January is the time when many of us like to make New Year's resolutions. If books about change are in your wheelhouse -- whether they involve revitalization, reflection, or redemption -- MI Library has a title list to address those three Rs for 2021.
It's quite possible these inspiring books could change your life, too.
Becoming by Michelle Obama - While this isn't exactly a "rags to riches" story, Michelle Obama's memoir of how a girl from the south side of Chicago became America's First Lady while raising a young family during her White House years is truly an amazing story. Brimming with wit and sincerity, the former presidential spouse shares her experience of what it's really like to have the nation watching your every move. Also available as an eBook and an eAudiobook, read by Ms. Obama herself, this memoir is worthy of a second read. So if you have read the book, it's a treat to listen as Michelle delivers a graceful rendering of her own written words.
Better Than Before: mastering the habits of our everyday lives by Gretchen Rubin - Full of insight and practical tips to help you procrastinate and stress less, "The Happiness Project" author's 2015 book examines how understanding habits can make change possible. At the very least, Rubin's easy humor will open your eyes to new possibilities and plant a seed for self-improvement.
Celebrations by Maya Angelou - A second pandemic year is certainly reason enough to seek hope and peace. Angelou's graceful, eloquent poems, including "On the Pulse of Morning," read at President Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration and "A Brave and Startling Truth," which marked the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, will revitalize your spirit and restore optimism for the coming year.
Goodbye Things: the new Japanese minimalism by Fumio Sasaki - Getting rid of things we don't absolutely need isn't for everyone but devotees of "less is more" swear by the sense of freedom decluttering brings. Susaki's humble vision of true happiness just might open your eyes to minimalism's potential.
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey - This Academy Award-winning actor's unconventional memoir is an appealing portrayal of McConaughey at 50, taking stock of his life and marveling at all the ways life's "yellow and red lights" will eventually turn into green lights. Read by the author, McConaughey's easy, laconic voice carries the listener along with his accomplished storyteller's charm.
Hope in the Dark: untold stories, wild possibilities by Rebecca Solnit - This second edition of Solnit's first book, written post-9/11, still resonates today in the challenging COVID-19 era. A lifelong activist, Solnit makes a compelling and articulate case for how hope and action feed one another. Solnit's enlightening and encouraging writing style will bolster flagging hopes for social justice. Readers will come away believing the world may indeed become a better place.
I Am Malala: the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai - The youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai has been fighting for girls' education since she was an adolescent. In 2012, she survived the Pakistani Taliban's assassination attempt and has since gone on to become a leader for female education. This accomplished young woman and her amazing story will renew your hope in the next generation's ability to change the world.
Just Mercy: a story of justice and redemption by Bryan Stevenson - Highly recommended reading for these turbulent times, Stevenson's book will help readers understand how unfairness in the justice system continues to infect America and penalize the poor. A memoir to inform, enlighten and inspire the country to improve a system that fails marginalized people who cannot pay for proper legal representation, this book will give you hope for a better future. Also available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook. In 2019, this title was adapted into a film by the same name starring Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan.
The Zero-Waste Lifestyle: live well by throwing away less by Amy Korst - What better way to start the new year than by reducing your carbon footprint. Korst, a teacher and blogger who launched www.greengarbageproject.com, has been featured on CNN and in USA Today for her ideas on recycling and reducing trash. Practical and environmentally sound, this is a read to make you feel like a good steward of the earth.