11 Inspirational Books To Read If You're Starting The New Year Out In A Rut
New Year's Eve is painted to be an exciting, champagne-bubbling event where everyone is happy to say farewell to the old year and hello to a new one. The problem is, that's not always the case. A new year means uncertainty for some, and dreadful change for others. And just because the year has changed doesn't mean that you have, even if your New Year's resolution list tries to say otherwise.
Personally, I started 2015 out on one of the worst notes by ending a five-year relationship and going into my last semester of school without a job. I was stuck in a bottomless rut, or so it seemed, and even though it took a while for me to emerge, I eventually started to feel better. While friends and family are a great cure to getting out of any slump, books are one of the best, in my opinion. You can dive in to a new world where your problems don't exist, and you'll learn from characters and authors that are filled with wise, inspiring words.
Whatever your rut is — a break-up or loss of a friendship, a lack of a relationship, a family loss, or even an office dilemma, remember that you aren't alone in feeling this way. The new year may be a chance to start fresh, but it's also a good time to reflect and focus on yourself and feeling better. Grab your favorite blanket and cozy up with these inspiring books, because each one has a unique way of helping with any rut you may be going through.
1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Every artist is familiar with falling into a creative rut, but even if you aren't a naturally creative person, Gilbert will enchant you with her beautiful writing and in-depth look at where inspiration comes from. This isn't a lame self-help book that will make you feel even worse about life — it's going to uplift you by giving you the tools to start living a creative and happy lifestyle. No matter what sort of rut you're stuck in at the beginning of the year, this book will brings some much needed color and positivity back to you.
2. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
In need of some serious laughter? Pick this book up immediately. It's full of hilarious anecdotal stories, silly comics, and relatable themes that'll have you feeling less alone than ever before. Brosh brings back a childlike wonder and laughter with her memoir, all while tackling subjects as difficult as depression and anxiety.
3. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Jenny Lawson is a seriously funny, sailor-mouthed writer. In her memoir, she recalls all the memories she pretends never happened, which everyone can easily relate to having. Lawson explains that life isn't always exciting, and even when it is, that doesn't mean it's going swimmingly. It'll remind you that the place you're currently at in life isn't permanent, and that one day, it'll probably be a funny story that you'll pretend never happened.
4. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
This is one YA novel that changed my life and will probably change yours, too. Mattie Gokey is a memorable character in the ways that she collects words and stores them in her mind, attempting to define life and all the events that happen to her. But after her mom dies and too much responsibility lands on her shoulders, her dreams and words are no help to her. She has to find her own voice and go after what she wants if she wishes to live the life she desires. This book will pull you out of feeling like you're stuck and have no where else to turn, giving you some motivation to live this new year exactly how you want.
5. The Myths of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky
If there's one book on this list everyone in the world should read, it's this one. Lyubomirsky is better than Myth Busters when it comes to targeting this idea of happiness society has created, aka: dream job, marriage, kids, and wealth. Then there's the myth of failure: single-hood, divorce, financial crisis, and illness. And with that in mind, it's no wonder most of us heading into adulthood feel like failures. So if your rut is just being lost in life and having no idea how to find happiness, you won't regret reading this amazing book.
6. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Sometimes the best thing to do while in a rut is to fall head-first into a fantasy world where all your worries literally vanish, and that's exactly what Shatter Me will do for you. Juliette hasn't touched anyone in nearly a year, due to her fatal touch. Isolated and imprisoned for her gift, she must decide if she wants to sit back and let the world turn her into a weapon, or stand up and become a warrior. If you're facing any major life choice, this book just might inspire you enough to stand tall and believe in yourself.
7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist has this way of telling you the story of a shepherd boy on a journey to find treasure, while also making you reflect on your own personal journey at the same time. It digs at the core of what makes us human and reminds us that one of the most important lessons in life is to always listen to your heart. Whether you're debating on making a significant change in your life or having to face a grim reality, this story is going to serve as a perfect companion for you.
8. What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self , by Ellyn Spragins (Editor)
This collection of letters written by inspirational women such as Ann Curry and Maya Angelou will remind you why the life you're living and the difficulties you're going through at this very moment is so important. It's something to look back on, even if you're making mistakes and stumbling through your first job or first real relationship. It's all part of the process, and these letters will make you feel better about yourself and the path you're currently on.
9. The Singles by Meredith Goldstein
Have you had to attend a friend's wedding solo? Or multiple, even? If your rut is made up of horrid bridesmaid gowns, crooked save-the-dates on your refrigerator door, and a perpetually single lifestyle, then you're in dire need to read The Singles . The cast of characters that are dubbed "The Singles" by Bee, the bride-to-be, all have stories that you'll love reading and identifying with. It's one funny story that'll have you feeling better in no time.
10. How To Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson
If you spent the holiday season checking and rechecking your inbox, dismissing your family's constant complaint that you work too often, and not fully understanding why you can't just relax and enjoy this time off, then you need to pick up Hodgkinson's book. It's not meant to make you feel bad for being a workaholic (trust me, I'm one myself), but it will show you how to find happiness in doing absolutely nothing. Learn how to enjoy taking time off and stepping away from the work-obsessed culture that surrounds us.
11. Bridget Jone's Diary by Helen Fielding
This story starts out on New Year's Day and dives into Bridget Jones's hilarious, doomed journey toward self-improvement. Even when all of her goals and ambitions fall flat, she remains incredibly optimistic. This book will keep your chin up and remind you that one of the best cures to feeling better about yourself is being able to relate to someone going through similar difficulties. Bridget Jones is basically a savior and inspiration for all women, so don't delay in picking up this amazing book.
Images: Deborah Cardinal/flickr