Resolutions Ahead! What We're Reading to Make 2019 a Better Year

Adrian Liang on December 28, 2018
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As 2018 winds down and 2019 revs up, the Amazon editors turn their attention to the oft-dreaded New Year's resolutions. But with a book or two in hand to help us along, resolutions can be stepping stones to new ideas, new experiences, and new ways of living.

Here are the books that we think will help us navigate 2019 with confidence even as we trod new paths.

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I recently watched a very disturbing segment on 60 Minutes about the amount of plastic trash in the oceans. I knew it was bad but this piece was a real eye opener about just how great an impact this convenience material is having on wildlife and the natural world. One of the people interviewed for the piece was author Susan Freinkel, who wrote a book called Plastic: A Toxic Love Story which chronicles the miracle and now scourge that is plastic. Reading her book is going to be part of my New Year's resolution to try to eliminate as many baggies and plastic wrap from my daily life as possible. –Seira Wilson

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My New Year’s reading resolution is to read more translations of Spanish-language writers. One of those writers is Javier Marías. I’ve read one novel by him, which was recommended to me a while back. That was A Heart So White, which was a deep, deep read. Now I have The Man of Feeling, which I am halfway through and will finish before the New Year. Marias is the son of a philosopher, and that shows in his writing; but his books are much more than feats of navel gazing, and he is one of the most celebrated European authors alive today. To be honest, I am still trying to figure out what Javier Marías means to me as a writer—but I am digging him. –Chris Schluep

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I have no illusions that I will cook like a professional in 2019 (or ever—I set myself on fire making bacon once), but if anyone can help improve my culinary prowess, it's Ina Garten. In this book there are scrumptious recipes but also tips and tricks that the Barefoot Contessa has perfected throughout her storied career: things like making the perfect scrambled egg (which is an art form) and adding that impressive—but actually quite easy—chevron pattern to cakes. Hopefully it will also show me how to fry bacon without having to get skin grafts afterward. My aspirations are lofty. —Erin Kodicek

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Of course, everyone has a terrible secret about books they haven’t read but should have. But when you’re in my line of work, those stakes get ratcheted pretty tight. But I’m just going to lay it on the line: I’ve never read Moby-Dick. This book that many consider to be the Great est American Novel is my Great White Whale of a book. For the record, I read a staple-bound children’s adaptation when I was about six, and for years I had considered this one checked off the list. 2019 is the year! And if it’s not, maybe I’ll catch up with Gary Shteyngart. — Jon Foro

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I'm assuming I'm not the only one who has "Drink less" near the top of their list of resolutions for 2019, and one book I found in years past that really helped lessen my yearning for a glass (or two, or three) of wine was Annie Grace's This Naked Mind. She has a new book out on Monday (New Year's Eve!) called The Alcohol Experiment that I'm eager to put into action. Grace believes that the main problem with stopping drinking is cognitive dissonance, so every day for 30 days, Grace gives the reader items to accomplish in order to align your beliefs with your actions. For example, on day one: List the reasons why you drink. Day two: Consider whether those reasons are really true. In the meantime, she gently reminds us that life was fun before regular alcohol consumption and how alcohol ain't all that great for one's well-being. I'm looking forward to putting myself in Grace's hands to help launch a clean new start in 2019. — Adrian Liang

If "read more" is on your list of New Year's resolutions, these book recommendations are a good place to get started:

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