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14 Books For Anyone Who's Had A Tough Year

Books for the lonely, downtrodden, pissed, lost, or just anyone who's not OK.

You probably don't need me to tell you that books can be incredibly healing, but in case you do: Books can be incredibly healing!!!

They can make you feel less alone and validate your experiences, give you insight and pep talks you didn't know you needed, or just provide comfort and distraction when the world is being extra shitty. And friends, the world has been extra shitty this year.

So whether you're buying (or checking out!) for yourself or a loved one, these books might be just what you need to cap off 2018 feeling a little more okay.

1. For anyone who’s been feeling lonely or isolated: How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don't by Lane Moore

Atria Books, Amber Marlow

Promising review: "You will want to read this book as fast as you can and as slowly as you can. It's that perceptive, heartbreaking, useful, and uplifting. Lane speaks about such fragile, horrible topics — that are too familiar to too many of us — with truthful optimism. It is so validating without being bitter or Pollyanna-ish, an almost impossible feat to pull off. Those who've walked in her shoes are very fortunate that she's shared her experience and her gift so generously. It's like therapy but more actionable and fulfilling." —nyc for me

Get it from Amazon for $14.11, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

2. For anyone who needs help getting through the day: Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Random House, Murphy Made

Promising review: "If you want to be uplifted, inspired, encouraged, to feel as if you are not alone and that you have someone in your corner who completely understands what your life is like, and likes you exactly as you are, get this book. I promise you that you will love it!" —Annie

Get it from Amazon for $10.08, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

3. For anyone who needs a little TLC after the trash fire of 2018: The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self-Care by Emma Loewe and Lindsay Kellner

TarcherPerigee

Promising review: "Beautifully illustrated book with practical, approachable ways to take time out of your day for yourself. I love how it’s split up by season and look forward to trying different rituals throughout the year. Would make a holiday gift for friends and family!" —Eddy Katz

Get it from Amazon for $16.51, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

4. For anyone who’s a little lost: Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jonny "Jomny" Sun

Harper Perennial, Courtesy of Wesley Taylor.

Promising review: "This book is truly a thought-provoking, soul-soothing pleasure to read. I have already bought an extra copy for gifting because it's the type of book that really gets into your brain wrinkles AND your heart, and I find myself really wanting to share it." —YowzaWowza

Get it from Amazon for $7.43, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

5. For anyone who's been rejected, lonely, insecure, or defeated: Emotional First Aid by Guy Winch, PhD

Plume, Guy Winch

Promising review: "As a therapist, I'm constantly looking out for helpful resources for clients. This book has quickly been added to my list. It so clearly explores the seven most common — and inevitable, if you're human! — psychological injuries (rejection, loneliness, loss and trauma, guilt, rumination, failure, and low self-esteem) and then provides specific 'first aid' treatments for each." —Deb

Get it from Amazon for $15.30, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

6. For anyone who wants to feel empowered as hell: Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World by Mackenzi Lee

Mackenzi Lee

Promising review: "This is kind of a new experience for me, reading non-fiction books is not really my thing, until NOW. This is a book comprised of inspiring women throughout history who somehow did not get enough public attention, and to me, it is amazing that this book did its job well, giving the rightful dedication to all these wonderful ladies. They should all be hailed and remembered for their amazing doings throughout history.

And my reaction throughout this book? Might as well be summarized with these two words: YAS QUEEN." —Tran Thanh Tu

Get it from Amazon for $9.25, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

7. For anyone who wants to learn how to laugh through their depression or anxiety: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Flatiron Books, Laura Mayes

Promising review: "I cannot recommend this highly enough. Only five stars seems insufficient. Jenny Lawson is the voice so many of us have been looking for for years. She is brutally and unflinchingly honest. You will cry with her, not only because the stories are heartbreaking, but because you see yourself or someone you love in her words. You will laugh with her to the point that you are cackling out loud and people think that you're insane. But you know what she teaches us? It's okay to be crazy, to be broken. It's okay to not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, everything WILL be okay." —crs

Get it from Amazon for $7.02, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

8. For any woman who has felt angry, ashamed, helpless, or hopeless this year: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Gray Wolf Press, Art Streiber

Promising review: "This collection of short stories heavily emphasizes the violence that we put on women’s bodies. Whether it be sexual violence, physical violence, violence put on us by society, or violence we put on ourselves. This entire collection is absolutely haunting in the best way possible. I won’t forget this collection, ever." —Melanie

Get it from Amazon for $9.48, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

9. For any human who's ever needed advice: How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life by Heather Havrilesky

Anchor, Willy Somma

Promising review: "I am obsessed with Ask Polly’s weekly column in The Cut, so I was thrilled to find out I could get my Ask Polly fix in a book. Heather Havrilesky is a superb writer with cutting, insightful, funny, honest, empathetic advice that will warm your heart and make you laugh. Even on topics completely irrelevant to my life, I’m able to find something relatable in Polly’s advice. Since buying this book I’ve practically become an Ask Polly disciple, trying to get all my friends to read this book and partake in her wisdom as well." —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $10.20, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

10. For chronic illness sufferers who need a message of hope: Sick by Porochista Khakpour.

Harper Perennial

Promising review: "Having dealt with chronic illness most of my life, I have struggled for answers, for support, for treatment, for relief, for acceptance, for money, for health, and even for life itself. As a result, I deeply identified with Porochista's memoir which beautifully captures the struggle to find answers when one's mind and body are breaking down and no one can seem to pinpoint a cause or provide a beneficial treatment protocol. Perhaps my greatest takeaway from this book is hope. I had given up on my own journey to wellness recently, and after reading Porochista's memoir, I have renewed hope that maybe I too can find answers and healing. Thank you, Porochista. And to anyone reading this who is dealing with a chronic illness or if you know someone who is, please buy this book." —Jane

Get it from Amazon for $10.87, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

11. For anyone jaded, frustrated, or exhausted by their search for love: How to Be Single and Happy by Jennifer Taitz, PsyD

TarcherPerigee, Catherine Gibbons

Promising review: "The focus of this really useful new book isn't how to meet your soulmate (whatever that is). Instead, Dr. Jennifer Taitz walks readers through the process of building a life worth living whether they are in a relationship or not. Dr. Taitz uses the principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), along with other evidence-based treatment models, to help single people lead stable, fulfilling, and meaningful lives in the face of often intense societal pressure to believe that it's impossible to be happy without being in a romantic relationship. I have already recommended this book to single friends and clients and display it prominently in my own psychotherapy office." —Hillary Paula

Get it from Amazon for $11, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

12. For anyone who needs a reminder that there is still a place for hope and kindness in the world: The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King

Abrams

Promising review: "This is a definitive biography of Fred Rogers, bringing into focus the span of his entire life with ease, warmth and authority. The author did an excellent job creating a wonderful read, filled with details that will stay with the reader. We really need this biography to help keep Fred Roger's work and outlook alive. You will come away from this book with a deeper and richer appreciation of the varied landscape of his life and work. And you'll be richer for it. This book is important." —Bescgh

Get it from Amazon for $19.49, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

13. For anyone who needs a little assurance they're doing OK: Nobody Cares by Anne T. Donahue

ECW Press, Twitter: @annetdonahue

Promising review: "Nobody Cares is witty, raw and honest. At times it is a memoir, telling anecdotes from the author’s past to explain her attitudes to family and relationships, death and growing-up. At other times the essays are directly addressed to the reader (yes, you!) and form more of a self-help narrative or intimate pep talk, as she lists her own perceived failings and reassures us that we are not alone in ours." —Steph Warren

Get it from Amazon for $11.59, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

14. For anyone feeling like they're not where they should be: Am I There Yet? by Mari Andrew

Clarkson Potter, Anjai Pinto

Promising review: "I cannot thank Mari Andrew enough for all of her work, specifically this book. I received it yesterday, and spent last night finishing it. It reads like words of encouragement, paired with realism, and a big hug. Mari Andrew takes her eloquence and wit, pairs it with complex yet meaningful artistry, and delivers the combination beautifully. The world is a better place because of your work!" —EJF

Get it from Amazon for $13.99, or find it at your local library or IndieBound.

Reviews have been edited for length or clarity.

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