Readers love to keep lists. They track the books they have read and maintain lists of the books they want to read. They look forward to the published lists of notable and best books of the year. The New York Times, Amazon.com, Publishers Weekly, Goodreads, NPR, and others publish annual best books lists. There seems to be no shortage in the insatiable desire for book lists.
Books lists are constantly evolving. There are lists and then sublists of the lists. Booklists categories include genre, publication period, author nationality, and author demographics. How does one go about deciding the best books list? Do sales determine the best books? If that is the case, then Don Quixote by Miquel de Cervantes has the distinction of selling more copies than any other book worldwide. This influential Spanish novel deserves a place on the well-curated bibliophiles’ to-read list. But then we come to the number two best-selling worldwide book, a Chinese-English dictionary. Useful, but not a likely entry for a reading list. Sales alone seem to be an inadequate basis for book rankings. Book reviewers, academics, and readers all rank books and generate lists. No two lists are the same. List making is subject to the prejudices of their makers.
One enterprising blogger has employed an algorithm to generate a best-of list based on, well, a lot of lists. The algorithm searches on and indexes books based on their rankings from 130 published “best of” book lists. Academics, editors, reviewers, authors, and readers contributed to the lists. The algorithm favors experts over general reader rankers but factors them in. So, how does the computer rank The Greatest Books? In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust came in at number one. The work is considered revolutionary and has influenced much of 20th-century literature. Proust’s novel consists of seven volumes. Any reader with In Search of Lost Time on their bucket list should probably start reading it now. Ulysses by James Joyce came in at number two, and Don Quixote also fared well. The computer ranked it third. Readers interested in the computer-generated rankings can find them at The Greatest Books of All Time.
Well, resolutions have rolled around once again so here are some resources to get those resolutions started. Whether it’s weight loss, fitness, mindfulness, stress reduction, or clearing out that clutter – here are some great books to get you started!
Never Binge Again(tm): How Thousands of People Have Stopped Overeating and Binge Eating – and Stuck to the Diet of Their Choice! (By Reprogramming Themselves to Think Differently About Food.)
If you struggle with binge eating, emotional eating, stress eating, or if you repeatedly manage to lose weight only to gain it all back, you may be approaching things with the wrong mindset. Most contemporary thought on overeating and bingeing focuses on healing and self-love. But people who’ve overcome food addiction and weight issues often report it was more like capturing and caging a rabid dog than learning to love their inner child… Open the cage even an inch—or show that dog an ounce of fear—and it’ll quickly burst out to shred your healthy eating plans, undoing all your progress in a heartbeat. From his perspective as a formerly food-obsessed psychologist—and previous consultant to major food manufacturers—Dr. Livingston shares specific techniques for isolating and permanently dis-empowering your “fat thinking self.” He reveals much of his own personal journey in the process.
The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation (Muscle for Life)
Have you ever gotten into the car after a long day at work and headed straight for the couch instead of the gym?
Have you ever been unable to stop hitting the snooze button in the morning? Have you even felt secretly afraid you just don’t have what it takes to transform your body and health? Welcome to the club.
Working out and eating right takes time, energy, effort, discipline, dedication, and patience, and life always finds ways to interfere with our intentions and tempt us to stray. And here’s the ground truth:
It doesn’t ever get easier—we just have to get better. This book will help you get better.
Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Everyday
Mindfulness is an evidence-based method for reducing stress, enhancing resilience, and maintaining mental well-being. Even short meditations can turn a bad day around, ground us in the present moment, and help us approach life with gratitude and kindness.
Practicing Mindfulness was created by the founder of One Mind Dharma. He developed these 75 essential exercises to offer practical guidance for anyone who wants to realize the benefits of mindful meditation. This includes expert advice on dealing with distorted or wandering thoughts and how to handle mental blocks.
Early meditations in Practicing Mindfulness take just 5 minutes and are highly accessible. As they progress, exercises grow with the reader, building on previous lessons to develop a transformative mindfulness practice. With meditations designed for specific situations or emotions, even experienced practitioners will have a continuing resource for mindfulness at every moment.
Begin a journey of peace and patience today on the path to a calmer, more balanced life with Practicing Mindfulness.
The Self Care Prescription: Powerful Solutions to Manage Stress, Reduce Anxiety & Increase Wellbeing
Picture your best life: Where would you work? What would your social calendar look like? What personal interests would you be exploring? This book is your prescription to turn those visions into a reality―with proven self care strategies for every area of your life.
The Self Care Prescription empowers you to find balance and purpose in your relationships, work, and life. From creating a plan to spend more time with family and friends, to zeroing-in on a career that you can feel good about, the book will help you create a personalized self care plan. You’ll also learn actionable techniques to fight anxiety, demotivation, or whatever else is holding you back from building the life you want to live.
Journal for Cleaning & Decorating, for Fans of Cluttered Mess)
From the Host of HGTV’s HOT MESS HOUSE
#1 Best Seller in Cleaning, Caretaking & Relocating; Home Improvement & Decorating; Journaling; Personal Time Management; and Motivational Self-Help
A guided decluttering journal. Life happens to the best of us, whether we were born with messy tendencies or not. Messes find their way into our homes and lives and we can’t seem to find the strength or time to tackle them. That’s where this motivational guided journal by decluttering guru Cassandra Aarssen comes in.
Tested methods that work. Cas Aarssen wasn’t always an organization expert. She climbed out of years of cluttered living and transformed her home and her life through organization. In this self-help journal, Cas guides you through favorite tips and tricks that she used to declutter her home and find her way to a more organized and peaceful life.
Pages and pages of decluttering and organizational tools. This interactive journal is designed to help you declutter your home and life through mindfulness and self-motivation. Learn how to navigate the chaos of clutter by taking the time to understand yourself and the underlying meaning behind your clutter. Filled with inspiration and open-ended questions, The Declutter Challenge journal guides you onto the path to a clean and clutter-free home.
Make downsizing a reality.The Declutter Challenge helps you to work through both the emotional and the physical clutter in your life. Explore your thoughts and feelings about your belongings and discover the knowledge and strength to let go of excess.
It’s always an exciting time for authors when they finally release their first novel. There is a lot of anticipation, excitement, and hard work that goes into the publishing process. It can also be difficult to stand out from other authors who are trying to break through as well. These five upcoming authors have recently released books that you should check out.
The Heartbeat Thief by Chris Velte
A sci-fi romance novel with a twist, The Heartbeat Thief takes readers on a heartwarming adventure about love and forgiveness. Chris Velte has previously worked in the finance industry and decided to write a story that would take him full time. It was his passion for reading that sparked this idea for this book.
Blood Sin by Toni Aleo
The first installment in an action-packed paranormal series, Blood Sin follows Talina Dixon from Tennessee who is forced to move after being kicked out of her previous home. She ends up in New Orleans where she discovers she’s been turned into a vampire must stop the evil Malphas from unleashing demons into this world. This first book is the first in a series and also Toni’s debut novel.
A Mark by J.R. Nelson
The versatile author has written so many genres under his belt including children’s books, adult fiction, and non-fiction literature as well as other mediums such as film scripts and lyrics. His latest novel follows two characters – Mark and Tyler through their tribulations of life to find themselves by following their passions.
The Rules of Persuasion by Kara Gebhart Uhl
Kara Gebhart Uhl is a bestselling romance author who has been writing for fourteen years. She uses her experiences from traveling extensively to craft stories that are set in exotic locales. Her latest novel, The Rules of Persuasion is the first book in a new contemporary romance series about love that might be just beyond your reach.
The Noctali by G.K. Dawn
G.K. Dawn is a writer of young adult, new adult, and romance novels which are published in over 20 different countries around the world. Her latest novel – The Noctali, is based on her previous short stories that are based in the same universe. This story follows an unusual girl named Tessa who is half-werewolf and half-vampire.
These are only a few of the many authors who have books that you should check out in your spare time. It’s important to support indie and self-published authors as it will encourage them to write more stories for readers like us.
Fans of Debbie Macomber and Danielle Steel won’t want to miss this enchanting, humorous, and heartwarming novel that takes you on a singles cruise with four lifelong friends who might just find the gift of love this Christmas…
At Ridgewood High, Amy, Frankie, Rachael, and Nina formed a deep bond. Now, fifteen years after leaving school behind, they’re back for a reunion, laughing, reminiscing, and chatting how much has changed—and how much hasn’t. Nina, once the star of every school play, moved to Hollywood and landed a recurring role on a sitcom. Amy, fondly known as “the brains of the operation,” is now a Silicon Valley bioengineer. Outgoing and compassionate, Frankie works for a New York publishing house. Rachael, always the most boy-crazy of the crew, married—mostly to please her parents—but is now divorced. All four are strong, successful, and somehow, still looking for the right partner. But Frankie has an idea to help solve that: a singles cruise for the holidays.
In late December, Amy, Rachael, Frankie, and Nina gather in Miami, ready to board their state-of-the-art cruise ship. The entertainment options are endless, the food is to die for, and the passenger list includes hundreds of eligible men. The highlight of the week will be a magnificent New Year’s Eve celebration with multiple theme parties, dancing, and fireworks. The ladies are happy to give Cupid a helping hand here and there—hanging mistletoe in elevators and cheering each other on through speed-dating events and shore excursions. Holidays—like the path of love itself—don’t always go exactly as planned, but over the course of one festive, unforgettable week, all four will set sail on surprising new adventures.
In the newest installment of New York Times bestselling author Kristy Woodson Harvey’s Peachtree Bluff series, three generations of the Murphy women must come together when a hurricane threatens to destroy their hometown—and the holiday season in the process.
When the Murphy women are in trouble, they always know they can turn to their mother, Ansley. So when eldest daughter Caroline and her husband, James, announce they are divorcing—and fifteen-year-old daughter Vivi acts out in response—Caroline, at her wits end, can’t think of anything to do besides leave her with Ansley in Peachtree Bluff for the holidays. After all, how much trouble can one teenager get into on a tiny island?
Quite a lot, as it turns out.
In “pitch perfect tones” (Publishers Weekly) and written with her signature Southern charm, New York Times bestselling author Kristy Woodson Harvey explores the magic of Christmas, the power of forgiveness, and the importance of family in a tale that reminds us that, no matter the circumstances, home is always where we belong—especially during the holidays.
Christmas In Watch Hill : A Small Town Holiday Duet of Sweet Romances Kindle Edition
Nora Shaw dreads the holiday season because it always brings reminders of what she’s lost. This year, things are even worse. The boutique she inherited from her parents is failing, and she has no idea how to keep it going. She needs a plan, and fast. Then a chance encounter with a handsome widower brings her some new opportunities. Will she open her heart, and her mind? ALL I NEED
Jessica Norman has spent the last few years turning her coffee shop into a community success. She has no time for love or romance. But when the guy from a one-weekend-fling shows up in town for the holiday, she’s reminded of what she’s missing. After life throws them for a major loop, both do some end-of-the-year soul searching. But will they take a chance on love?
CHRISTMAS IN WATCH HILL is a sweet romance duet that will warm your heart, keep you turning the pages, and remind you of the magic of the Christmas season!
What’s the actual last thing you’d ever want your executive assistant to see you doing the morning after you had hot, drunk, angry sex with her in a terrible hotel room? Dancing around your terrible hotel room to “Come and Get Your Love” like Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy—naked? Yeah. Me too.
And yet, here we are.
The Christmas Cottage by the Cove: A Sweet, Small Town Romance
The role of a translator is a vital yet often overlooked component of readers being able to enjoy literary works written in foreign languages. An essential role of a good translator is to capture the ideas and emotions of the original work while retaining – as much as possible – the nuances and complexities of the original language used by the author.
Because of this, it’s not only important to choose a well-written book by a skilled author, but also one that’s received a good translation that keeps alive the spirit of the original. With this in mind, here are three recommendations for impeccably translated works that translated not only words but also emotions and intent from the original.
The Luminous Novel
The Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero, translated by Annie McDermott, is a chronicle of the struggles of a novelist. The story, seemingly heavily inspired by Levrero’s own struggles with writing a complete novel, revolves around an eponymous character that’s been given a monetary grant, with the assignment that a finished novel will be the result. Unfortunately, the main character runs into a series of pitfalls and problems that result in the novel – that the book finishes with – being only a partially completed attempt at the full-length work that was commissioned. It’s a quixotic, at times lighthearted look at an artist at work.
Kaya Days by Carl de Souza, translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman, is a story interwoven with real-life events. The story’s protagonist, Santee, has to find her way around a bustling Mauritian city as she searches for her lost brother, Ram. Her journey is set against the turbulent backdrop of protests that followed the death of the musician Kaya, who died in police custody while on charges of marijuana use. This story is all about growth, and how a young, naïve adolescent finds a path through the bustling, often treacherous milieu around them and finds confidence and purpose.
Life Sciences by Joy Sorman, translated by Lara Vergnaud, is about a teenage protagonist who seeks health and hope within the concrete jungle that is modern Paris. Suffering from strange skin diseases, Nina finds herself working her way through a long series of doctors, medical professionals, and even shamans as she seeks a cure. Brought up in a family with a long and celebrated history of mental and physical maladies, Nina desires solace and a cure but instead must face up to her loneliness and chronic dilemmas inherent in the medical system.
Modern times are stressful—and it’s killing us. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid the things that stress us out, but we can change how we respond to them. In this breakthrough book, a clinical psychologist and neuroscience expert offers an original approach to help readers harness the power of positive emotions and overcome stress for good.
Stress is, unfortunately, a natural part of life—especially in our busy and hectic modern times. But you don’t have to let it get in the way of your health and happiness. Studies show that the key to coping with stress is simpler than you think—it’s all about how you respond to the situations and things that stress you out or threaten to overwhelm you.
The Stress-Proof Brain offers powerful, comprehensive tools based in mindfulness, neuroscience, and positive psychology to help you put a stop to unhealthy responses to stress—such as avoidance, tunnel vision, negative thinking, self-criticism, fixed mindset, and fear. Instead, you’ll discover unique exercises that provide a recipe for resilience, empowering you to master your emotional responses, overcome negative thinking, and create a more tolerant, stress-proof brain.
2. Mindfulness Workbook for Stress Relief: Reduce Stress through Meditation, Non-Judgment, Mind-Body Awareness, and Self-Inquiry
Ease stress and achieve balance through the healing power of mindfulness
Mindfulness is a powerful and proven method for reducing stress and its negative health effects. The Mindfulness Workbook for Stress Relief shows you how to relieve tension and find calm using soothing, restorative techniques like meditation, non-judgment, self-inquiry, and mind-body awareness.
Featuring helpful exercises and simple meditations, this hands-on stress management workbook delivers a wide variety of effective mindfulness tools that you can add to your self-care toolbox like breath awareness, body scans, mindful walking, and more.
The Mindfulness Workbook for Stress Relief includes:
Practical & actionable―This book has a beginner-friendly focus that covers a spectrum of everyday situations and science-based solutions.
Evidence-based approach―Explore engaging mindfulness-based exercises that are proven to help relieve stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and sleep issues.
Situational success―Learn how to address stress triggers in many areas of daily life like relationships, at work, and beyond.
Take a deep breath and begin your practice today with this evidence-based mindfulness workbook.
3. Quick Calm: Easy Meditations to Short-Circuit Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroscience
Calm the chaos and rewire your brain in just five minutes a day!
Do you ever feel like your stress levels are off the charts? You aren’t alone. Every day it feels like there’s something new to juggle or a fresh crisis to avert. And just keeping everything in the air requires an exhausting amount of attention and a dizzying amount of responsibilities. The more chaotic life becomes, the more we tend to forget what we truly value—from family and friends to mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are things you can do to stay grounded that won’t eat away at your increasingly precious time.
Quick Calm is a practical and fun guidebook designed to fit perfectly into a fast-paced lifestyle. You’ll discover the what, why, and how of developing your own mindfulness practice. You’ll learn all about the essential, life-affirming benefits of this ancient practice, including mindfulness meditation’s positive effects on both mind and body. And, most importantly, you’ll find daily practices you can do in just five minutes a day!
So, if you’re ready to discover the gift of mindfulness, but you don’t have the time to attend a meditation retreat, set aside five minutes a day with this handy little guide. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better return on your time investment!
4. The Everything Stress Management Book: Practical Ways to Relax, Be Healthy, and Maintain Your Sanity
Let’s face it: We’re all stressed out. No matter how hard we work or how much time we spend on burdensome tasks, it seems our deadlines only get tighter and we’re barely catching our breaths before new obstacles arise causing even greater tension. Will it ever end? The Everything Stress Management Book shows that it is possible to achieve your life goals and keep your physical and mental health intact. Beginning with an easy-to-follow quiz that helps you identify your vulnerable areas, the book then takes you step-by-step through the safest, most effective ways to relax, avoid stressors, keep perspective, and live a longer, happier life.
The Everything Stress Management Book also gives you the lowdown on the most popular stress-reduction methods, including:
Whether you’re frazzled and frustrated at work or at home – or are just plain stressed out – The Everything Stress Management Book helps you regain control, find your balance, and face the world with optimism and confidence.
Anger and stress may be commonplace, but they are still destroyers that will cause devastating harm if left unchecked. By God’s grace, however, no one needs to be overcome by ungodly anger or stress. Experienced and internationally respected biblical counselor Wayne Mack shows how to apply God’s Word to finding true and authoritative help, explaining principles that can be adopted for lasting positive change. Includes study questions and evaluation materials.
Writing a novel is the dream of nearly everyone who actually writes. Whether they write for fun or for a living, the challenge of creating a novel is often regarded as a peak accomplishment in this art form. Actually getting one published is another story. Many writers do not consider themselves as having ‘made it’ until they get a novel published.
Fortunately, this challenge is softened by the wisdom and advice of those who have already made a name for themselves. One of them is Elizabeth Day, who has first novel advice for those authors still aspiring to join the ranks of the published.
One thing she argues in favor of is leaning hard in the direction of vulnerability. Being open to potential failure and trial and error is the only way to silence your inner critic and get writing. Also, being vulnerable in your writing will fuel your pages with genuine experience and emotion. Readers will connect with that.
She always argues against plotting things out in too much detail. Sometimes, mapping out where the story is going can wind up feeling more like a spreadsheet with information in hundreds of cells. Turning that into a compelling narrative can be hard. Have a general idea of where everything is going, and maybe do a color chart showing where each character is in each chapter. Other than that, figure it out as you go along.
Nurture yourself when you’re not writing. Analysis and revision are necessary components of the process, but tearing up yourself inside can lead you to tear up your pages on the outside. Always practice self-care and self-acceptance. You’ll need self-acceptance when you do sit down to write. What you write will never be perfect, but you just need it to be good enough to keep moving.
Being at peace with yourself is how you create space to get to know your characters. You have to personify them as much as possible. Their values and decisions drive the best plots. When you write that way, readers have no choice but to accept their fates as if they could not have been any other way. That’s when you make fiction feel real because, in reality, most people’s lives are just the sum of the choices they’ve made.
Becoming a better writer in today’s world is more important than ever with the huge amount of online communications and the way businesses depend on advertising and marketing. Having good writing skills can enhance existing qualifications, increase one’s opportunities for jobs, or simply be good exercise for pleasure writing.
Instead of memorizing grammar rules or taking English classes, some of the best ways to improve writing skills is to utilize the best of the online writing tools which will help correct grammar mistakes and suggest better wording options. Some even generate writing prompts for those in need of inspiration.
The Hemingway Editor is a desktop app that focuses on readability score, ease of reading, and comprehension of an article. It works to make writing clear and concise. It highlights sentences that are too wordy or long with different colors to suggest splitting the sentence or rewording it. It also includes text formats, a word counter, and passive voice spotting.
LibreOffice is a free office suite modeled much like Microsoft Word but without the price. It includes the full app selection for presentations, spreadsheets, and document creation. The word processing feature, Writer, is equipped with a spell checker, grammar checker, and thesaurus.
Reedsy has many interesting features for aspiring writers. It is a marketplace for freelance writers and editors with many points for them to connect and collaborate. It comes with a free book-writing tool that is easy to use and turns the finished product into e-book format for export. Reedsy also offers weekly writing prompts delivered directly to an email inbox.
The Most Dangerous Writing App
From Squibler, this fun and frustrating app will generate fun writing prompts. Then a session time can be chosen, anywhere from three minutes to an hour. During the session, the writer can not stop for more than a few seconds or all progress will be lost forever. Only the brave and daring will give this app a try! It will certainly help new writers learn to focus and produce.
These apps will do everything from offer a full range of office applications, correct spelling and grammar, improve readability, offer connections between editors and clients, and give fun writing prompts.
What is it about reading that readers love so much? It turns out that there are as many reasons to love reading as there are people who love to read. Many find a means of escape from the daily stresses of life between the covers of a book. Some read to understand other people’s perspectives or visit places they have never been before. Others read for entertainment. However, to anyone who has found themselves lost in a good story, it is evident that books have the power to impact our emotions and can evoke belly laughs or streaming tears with the turn of a page. For those who read for grins and giggles, check out these happy books:
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
Described on its cover as a “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-whodunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic,” this book is great for any time of the year when you just need a good hard belly laugh.
How To Be Idle: A Loafer’s Manifesto by Tom Hodgkinson
When the daily grind has got you down, this book offers hilarious insights into why we are so work-obsessed and how to be a better loafer.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
This book takes looking at life from a new perspective to a whole new level when the heroine swaps lives with her 79-year-old grandmother to get a break from her high-flying career.
The Lido by Libby Page
United by a shared interest in the fate of a local swimming hole, 26-year-old Kate and 86-year-old Rosemary find friendship in this heartwarming tale of community, teamwork, and self-belief.
Sinners and Saints by Allie Bloom
One part coming-of-age story and one part tale of personal redemption, this lighthearted romp follows a young niece and her roguish uncle on their concurrent journeys of self-discovery and growth.
Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
A young female journalist dreams of becoming a war correspondent in blitz-torn London but finds herself running the agony aunt column instead in this story of female friendship.
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
This heartwarming story follows several years of the life of a celebrated author whose life’s mission becomes returning lost objects to their owners.