Happy New Year and welcome everyone to 2022! January and the new year are times of change, the parties are ending and the real world looms on the horizon. Times of change create great opportunities for people to change things about themselves, to wish for self-improvement with the new year. New Year’s resolutions are nothing new and might actually be going out of style, but we still like the idea of starting afresh and hoping to do better with the new year.

There are lots of easy community-based resolutions such as veganuary and dry January where you get support to try something for your health or for the environment for one month only. Lots of people decide to do something more personal as their resolution from exercising more to volunteering in their local community. This week’s book list is designed to give you that boost to begin your resolutions and the determination to keep them going throughout the year.

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith

Moving into January we might all need a pick me up or just some balance for our mental health. Drawing on her years of experience as a clinical psychologist, Dr Julie Smith shares skills that can help you through life’s ups and downs. These bite-sized entries give you a place to turn to when you need tools to help you overcome a challenge, build self-confidence or find the motivation to keep your New Year’s resolutions. (Available 06/01/2022)

Linda McCartney’s Family Kitchen by Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney, Mary McCartney and Stella McCartney

Linda McCartney pioneered meat-free home cooking over thirty years ago and since then has become a household name attached to vegetarianism and veganism. Her family now bring her recipes up to date and re-invent her best dishes for modern plant-based cooks. The family share the meals they eat the most of and family favourites that can be more sustainable.

Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari

Why have we lost our ability to focus? What are the causes? And, most importantly, how do we get it back? Johann Hari interviewed the leading experts in the world on attention, and learned that everything we think about this subject is wrong. We think our inability to focus is a personal failing – a flaw in each one of us. It is not. This has been done to all of us by powerful external forces. Our focus has been stolen. Johann discovered there are twelve deep cases of this crisis, all of which have robbed some of our attention.

On Getting Better by Adam Phillips

To talk about getting better – about wanting to change in ways that we might choose and prefer – is to talk about pursuing the life we want; in the full knowledge that our pictures of the life we want, of our version of a good life, come from or come out of what we have already experienced. In this companion book to On Wanting to Change, Adam Phillips explores how we might get better at talking about what it is to get better.

Emotional: The New Thinking About Feelings by Leonard Mlodinow

Until recently we thought in order to succeed in life and be rational we needed to master our emotions. New research shows that our feelings are equally as important as thinking. We make thousands of decisions every day from what to eat for breakfast to how we treat others, our emotions impact these decisions more than we think. Mlodinow shows us exactly how our emotions can help, how they can sometimes hurt and what we can do to make the difference.

Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo

Bernardine’s 2019 Booker win was a revolutionary moment not only for British culture but for her too. After thirty years of hard work writing, teaching and workings as an activist she had finally moved from the wings into centre stage. This is an intimate and inspiring account of how she did it. Charting her creative rebellion against the mainstream, her life-long commitment to exploring ‘untold’ stories, and how she refused to let any barriers stand in her way.

This is Vegan Propaganda: (And Other Lies the Meat Industry Tells You) by Ed Winters

Veganuary is a tried and tested resolution for many, and while the reasons people take up veganism differ from person to person it is quickly becoming a lifestyle many are choosing. There is still a lot of debate about the positive effects of becoming vegan whether that be health-wise or environmentally. Winters covers a range of topics from farming to economics to animal rights all of which lead to a manifesto for a better, vegan world. (Available 06/01/2022)

High Performance: Lessons from the Best on Becoming Your Best by Jake Humphrey and Professor Damian Hughes

As one of the UK’s best-respected sports presenters, Jake Humphrey has witnessed the highs and lows of professional sports. He has teamed up with Professor Damian Hughes to examine how the world’s highest-performing people succeed. Drawing on interviews with the world’s best sportspeople and entrepreneurs they uncovered nine hidden principles that drive success. Above all, Jake and Damian reveal how to build the principles of high performance into our own lives, whether on the pitch, in our careers, or at home.

Inhabiting the Negative Space by Jenny Odell

Artist and writer Jenny Odell hadn’t originally planned to deliver the Harvard University Graduate School of Design’s 2020 Class Day Address from her living room. But on May 25, 2020, there was Jenny, framed by a rose garden in her Zoom background, speaking to an audience she could not see. This is a timely reflection on observation, embracing the standstill and its potential to deepen and expand our individual and collective attention and sensitivity to time, place, and presence.

Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed

Former Olympian and now author Matthew Syed was brought in by Gareth Southgate to help find new ways of working as a team. Rebel Ideas examines the power of ‘cognitive diversity’ – the ability to think differently about the world around us. It explains how to harness our unique perspectives, pool our collective intelligence and tackle the greatest challenges of our age – from climate change to terrorism.