Photo by Amy McCan
If you’re anything like me, there can a bit of self-imposed pressure to make your first book of the year something special. I always feel like that first story is going to set the mood for my whole year—I want to start it off well by establishing good reading habits. If the first stories of the year are important to you, here are five things to feast your mind’s eye on this January. 1. An old favorite: Take the risk out of choosing your first book of the year by picking up a story that’s close to your heart. Catch up with an old literary friend and fall in love with it all over again. I’ll be reading: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It’s my all time favourite, and an excellent classic about girls becoming women as they experience love, loss and go after their dreams. 2. An #OwnVoices story: Start your year off right by getting into the habit of reading diverse stories by diverse authors. Show your support by reading an #OwnVoices books this January and let’s make 2018 the year we show the world that we care about representation in literary media. I’ll be reading: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. Told in two perspectives, this #OwnVoices young adult novel is about the headstrong Dimple, and hopeless romantic Rishi who both attending the same acclaimed summer web development program. Dimple sees it as the perfect opportunity to get her start in her dream career. Dimple’s parents see it as the perfect opportunity for her to meet Rishi, their idea of the ‘Ideal Indian Husband’. Rishi sees it as the perfect opportunity to meet his future wife, Dimple, who has no idea he exists. 3. Poetry: Poetry has a way of speaking to what’s inside us, of making us feel seen. Poets shape emotions into words for us—like one heart is speaking directly to another. If you want to get more in touch with your emotions this year, poetry is a great place to start. I’ll be reading: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. This collection is about femininity, survival, and healing. The combination of poetry reflects the bitterness and the sweetness of life. It’s about learning to love and grow after pain and abuse. 4. Empowering non-fiction: If you want to give your brain a kick-start this year, why not try some non-fiction? A self-help book, or a series of feminist essays might be just what you need to start off on the right foot. Perhaps a book by a strong woman, or an inspirational historical figure will help you to confidently put the last year behind you and face the year ahead. I’ll be reading: Anne Frank’s The Diary of A Young Girl . This popular diary is a powerful exploration of what it was like to live in hiding during the Nazi occupation of Holland. After a recent trip to Amsterdam, and a visit to Anne Frank Huis, I’m ready for a re-read. 5. A different format: My mother always tells me that a change is as good as a holiday, so why not read something in a format you’re not used to? Why not try a graphic novel, an ebook, an illustrated edition, or an audio book? You might just find it’s the perfect way to kick-start your reading year. I’ll be reading: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, narrated by Lauren Fortgang. This is one of those classic YA fantasies I never got around to, but who doesn’t love a story of a woman learning she has the power to change the world?