5 Must Have Books for January

January is often seen as a fresh start, a new beginning, a time to set goals. If one of your goals for the year is to read a certain number of books, try a new genre, or expand your book club’s focus, then try one of these 5 books to start 2019 off right.


The Witness Tree (fiction- MN author)

A tree in rural Iowa bears witness to generations of human experience--and deadly secrets.

Dani Holden thinks moving to an old farmstead will help her forget her past. She agrees to help neighbors take down a strange double-headed tree that has stood alone between two fields for almost a century. Unexplainable accidents begin haunting those who help, and Dani must uncover a community's secret before tragedy claims her as its next victim.

Dani's not the only one running from her past--two generations ago, young Lilly Bradstreet is not the person her small town wants her to be. She falls in love with a Mexican migrant worker and is forced to choose between her family's wishes, her passionate romance, and the life of freedom she's always dreamed of.

Lilly's long-forgotten quest for independence and Dani's search for answers intertwine at the foot of the Witness Tree, whose secrets are darker and more unnerving than either woman ever expected. Vivid depictions of small-town bonds, young love, racism, and women who've dreamed and been denied make The Witness Tree a moving, page-turning debut novel.


VOX (suspense/thriller)

Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

This is just the beginning…not the end.


The Winter Soldier (historical fiction)

Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives, at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single, mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains.

But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon’s scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal, makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient, and nurse forever.

From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and finally, of the mistakes we make, and the precious opportunities to atone.


Comfort in an Instant (cookbook)

With 75 all-new recipes–50 of which can be made in under an hour start to finish–Melissa Clark brings her easy sophistication to comfort food classics for any electric pressure cooker, multicooker, or Instant Pot.

The electric pressure cooker makes getting meals on the table fast, convenient, and utterly delicious–and with less mess and stress than any other kitchen appliance. In Comfort in An Instant, Melissa Clark elevates the classics with her trademark deep flavors and special spins–without ever sacrificing ease: 

  *  Sriracha Turkey Meatloaf
  *  Pesto Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes
  *  Classic Matzo Ball Soup
  *  Easy Weeknight Chili
  *  Lemon Chicken With Garlic + Olives
  *  Pimento Mac + Cheese
  *  Chipotle Pork Tacos
  *  Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake

Innovative and practical, Comfort in an Instant sets the gold standard for flavor, quality, and convenience.


The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters (psychology, personal growth)

In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive–which they don’t have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play.

Drawing on her expertise as a facilitator of high-powered gatherings around the world, Parker takes us inside events of all kinds to show what works, what doesn’t, and why. She investigates a wide array of gatherings–conferences, meetings, a courtroom, a flash-mob party, an Arab-Israeli summer camp–and explains how simple, specific changes can invigorate any group experience.

The result is a book that’s both journey and guide, full of exciting ideas with real-world applications. The Art of Gathering will forever alter the way you look at your next meeting, industry conference, dinner party, and backyard barbecue–and how you host and attend them.


You can embrace these cold winter days with warm meals, circles of friends, and lots of conversation. Get comfy and start your 2019 with a good book.

Katie Terhune