Your 2017 reading list

Year in books

Doesn’t this time of year just make you want to stay inside, escape the cold and curl up under a blanket? It’s the perfect opportunity to while away the days with a few good books.

No, this isn’t a way to escape intimidating New Year’s exercise regimens: it’s an opportunity to improve your life. There are several ways in which reading is beneficial to your health and wellbeing: from reducing stress to helping you sleep better, making you more empathetic and keeping your brain in shape.

Why bother reading a book if you can watch it instead?
Because it’s almost always better than the film.

And yet, despite this, nearly four million of us never read for pleasure. And according to YouGov, 18-24 and 25-39 year olds are reading less now than they used to, and less than half of us (47%) are devouring books on a regular basis.

So why not make reading more books a resolution for the year ahead? Armed with our list of ‘must-reads’, it’s one that’ll be easy to keep.

Films coming soon

Why bother reading a book if you can watch it instead? Because it’s almost always better than the film. Just make sure you’ve finished it before it hits the big screen so no one spoils the ending.

  • A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

    If you’re a cat person, prepare to be turned. The film – starring Dennis Quaid and a host of cute pooches – opens in the UK in April.

  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio

    A sensational book that broadens your mind to disability and, hopefully, makes you a kinder human being to boot. The film is due to hit cinema screens in April.

  • It by Stephen King

    If you suffer a fear of clowns (or coulrophobia) and were a teenager in the ‘90s, Stephen King’s It is probably at least partly to blame. The horror arrives here in September.

Anniversaries in 2017

Sound in-the-know about topical historical events and impress your peers at dinner parties. 

  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing 

    January is the 95th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s death. Read about human endurance in the face of adversity during his fateful trip to the Antarctic.

  • Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming 

    80 years ago this July, Amelia Earhart mysteriously disappeared on a round-the-world flight. Pitched at children but equally appealing to adults, this book explores the life and death of the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

Last year’s prize-winners

2016 was a good year for books. Here are some of our favourites. 

  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty

    This fusion of biting satire and themes of racial diversity scooped the 2016 Man Booker Prize. It begins, “This may be hard to believe, coming from a black man, but I’ve never stolen anything.” Shockingly funny.

  • The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

    This debut novelist is making waves with her story of an accidental murder and subsequent consequences for a handful of misfits in post-crash Ireland. Brilliant. Winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

  • The Fifth Season: The Broken Earth, Book 1 by N. K. Jemisin

    Calling fantasy and sci-fi lovers: cancel all social engagements, stock up the snack cupboard and block out your weekend. This book was voted Best Novel at the Hugo Awards. Un-put-down-able.

Short stories for your commute

Brief periods of literary escapism for those rare moments when you’ve got time to yourself. Consider something longer if the trains are on strike.

  • The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

    Unexpected twists and turns in this compilation of science fiction and fantasy, by an author being heralded as a “once-in-a-generation talent”.

  • Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl

    It’s an oldie but it’s a strange and twisted goodie.

Favourites from over the years

A mix of funny, inspirational, life-affirming and turbulent tales. Definite page-turners.

  • Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

    Shining a very different light on dementia. You’ll laugh and cry all at once. Pass the tissues, somebody. No. There’s something in my eye...

  • Yes Man by Danny Wallace

    What would happen if you said yes to everything? Literally everything. This London comedian did just that.

Of course, reading is for life, not just the New Year.  Your local independent bookseller will be full of inspiration and personal recommendations.  Search for yours on the Booksellers Association website or download their app for when you’re out and about.

You can also read reviews on social reading site Goodreads or take a look at The Richard & Judy Book Clubat WH Smith. Amazon have also compiled a list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

Reading needn’t cost a bomb: local libraries are a bookworm’s best friend. Just don’t forget to return them on time. 

If you don’t have time to read, many are also available as audiobooks. So you can enjoy them while gardening, commuting, exercising, or even pretending to be busy at work. 

Getting through the winter months has never looked so appealing. 

Cup of cocoa, anyone?

 

Image credit: ImageZoo / Alamy Stock Photo

 

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