Try Something New this New Year (or) New Year, New Reading Goal - Bookseller Jacey

As a bookseller, it's no surprise that I read a lot. Every New Year’s eve, I take pride in going through my book journal and counting how many books I’ve read to see if I’ve met my goal. From picture books to graphic novels and audio books, it doesn’t matter what kind of books I read, it all counts. 

But last year I realized that, although I am reaching my numerical goal, the types of books on my list weren’t very broad. Sci-fi, Classics, and Young Adult novels dominated my list while Non-fiction and Mysteries were few and far between. As someone who loves to connect with all of our customers no matter the genre, this just didn’t seem right! There were so many amazing books that I was missing out on and I would stand for it no longer! 

So come New Year’s Day 2022 when everyone was starting a new hobby or buying their gym memberships, I made my own resolution: to read a book from every genre in the bookstore. 

Now, this seemed easy in theory, but you may not know until you count that we have nearly 40+ sections!
Nevertheless, I was determined to stretch myself. And I’m so glad I did. In reading outside my comfort zone, I found that I enjoy Non-fiction a lot more than I thought. Nature writing especially surprised me, but how can you not appreciate the love that authors like Sy Montgomery put into their writing? And yes, it happened. I finally picked up a history book outside of the classroom and, oh boy, was it fantastic! Sonia Purnell’s A Woman of No Importance is a riveting true story of a female amputee who served as a spy for the allies in WWII that’s so good it feels like fiction. 

If you are looking for a new years resolution and you’re already a book lover--as I suspect you are--I highly recommend reading outside your comfort zone. Even if you don’t have time to read 40+ different books, giving one new section a try may give you reason to try another. 

So if you’re thinking of trying something new this year and reading outside your comfort zone, here’s a few of my favorite hidden gems I found in 2022. 

  1. Hide by Kiersten White - Horror
    1. A tangle of unlikely people are given a chance to win $40,000 by participating in a hide and seek tournament. They have seven days to keep hidden, never really knowing what they are hiding from, until it's too late. If you’re hesitant to try horror, trust me this one is worth it. The characters are fantastic and you won’t have to worry about nightmares because you’ll be up all night finishing the book. 
  2. When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill - Literature
    1. A beautiful novel with an empowering message for women about rising against challenges and finding community with each other. Even if Literature isn’t your genre, this story is too powerful to miss. 
  3. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh- Humor
    1. Overlook the humor section no longer! There are so many comic artists that make me laugh, but none as much as Allie Brosh. The chapter about the goose on the loose in her house had me in tears. 
  4. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe - Graphic Novels
    1. This nationwide conversation starter is definitely worth picking up whether you read graphic novels or not. I can’t begin to emphasize how important Kobabe’s earnest discussion on identity and self-discovery is to the rising discourse surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. But also, it is just a well written biography.  
  5. How to Be Perfect by Michael Schur - Philosophy
    1. Never read philosophy before? Don’t know where to start? Michael Schur, the creator of the hit NBC show The Good Place has got you covered. In making the show, he studied a lot of philosophy and has broken down what he learned into a fun and easy to read package. 
  6. This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews - Children’s Graphic Novels
    1. Beautiful. Mesmerizing. Whimsical. Everything you could ever ask for and more is written in this visual masterpiece, and it would be a shame for someone to miss it because it's in the children’s section. 
  7. Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong - Poetry
    1. All of Ocean Vuong’s work is a classic in the making. I can see poets studying their work ten years or even fifty years from now. You don’t have to understand poetry to understand the emotion behind every word. It’s truly something else. 
  8. A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell - World History
    1. As mentioned above, this book feels like fiction. You won’t even realize you’re reading a history book rather than a spy novel. It’s just that interesting. 
  9. The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen - Social Science
    1. I love this book for many reasons, but my favorite is how it not only covers the difference between the U.S. and the Nordic countries statistically but also culturally. Freedom and Independence, while valued immensely by both, are pursued through different means. From health care to education, this book covers it all.  
  10. The Hawk’s Way by Sy Montgomery - Nature 
    1. Montgomery knows how to write a book about animals. Even in such a small book, I was transported to the world of falconry and felt her heart beating at its center. A quick and well written introduction for anyone curious about nature writing. 
  11. Ghostland by Colin Dickey - Metaphysics
    1. As a self proclaimed skeptic who loves ghosts and is always willing to be disproved, Dickey is an excellent voice on America's fascination with ghosts and haunted places. With chapters on the famous Winchester House to the forgotten warehouses of Detroit, Dickey provides a look at the ghosts of our history. Debunking what is myth to get to the core of forgotten history gives valuable new insight on what it really means to look for ghosts. Every essay won’t give you chills from fear, but from how well Dickey writes.