Books to brighten your 2022

Sian Meades-Williams 1 February 2022

Looking to reconnect with nature or broaden your political consciousness? Here are the books that will help lead you to a better place in 2022

It’s so easy to give into the lure of hardbacks under a blanket during winter. After the last two years we need something inspiring, something galvanising.

Resolutions can be inspiring, but rather than going in all guns blazing and changing everything about our lives in January, books can feel like a small step in the right direction. Here’s our reading list to make your 2022 happier, brighter and more creative.

Best books to help you discover nature in 2022

The Way Back by Melinda Salisbury is a gentle guide to help us find our way back to nature

After two years of being stuck indoors, we’re feeling the need to get back to nature. It can be tricky to know where to start, especially if you live in an urban area. Urban Wild by Helen Rook is out in February and full of positive nudges and suggestions to help you discover wildness on your doorstep.

The beginning of a new year is always a good time for an almanac. The month-by-month format is such a great tool for discovery and will tell you exactly what to look out for each season. Melinda Salisbury’s The Way Back is such a lovely, gentle guide to help us find our way back to nature. For more annual inspiration, try Lia Leendertz’s Almanaca seasonal guide to 2022, or Storm Dunlop’s Weather Almanac—deal for anyone looking for a rainbow at the moment.

Best books to help you love exercise this year

Poorna Bell's Stronger will have you questioning what you know about women and strength

Finding an exercise that you enjoy—one that you want to stick to because it’s so much fun—is a surefire way to have you bounding into the year.

If you’d like to start things off easy, take a stroll with 52 Ways To Walk. Annabel Streets delves into the science and romanticism of walking and explores the good things that can happen with this one small act.

Poorna Bell’s Stronger is such a brilliant personal story and it will have you questioning everything you know about women and strength. And the classic—Running Like A Girl—is still a hugely inspiring book that will make you want to pull your trainers on before you’ve finished chapter two.

Best books to help you become more engaged

Shon Faye's The Transgender Issue is a vital read on trans liberation

If your goal is to become more engaged, more informed and more aware, add these books to your reading list.

For an honest look at the politics and history of renting in the UK, pick up Tenants by Vicky Spratt is out in May.

The Good Ally by Nova Reid is a call to arms for anyone who wants to become a better ally against racism. The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye is a vital read on transgender liberation.

If you’d like to get more clued up on sustainability, or give your wardrobe an ethical overhaul, turn to Aja Barber’s new book Consumed and Lauren Bravo’s hit How To Break Up With Fast Fashion.

Best books to help you find your creativity

Out in March, Nikesh Shukla's, Your Story Matters, will inspire you to start your own stories

Finding a creative spark is such a great way to kickstart the new year. It’s good to get messy and do something with our hands, but creativity doesn’t mean you have to move from the sofa. Nikesh Shukla’s new book about writing—Your Story Matters—is out on March 17 and it’s full of writing prompts and inspiration to help you start your own stories. In a similar vein, Cathy Rentzenbrink’s latest book Write It All Down is ideal for budding memoir writers.

Julia Cameron’s classic The Artist’s Way turns 30 this year. It’s sold over 4 million copies around the world, and with exercises and ideas for weekly “artist dates” to take yourself out on, it’s exactly the book you need to unlock your creativity

Best books to help you you feel more on top of your life

Disconnected by Emma Gannon is perfect for anyone who wants to re-balance their relationship with social media

There’s no time quite like January to start feeling like your life needs a little bit of a spring clean. I’m a big believer in gentle steps that make room for more goodness in our lives.

If you’re looking to improve your finances, Clare Seal’s new book Five Steps For Financial Wellbeing is out March 3 and it will help you positively shift your relationship with money.

Emma Gannon’s latest book Disconnected explores how we stay human in an online world—perfect for anyone who’s starting to feel like their relationship with the internet and social media is off balance. And if you’d just like to read a little more, Francesca Beauman’s Literary Almanac will see you right through the year.

A good meal can right many of a day’s wrongs, and Asma Khan’s latest book Ammufull of home-cooked recipes to nourish your soul—is just what you need.

There’s never a bad time to dive into the classics—Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries (one, two and three) are timeless. We’ve got our eye on Benjamina Ebuehi’s A Good Day To Bake which is out in a few weeks and will make 2022 that little bit sweeter.

Sian’s own book to bring you creative joy in 2022—The Pyjama Myth: the Freelance Writer’s Survival Guide is out March 17

Read more: 10 best films about psychics

Read more: How to read 225 books in a year

Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter