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/ Source: TODAY
By Courtney Gisriel

If you're looking for some inspiration going into the new year, sometimes the best place to look is a good read.

To help wade through the bookshelves, we've enlisted the help of Jenny Han, author of the popular book-turned-movie "To All The Boys I've Loved Before," and Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.

Scroll down for their recommended reads.

Best Book to Start Off 2019

Han's Pick: "Apertif: Cocktail Hour the French Way," by Rebekah Peppler, $13, Amazon

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"I want to start the new year off feeling fancy," Han said of why she made this selection. "When I have a party, I always end up serving champagne. As I move into the new year, I want to have a few easy, stress-free but still elegant tricks up my sleeve. This cookbook has recipes for aperitifs and snacks and also a little bit of background history of the aperitif itself."

Lucas' Pick: "Your Duck is My Duck," by Deborah Eisenberg, $18, Amazon

"I love to start the year off with short stories," said Lucas. "This is a great way to read a masterwork, without the pressure of, say, promising yourself you'll finish "War and Peace" by February."

Best Book to Learn Something New

Lucas' Pick: "Feel Free," by Zadie Smith, $19, Amazon

"This collection of essays is a thoughtful exploration of motherhood, politics, literature, art, pop culture and there's no way NOT to learn something from it," said Lucas. "Much like with a collection of short stories, a collection of essays is a great way to start the year with something smart, amazing, and without too much pressure."

Han's Pick: "The Art of Gathering," by Priya Parker, $19, Amazon

"Priya Parker is a strategic advisor, trained in conflict resolution," said Han of this book on social events like dinner parties, weddings, conferences and even funerals. "Parker says that people remember the beginning and end of a gathering, so it's important never to begin or end on logistics. Do that second to last. Find another way to close the event, give your guests something to remember"

Best Books to Have Fun and Lift Spirits

Han's Pick: "Why We Dream," by Alice Robb, $18, Amazon

"We often dream about problems in our life. According to Robb, dreams can also serve as problem-solving devices," said Han. "When used strategically, Robb teaches that focusing and analyzing your dreams can actually help you live a more peaceful existence, be a better mental version of yourself."

Lucas' Pick: "Less," by Andrew Sean Greer, $11, Amazon

"A friend recently asked me for something 'hopeful' to read," said Lucas, "And while Less, the protagonist, is exploring some challenging topics — aging, heartbreak, loneliness, professional distress — he does so with extraordinary grace and the ending lifted my whole heart up."

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