Well Read: 5 Books You Won't Be Able To Put Down This January

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Reading is undeniably a key wellness practice—and one that many of us have ignored for far too long. It's proven to build empathy, reduce stress, and even lessen sugar cravings (yes, really!). With that in mind, we're excited to share Well Read, a column that curates the absolute best fiction and narrative nonfiction picks of the month. Here's what you should read this January. (Want more Well Read? You can find our past picks here.)

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Karen Thompson Walker's The Age of Miracles captivated fans with its supernatural premise (the world starts spinning slower, and disaster ensues) and grounded, intimate narrative, and The Dreamers, her first book since, is poised to do the same. In a college town in California, students are falling into heightened dream states—and not waking up. Panic ensues, as experts and doctors descend on the town to figure out what's happening and what it all means. While this falls into the apocalyptic realm, its strength is in the emotional resonance of the characters. Walker proves again her ability to take a far-out premise and use it to highlight the deepest truths of our human existence. You'll laugh, cry, and close the book with a deep sigh, already missing its presence in your life. The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (January 15)

The Dreamers

Help Me! by Marianne Power

Self-help is a huge industry–but does it actually work? Journalist Marianne Power decided to find out. She pledged to test one book a month, following its advice to the letter, for a year, to see how her life evolved. With the rollicking, easy-to-read voice of a Sophie Kinsella or Bridget Jones novel, this book showcases how complicated the notion of changing your life actually is—and questions some of the inherent problems with self-help in the first place, while recognizing its very real ability to transform one's life. It also acts as a sampler platter of self-help books that are actually worth your time. If you're looking to make changes in the new years and wondering where to begin, this is a great jump-start. Help Me! by Marianne Power (January 15)

help me book

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

Already long-listed for the prestigious Man Booker prize, with praise from the likes of Margaret Atwood, The Water Cure is poised to become the breakout psychological thriller of 2019. Grace, Lia, and Sky grow up isolated from men in a compound created by their father, which he says is for their own protection. But one day, he disappears, and two men and a boy wash up on the beach of their private shores. Dancing between a dystopian and survivalist tone, this is a timely classic about the relationships between men and women, feminism, and the effects of nature versus nurture. The lyrical prose and unfolding mystery will keep you turning pages, and the ending will leave you stunned. The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh (January 8)

the water cure book

You Know You Want This: "Cat Person" and Other Stories by Kristen Roupenian

Kristen Roupenian launched an internet frenzy when her viral short story, "Cat Person," debuted in The New Yorker. In her debut short story collection, Roupenian explores some of the same themes that made her an internet phenomenon: guilt, anger, sex, feminism, and more. The stories are each wildly page-turning and differ dramatically from each other, with some taking surreal turns and others grounded (sometimes uncomfortably intimately) in reality. Roupenian is a perceptive observer of the human condition, and while some of the stories might leave you uncomfortable, that's her intention—to make your question parts of life often overlooked. A book you won't soon forget. You Know You Want This: "Cat Person" and Other Stories by Kristen Roupenian (January 15)

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

DNA testing has become commonplace, a type of fun dinner fodder. But when Dani Shapiro submitted her sample for testing, she received life-changing news—the man she'd always called Dad was not, in fact, her biological father. In this beautifully written memoir (Shapiro has drawn praise from the likes of Cheryl Strayed and Jennifer Egan), she plays detective on her personal history, uncovering the reasons behind the lies that consumed her life. Moreover, though, this framework provides Shapiro the opportunity to explore the concept of identity—what makes a person oneself? Is it their history? Their genetics? Something else entirely? A beautiful and thought-provoking read. Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro (January 15)

Inheritance book

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