Need a New Year lift? Discover an untapped treasure trove of fresh reads by spreading the book love with your friends and family
It’s the New Year, and a time when we always get an itch to expand our reading lists.
We crave fresh and brilliant reads; not necessarily new books, but the kind that will keep us up late into the night. We yearn for addictive thrillers and moreish biographies. Searing inter-generational dramas and electrifying period fiction.
We want it all: a brand new archive with which to light up our bookshelves (virtual or otherwise).
The problem is, where to start? If anything, we have too much choice now, and a dizzying suffusion of online recommendations and sophisticated search filters actually make the quest more difficult.
How can we tell what we will really love?
One great way to start is with an alternative New Year’s resolution: a free way of spreading the book love among your friends and family.
Choose five people whose reading taste you value (you may know many more than this, but whittle it down to start with, so the task doesn’t seem too huge).
Then, pick three reads that you’d like to pass onto each of them for 2018. They can be absolutely anything, but they must fall into the following three categories: old, new and wild card.
“Old” here might be some obscure book from your childhood that you absolutely love, but not many people know about. Or it may be something that both you and your loved one of choice adores (say, Winnie the Pooh or Judy Blume), and you think is worth re-visiting.
“New” covers anything that you read and that really moved you within the past three years or so.
“Wild card”, as the name suggests, can be any random book of your choice, from cookbook to self-improvement or travel guide.
But this recommendation, in particular, must chime very personally with the person you’re giving it to, and be based around enhancing some aspect of their life.
For instance, you might know that they’re desperate to give up smoking, so you give them The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg’s best-selling tome on breaking and making habits.
Or perhaps they’re a sporty type with a hankering for a new challenge? Leap In, Alexandra Heminsley’s account of learning to wild swimming, could be perfect for them.
If you two always talk about her dream of travelling to India, why not choose E.M. Forster’s A Passage To India to give her a nudge? Sure, it’s period fiction but it still conjures up a sense of place, in the manner of all brilliant travel fiction.
Your wild card choice is the one that speaks to and stretches your loved one, for a great year ahead.
Once you’ve got your three recommendations in place for each person, simply send over and ask for three in return.
By doing this, you’re spreading a little bit of love with your mate/sister/work wife (especially useful if your budget didn’t reach to Christmas presents). And you show some thought and consideration in this frenetic, disconnected world of ours.
Plus, you get to flesh out your own reading list in return - with books that have been personally scoped to your tastes.
Try it with five people and if you like the results, you can throw it open to others.
Ta-da: a free and simple New Year’s gift that is custom-made to book lovers, and a 2018 resolution you’ll actually want to keep.
High-fives all round.