7 Novels to Start Your Year Off Right

We think it’s pretty obvious, but just in case you couldn’t tell, we’re big readers over here at Frostbeard. And no time is better for diving into a pile of books like the New Year! Novels, memoirs, technical manuals, cookbooks - they warm our hearts in any season, but chances are good that your bookshelves are looking particularly packed after some gift-filled holidays. For all the book lovers out there, reading more in 2019 may very well end up on your New Year’s resolution list. We’re here with the most important part of your resolution: a starting point! Here are some books that will dazzle, mystify, intrigue, and otherwise encourage you to head boldly into 2019 with your head held high.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Perfect for writers, artists, and anyone looking to infuse 2019 with a special sense of inspiration, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic is at once an investigation of the creative process and a call to action. If she hadn’t written this book, we’d probably have included her bestselling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love on this list to encourage those who want to take some time for self-reflection moving forward. But it feels like the past few years have been all about looking within and discovering your true identity, so we want to place some focus on what we put out into the world. If you’re looking for a little extra help to meet your resolution of writing a book, finally building that outdoor porch, or even changing careers, Big Magic can provide that boost.

White Teeth

We’re reaching back almost a decade for this one, but Zadie Smith’s White Teeth still holds up today. Pick up this novel for a wild ride through multiple generations, various cultures and faiths, and the endless complications of family that will leave you deeply aware of life’s possibilities. To make it an even more appropriate first read of the year, the novel opens on New Year’s Day in 1975, when a British World War II veteran decides against taking his life. It’s an absolute treat to read about the various triumphs and mishaps that unfurl from this decision.

Year of Yes

This year, we’re taking advice from superstar Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder! Year of Yes calls introverts and others who feel uncomfortable in certain situations to instead go towards what scares them. It might seem counterintuitive at first, or even just unpleasant. We’ve done our fair share of dodging social engagements and rejecting invitations – after all, can anything beat curling up with a good book, a warm blanket, and a candle burning merrily? But Rhimes reinforces the idea that, even for introverts, saying yes to things that push you outside of your comfort zone can help you become more at ease with yourself.

Bridget Jones’ Diary

How could we not recommend Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary? An oldie but a truly enjoyable goodie, this read makes us howl with laughter at the heroine’s misadventures, cringe at the impossibly high standards she sets for herself, and then immediately start jotting down similarly unachievable goals for the coming year. (1. Create a signature scent that bestows immortality upon the sniffer. 2. Read 3,000 books in 2019.) Ultimately, this fictionalized diary will set you up to not take yourself too seriously in the coming year, and to appreciate whatever wonderful chaos comes your way.

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story About Anxiety

Sarah Wilson presents a compelling hybrid between memoir and self-help book in this account of her ongoing relationship with anxiety. First, We Make the Beast Beautiful isn’t here to give you ten steps for conquering an anxiety disorder in the next year – rather, it’s meant to tell the reader how Wilson has dealt with and is dealing with her issues. And she admits that she’s a work in progress, just like everyone else. What we love most about this book is the depiction of anxiety not as a character flaw that needs to be conquered, but as a fundamental aspect of a person that can be lovingly managed – a “beast” that can be transformed into something beautiful. This lovely running metaphor, along with stunning cover art, makes this a deeply satisfying read as we head into 2019.

The Little Book of Hygge

Chances are good that you’ve heard a dozen instances of someone throwing around the word “hygge” and someone else going, “Hoo-what?” in the past year. The Danish word has been translated to mean “taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things” to “the art of creating intimacy” to “cosiness of the soul,” and it’s been having quite the moment in the U.S. Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge breaks down the enticing term into easy-to-implement ideas for making your life a little cozier this year. Inside the adorable hardcover, you’ll find suggestions on everything from planning a dinner party to dressing with comfort in mind. Excuse us, we’re off stuffing candles, cocoa, and warm socks into an emergency hygge kit to help us survive the winter! 

The Stone Sky

For those of you who’d rather celebrate the advent of 2019 from the comfort of Howl’s castle or the inside of a wardrobe, pick up The Stone Sky, the thrilling conclusion to N.K. Jemisin’s sci fi/fantasy Broken Earth trilogy. If you have yet to read the first two books, there’s no time like the present to add the entire saga to your list of books to read in 2019! And Jemisin is an inspiration in herself: not only is she the first African-American writer to win the Hugo Award for best novel, she is the first person to win the award three years in a row! We can’t think of a better role model for aspiring writers to look up to as they put pen to paper this year, especially when she gifts us with ready-made mantras like, “To those who’ve survived: Breathe. That’s it. Once more. Good. You’re good. Even if you’re not, you’re alive. That is a victory.”

What Are You Reading to Ring in the New Year?

We can’t wait to dive into some of the books on our list and get our hands on the exciting new titles 2019 will bring. Maybe a few will even spark an idea for one of our future book-themed candles! We hope our selection has given you a good place to start as you choose that all-important first book of the year. Let us know what book you’re planning to read first this year in the comments below!