Eating healthier, saving money, drinking less — every year it’s the same tune. This time around, though — Highsnobiety staff have unanimously vouched to commit to finishing more books.
And though that may mean more fried chicken, debt and Aperol Spritz’ for us, various scientific reports will also vouch for reading’s benefits to our mental health — while enriching us with the added smarts to go with all that content we know you love.
If you’d like to follow in our footsteps but don’t know where to start, take a few pages from the books of our New York and Berlin-based staff, who have teamed up to share what’s on their collective reading lists for 2019. Along with some essentials for streetwear and sneaker enthusiasts, you’ll find everything from graphic novels and LGBTQ must-reads to books about Fascist Italy’s massacres in Ethiopia, the oil-motivated murders of an Oklahoman Native American tribe soon to be made a Martin Scorsese epic, and more.
Scroll on for all the reading inspiration you’ll need this year.
Nike SB: The Dunk Book
“Nike’s first printed foray into chronicling the history of this 1985 basketball shoe that turned into a collectible sneaker — this is a quintessential coffee table book for Highsnobiety readers. Given how much the modern state of sneaker culture is derived from this era of Nike SB collaborations and limited SB releases, this is a must-have addition to your library, if you consider yourself a sneakerhead.” — Chris Danforth, footwear editor
Sabrina by Nick Drnaso
“I am usually hesitant to pick up a graphic novel, but Sabrina is among the most stunning pieces of fiction I’ve read in ages. It is bleak as hell and dissects these crazy, conspiracy-theory times we live in with a frightening degree of accuracy, but few works of art of any medium have so beautifully expressed the righteous fury and unbridled agony of staying sane the past couple years. Truly essential reading.” — Jake Boyer, music editor
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
“Contrary to how rebellious the title of this book sounds, it’s actually one of the most meaningful and useful books I’ve read in this lifetime. It’s not about not giving a fuck at all, but rather about having a certain amount of fucks and deciding what to use them on. If you’re going through a rough patch or would just like to improve your state of mind, this fine piece of literature will help you clear your head and figure out what’s really important to you. Damn, I sound like a self-help junkie but for real — I promise I’m not forcing you to start some ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ journey.” — Naina Kamath, senior social media editor
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
“Ottessa Moshfegh is meant to be this incredibly polarizing young writer, but everyone I know loved My Year of Rest and Relaxation – mostly because of the completely awful main character. The New York Times called her ‘a kind of brand ambassador for ennui.’ Basically, this beautiful, waspy New Yorker tries to sleep her way through an entire year with the help of a dodgy psychiatrist and an industrial cocktail of prescription pills. The whole thing gets VERY weird. I don’t know how Moshfegh made such a deeply unlikable character such a joy to read about but I couldn’t put it down, even when I wanted to.” — Isabelle Hore-Thorburn, weekend staff writer
Cherry by Nico Walker
“I really liked Cherry by Nico Walker. While it’s technically fiction, it reads like a memoir. Written by a former soldier who got addicted to heroin and started robbing banks after his tour of duty, the writing lacks frills — but in the best possible way.” — Alec Banks, features editor
Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler
“A fascinating recount of the widespread use of methamphetamines during the Third Reich, not only by Hitler himself but by many Nazi soldiers and even civilians. Once you’re finished this book — written by a novelist who actually comes from Berlin — don’t be surprised if you’ve developed an insatiable appetite for further literature around the grim reality of what happened in Nazi Germany.” — Chris Danforth, footwear editor
The Eye: How the World’s Most Influential Creative Directors Develop Their Vision
“Edited by Nathan Williams— editor-in-chief of Kinfolk magazine — this book comprises 90 interviews with some of the most heavy-hitting creative minds of today. You get a pretty good overview of how the minds of people like Yohji Yamamoto, Thom Browne, and Grace Coddington work. It’s the kind of cerebral read you chip away at for a few hours on a lazy weekend or a chill evening. Because of its size, it’s definitely not travel-friendly, but as far as coffee table books go this one is quite easy to pick up, read, and get inspired by.” — Jian DeLeon, editorial director
Normal People by Sally Rooney
“If you haven’t already read Normal People, there’s a high chance that you’ve already seen the cover. The best-selling book is everywhere and for good reason — its complicated exploration of love and class is completely addictive. The 27-year-old Irish writer has been hailed as ‘the first great millennial novelist’ and as embarrassing as that accolade is, Rooney lives up to the hype.” — Lia McGarrigle, senior staff writer
Good Boy by Antoine Charbonneau-Demers
“Lately, I’ve been reading books written in French, gravitating toward LGBTQ literature, and wanting to support writers from my hometown (Montreal), and this book checks off all of those boxes. Good Boy is about a 19-year-old who moves to the city and, in exploring his sexuality, primarily finding himself attracted to older men (i.e., daddies). I think there’s a lot around the culture of gay sex that the media doesn’t understand — that even gay men don’t fully understand — and, from what I’ve read so far, this book does a good job at depicting those complexities.” — Sachin Bhola, branded content editor
The Addis Ababa Massacre: Italy’s National Shame by Ian Campbell
“I bought this at a bookstore in my hometown, Bologna. Written by a British scholar who became interested in the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, this is the only book that documents what happened on February 19, 1937, when the Italian troops killed about 30,000 Ethiopian civilians in a matter of three days. What’s crazy is that I will travel to Addis Ababa next month, and the Airbnb I’ve booked will, coincidentally, be in the same neighborhood where the massacre took place. My goal is to finish this 500-page epic before I touch down in Addis.” — Feleg Tesema, shopping writer
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
“Sapiens and Homo Deus absolutely blew my mind, so I can’t wait to get my hands on Harari’s latest book. Hopefully, this one is a little less terrifying.” — Aaron Howes, branded content editor
The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch
“I could chime on for days about how much I love Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water. While describing something as ‘redefining genre’ is a bit of a cop-out, this book is so much more than the memoir it’s pitched as. Yuknavitch addresses very heavy, real experiences like miscarriage and addiction with a raw, poetic prose, and the way she approaches grammar and structure is as rebellious as her character. It’s one of those books that inspires you to write, and then write better, and I don’t think you can ask for much more than that.” — Heather Snowden, staff writer