nut free nerd

thoughts of a nut allergic book lover

5 books to start off your new year

Somehow it’s that time of year again–my local grocery store is playing Christmas music, wreaths and lights have been hung all around downtown, and my tree is up and decorated in the living room. Along with planning for holiday gifts and festivities, I also like to think about what my first book of the new year will be. I love being intentional with this first book of the year–it feels like a great way to set a lovely tone for the year to come. In case you’d like to follow suit, here are five books I’d recommend as the first book to kick off your 2023:

1. How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

In this book, Jenny Odell shares her research and own personal experiences with the high demands of our “attention economy” and how difficult–and important–it is to step back and do, well, nothing. While the start of a new year can be filled with excitement and motivation, it can also lead to an increased pressure to feel like you have to be super-humanly productive and achieve all of your goals right out of the gate. This book is a great reminder that there’s nothing wrong with carving out some time with no plans or projects to fill it.

2. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Where I live, January feels like the beginning of a long, cold, dark period that is all the more melancholic after the bright buzz of the holiday season. Not only is this book cozy in its atmosphere and style, but it also emphasizes the importance of connection, communication, and community–all things that can help make those dark days feel a bit brighter.

3. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

In this book, John Green reviews various aspects of life on a 5 star scale. No matter what emotions you’re feeling as you ring in the new year, this book contains them all: excitement, enthusiasm, ambition, curiosity, wonder, sorrow, grief, anger, frustration, and even confusion. These essays remind us how complex and nuanced even the smallest parts of our lives can be. I recommend the audiobook in particular, which is narrated by John Green himself.

4. Range by David Epstein

This book rejects the conventional wisdom that specializing in a particular field early in life necessarily produces more talented, successful individuals. Rather, David Epstein argues that a meandering path of exploration, experimentation, and finding a true “best fit” based on practical experiences instead of theoretical predications is better suited to actually solving the modern-day problems we currently face. Above all, this book is reassuring in its idea that no experience is a waste of time because you never know when the knowledge and perspective you gained will prove useful later on. Reading Range at the start of a new year would be a great way to kickstart a goal of embracing new opportunities and experiences.

5. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

People often recommend starting a new year with a shorter book to get the ball rolling. However, sometimes I think it can be nice to dive into a longer book from the get go and slowly take it all in. Ducks, Newburyport is a sprawling stream-of-consciousness novel that is sure to make you laugh, think, and pay more attention to the smaller moments of each day.

Do you plan out your first book of the new year? Do you know what your first book of 2023 will be? I’d love to know.

Take care xx


7 responses to “5 books to start off your new year”

  1. “Ducks, Newburyport” is magnificent, certainly the best book I read that year. Despite its perhaps daunting form, it flows easily and is full of humor and superb writing. Not to mention deep feeling. Go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad to hear you enjoyed it!


  2. It sounds like How To Do Nothing would be really good for me! I also really want to read Before the Coffee Gets Cold.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Both are such great reads! Hope you enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t really planned my first read of 2023, but I hope it will be a Brandon Sanderson novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really need to read something by Brandon Sanderson!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yess! I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve picked up by him.

        Liked by 1 person

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About ME, Holly

former english major, current twenty-something book lover, allergic to nuts. drop me a line at or on instagram.


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