Books and Podcasts for the New Year

The start of the new year puts many of us in the mood to reflect on ways to be better and happier. If that’s your frame of mind, here are some reading and listening suggestions for January:


Big Magic 

by Elizabeth Gilbert

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You may know Elizabeth Gilbert as the author of Eat, Pray, Lovebut in my eyes, Big Magic should have been her bestseller. This book shares the inspiration you’re looking for if you want to follow your passions more in 2018. This is a call to “make stuff”, whatever that means for you-writing a novel, painting, composing a song, making a movie, quilting, gardening, whatever. If you enjoy the book, a great extension is her podcast from 2016  “Magic Lessons”, in which she had various guests on who were struggling with a creative project and offered them advice. My favorites are Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2, which focus on combining creativity and motherhood. Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, is even invited on as a guest in episode 2 to share her experience as a writer and a mother.



Better than Before 

by Gretchen Rubin

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If you are looking to start a new habit, or break an old one in 2018, Gretchen Rubin has some tips for you in Better Than Before. I was first introduced to Gretchen Rubin when I read her bestseller, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. 



If you haven’t read that one, the tips on making small changes to boost your happiness are definitely worth your while. However, her book Better than Before is the one that really resonated the most with me. In this book, she divides people into four tendencies (Upholder, Obliger, Rebel, and Questioner) and then offers many helpful strategies for actually sticking with the habits you want to sustain. You can take the Four Tendencies Quiz to help you determine which tendency best describes you. Gretchen Rubin also hosts a weekly Happier Podcast and I always look forward to the “happiness hacks” she shares.

The Wisdom of Sundays 

by Oprah Winfrey

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I started listening to the Super Soul Conversations Podcast recently. These are conversations with various spiritual leaders, authors, and other prominent people. Elizabeth Gilbert and Gretchen Rubin have actually both been guests, so those would be great episodes to start with. The Wisdom of Sundays book pulls out various “aha moments” from the different conversations. The selections are short, so they would be great for reading for a few minutes before bed or before you journal if those are habits you are trying to start in 2018.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski


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