance of the darker seasons in life. May wisely leads us through navigating these seasons and the eventual light that we reach at the end. Another great read from May is Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age and The Electricity of Every Living Thing.

Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control by Katherine Morgan Schafler

The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control is incredibly enlightening, thought-provoking and insightful. Instead of wishing away perfectionism, Schafler looks at ways to use it as a gift, to empower and harness its strengths. After reading, I am convinced almost everyone has some sort of perfectionist tendencies and could benefit greatly from reading this book.

Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

In a world that moves way too fast, so many of us find ourselves having difficulty focusing. So why is it that we can’t pay attention and how can we begin to regain control of our attention? Johann Hari’s book Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention– and How To Think Deeply Again is a deep look at human attention. Hari went on a journey across the world to study why it is that we can’t pay attention and what he found was revolutionary.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion shares the tragic experience of her husbands death and her daughters illness. The feelings of love, loss and grief that ensue and how she is able to move through it all discovering and questioning the lives we all live.

Touched Out by Amanda Montei

We have been talking a lot about consent as a parent recently and this book is the perfect way to continue the conversation. Touched Out is Amanda Montei’s examination of the intersection between misogyny and motherhood. Montei explores the ways in which women can reclaim their bodies and pass on a language of consent for the future.

The Lives We Actually Have by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie

Another great recommendation for perfectionists, The Lives We Actually Have is Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie’s tribute to the reality of life messiness. They use blessings of gratitude and hope to make you feel a little less alone in the trials of everyday life, when things feel hard and incredibly imperfect. Bowler and Richie have a way of showing us the way towards appreciating the life we have, instead of constantly striving for one that we will never achieve.

The Book of Delights by Ross Gay

The Book of Delights is Ross Gay’s daily reflections on small joys over the course of a year in the most unexpected places. While it may seem like a simple book of gratitude essays, Ross does not stray from the complexities and fears living as a black man in America or the inevitability of loss in life.

The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

The Body Keeps The Score is such an important book to read in order to understand traumatic stress in our society. Trauma is so prevalent in our society and it’s affect on the body and brain is immense. Dr. van Der Kolk shares his reflections after three decades of working with trauma victims and the practices that have proved to be beneficial in healing trauma in the body and brain.

Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown

In Atlas of the Heart, Brene Brown shares the extensive work she has done to identify 87 of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. The more we can understand human emotion the more skills we can develop to understand and make meaningful connections with those around us.

Try Softer by Aundi Kolber

Try Softer: A Fresh Approach to Move Us Out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode– and into a Life of Connection and Joy is just the book we need in this new year! In a world that pushes us to keep grinding and pretending we’re fine when we clearly aren’t, Try Softer is a welcome interruption. Kolber encourages us to connect to our truest self and live fully.

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  1. Ali wrote:

    I will be adding many of these to my list! I just finished the memoir House of Sticks by Ly Tran which was unputdownable for me. It gives raw and reflective insight into the immigrant experience and struggles with mental health. Would definitely recommend!

    1.17.24 | Reply
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    Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” by Katherine May eloquently explores the metaphor of winter as a time for introspection and renewal. May’s narrative encourages embracing life’s cyclic nature to find comfort and growth during challenging periods.

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