These are not how-to manuals or self-help advice books with fancy names, because the truth is you don’t always need self-help books; you can help yourself with any book. Some of these books are fiction, some real, but what they all have in common is experience, inspiration and some wonderful writing.

They are the perfect companions for your much-needed break.
Make a cup of hot chocolate.
Add a few marshmallows for good measure.
Now cuddle up in a corner and grab one!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

wildFeeling lost, grieving her mother’s death and struggling to make sense of her life, Cheryl Strayed decides to go on a summer-long hiking trip for the first time. Alone. Amidst the blisters, the backache, the snowy mountaintops and the scares, though, she finds herself. She comes to terms with herself and her life, learns what she needs to hold on to and what to let go of and tells us all about it. Gripping from the first few pages of its prologue, Wild will keep you up reading all-night, both crying and laughing. You will feel for Cheryl during her low moments, cringe with her pain and root for her to finish. The minute you’re done, I guarantee you will be planning your own self-discovery trip!

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

yespleaseWe’ve met her as Regina George’s mother in Mean Girls, as Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation and occasionally as her funny self alongside Tina Fey. Amy Poehler gives us even more with her book, Yes Please, in which she lays bare both her personal and career experiences.  Humorous and full of stories about some of our favorite comedy icons at different points of their career, the book is light, but insightful. It’s like talking to a friend. Scattered in bright block letters throughout the book are the things we all need to hear. She understands the pressures that come with relationships, building a career and hard but needed apologies. Poehler’s book is perfect for struggling and/or rising young professionals, tired mothers, sleep-deprived people like herself and everyone in between.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

wewereliarsThis is one book that you will probably finish in a day or two, tops. Slightly over one hundred pages, it will grab your attention from the first few lines. The narrator is a rich teenage girl whose experiences have made her grow up wiser and faster than she probably would have liked. Her voice is distinct and she tends to be descriptive, insightful, and often overly dramatic. One of my favorite books of all time, We Were Liars will make you rethink your life and things you had never before given a second thought. I’m being vague here, because this is one book you do not want spoiled for you!

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

thebelljarMostly known for her poetry and her struggle with depression, Plath brings both of those to her only published novel. Though the main character is a young woman with depression, the book is far from depressing. It’s more about facing “the real world” and overcoming its obstacles and about trying to overcome what is inside your head and being judged for it. The Bell Jar is an honest and shrewd account of what it is like to be in your twenties, depressed and fighting to find your way, all put down in beautiful writing. Esther Greenwood is charming and relatable. Other than her witty and vivid narration, her journey of recovery opens up our eyes, too. It shows us that it’s okay to not know, to have question marks, to be unsure. Poignant and captivating, The Bell Jar will forever leave its mark on you.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

attachmentAs we approach the New Year, we can be sure that the world of technology still has a lot in store for us in 2016. Why not forget our smart phones, our tablets and our speedy WiFi connections and travel sixteen years back in time? Rainbow Rowell transports us back to when the Internet was still a novelty, emails were the equivalent of text messaging and the new millennium was being welcomed. A masterful storyteller, Rowell gives us a light romantic comedy that is about everything from friendship, family and love, to the unreasonable fears about the world ending with the turn of the century. This book will either make you love technology even more, or hate it and wish for an earlier time. In both cases though, it will offer you likable characters, a sweet plotline and a funny, nostalgia filled break from your modern day stresses.

Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

harrypotterThis is the sixth entry in a five-entry list just because this needs to be on anybody’s reading list. If you haven’t already, now is the time to catch up. It will create a whole new world for you, one that you will never really be able to let go of. About more than wands, spells and the triumph of good or evil, the Harry Potter Series is a seven-book long epic tale of loss and discovery, family and friends, hard choices and mistakes and growing up. Frequently seen as children’s books or yet another fantasy series, Harry Potter is much more than that. Pick the first book up, allow yourself to be ushered into a parallel universe and let Rowling’s detailed descriptions guide you. And, no, the movies don’t count.