I'm a sucker for a good cover, particularly if it has birds on it or if the artwork looks like it's from a Wes Anderson movie. I'm rarely disappointed when I pick books this way, though that probably speaks more to the talent of the publishers' art and marketing departments than my skills at picking books by cover...
Otherwise, I generally gravitate towards the light-fantastical, particularly YA and teen fantasy and books with quirky characters. Though I occasionaly foray into the realms of mystery and science fiction.
For this list, though, I've tried to find a nice variety of my favorites to suit all different tastes.
No matter where you are at in your journey of self-care, you need to read this book! It is an anti-self help book that focuses on the root of why many of us struggle with anxiety and how too many of us are "giving f*cks to things in life that don't deserve them." Based on well-established practices developed by leading psychologists and therapists, this book empowers you to prioritize what you give your energy to and how to break negative thinking patterns that are at the root of anxiety. While the language is not for the faint of heart (many an f-bomb are dropped), it entertains as much as it heals.
A short and oh-so-sweet memoir that is one of the most beautifully written pieces of literature I have ever read. Though the book is about tragedy, Bauby's locked-in syndrome, it is never overly sad but also never overly sappy. Sometimes humourous and often thoughtful, your life will be better for having read this book. I almost never re-read books but this one I re-read every year because it is just so wonderful.
Sometimes you just need to read a book with a happy ending. And by happy ending, I mean all-is-right-with-the-world, ugly-cry happy. Willow Chance faces a few challenges in life, one of which is being on the spectrum her proclivity to count by 7's when feeling anxious. But throughout her journey, she finds friends and discovers the meaning of family. If you need a happy escape, this book will bring some beauty into your life.
If you love Victorian murder mysteries and love witty, sassy female protagonists, this book series is a wonderful treat! It's the first of five (so far) books who follow Victoria Speedwell, a talented natural scientist, as she gets pulled into helping solve murders (though she would rather be on an expedition to somewhere tropical). Her companion Stoker is equally as entertaining as he attempts to keep propriety and manners around his saucy and improprietous companion. These books are so much fun and a delight to read and you will simply fall in love with Veronica.
One of the best epic fantasy novels I have EVER read. Not only is Rothfuss incredibly talented at world-building, but in Kvothe he's created a lovable scamp who you can't help but love. In this series, Kvothe narrates his epic and heroic story, working to expose a major problem- he's not the hero people think he is. Instead, his rise to fame came from a series of accidental coincidences that resulted in his failing upward. This series is incredibly well written and loved by many, now we just need the last one to be published!!
Every time I try to find the words to describe the beauty encased in this book I fall silent. Anything Brian Selznick does, particularly when he writes and illustrates, is absolutely breathtaking, but The Marvels is especially moving and the memory of it will stamp itself on your soul. What adds to the experience of this book is that you are unsure which of the storylines (there are several) are true until the end, which will leave you moved to tears. This book is an experience and one that will stay with you long after you have finished reading.
This novella is a cute little romp into alternative history. It's a quirky and light-hearted 'what if' story focused on England's Queen Elizabeth (and her corgis). This is a great weekend read when you need a fun and slightly absurd escape.
This book is a hilarious office satire in a similar (but slightly more sophisticated) vein to Office Space. The narrative style is personable and makes you feel as if you're getting coffee with a former co-worker and catching up on office gossip. You will laugh at the daily antics that transpire and possibly be reminded of a few co-workers in your life.
This book is such a wonderful blend of historical fiction and quirky character journeys. A simple correspondence over a book turns into an adventure in which the protagonist, Juliet, makes friends and uncovers a tragic, yet profound story of bravery against the Nazis. It's recently been adapted into a movie, and they did a pretty good job, but the book is always better.
This is a children's picture book with a subtle yet darkly wry ending. We follow bear as he interviews the animals of the forest, trying to discover who stole his hat. When he finds the culprit things turn humorously dark. Truthfully, I am still surprised this got published as a children's book, but I am happy it did. It's definitely for those with a more sardonic sense of humor.