New Reads for a New Year!

Written by Laura Foti

Haaaaaaapy New Year…followed with….and “buckle up folks”.  Okay fine, is this exactly how we envisioned 2021 beginning?  Perhaps not.  Let’s face it, maybe this New Year isn’t off to your average start, but perhaps this year you’ve decided to  do away with the whole “New Year, New Me” age old mantra. If your New Year’s resolution seems somewhat futile – it’s all about the silver lining people (these are facts by the way, stats show only 8% of people keep their resolution….this gives us the opportunity to be 92% of the happier people who do away with the pressure!)

In all seriousness though, there is something to be said for a clean slate, and January 1st allows for that.  However, given our reality right now, I decided to give some focus to a few topics I’d like to share that aren’t your typical resolutions.  You know the ones I’m talking about…”lose that dreadful quarantine 15 you’ve gained”, “get organized” and of course “finally use that crock pot that’s been collecting dust in your cold cellar for ten years”.

I came across a couple of titles in our library collection that could be life challenging in a lot more ways than fitting into your prom dress from 1987.

Cover art, The things you can see only when you slow down by Haemin Sunim If there is one thing this pandemic is testing us on as a collective, it’s certainly a lesson in patience.  Perhaps not only is “patience a virtue” but one could argue, so is the art of slowing down.  For this reason, the book “The Things You Can Only See When You Slow Down” by Haemin Sunim caught my eye.  Although some of us may be working less, going to school less, going out less, this book challenges us to question whether or not we’re taking this slower period in our lives as an opportunity to pay more attention to our surroundings, to focus on the more important things that sometimes the hustle and bustle of “normal” life can cause us to overlook important things.  The beauty of this read is that ringing true to the lesson of simplicity you can literally open it up to any given page and catch a glimpse of a quote, or a thought-provoking question you can ask yourself.   These are small anecdotes that can change your day in a huge way.  One that stood out to me in particular was “An ordinary person mainly notices particular things he likes or dislikes.  A wise person notices both the whole and particulars”.  This is a super cute read and nice to just have on your coffee table or bed side table for a quick pick me up or an “aha” moment.

Cover art, The year of less by Cait FlandersI know that during a time where what we can and cannot do seems more and more limited as the days go on, thinking about having less in our lives seems a bit of a paradox right now.   I do question that maybe the New Year is a time to question our wants vs. our needs?  A good read for really thinking hard about what we place importance on and our reliance on the tangible and material world around us, is “The Year of Less” written by a Canadian author Cait Flanders.  In her late 20s Cait decided to chronicle a whole year of her life, each month broken down into chapters during which she only bought consumables:  groceries, toiletries and gas for her car.  Facing many challenges and realizations about herself and her dependencies along the way, perhaps the most fascinating part of her journey was the insight she attained and her realization that what matters most in life are the things you cannot see with the naked eye. Happiness and peace are both things that cannot be purchased.   This is a great read to finally take control of your finances for the year ahead but more importantly very uplifting read to gain some clarity and awareness on the truly important things you want to focus on for 2021.

Regardless of changing times and changing years, one thing remains unswerving throughout the years and that’s the beauty and life lessons a good book can provide.  On that note, happy reading and happy New Year everyone from all of us at CPL!