Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Improve Your Life with Books in 2016!

(This is my monthly book column, reprinted from the January 2016 issue of Vital! magazine. You can also see it online at their website, along with some of my other book columns. I've reprinted it here with links to my reviews, when available.)

It’s that time of year when people make resolutions, set goals, and start the new year with a fresh perspective. Whether your goals focus on organization, your home, or your self, here are some books to inspire you!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo – This little book has spent many months on the New York Times Bestseller List. Clear out your stuff and change your life!

How To Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow by Toni Bernhard – Applies the tenets of Buddhism to everyday life in order to be more peaceful, deal with challenges, and have more joy in your life.

Time Management from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule – andYour Life by Julie Morgenstern – Covers organization, clutter, setting goals, and more. I liked it so much after reading a library copy that I bought my own, now filled with dog-eared pages!

Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits – to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin – The renowned author of The Happiness Project is back with a book about habits: how we make the good ones and break the bad ones.

If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power – To understand real Muslims – instead of the terrorists in the news – join Carla on her enlightening journey to learn about the Quran. Timely and perfect for book groups.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey – A classic that changed my life – not just about effectiveness but about being a better person, with chapters like Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood and Be Kind to Those Not in Your Presence.

The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness by Dr. Jerome Groopman – Another book that changed my life, all about what real hope is and its power. Many examples are about cancer patients, but it is equally applicable to any health issues.

The Year of Yes: How To Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes – The famed creator of TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal shares her inspiring year-long journey to come out of her shell and say yes to things that made her uncomfortable.

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam – We all have plenty of time – we just need to use it wisely. She explains how to analyze your time, set goals, and learn to use your time to meet those goals.

Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox –Inspiring and heartwarming – and often hilariously funny, Fox expresses universal truths about family, marriage, being a parent, losing someone, and chronic illness. Especially good on audio, read by the author.

Suzan Jackson is a freelance writer who lives in Delaware with her husband and two sons. She writes a blog about books, featuring reviews, book news, and more at www.bookbybook.blogspot.com. You can find reviews of most of the books listed here on the blog.


  1. I have The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing on reserve at the library. Cannot wait to get it!

    1. I haven;t read it yet but really want to - have heard such great things about it! I'm not getting rid of all my books, though...

  2. I want to read Always Looking Up and The Year of Yes. Great reading suggestions. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup. Pinned to our linkup board.

    1. You would love Always Looking Up, Tanya! It's wonderfully encouraging - Michael J Fox is such an inspiration to anyone living with chronic illness. But it is also hilariously funny, especially read by Fox on audio.