Let's get this out of the way: You may be hungover on the first morning of 2016. I know that's a good possibility for me. And it's OK! This one time, I would say, that a New Year's Day hangover may well be a small blessing in disguise.
I know you're probably shaking your head now. Hangovers aren't fun. I wouldn't wish a one on anyone. But I do think it could provide an opportunity to stay in bed and just read, which is certainly not a chance I would pass up. While your attention span may not be the longest after a night of celebrating the new year, who says you can't at least start a good book?
You don't have to begin your New Year's resolutions just yet; those can wait for January 2. For now, you can read the day away in bed and enjoy a big cup of tea to really prepare yourself for the new year. After all, what better to do than curl up with a book you've been wanting to read for ages but just haven't had the time to get to yet. I know that's what I'll be doing come New Year's Day, hangover or not.
1. One Day by David Nicholls
At first, One Day seems like a simple story of a missed connection between two students on the eve of their college graduation, but don't let the romantic focus fool you. The novel covers the span of 20 years by merely coming back to July 15 of each year and revealing where Dexter and Emma are in their relationship. At turns humorous, inspiring, and sad, One Day serves as a good reminder to seize the moment.
2. Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
There's only so much a diary can hold; sometimes the stories of our lives need a little push from those around us. While Mazie Phillip's diaries relates her experiences during the Great Depression in New York City's Lower East Side, other voices flit in and out of the novel to fill in the gaps. Reading Saint Mazie is like returning to a much loved Dear America book from your childhood, but with more maturity and insight.
3. The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
We could all benefit from extending more kindness to others and making that a priority on our lists of resolutions. Reading Leslie Jamison's collection of essays on empathy is a good step in that direction. From writing about a mysterious and contested illness to pushing against the limits and boundaries of empathy, hers and others', these essential essays can teach us all to be better people.
4. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
It's always good to curl up with a book that bears carries some familiarity from your childhood. While In the Unlikely Event is a departure from her classic young adult novels, it is still by the one and only Judy Blume. Based on the true story of three separate plane crashes, within months of each other, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Blume's novel provides a new way of looking at the crucial events in our childhoods and how they shape our futures.
5. Just Kids by Patti Smith
During the early days of a new year, it's nice to read of beginnings, especially when they lead to aspirational legacies. Singer Patti Smith's first memoir Just Kids is set during a time of a tumultuous change that in some ways mirrors our time now. The beginning of her artistic journey with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the late 1960s serves as a reminder of all the possibilities that exist within our grasp, if only we reach.
5. The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber
However faith may or may not factor into your life, there's no denying its power within our world. When Peter is sent a mysterious mission to a distant galaxy, he leaves his wife Bea behind, whose letters eventually indicate a very shaken faith on Earth. The Book of Strange New Things is the kind of novel you'll want to spend an entire day wrestling with, so why not take full advantage of the holiday and just read it all in one go?
6. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Everyone and everything is connected in Anthony Marra's mesmerizing novel that takes place in war torn Chechnya. Each character's story, from the orphan Havaa to her cowardly rescuer Akhmed to even the local village's informer, is explored, revealing the fragility and connectedness behind each individual. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is ultimately a testament to the endurance of the human spirit.
7. Bluets by Maggie Nelson
If you can't quite commit to a novel or want to wait for another day to dive into The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson's numbered meditations on the color blue are perfect to read as you slip in and out of sleep. Hauntingly beautiful, everything from grief to sex to different shades of a color has the potential for wonder in Bluets.