12 Months of Books: January Suggestions

I know it’s still technically 2017, but let me be the first to say “Happy New Year!” You’ve almost made it to 2018!! As you know, this year I’m hosting a reading challenge that’s theme-based. You can read all about why that’s the case here. The theme for January is “A New Chapter,” and I’ve already heard from some of you that you might need some help finding the books you want to read this month. And I’ll say, it’s been so much fun digging through boxes and old book lists to remember these great titles.

January: A New Chapter

So here’s the game plan–each month I’ll be posting a list just like this of books that I think fit that particular month’s theme. It’ll be different each month, but I’ll try to stick to these categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poems and Plays, Kids and Teens, Spiritual/Devotional, and Lifestyle–just know that not every month will have books from every category! As a bonus, you’ll always get my top three books at the beginning of the post.

And, to make your life easier, I’ve put every single title mentioned in this post into one Amazon list so that you can browse without clicking on a million different links.

Click here to go straight to Amazon and browse these titles!

I hope these lists are helpful to you–they’re by no means exhaustive, but they will be a good starting point as you plan your month!

Sarah’s Top Three Must Reads:

  • Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
    • If you’re a book-lover or an Anglophile, this is the memoir for you. Carolyn shares her journey of finding faith at Oxford University, a place near and dear to my heart. I love this book so much that I gave a copy away over on Instagram!
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
    • An exquisitely told tale of new beginnings, homesickness, loss, and love, this one is the perfect fit for this month’s theme. The film is also great, if you don’t want to read the novel!
  • A Simplified Life by Emily Ley
    • I’m three chapters in, and it’s a game-changer. If you need to declutter, destress, and learn to add margin to your life, pick up this beautiful book.


  • Caroline by Sarah Miller
    • I’m about halfway through this lovely retelling of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic children’s books. The twist? This one is told from the perspective of her mother, Caroline. It’s making me reimagine my childhood favorites from a more thoughtful, mature perspective.
  • The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
    • This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is about a young woman who returns to her small hometown after her father’s death. Family revelations usher her in to a new stage of life and a new understanding of her parents.
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
    • This story tracks the journey of an English butler whose way of life is slowly falling out of fashion. I’d highly recommend this one for Downton Abbey fans or fans of Evelyn Waugh.
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
    • If you’ve never read any Tolkien, I’d recommend starting with The Hobbit–to me, it’s the perfect amount of hobbits, elves, and dragons! Once Bilbo sets his hairy feet outside the door of his home, he’s off on a grand adventure.


  • A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle
    • This book will help you find more time for quiet and space in your life. L’Engle’s writing style is simple and cyclical, while also full of humor and grace.
  • The Boy who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
    • An inspiring story about a boy who finds a way to bring electricity to his impoverished village, Kamkwamba’s book will leave you with hope!
  • The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
    • This couple has walked through so many different chapters in their time together that you’re sure to be encouraged and inspired. Pro tip–listen to this one on audio to hear Chip and Jo read the chapters themselves.

Kids and Teens

  • Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    • If you read Caroline, why not have the kids in your life read the original Little House books? You could have family book club! Even if you don’t have children in your life, these books make an interesting and enlightening contrast to Miller’s novel.
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
    • Great for slightly older kids, this beautiful story teaches us about strength, courage, love, and honey!
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
    • Talk about a new chapter–Harry goes off to school at Hogwarts, leaving his entire life behind him. Read this if you’re in need of a good dose of friendship and fun.


  • Prayer by Tim Keller
    • One of my personal goals this year is to focus on my prayer life, and this was a life changing book that helped me realize how important prayer actually is. Read this one slowly to digest all that goodness!
  • Future Grace by John Piper
    • Shorter, devotional style chapters will help you see how God’s future grace in our lives conquers our doubts today. Read this one slowly because it’s John Piper, and every sentence is about eight miles deep.
  • The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
    • Another great read for anyone already feeling like their 2018 is overwhelming and stressful. Terkeurst teaches you to say a wholehearted “yes” to things that really matter.


  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
    • A scientific look at habits and the brain–how they form, why they work, and how to change them.
  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • A little more intense than A Simplified Life, Kondo has a unique system for only keeping the things that bring you joy.
  • The Creative Habit by Twila Tharp
    • One of my favorite books on creativity, this is great for writers, musicians, artists, or anyone who wants to amp up their own creativity.

Did any of these titles catch your eye? I hope so! If you’re interested in purchasing or downloading these books, don’t forget to shop this handy Amazon list.

I’d LOVE to hear what you’re reading. What books did I leave off the list? What books are you planning to read this month? Let me know in the comments below or on social media!

Keep Reading,




  1. Allison @ Mind Joggle · · Reply

    I loved Caroline! I also got my daughter the Little House series for Christmas and I’m hoping to read them together soon.

    I have a new Emily Ley planner for 2018. It’s really beautiful and should be useful.

    This is a fun twist on challenges! I’m reading my own shelves this year but will participate when I can. A Circle of Quiet is in my plans for January 🙂


    1. I loved A Circle of Quiet, and honestly all of the Crosswicks Journals–I’ve not read the last one yet, but I’m putting it on my list for February! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂


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