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Staff Picks: What's Your First Book of the Year?

Staff Picks: What's Your First Book of the Year?

Time to wrap up the first month of 2022! With this year filled with exciting title releases, book news, and trends on booktok and bookstagram, even our resident bookworms had a challenging time sorting our to-be-read lists and choosing what titles to read first.

If you are looking for fresh (and even old) books to include in your own reading lists, you might get some ideas from the Fully Booked team. Check out this month's Staff Picks: First Read This Year.



Since I wanted to tick off "Read a book that is a retelling of a myth or fairytale" from the Read More challenge, I picked Wicked by Gregory Maguire as my January read. I like that it is a retelling of Wizard of Oz and that it gave one of my favourite villains, the Wicked Witch of the West, a backstory. As a film buff, I'm excited to read The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab before it hits the screens.


Violeta by Isabel Allende is a vast, epic story of a woman born during the Spanish Flu of 1920, writing her memoirs from her deathbed nearly a century later, during the onset of another pandemic. This is the first book I’ve read by the author, and I was completely knocked off my feet. Isabel Allende’s storytelling is exquisite, and I felt at home in her characters, settings, and the emotional core of the novel: the tenacity of women and their ability to live (and love) through anything.




Here are my new year starters:

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

Not the usual first book to pick up as a year starter (given the title and blurb). Halfway through the read, I found it to be a thought-provoking novel -- most of the plot are coated with underlying messages and what summarised it all is that actions not only affect an individual but a community.

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell

Everything about the world right now is cultish - what we hear, what we say and even what we do. Love how crazy honest this book is as it breaks down the ideology of cult influences through the magic of language. Must read for creators and marketing people!

Next up after these is The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue. So excited to finally pick this up since the movie's coming soon. Yay!



As a polyamorous reader, I have picked up three books. My initial thoughts about The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho is that it would be inspiring, like his other books. But as I finished it recently, I can completely, and confidently say: I was wrong. This book isn’t inspiring, it is a cautionary tale for the people who are slaves to their own desires. Probably, a good book to read in the latter part of the year but definitely not as your first book to read.

Then, I also read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: a book I was glad that I have read in this lifetime. My ‘maternal’ instinct kicked in by just by reading the first few pages of this book. This book is an absolute 5-star read for me from the characters, the plot, and the vivid beauty it depicts for nature.

Atomic Habits by James Clear is only on this list because since it is January, I think it's best time to say to yourself “I want to be better." Here I am, moving one page per week for this book. I also heard a lot of great reviews for this title and some even really helped them. So why not give it a try, right?



No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

I often worry about the changes happening to my attention span and thought process as I doomscroll my days away. Reading this book, however, has made me curious about new insights and story-telling possibilities from the strange partly imposed and also partly ours stream-of-consciousness formed from our interaction with social media.

I'm also excited to read Ocean Vuong’s Time is a Mother and Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House.



Loneliness has been a consistent theme of stories I consumed last year (or actually during THE pandemic) which is not surprising since life, in general, has been extra lonely since then.

My first 2022 read is Olivia Laing's The Lonely City. It's a memoir told through lives of inonic artists such as Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Henry Darger, and David Wojnarowicz. I find this beautifully written book an essential read to expand our understanding of loneliness and human connection. This also reminded me the powerful ways of how art can move us emotionally.

For more recommendations, author events, and book news, visit our blog. You may also order your next great read and have it delivered straight to your doorstep via Fully Booked online.

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