This week’s favorite self-improvement book

The winter holiday season is upon us. Colorful lights hang all over Petaluma. The trees are decorated. Candles are lit. The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. A reveler in red has been spotted around the city (and in some areas Krampus has also been seen). People do their best to wish others happy this and happy that. It’s starting to look like… well, you know.

In Iceland, a country full of writers, they celebrate Jólabókaflóðið, a deluge of books for Christmas. The shops are full of all kinds of new books, and it is traditional to exchange books as gifts on Christmas Eve, and then spend the evening quietly reading with a cup of hot chocolate.

Perhaps some of this week’s titles would make perfect gifts for that special someone on your list.

Or for you (we don’t judge).

Topping the No. 1 adult list this week is James Clear’s 2018 bestseller “Atomic Habits,” which could be a sign that Petalumans are looking to pick up positive habits and get rid of negative ones en masse in the new year.

Or, more likely, someone is handing out copies as Christmas gifts.

New to Copperfield’s adult slate this week are Liz Cheney’s “Oath and Honor” (No. 2), which recounts and struggles with the Jan. 6, 2001, uprising, and “The Covenant of Water” (No. 9), a multigenerational film a family epic from Abraham Verghese, author of the 2009 bestseller “Cutting for Stone.”

New to this week’s Copperfield Kids list is “Cat Kid Comics Club: Influencers” (#2) by Dave Pilkey, which features members of the Cat Kid Comics Club struggling with impostor syndrome when one of their comics is slated for publication. Pari Thompson’s new “Greenwild: The World Behind the Door,” a portal fantasy with nature-based magic and world-saving stakes, is No. 5, and Christie Matheson’s “Select,” in which soccer-playing girls face a new violence coach, is number 10.

Popular books in the Word Horde Emporium this week include a Dr. Seuss-inspired parody, “HP Lovecraft’s ‘Call of Cthulhu for Beginning Readers,’” a cozy tarot-inspired mystery “Dead Spread” by local author Bethany Browning, a collection of seasonal ghost stories called “Christmas Gothic short stories: gothic fantasy” and a social book not recommended for human children, “The Very Hungry Zombie: A Parody”.

Fiction and non-fiction


1.’Atomic Habits: A simple and proven way to create good habits and break bad ones‘ by James Clear – an anecdotal collection of inspirational stories and strategies for breaking bad habits, making time for new ones, finding motivation and getting your life on track.

2.’Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning‘ by Liz Cheney – Former House Republican Conference Chairman Cheney offers this account of the January 6, 2001, riot, its beginnings and aftermath.

3. ‘The Awakening of Democracy: Notes on the State of America,‘ Heather Cox Richardson – From the historian and author of the popular daily newsletter “Letters from an American” comes this engaging and accessible examination of the state of the nation in a country teetering between democracy and autocracy.

4. “Asian American Herbalism: Traditional and Modern Healing Practices for Everyday Well-Being,” Erin Masako Wilkins – A beautifully illustrated and photographed collection of herbal recipes and remedies from the founder of Herb Folk. Enable your health.

5.’Iron flame‘ Rebecca Yarros – The second book in Yarros’ Empyrean series continues the fantasy/romance saga set in a military academy for dragon riders. Full of anxiety, danger and evil dragons. I would expect this book to be even more expensive – and deadlier – than The Fourth Wing, as a new commander enters the scene, secrets are revealed, and betrayal becomes inevitable.

6. “Chemistry lessons”, by Bonnie Garmus – a delightful novel about a brilliant chemist turned star of a 1960s television cooking show and her efforts to outwit the sexist entertainment machine she finds herself inside.

7.’Heaven & Earth grocery store,‘ by James McBride – Part murder mystery, part overlapping exploration of Americans living and struggling on the margins of society, “The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store” is a humanistic and compassionate follow-up to McBride’s National Book Award-winning “Deacon King Kong” and “The Good Lord Bird.”

8.’Prequel‘ Rachel Maddow – MSNBC host Maddow details the almost forgotten attempts of the United States to ally with the Axis Powers on the eve of our entry into World War II. With many parallels to the present day, “Prequel” explores well-financed campaigns to undermine democracy, spread anti-Semitism and install an authoritarian government.

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