The Best Books To Start Off The New Year

For some reason, I’ve started off 2020 in a blaze of reading. Like, I can’t seem to put down a book. Well, I’ve taken a few breaks to work on the book I’m writing or, you know, bathe my children or clean a bathroom, but other than that…I’m losing a lot of sleep because of some internal voice insisting I read.

I mean, we’re six days into January, and I’m nearly done with my third book (and my kids’ preschool only resumed today!). I think some of the mania comes from the fact I only read 54 books last year. I like to try to beat the book-per-week goal, and while I technically did, it still feels a bit weak. It’s not like our house is spotless! What else have I been doing with my time?!

So, I thought I’d try to lure you into my bookish insanity.come-to-the-dark-side-we-have-cookies_o_299402

The books I’ve read thus far span a few different genres, so I thought I’d share some sure-fire hits in the off chance your New Year’s resolution includes a literary aim.

bibliophileA Book About Books
Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany
 by Jane Mount
My wonderful mother (Mama Sr.) gave me this coffee-table-esque book for Christmas, and I devoured it within an evening or two. If you want a running head start on finding great book recommendations, look no further. Divided by genre, this book gives a beautiful list of top books in every category. Ms. Mount incorporates favorite bookstores across the globe, as well as quirky information about bookstore cats, recommendations from bookish people, and quizzes and tidbits about any number of bibliophilistic topics (why, yes! I did think I made up that word only to learn book-y people have a number of biblio-beginning words!). The book’s author is mainly an illustrator, so the feel and style of the book are just lovely and whimsical.

When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People
 by Jeannie Gaffigan
I’ve already bought this quick memoir for a neighbor. It’s a light, but thoughtful wander through the struggles and victories of surviving a brain tumor. She speaks strongly of her faith, but remembers the possible skepticism of her reader. I thought she handled the whole ordeal with grace and charm.

Lake Season by Denise Hunter
I don’t understand how Christian fiction author Denise Hunter does it, and, frankly, it’s annoying (as someone attempting to write believable, fictional characters). I’ve been pre-ordering her books for years, and I love each one. Obviously, some I like better than others (I’ve read The Convenient Groom more than a few times), but I always get those wonderful romance-book feels throughout the pages.

1220282Children’s Literature
If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
Y’all. I love Chris Van Dusen’s picture books. He writes and illustrates a fair number, but his three “If I Built a…” (Car, House, School) books are just fantastic. Aspiring children’s book authors are strictly warned to avoid writing in rhyme unless the rhymes are 100% necessary and 100% remarkable. Well, Chris Van Dusen is the golden standard. In these three books, a young, aspiring inventor named Jack dreams up a house, car, and school, all with the same pluck as Dr. Seuss’ If I Ran the Circus/Zoo. But these are illustrated like futuristic imaginings of the 1950s or 1960s. The illustrations are wonderful, but the rhymes are beyond all. The Hubs described these books as a meeting of Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney, and I highly agree.

Before we were Mama and Dada. Yes, my pregnant belly was a “spawn point” at the nerd fest that is Dragon Con.

Young Adult
The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
When I was pregnant with George, The Hubs and I went to Dragon Con in Atlanta. Yes, we let our nerd flags fly…in public. I mean, who doesn’t want to see a bunch of adults dressed like the characters of Mario Brothers as if those characters were dressed up as Star Wars characters? It’s a truly magical place. Well, this YA novel is set at the New York Comic Con, where a teenage boy decides to declare his true love for his best friend. Since I’ve experienced a similar situation (the comic convention, not the unrequited love thing), I connected with this cute, romantic romp told from a teenage boy’s brain.

So, don’t say I never did nuthin’ for ya! Here are five books spanning five genres to get you started.

You know what I’d love? Even if you don’t read these particular books, keep me updated on what you’re reading. What did you love from 2019? My to-be-read list is always waiting for more entries!

Currently Reading:
Lake Season by Denise Hunter – As soon as I hit “publish” on this post, I’ll delay rewatching Downton Abbey to finish this lovely novel. The protagonist is a young woman who is trying to run a quaint inn with her siblings, and the love interest in a romance novelist who keeps his identity concealed behind a pen name. Loving it!

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