Whether you like memoirs or escaping into a novel, the new year is the perfect time to prep your reading list.  

The new year is always a time for introspection, where we reflect on our accomplishments as well as the new opportunities that await us. As motivational as it can be, it can also be stressful. Try to shake off the pressure with a good book. As a hobby, reading is relaxing and allows you to explore other worlds outside your own. It offers new ideas and perspectives, which is kind of what the new year is all about. Below are five books deserving of a spot on your reading list. All of them are available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local bookstore.

Courtesy of Amazon

Becoming by Michelle Obama

As the top-selling book of 2018, no list would be complete without the former first lady's highly anticipated memoir. From her humble beginnings in Chicago's South Side to the eventual catapult to the White House, Obama recounts her life in candid detail, reflecting on the experiences that shaped her worldview. Readers can take inspiration from her strong-willed spirit as she juggles her career ambitions with raising a family, as well as handling the extraordinary task of becoming first lady of the United States. If this isn't inspiring, we don't know what is!

Courtesy of Washington Post

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

This novel is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking. Winning the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, Greer tells the story of a failed writer named Arthur Less who, in the wake of his ex-boyfriend's wedding, decides to accept all the invitations he's received to various obligations. Spanning the globe from Berlin to Morocco, Less deals with aging, loss, and self-discovery in a way that's beautifully honest without being saccharine. It will make you want to book your airfare ASAP.

Courtesy of Amazon

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

What happens when reclusive architect Bernadette Fox goes missing before her daughter's celebratory trip to Antarctica? Sounds like the buildup to a punchline, and the rest of the story isn't far off. Narrated by her inquisitive daughter Bee Branch, the episode is relayed through different mediums like emails and memos that piece the bizarre scenario together. Fans of Arrested Development will love the whip-smart dialogue and quirky characters (after all, she was a writer on the show!). 

Courtesy of Amazon

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Sometimes you want to be pulled into a good story, and boy does Celeste Ng deliver with Little Fires Everywhere. It takes place in the idyllic suburban landscape of Shaker Heights, Ohio, where eccentric artist Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl rent from the Richardson family. The two families are entwined with one another until a controversial situation threatens to break them apart. Ng's prose is clear and masterful, and the story is engrossing from beginning to end. The perfect antidote for a rainy Saturday.

Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In The Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

"You never say yes to anything." The six words that stopped Shonda Rhimes, creator of Scandal and Grey's Anatomy in her tracks and forced her to confront her priorities. For an entire year, she vowed to say yes to whatever came her way, and this book shows the fruits of that labor. The TV juggernaut explores her life before and after the "year of yes" as well as the thought process behind her shows and characters. This memoir is perfect new year reading, both motivational and touching.

Will you be hitting the books for the new year? What's on your reading list? Let us know in the comments below!

Explore some of the traditional "new year foods" here!