Top Books To Read in the New Year

I have always been a reader. I loved silent reading days in school and as a kid, I remember buying a hammock at a garage sale, hanging it up between trees in our backyard, and curling up for hours with the girls from the Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High. If I hear a conversation about books, I generally join in and take notes. I love hearing not only what others are reading, but what others are loving! And since we don't all have a lot of extra time, I want to recommend books that people will love and want to take the time to read. So I put together a list of my top favorite books that I read this year. There is not a single book on this list that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend. Welcome to the top books to read in the new year, Rachel edition!


The Girlfriends Guide: Top Books To Read in the New Year

girlfriends guide to books

Last year I shared my top 50+ books and I broke them into categories. 

Don't miss this post: 50+ Books I'd Recommend to My Girlfriends!

I'm going to do the same thing again this year. I'm going to break the books into different categories. 

Full disclosure: If you want to just scroll to the end, I will put my 12 top book picks at the very end! I didn't plan for 12, but that's one book per month. If you only read a dozen books, read those!


I keep a running list of all my favorite books in my Amazon Books Shop. The total is over 100 books right now. You're sure to find one you haven't read that you can add to your list!

I hear from people often that they just don't have the time to read. Here are 7 ways to find more time to read!

Top 3 Book Categories

Beach reads {or books I'd recommend for vacation} are books that don't require a lot of concentration. There isn't going to be anything earth-shattering about this literature, but if you have a few hours on the beach or in front of a warm fireplace, these books are a welcome distraction. 

I read and listen to both audiobooks and regular books. I experienced a traumatic brain injury a few years ago and got hooked on audiobooks when my brain couldn't focus on reading words on a page. You'll still almost always find me reading one book on my nightstand and another audiobook at the same time. I have found that some books are better as audiobooks. And with more and more people listening, I think the production value is going up on them too! So better as an audiobook is the second category.

And finally, I'm sharing my recommendation for good book club books. People often ask me for recommendations for books that offer good group discussions, and these books fall into that category. Book club books are also books that will stick with you and change your perspective. They are the ones I can still remember and feel something about when I hear the title.  


Finding Your Next Book

I am not going to write out book descriptions. If you click the link, you can find a book description listed. It's also helpful in finding new books you might like if you look at the frequently bought-together section. If you like one book, you just might like the other recommended. It's how I always have more than enough books in my queue to read.

Don't Spend a Fortune on Books!

You don't have to spend a fortune on books! I love my local library. I rarely buy books. I will often recommend them on Amazon, but only because it's easier. If it's been a minute since you've been in your local library, set some time aside to visit. Also, make a note of the free local lending libraries in your area. My local airport {SEA} just added a free lending library and I can't wait to check it out when I head to the airport next! Free books are everywhere! Just keep your eyes open!

Check out this post: Surprising Library Benefits That Will Save You Money!


Books I'd Recommend for Vacation

These are books that let you escape. These grabbed me right away and kept me hooked from the beginning. 

One Italian Summer
Reminders of Him
Dava Shastri's Last Day
Lessons in Chemistry
Malibu Rising
Carrie Soto is Back
The People We Keep
All Good People Here


Books I'd Recommend on Audiobook

There are some books that are just better as audiobooks. Generally, if it's an autobiography read by the author, they are going to be better on audiobook. I was surprised that at the end of every chapter of Broken Horses, the author {Brandi Carlise} sings a song or two that reflects that time period. Brene Brown {Atlas of the Heart} will stop on an important point, repeat, and embellish if needed. If audiobooks are new to you, start there.

Atlas of the Heart
Run Rose Run
I Take My Coffee Black
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
The Lincoln Highway
The Cold Millions
Good Morning, Monster
Broken Horses 

book club book recommendations

Books I'd Recommend for Book Club

These books are a bit more thought-provoking. They will have you wanting to talk about what you're reading. If you see someone else reading one of these books, you will instantly gravitate toward them and ask them what they think. They are perfect for reading on your own, but offer great discussion in a group.

The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek
The Personal Librarian
We Begin at the End
Remarkably Bright Creatures
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
The Book of Lost Names
The Sandcastle Girls
The Girl Who Wrote in Silk
Invisible Child
The Girl with the Louding Voice
The Secret Keeper of Jaipur


My Top Book Picks

Remarkably Bright Creatures
I've recommended this book a few times and everyone I know who has read it loved it. It's a bit of a weird premise {told from the perspective of an octopus in an aquarium} but will have you hooked.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
This book took a journey with a deep dive into an ethnic minority group in Asia and wove it with a tale that connected a loving family with an adoptive daughter. It was beautiful and will stick with you even after you are finished turning the pages. 

The Book of Lost Names
A woman forced to flee Paris after her father's arrest because he was Jewish, forces her to flee to a free zone, where she works to help preserve the identity of Jewish children. It's captivating and leaves you wanting to tie up the loose ends

The Sandcastle Girls
This is another book that weaves the present day with a historical account. I had no idea about any of the historical events that occurred around the Armenian Genocide and the lives lost. This was eye-opening.

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk
Another historical novel inspired by true events. Living in the Pacific Northwest for almost all of my adult life, I had no idea about the events that occurred in our area to Chinese immigrants. It was another book that was eye-opening for me.

Invisible Child
This one book should be required reading for all Americans. It's written by a New York Times reporter who started writing it as an article and slowly became a novel that followed a child living in poverty through adolescence. It's a true story and shows the struggles and inequity people face on a daily basis. It will break your heart and give you perspective.

Lessons in Chemistry
This book had me hooked from the first page. I loved the light-heartedness of it all while tackling tough issues. 

The Girl with the Louding Voice
This story is about a teenage girl growing up in a Nigerian village who wants nothing more than an education. There are struggles and there is determination and it's a book that you should put on your list to read!

Malibu Rising
Carrie Soto is Back
These two are written by the same author. I have been loving everything that Taylor Jenkins Reid puts out. Both books are very different and both hooked me from the very beginning. 

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
This book is the second in a trilogy. I read the first one last year {The Henna Artist}. You don't need to read them in order {or at all} for them to make sense, but it helps develop the characters. It's a very interesting look into the class system in India.

The Lincoln Highway
This book has so many layers. It's like peeling an onion back, but they all come together to create an ending that will have you hooked. 

There you have it! My top favorites. Make a note, pin the post, and save the titles on your library account. You won't be disappointed!

Don't miss my complete book list on Amazon. Remember, you don't have to buy the books there. You can simply use it as a guide a put a hold on the ones that look interesting at your local library. There are more than 100 books listed so you're sure to find your next favorite read!

disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!

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