We’ve all heard the expression “new year, new you,” right? It’s meant to inspire all sorts of major life changes, like losing 20 pounds (again), or keeping up with the latest fashion trends, or finally getting more organized, or completely rethinking the entire philosophy by which you live your life — aka: all those new year’s resolutions we make, but hardly ever keep, because they’re vague and also impossible. But (in case you forgot) you’re already pretty great, just the way you are. This year, instead of trying to put together a whole new “you”, why not start a little smaller, a little simpler (and a whole lot more fun) with a new hobby? These books to inspire your new favorite hobby in 2018 are a great place to start.
Everything from scientific studies to friendly advice columns tout the idea that it takes three weeks to form a new habit — somewhere between 21 and 22 days. The same (I’m assuming) can be said for a hobby. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take up surfing. Or you’ve been feeling inspired to spend more time with a pen and paper in your hand but don’t know where to start. Maybe you’d love to be one of those people who looks at a wine menu and knows exactly what everyone at the table will love. Whatever it is you’re eager to add to your list of favorite skills and activities this year, the books on this list will help get you there. And who knows, maybe you will discover your “new year, new you” one new favorite hobby at a time.
Check out these 14 books to inspire your new favorite hobby in 2018.
'Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life' by Annie Spence
Reading (or, you know, reading even more than you already do) is always a great hobby to add to the daily lineup of activities you love — if you ask me, anyway. Annie Spence’s Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life is a hilarious, on-point collection of letters written to books, from a librarian who has spent her life loving and leaving them. It’s impossible not to fall in love with you local library all over again, after checking this one out.
'How Cycling Can Save the World' by Peter Walker
Getting more exercise, spending more time outdoors (and less time in commuter traffic) and helping save the environment? Sounds like the perfect 2018 hobby to me. Travel around the world with Peter Walker, as he demonstrates how cycling, rather than driving, can actually save the world and improve your quality of life at the same time in How Cycling Can Save the World.
'Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze' by Charlotte Jansen
Interested in totally upping your smart phone photography game this year? Then Charlotte Jansen’s Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze is definitely the book for you. She dives headfirst into what it means to be a photographer in the age of the selfie, and how women photographers are using social media to both share their images and make a serious statement about female image and identity.
'The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription' by Lauren Walker
Whether the handful of yoga classes you’ve taken has left you wondering what all the fuss is about, or you’ve been interested in adding the practice to your regularly scheduled exercise, The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription by Lauren Walker is a great book for discovering the mindset behind the practice of yoga, rather than just throwing yourself into a downward facing dog and expecting to find enlightenment. Walker explains the healing nature of yoga and energy medicine — for your mind, body, and spirit — while inspiring you to ask yourself how you want to feel each day, rather than how you want to look or what you want to accomplish.
'Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites' by Deb Perelman
One of my new hobbies for 2017 was to spend more time in my kitchen (and not just to pour coffee or spread almond butter on a stack of Saltines.) From the award-winning blogger and New York Times best-selling author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Deb Perelman, comes one of last year’s favorite cookbooks, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites. It’s filled with fun and easy — but delicious and totally Instagramable — recipes that will have you actually looking forward to hitting the kitchen at the end of a long work day.
'Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste' by Bianca Bosker
Part memoir, part travelogue, part guide to wines of the world, Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker is the one book from last year’s must-reads that will inspire you take on the world of wine yourself. Funny, relatable, and informative, Bosker takes the intimidation factor out of your favorite adult beverage.
'Astrophysics for People in a Hurry' by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Sure, “become astrophysicist” hasn’t exactly made my 2018 to-do list (or, really, any yearly to-do list for as long as I’ve been writing them) but if you’re the kind of person who is totally fascinated by the universe and wants to add a few cosmic conversation topics to your third date arsenal, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson is definitely the book for you.
'Alterknit Stitch Dictionary: 200 Modern Knitting Motifs' by Andrea Rangel
Is it just me, or has knitting gotten a major makeover recently — from that thing your grandmother did in her favorite rocking chair after Thanksgiving dinner to that thing all my coolest girlfriends do while they’re watching Sex in the City reruns? Knitting is a skill I’ve long wanted to add to my own resume of hobbies, and Alterknit Stitch Dictionary: 200 Modern Knitting Motifs by Andrea Rangel — a book described as breaking all the rules of traditional knitting — is a great place for the modern knitter to find inspiration.
'Why Poetry' by Matthew Zapruder
From the rise of the Instagram poets to the viral nature of poetry in response to the Trump administration, and more, verse has made major headlines and beautified social media this year. At the same time, poetry can also be super intimidating — especially if you’re interested in writing it, but aren’t sure where to start. In Matthew Zapruder’s Why Poetry, the poet himself first breaks down the basics for approaching reading poetry and then makes the case for why poetry should be accessible to ALL readers. You’ll find yourself picking up a book of poems — and probably a pen and pad yourself — in no time.
'The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors' by David G. Haskell
Most of us could probably stand to spend a little (or a lot) more time away from our devices and out in the natural world. The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors by Pulitzer Prize finalist David G. Haskell will inspire you to do exactly that, not only describing the beauty of the natural world around us, but describing the intimate connections we actually share with that world, even if our smart phones made us forget that for a moment.
'Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body' by Kathryne Taylor
So, maybe you and your kitchen are already best friends, but your repertoire of recipes is getting a little stale. Maybe you’ve mastered the cheeseburger and grilled cheese sandwich, and are yearning for a way to spice up the veggies in your life. If any of this sounds familiar, be sure to check out Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body by Kathryne Taylor — the book that will help you realize all your culinary, vegetarian dreams this year.
'Telling Stories: The Craft of Narrative and the Writing Life' by Lee Martin
Writer Lee Martin is a literary hero in the creative nonfiction world (at least, he is to me). Whether your 2018 lineup of hobbies is missing a little journal writing, or this is finally going to be the year you finish your personal essay/short story/novel/memoir Lee Martin’s recent title, Telling Stories: The Craft of Narrative and the Writing Life will help get you there. Inspired by 30 years of writing and teaching, this book breaks down the art of storytelling and is filled with tons of helpful techniques.
'All Our Waves Are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride' by Jaimal Yogis
Surfing is my lifelong bucket list skill, and I have yet to master it (or even come remotely close… My heart is there though.) If you’re dying to make your own surfing dreams a reality this year, but need an extra boost of inspiration, Jaimal Yogis’s All Our Waves Are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride is a meditative memoir that takes readers behind the waves and into the art, beauty, and spirituality of the sport.
'What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky' by Kelsey Oseid
Ready to take your daily horoscope obsession to a whole new level? Kelsey Oseid’s What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky is not only one of the most beautiful coffee table books of 2017, it’s also an illustrated guide to your totally celestial obsessions. It dives into the myths, history, and science of everything from constellations and planets to comets and the northern lights, and more — totally upping your stargazing game. (Which will come in handy, since you’re already spending so much more time in nature this year.)