Bestselling Books to Have on Your List of New Year’s Resolutions

2015 is done, and as usual you probably haven’t read nearly the number of books that you planned to. Books always have a distinct disadvantage when it comes to grabbing your recreation time: Films and TV shows are over in a few hours, at most, making it easy to consume them whenever you have time, whereas books take a few days—at least; sometimes more like a few weeks or even months—to finish.

That means it’s probable that once again “read more” will be one of your New Year’s Resolutions. If so, here are some suggestions for bestselling books you might have missed that might be a good idea to add to your list of books to read for 2016.

01
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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train cover
The next "Girl Gone"? Or a better book?.

Probably the “It” book of 2015 remains on our radar both because it remains on the bestseller lists (and was in fact Amazon’s best-selling novel overall in 2015), and also because a star-studded film adaptation featuring Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Alison Janney and Lisa Kudrow will hit screens in 2016. In other words, The Girl on the Train is 2016’s Gone Girl, a film everyone will be talking about—and if you want to be in on that conversation, might as well catch up with the rest of the world and finally read this book.

02
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling.

The Harry Potter train is not only still running on schedule, it’s going to all-new places, and Rowling’s continuing adventures in the Potter universe remain not only charming, but fodder for film adaptations. This one will star Eddie Redmayne and will be based on the 2001 tie-in novel Rowling published under the fanciful pseudonym of Newt Scamander. More than just a cash-grab novelty, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a rich expansion of the Potter universe that’s ideal for any fan of the book series—and anyone planning to go to the movies next year.

03
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The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey.

A bestselling science fiction young adult novel, this is going to be a big movie in 2016 starring Chloe Moretz, so why not bone up on the story so you’ll be in the know when it hits theaters? Plus, it’s a fantastic story of alien invasion, with the ominous “Others” unleashing brilliantly-planned “waves” designed to eradicate humanity, beginning with an EMP blast that knocks out all electronics and proceeding through biological warfare, climate-based attacks, and eventually the horrifying “re-education” of children, who are trained to hunt down and kill their own kind. It’s this meticulous planning that elevates this first-in-a-trilogy to classic status—this isn’t your ordinary pulpy sci-fi tale.

04
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The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman.

One of the most beautiful and affecting novels ever written, Stedman’s masterpiece of elegiac writing is the sort of novel that you fall into and experience more than simply read. The novel is filled with incredible descriptions of its settings, especially the isolated lighthouse where a young couple discover a baby abandoned in a boat on the beach and decide to keep her as their own—with disastrous consequences for others. The film adaptation starring Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz will be an ideal way to see the epic setting brought to life, and even if you skip the film the novel is one you should definitely read before you die.

05
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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

Another best-selling novel that will hit theater screens in 2016 (in an adaptation starring Emilia Clarke, Jenna Coleman, and Sam Claflin), this novel hit the bestseller lists in 2012—just long enough ago for you to have forgotten about it. The story, about a young woman who takes a job caring for a suicidal quadriplegic man and eventually falls in love with him is heartbreaking, beautiful, and compelling, and will likely be a major film event in 2016. Whether or not you plan to watch the movie, read the book—it’s gorgeous, haunting, and inspiring in equal measure.

06
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Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

The consensus on this novel, an early attempt at the story that would eventually be To Kill a Mockingbird that was published under slightly sketchy circumstances by Harper Lee’s new attorney, is that it probably should have remained unpublished. Although filled with flashes of brilliance (not to mention several sections more or less word-for-word from Mockingbird), the story is undercooked and underwhelming—but few writers of Lee’s importance and reputation release what is essentially an early draft of a classic novel, making this a must-read if only to see a glimpse of how a literary genius creates one of the greatest novels ever written.

07
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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Coates’ remarkable, passionate, and controversial memoir remains a must-read for anyone who claims to be open-minded and willing to see things from other points of view. Angry, emotional, beautifully-written, and offering a point of view that any non-black American can’t truly claim to understand, this book is remarkable in its clear intelligence and beautiful style. It’s also remarkable in its analysis of a crucial time in America’s legacy of race relations, racism, and supposed progressive movement. In the era of police shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a book every single citizen should read.

08
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The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro.

One of the most beautiful novels of 2015 was somehow under-discussed despite hitting the bestseller lists, Ishiguro’s novel was frequently mis-labeled a fantasy simply because the setting (the middle ages of Britain) and the mention of a dragon that must be killed. In fact, this is a story about memory, about history, and about the power of love as we follow an elderly couple living in a time when a mysterious spell or enchantment seems to be robbing people of their knowledge of the past. Suddenly remembering that they once had a child, the couple begins a quest to find them, leading us on an amazing journey exploring the power of our memories and the tragedy of our forgetting. Don’t miss this book, even if stories about magic and dragons typically leave you cold. If you missed it in 2015, make it a priority in 2016.