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A&E Book Club: Three books to read in January

Inspirational picks to start the new year off right

<p>Books are the easiest way to change perspective by sitting in someone else’s shoes for a glorious 300-some pages.&nbsp;</p>

Books are the easiest way to change perspective by sitting in someone else’s shoes for a glorious 300-some pages. 

From picking up a new diet to hitting the gym, the month of January is usually filled with attempts at self-improvement before everyone loses steam on their New Year’s resolutions. Though these attempts at external change are admirable, they’re often too short-lived to cause real change. Luckily, there’s another type of improvement you can strive for in the new year – internal change. 

If you’re interested in gaining empathy this year, look no further. Books are the easiest way to change perspective by sitting in someone else’s shoes for a glorious 300-some pages. This month’s book club picks specifically will help you explore different points of view that will linger long past 2022. Though on the surface the following three books have very little in common, they are all intensely unique stories that loudly entertain and quietly inspire. 

“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi

A PEN/Hemingway Award winner, Yaa Gyasi’s 2017 release is a powerful fictional novel following eight generations that illustrates the atrocious realities of the transatlantic slavery system and the devastating effects that continue after its end.

The story starts in Ghana with the tale of two half-sisters who have never met. Effia gets married off to a man in a castle while Esi is held captive in the basement of that same castle and sold into slavery. The book continues by following the descendants of Effia and Esi through an additional seven generations, with each chapter showing a vignette of a new character. 

Each chapter brings a full story arc on its own, filled with devastation and triumphs as with any other great story. However, the full experience emerges when all of the chapters are read in order and the threads and parallels between each generation can be fully examined. The poignant messages that emerge paired with the engaging stories themselves make “Homegoing” a worthwhile read for everyone.

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb

What better time for self-reflection than the new year? Accomplished writer and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb will inspire you to do that and much more with her compassionate memoir. 

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” switches between the intimate stories of Gottlieb’s clients and her own story of turning to therapy after a crushing breakup. This deeply touching novel will suck the reader in from the very first page, getting them fully invested in the lives of Gottlieb’s clients, including a grumpy Hollywood producer and a young woman with cancer. It’s an utterly heartwarming read that will leave you longing for more after the final page comes to an end. Another bonus of this inside look into the life of a therapist is that it may even inspire you to become one yourself.

“It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover

Though it was published in 2016, “It Ends with Us” received a fresh wave of buzz recently as its TikTok fame skyrocketed it to the top of the Amazon book charts. Filled with stirring moments of contrasting joy and sadness, it’s an engaging romance read that will take you on an emotional journey. 

23-year-old Lily has overcome a lot in her life. Despite her rough childhood, she moved to Boston with dreams of starting her own flower shop. She soon meets a charming neurosurgeon named Ryle who — despite their obvious connection — makes it clear that he is strongly against relationships. When their connection persists, however, his mind starts to change. But things become more complicated when Lily’s first love Atlas comes back into the picture.

It’s best to jump into this book knowing as little about it as possible. However, please research trigger warnings for this book before reading as it discusses heavy issues.