calvin-and-hobbes-new-years-resolution-comicSo it's a new year and no doubt you have a list of resolutions a mile long: lose weight, get promoted, drink more water, find your soul mate, organize life, closet, and apartment, climb Mount Everest, move Mount Everest with mind, remember how to speak French, learn Chinese, sign language & Chinese sign language, read EVERY classic ever written, be prettier, funnier, more zen, more fashionable, and just all around a completely different and PERFECT human being. OK, so my ambitions last year were a bit lofty - even if our publishers really do carry books that can help you master every single one of these goals. Though commendable, this year my list looks a little bit different. My 2013 to do list: laugh louder, learn how to play air guitar like a pro, dance frequently, love emphatically, and fill the year with happy memories and experiences surrounded by the people I love. Here is my New Year, Same You Book List that will start my year off on a positive note.

313651First up on my reading list is The Unofficial Hobbit Handbook: Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned from Tolkien (Writer's Digest Books, 1599636506). Hobbits know how to do the whole live long and prosper thing really well (even if they weren't responsible for coining the phrase.) This guide book has some sage advice and some good laughs contained within it's pages. I now know not to pick any troll pockets, what recipes to cook for hearty but healthy hobbit food, and even how to disappear without the help of a magical ring. Best of all, when I went to see The Hobbit at the movie theater I stayed awake for the full 3 and a half hours and enjoyed it even more because of the book.

Fake It FINAL.inddNext up I'm reading Fake it: More than 100 Shortcuts that Every Woman Needs to Know (Adams Media, 1440541094). Just because I don't have those get prettier, be thinner, have nicer hair resolutions this year doesn't mean I don't want to APPEAR as if I do. Lucky for me Jennifer Byrne is on it. If you want it to seem as if your waist is 2 sizes smaller, you have salon-worthy manicured nails, your home is immaculate and magazine worthy, and your hair is gorgeous even if you haven't washed it for 5 days, and still have time to sleep in every morning then this book is for you. Eventually you will probably have to clean up what's been shoved under your bed and actually wash your hair, but sometimes it's OK to take short cuts when it makes lifes load just a little lighter and a little more fun.

ShittyMomOK so I'm not a mom but I HAVE a mom, I KNOW other moms, and I like to laugh - hence, Shitty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us (Abrams, 1419704591). In this frank and hilarious outlet for busy moms everywhere you'll discover that everyone drops the baby... I mean ball... sometimes, and MOST of the rascals turn out okay.

how-to-drive-a-tankThen there is How to Drive a Tank... and Other Everyday Tips for the Modern Gentleman by Frank Coles (Abacus, 0349122237) - an oldie, but a goodie. I DO NOT call myself a man, but having read the book I can safely say that learning how to hot-wire a car, hide a dead body, make things go boom, survive in the wild, and win big at poker can be really helpful in a savvy girl's repertoire (the men in your life may steal it from you, but now you will know how to pick their locks and get it back!)

OneGoodDeed_3DOne Good Deed: 365 Days of Trying to Be Just a Little Bit Better by Erin McHugh (Abrams Image, 1419704176) may seem like a legitimate New Year, New You resolution book, and it is, but it is also a key to my own goals in 2013. This book is an inspirational guide that leaves you more fulfilled. Erin Hugh's book emphasizes what really matters, and encourages you to focus less on yourself and more on others, which is - in fact - a perfect path to a happier you.

The_Mark_of_AthenaAnd LAST on my New Year reading list, but definitely NOT least is The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (Disney Hyperion Books, 978-1423140603) simply because reading fiction YA makes me happy. I LOVE all the other books in The Heroes of Olympus series and I've been meaning to read it and just haven't gotten around to it.

Now I can't wait for 2013. Happy New Year from Manda everyone!

HAPPY-NEW-YEAR