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5 Books to Read All Year

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Emma Nichols

Staff Writer

Emma Nichols is a career bookseller. Though she expected to grow up to be a librarian, or a witch, she's quite happy with how things are working out. Officially, she specializes in children's books and manages their book fairs; unofficially, she is passionate about short stories and spreadsheets. When not evangelizing her favorite books to unsuspecting customers, she can be heard discussing books and bookselling on her podcast Drunk Booksellers. Her other hobbies include organizing her books, taking pictures of her cat, and binge-re-watching her favorite TV shows. Blog: The Bibliot Twitter: @thebibliot

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been planning new ways to get organized, start fresh, and begin the new year right… for about a month now. I have two new calendars, a fresh planner, blank notebook, and a list of doable resolutions. Last year, I resolved to read a certain number of books; this year, I’ve resolved not to care how many books I do or don’t read. And yet… a new year calls for a new reading resolution or bookish project, doesn’t it? Instead of racing to reach a reading goal, this year I’m going to take it slow. Here are a few books I plan on reading all year long.

Headstrong Rachel SwabyHeadstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—And the World by Rachel Swaby

The subtitle says it all; this book highlights some brilliant and innovative women who you may not have heard of, despite their major contributions to the scientific community. You can learn about a scientist for every week of the year!




100 Years of the Best American Short Stories Lorrie Moore Heidi Pitlor100 Years of the Best American Short Stories ed. Lorrie Moore & Heidi Pitlor

I’m guessing some of you received this gorgeous new anthology over the holidays; it’s the perfect gift, in my totally unbiased short-story-loving opinion, collecting the best of the best in the last 100 years (at least according to Lorrie Moore, Heidi Moore, and the previous editors at Best American—and they have pretty good taste). Whether you’re into realism or fantasy, contemporary or classics, there’s is a story in here for everyone. And with forty to choose from, you can read 1 story a week for 10 months!


VoraciousVoracious: a Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti

Nicoletti has combined life’s most important activities: eating and reading. Every section begins with a short essay about a much loved book, followed by a delicious recipe. I must have read the luncheon scene of The Bell Jar a half dozen times and now I can recreate those crab-stuffed avocados (minus the food poisoning). With a total of fifty recipes, you can fill nearly the entire year with books and food, and learn a new recipe every week!


History of the World in Twelve Maps Jerry Brotton

A History of the World in Twelve Maps by Jerry Brotton

Though I’ve never been much of a traveler, I’ve always been fascinated by maps. Besides being a damn useful tool, every map is a story in and of itself—illustrating a certain world view, the peculiar predilections and particular interests of the mapmaker and society at the time of creation. With one map (and chapter) per month, you’ll be a cartographic expert by the beginning of 2017.



Ten Years In the Tub Nick HornbyTen Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby

My love of Nicky Hornby’s “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” column is no secret. There’s something oddly compelling about reading about reading. Read a few of these columns every month (you could read all his Januarys in January, or read through one year a month) and I guarantee your TBR pile will never fall below a dozen books.



I can’t wait for 2016 to begin so I can deep dive into some new and old favorites. Anyone else taking it slow this year? I’d love some more recommendations for reads I can make last the whole year.