Happy January, word nerds! I hope that over the holidays you were able to spend some serious time curling up with a good book and beverage of your choice. Now that it’s 2022, it’s time for you to write the read which will compel your readers to do the same. Today I am recommending five books to kickstart 2022.
I wanted to do this article in January because the five books below are ones worth picking up now, as they should serve you throughout the year. Most of them were written to be read briefly—in ten or fifteen-minute stints—whether you are warming up for a writing session or waiting to pick someone up from school.
Now, just because these picks are meant to be consumed in small bites doesn’t mean they’re lacking in substance. In fact, the last two are for those who are here for the literary challenge.
Regardless, they are all great books to kickstart 2022 with plenty of writer’s fuel for the year ahead!
Besides, isn’t it time to reward yourself for that new writing habit?
1. Author’s Accountability Planner 2022 by 4 Horsemen Publications
I looooove planners, and this is by far the best one I’ve come across for writing. While most writing planners are basically just regular planners with literary quotes and spaces for word counts, this one is for the working writer. In fact, it’s all about data.
Weeks are divided into days where you can chart not only your word count but also time spent editing, marketing, brainstorming, researching and reading. One of the big draws in this planner is the circle habit tracker, which divides each day into previously mentioned categories and, if you don’t want to track the minutes spent doing each activity (or, like me, you’ve forgotten to set your timer!), you can just check off the days where you showed up and feel fulfilled seeing your streaks of progress.
2. Daily Writing Resilience: 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Authors by Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.
There are tons of writer’s devotionals out there, focused on helping you get in touch with your muse every day. Many of them have provided me with just the right words I’ve needed to hear at precisely the right time. However, this one is different.
How? It was written by a doctor with a Ph.D. in psychotherapy who has also written over 35 books. He knows the fears we face and helps foster the resilience we need. I’ve used it for several years and it’s almost kind of a daily self-care guide for authors.
What kinds of issues are treated? The opening quote by Walt Kelly says it all, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
3. Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo by Grant Faulkner
This book was written by the executive director of National Novel Writing Month, and boy, is it useful in November! These short essays encourage you to go forth into the wilderness that is your writer’s mind. They help you flip the switch from “I (still) have to do my writing” to “I GET to do my writing!”
BONUS: If you’re an Audible member, you can download it for free through the Audible website.
4. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders
A Swim in a Pond was written by renowned author and professor George Saunders, the recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, among many other awards. Seven short stories are presented with great warmth here. They are intended to be savored and questioned, with Saunders guiding you through the psychological space where reader and writer meet.
This book is worth working through over several months. Not only is it 403 pages, but it is also intended for the reader to consider just a portion of a story. These stories and ideas deserve several days of cogitation. Not only will your writer’s mind come alive, your humanity will as well.
5. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Ok, this is the outlier of the group. Up until this point, all of the suggestions have been non-fiction. Normally, I wouldn’t put a novel in such a practical list, but hear me out: everyone who considers stories to be important should read this book.
What is Cloud Cuckoo Land? Cloud Cuckoo Land as a concept is Anthony Doerr’s fictitious land of a golden, glittering, animal-inhabited utopia, where all needs are met and happiness shines as bright as the sun.
The book Cloud Cuckoo Land revolves around this fable, which is presented as a supposedly found ancient manuscript that then travels bit by bit throughout a variety of different peoples and lands, all used to illustrate how literature can connect us across time and space. It is 1/3 historical novel, 1/3 contemporary literature, 1/3 science fiction.
If you are predisposed to literary fiction, this is one that can be read again and again.
Moreover, it is the perfect way to set a literary tone for 2022.
Bonus: You get to use the Greek alphabet you acquired in 2021.
Tell us in the comments: What books are you reading books to kickstart 2022?
Melissa Haas is the author and illustrator of Catula: The Misadventures of Dracula’s Cat and The Night Before Christmas (NOW WITH CATS), among other books. Follow Catula’s whereabouts on Instagram @CatulaTheCat or download a free coloring page at www.catulathebook.com.