Many of us make “New Year’s Resolutions” convinced that this is going to be the year we keep those promises.  We are well-intended!  Truth be told, sometimes we don’t even make it to February.  Perhaps the reason for that has something to do with the nature of the resolutions themselves.  What if we were a bit more philosophical about the kinds of promises we are going to try to keep?  For example, although Benjamin Franklin lived a long time ago, and John Burroughs and T.S. Eliot lived not quite so long ago, their resolutions are examples of the kind of thinking that can make a difference.  Truly, their words are words to live by.

Benjamin Franklin, 1706 to 1790, Founding Father of our country, was a writer, printer, political philosopher, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman and diplomat.  Franklin became wealthy publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanack” under the pseudonym, “Richard Saunders.”  Franklin’s words to the wise were, “ Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”

John Burroughs, 1837 to 1921, an American essayist and naturalist lived and wrote in the manner of Henry David Thoreau, studying and celebrating nature. Founded in Burroughs’ memory, The John Burroughs Association is a society that encourages writing in the natural sciences. Said Burroughs, “One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this:  To rise above the little things.”

T.S. Eliot (Thomas Sterns Eliot), 1888 to 1965, British-American 1948 Nobel Prize laureate in Literature and  Harvard University graduate, was a distinguished poet, playwright, literary critic and editor.  Written while he was still an undergraduate, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is considered by many to be the greatest poem written in English in the 20th century.  Eliot observed that “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language.  And next year’s words await another voice.  And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

Agreeing that each day is a new beginning, let’s do something today to make tomorrow better!


Adult Fiction:

“The Mystery of Mrs. Christie,” Marie Benedict;  “A Simple Murder:  Kate Burkholder Short Story Collection,” Linda Castillo;  “Win,” Harlan Coben;  “Paradise Peak,” Janet Daily;  “The Bounty,” Janet Evanovich and Steve Hamilton;  “Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder,” Joanne Fluke;  “No Holding Back,” Lori Foster;  “Missing and Endangered,” J.A. Jance;  “Blink of an Eye,” Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen; “Eternal,” Lisa Scottoline;  “The Affair,” Danielle Steel.

Adult Non-Fiction:

“How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need,” Bill Gates;  “Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain At Any Age,” Sanjay Gupta M.D.; “The Last Queen: Elizabeth II’s Seventy Year Battle to Save the House of Windsor,” Clive Irving;  “Watch to Watch When: 1,000 TV Shows for Every Mood and Moment,” DK Publishing;  “Biden: The Obama Years and the Battle for the Soul of America,” David Lienemann;  “Til Murder Do Us Part,” James Patterson;  “Walk in My Combat Boots:  True Stories from America’s Bravest Warriors,” James Patterson and Chris Mooney;  “Martha Stewart’s Very Good Things: Clever Tips and Genius Ideas for an Easier, More Enjoyable Life,” Martha Stewart;  “Three Wise Men: A Navy SEAL, a Green Beret, and How Their Marine Brother Became a War’s Sole Survivor,” Beau Wise and Tom Sileo.


Who Is Kamala Harris?” Kirsten Anderson;  “Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories,” Jeff Kinney;  “Minecraft: The Shipwreck,” C.B. Lee;  “Mothering Heights (Dog Man Series #10),” Dav Pilkey.

Young Adult:

The Desolations of Devil’s Acre (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Series #6),” Ransom Riggs.

Children’s Picture Books: 

“Spring Stinks,” Ryan T. Higgins;  “Twinkle’s Fairy Pet Day,” Katharine Holabird;  “Nickelodeon 5-Minute Stories Collection,” Hollis James;  “Champ and Major: First Dogs,” Joy McCullough;  “Dr. Seuss’s Thank You for Being Green:  And Speaking for the Trees,” Dr. Seuss; “Scooper and Dumper,” Lindsay Ward.