“As you meet a new year, so will you spend it.” This saying certainly has a grain of wisdom. While I might disagree with some parts of it, I can’t disregard it completely. Planning and setting goals and intentions should definitely take place at the turn of the year. Choosing your optimal reading materials also needs to happen now. There is no better way to start a new year strong than picking some good books to read this January.
The Best Books to Read This January
Books are some of my favorite gifts. I don’t mind to receive new volumes for Christmas. This only means that I will have more books to read in January. The new reads inspire, entertain, and make you think. The books you read can let you waste your time, especially when you procrastinate like I often do, without entirely throwing an hour or two of your day out the window.
Every time you open a book, even if you read it hundreds times before, a new idea or inspiration fills your mind. A couple of new words find their ways into your daily lexicon. Fluid and smooth speech – isn’t it what most of the avid readers, especially those who write frequently, pursue when reaching for another classic? So, keep that ball rolling and pick a few great books to read this January.
Read More of Your Holiday Books This January
Start off your January reading list with holiday books. The holidays might be over, but the pleasure of cuddling up with a great book never goes away, at least not for me. And as I am writing this post still in December with my Christmas tree (that is going to stay until at least mid-January – old Eastern European traditions die hard) illuminating my living room, the holiday vibes are still strong here. Thus, for this January reading list, I prepared a few classic holiday books.
December went by very fast, and all I did was reading the Christmas book. I still have a bunch of festive books to read in January. Join me on my holiday-books-reading marathon and dive into these novels this month or save them for the end of the year. Without further ado, here are three holiday books to read this January.
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
If you familiar with Eastern European traditions, Christmas and holiday spirit doesn’t retire until January 7 (Orthodox Christmas) or January 13 (Old New Year). The latter though is a whole new story that I might share some other time. As you can see, January is a perfect time to read those classic holiday books that you didn’t have time for in December. I would suggest that you start off with A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote.
This short, about 80-90 pages, book includes childhood memories of one of the most prominent American writers of the 20th century. The author narrates about his early years in rural Alabama. In these three short stories (A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, the Thanksgiving Visitors), Capote introduces you to his distant relatives on his mother’s side. He also gives you a full account of what it was like growing up among those folks.
The central place in all these stories belongs to Capote’s best friend, Sook. A distance cousin, this elderly, slightly crippled women was keeping the magic of the holidays alive and instilling words of wisdom in the boy’s heart. Even when Odd Henderson, the naughtiest boy in a small-town school in rural Alabama, played his awful pranks on the author, his lovely Sook used this situation to teach young Truman a lesson that he remembered for years to come.
You don’t need more than just one January evening to read this book. Don’t skip bio section as it will help you understand all the events that lead to the tragic life of the renowned author.
Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
Dramas don’t go well with me, especially in the holiday books even if I read them in January. And yet, I placed Last Christmas in Paris in my Amazon cart at the beginning of the last month. The book came in the mail shorty after that. And a few days later, I was already looking for some other books to add to my December-January reading list. Yes, Last Christmas in Paris was that good that even such a slow reader as I am devoured it in a couple of evenings.
The authors expanded the title of the book and defined it as a novel of World War I. The story includes a few dreadful year of the war, “the war to end all wars”, as people were predicted. Hazel and Heather adopted an interesting style of narrating the story about friendship and love intermixed with the historical events and norms of that time. The storyline is told in letters, mostly between Thomas Harding and Evelyn Elliott.
The book provokes strange feelings. It is like you found somebody else’s personal correspondence and can’t put it down. You know it is not the right things to do, but these old letters and telegrams intrigue you, asking to open just one more envelop aka page.
It is safe to say that Last Christmas in Paris perfectly fits your list of the books to read in January. If the world “Christmas” in the title suggests that you should probably skip this book now, then think twice. The novel, fixed on an imaginary perfect Christmas in Paris, spans many years and brings to light such important issues as heavy censorship in Great Britain and women journalists at the beginning of the 20th century.
Ironically, it also reminds us how fragile the world and its inhabitants are. The story touches on the Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed more people that the World War I itself.
One Day in December by Josie Silver
All Hallmark fans rejoice. In her book One Day in December, Josie Silver incorporates all the best traditions and norms of the romantic novels writing style. A love triangle? It is surely present here? A friendship that is about to collapse due to some unintentional lies? Josie masterfully covers it in her book as well. A huge romantic herself, the author writes a story that will keep you awake a few nights in January (assuming that you decide to read it at he beginning of the year).
Again, the word “December” in the title might be misleading. Nevertheless, give this book a chance and don’t assume that you must read it only in December. The novel, indeed, starts on one winter evening, a few days before Christmas. And it also end on a December evening many year later. The things that happen between these fateful evenings are rather unpredictable (at least as much a Hallmark-style book can allow them to be).
Similar to out previous book to read this January, the love story spans nearly a decade. The novel praises the true friendship and constantly plays with the feelings of its main characters.
I am not a fan of these types of the novels, but I couldn’t stop reading this book. When I was taking a break from it, my mind was wondering what was going to happen next to Laurie, Sara, and Jack. I read the story in a few sittings. Reese Witherspoon, who added One Day in December to her book club, also couldn’t put it down. Although I doubt that the famous actress read this book in January.
Travel Books to Read in January
Finally, escape to your favorite places on earth through the pages of these travel books that you should read in January. Travel still looks like a distant possibility with no clear answers when visiting new places will be permitted again. The good reads, however, can transfer you across the globe in minutes. I have two travel books to recommend that you read in January. Less adventurous compared to what I was reading lately, they will give an insider’s view of some rural provinces of Italy and France.
Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes
Frances Mayes was never hiding her love affair with Tuscany, one of the most picturesque regions of Italy. It took Frances one visit to fall in love with this part of the country. Dreaming of her paradise on earth, Frances did something what an average foreigner was probably not supposed to do. The author bought an old, but lovely house in rural area of Tuscany.
With her work and life in the U.S., the woman is able to visit her new home only for short amounts of time each year. This, however, never stops her from falling more and more in love with Tuscan food, scenic Italian landscapes, rich cultural traditions and customs, and Italians themselves.
Every Day in Tuscany is Frances Mayes’s ode to Italy. The author describes her everyday life in this European country as a gift one can only wish for. Cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, meeting neighbors – there is no mundane routine in a place like Italy. As a bonus, in this January read, Frances Mayers shares her favorite recipes. And let me assure you, they are inspired by flavorful Italian cuisine.
At Home in France by Ann Barry
An American visits France and leaves her heart in a small town of Carennac. Without thinking twice, she returns and buys a little cottage that she can’t wait to escape to every year. This is her safe haven, a place where everything brings joy, happiness, and a much needed break from her American lifestyle. From house improvement to French neighbors, adventures in back-road inns, and quiet moments in local churches, the author shares with her readers what makes her come back to rural France again and again. She feels At Home in France.
Does it sound familiar? Ann Barry with her French house is almost a soul sister of Frances Mayes who finds her refuge in an old cottage in Tuscany. These authors never met each other, but their connection and similarity are undeniable.
If you feel like two very similar books are a little bit too much to read in January, you can surely skip one or better yet save it for the next month. As for me, I would read them one after the other, savoring every word and every day of these women’s lives in the most epic countries in Europe.
Looking for more books to read on a monthly basis? Check out these book recommendations.