Amanda Gordon has been on YouTube for a minute. Well, more like ten year's worth of minutes. Known as amandamaryanna on her YouTube channel, which she started in 2012 at age 12, Gordon has become part of the Black female essayists on the platform who discuss anything and everything. "There hasn't been a ton of precedent for talking about any given subject from the perspective of a young Black woman online," she tells EBONY. "It's more the fact that people such as me suddenly have this platform to share their opinions and perspectives of being Black and being a woman, and that's the really cool thing."

Indeed she has. Taking note of the internet’s adoration for the “well-read woman” aesthetic, in one of Gordon's most popular YouTube uploads, she acknowledges that flipping pages is now back in the mainstream. "When I find a book that I feel like I relate to, I drop everything to read it," the Brooklyn-based online influencer shares. "Most of these books I was reading nonstop for two or three days."

Gordon will be the first to admit that she's drawn to non-fiction genres over fairy and fantasy. "I tend to read a lot of nonfiction because I feel I can't do escapism when I'm literally worried about so much stuff in real life," she confesses. "Right now, I'm just trying to improve parts of my life, and it doesn't really feel like self-help. These are the books that I honestly feel so indulged, they are talking literally and directly to me."

Here are five self-help books that Gordon recommends, each designed to help you embrace the best version of yourself in the new year. 

Attached. Image: Amazon.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love
Amir Levine, Rachel Heller (TarcherPerigee)

Price: $16

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This particular book comes with a strong recommendation from Gordon, who raves so highly about it that she likens herself to spreading the Attached propaganda. A collaboration between neuroscientist Adam Levine and Columbia University graduate Rachel Heller, Attached is a deep dive into the intricacies of forming relationships. It explores the realm of adult attachment styles and details how applying this science to reality can help those who struggle to navigate relationships find their stride. Backed with psychological research dating to the 1950s, the book allows its audience to identify their own attachment style and how to incorporate this knowledge into forming stronger bonds with loved ones. For readers like Gordon, it's credited with giving them greater self-awareness of their actions when seeking to better themselves. 

The Artist's Way- Amazon
The Artist's Way: 30th Anniversary Edition
Julia Cameron (TarcherPerigee)
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Described by Gordon as “putting a scientific method to your creativity," Cameron’s book mentors readers on how to unblock their creativity and begin a journey of self-growth as an artist. This book is the answer for any artist questioning how to escape a creative rut. It provides readers with an assortment of writing exercises, artistic activities and prompts to inspire better artistic habits. It even advises the reader on how to establish their own support system of creative companions to keep the artistry flowing. For artists stuck in a creative rut, this book’s mission is to revitalize that passion and give you the tools to hold onto it for life.

All About Love- New Visions Bell Hooks
All About Love: New Visions
Bell Hooks (William Morrow Paperbacks)

Price: $13

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All About Love is a great read dedicated to opening our eyes to what we think love looks like. Those scorned by romance will find solace in the feminist author’s take on a unique interpretation of love: that it exists in the form of unity. The book leads the reader down a reflective path of how a lack of love has impacted our larger society, and how to discover a love that is both transformative and healing. It's a fantastic book for those who want to discover the meaning of love outside of the conventional sense. 

The Art of Loving.
The Art of Loving
Erich Fromm (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)

Price: $13

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This blunt yet poetic read will help guide its audience to achieving life-altering productivity and success in love. A classic in the world of psychology, renowned psychoanalyst Erich Fromm argues that true love requires a true understanding of oneself. Taking the time to practice the art of love and foster the sense of maturity and bravery to experience such strong emotions is key to forging a strong bond. Readers will not only traverse into the realm of romance but also familial love, self-love and even love for the Almighty.

Productivity
Productivity Is For Robots: How To (re)Connect, Get Creative, And Stay Human In The New World
Corey McComb (Independently published)

Price: $13

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Acting as a lifeline to Gordon when she was “very much in a stage of burnout” as a content creator, Productivity is for Robots encourages readers to step away from hustle culture. McComb analyzes some of the most celebrated visionaries, entrepreneurs and artists in history, ranging from Teddy Roosevelt to acclaimed director James Cameron and their more approaches to producing innovative ideas. McComb embraces the idea that human productivity needs to do away with the rigid constraints of society; after all, conformity is for robots, and he teaches the audience how to tap into their creativity and intuition for greater flow.