Treasures on the Shelves: New year brings new books to read

Published 10:19 am Saturday, January 20, 2024

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Happy New Year! As we begin 2024, or any new calendar year, it’s natural to view the upcoming months as filled with possibility and potential, hence the resolutions and goals we set for ourselves at this time. Whether your intentions are for self-improvement or self-enrichment, there are several books that can help. 

Jenny Odell’s first book, “How to Do Nothing” was a bestseller in 2019. Her topic was the “attention economy” and how to detach from the endless diversions that keep us from being productive. Her most recent title, “Saving Time” extends this theme further by exploring our relationship with time, from viewing it as a commodity we are always short of and how we prize efficiency over moments of reflection. If you feel you are always racing against the clock and would like to cultivate the deeper moments of life, this book is for you. 

Creativity is a mysterious process. Many of us believe creativity is only for people who are artists or who make things for a living. Author Rick Rubin, who is a mega-successful record producer and host of the popular podcast “Broken Record”, explores the dimensions of creativity in “The Creative Act: A Way of Being” and offers real-life examples of how being creative isn’t something we do as much as how we bring things into a relationship. 

Genealogy is one of the most popular pursuits in the U.S. The television show “Finding Your Roots” is watched by millions and many of those same viewers have their DNA analyzed by one of the many companies that provide that service. If tracing your ancestry is something you are contemplating but don’t know where to start, there are many books that can prove a good resource. “Finding Your Family Tree” by Sharon Leslie Morgan is a concise guide to the many facets of genealogical research, from how to read census and vital records to transcribing oral histories, and understanding how DNA testing works. 

Happy reading for the new year! 

Holly Howze is the branch manager for the Ripberger Public Library located in Kenbridge. She can be reached at