Wednesday, January 04, 2023


by Alana LaBeaf

Traditions such as making New Year’s resolutions help keep us connected with others through the shared experience, and also serve as a nice reminder to measure the successes and failures of the past year and to get back on the track of improving yourself.

One thing that really helps kick start my year and keep me on track with my goals is books!

Last year, I resolved to work towards “zero waste” living. A book that helped inspire me was 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg. This one is good to start getting the creative juices flowing.

Having accomplished some of my zero waste goals of 2022, I am ready to continue my growth in this area. A couple of books that I have on my list to help me are The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy In a Store by Cait Flanders and Fashionopolis: The Price Of Fast Fashion and the Future Of Clothes by Dana Thomas, both of which cover the loss – both personally and environmentally – that consumerist tendencies around fashion create.

My next goal is one that I know I share with many others, judging by how prevalent “Dry January” is: drink less alcohol (so in my case, a “Try January”). I’m looking forward to reading Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice To Not Drink In A Culture Obsessed With Alcohol by Holly Whitaker to help inspire me. That one is good for people whose use of alcohol isn’t necessarily disordered, but I don’t want to ignore the folks fighting a tougher battle than just overcoming the social pressures of drinking. So if your case is more severe, Under the Influence: A Life-Saving Guide To the Myths and Realities Of Alcoholism by James Robert Milam and Katherine Ketcham might be for you.

One goal that I got a slight head start on is to not use social media. For me, I found that mindless scrolling was taking away time from more meaningful activities, such as reading. And indeed, since I removed my Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone, I have picked up more books in the last few weeks than I had the entire rest of the year. Several recent books have hit on the downsides of social media, so if you are also looking to cut it out of your life, then The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World by Max Fisher might be for you. If you’re not quite ready to let go entirely, You Are What You Click: How Bring Selective, Positive, and Creative Can Transform Your Social Media Experience by Brian Primack can at least get you started toward a healthier relationship with it.

My last goal is to improve my Spanish speaking skills. If language learning is in your future – be it to plan for a trip or communicate better with others – check out Gale Courses. Gale Courses offers classes on a variety of topics for free to Fond du Lac Public Library users, including language classes. Classes are online and you have a real instructor guiding you through it. And if you already speak Spanish, keep an eye out for updated books in Spanish – we have been adding to this collection in the last month, and there’s some cool stuff in there.

Are your goals for 2023 completely different from mine? Not a problem! Let us know what kind of books you’re looking for, and our librarians will provide you with a list of reading materials to help!

Alana LaBeaf is the Information and Outreach Services Coordinator for the Fond du Lac Public Library.