JANUARY 27, 2020

Turn over a new leaf


Part of what makes a new year so exciting is the chance of exploring new horizons — books included.

For people who love reading, welcoming the new year has always been both exciting and a little terrifying. The clean slate means you get a fresh start for your reading list, but it also means that the pressure is back on for you to stick to your reading habit and conquer your Goodreads challenge. Or all of it could just mean that there are new books to watch out for and that you can get to them on your own time, at your own pace.

Just as there’s no one way or age by which to accomplish your goals in life, there’s also no need to put so much weight to what books you read, how often you do it, and how many you’re able to finish at a given time. Sure, you probably won’t be able to read 100 books in one year anymore, if you ever did. But you can still find out how a story ends, no matter how long it takes you to get there.

And if you’re looking for what to read next, here are some suggestions.

19 Love Songs by David Levithan

A spiritual and direct sequel to David Levithan’s 2008 anthology How They Met, and Other Stories, 19 Love Songs is a volume that collects all of the stories from Levithan’s annual Valentine’s Day tradition of writing a love story for his friends — including fiction, nonfiction, and even a work in verse, revisiting characters from Every Day and Two Boys Kissing and introducing new ones who are just as likely to stay in readers’ minds long after the last page.

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

In this field guide, artist and critic Jenny Odell tackles, turns over, and reframes capitalist notions of time and productivity through“an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism.” In a world that normalizes waning attention spans, compels people to monetize their interests, and makes hobbies seem like a rare commodity, Odell posits that attention is a powerful resource — able to be put not only into political action and the betterment of the world, but also into happiness, change, and progress.

Home Remedies by Xuan Juliana Wang

Xuan Juliana Wang’s debut is a collection of stories that put the new generation of Chinese youth at the center — specifically, how they have evolved and adapted into modern experiences regarding love, family, friendship, dreams, tradition, and the changing world. In pieces about belonging and identity, Wang introduces bold new voices with empathy and courage, framing the immigrant experience in such a way that it’s both personal and universal. 

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

When her father commits suicide, Jessa-Lyn Morton is left to manage their failing taxidermy shop — as well as her fellow surviving family. Her mother begins creating lewd and suggestive taxidermy, while her brother withdraws and folds into himself as his wife — the only person Jessa has ever been in love with — walks off without so much as a goodbye. As they deal with grief and not-quite-legal ways to keep their finances steady, the Mortons must learn what it truly means to live with and without each other. 

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

In this graphic novel about the pains and joys of young love, creators Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell explore what it means to let go of toxic relationships with yourself and people around you in order to make space for something healthier and more true. Freddy’s dream girl is Laura Dean, the most popular girl in school — but they’ve broken up too many times to count, and according to a mysterious medium, they’re better off breaking up for good. As Freddy loses control of her life, she finds solace in new and old friends, and sage words from advice columnists. Because when you’re a teenager in love, you need all the help you can get. 

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