Unlike much of the rest of the world, when January 1 comes around I stare at the barren, frosted landscape and can’t stand to even think of fresh starts and resolutions. Instead, it’s not until spring and summer when I really start focusing on life changes. If you’re anything like me and start your “New Year’s” resolutions halfway through the year, this list of books for every month is for you. It’s not too late to make a resolution to read a new book every month for the next year, and we at Off the Shelf have some great suggestions for you to help with that goal.
At age six, January Schofield was diagnosed with one of the most severe cases of child-onset schizophrenia on record. JANUARY FIRST is her father’s inspirational memoir as he fights to save his daughter from the brink of insanity while trying to hold his family together.
A unique portrait of womanhood in modern China. In the rapidly changing country, Ming and Yan, two very different women, become friends when brought together through college, but in a society torn between tradition and modernity, their differences in upbringing and ideology threaten to force them apart.
Set on the front lines of the American Civil War, MARCH is the untold story of the absent father from Louisa May Alcott’s LITTLE WOMEN. When March leaves his family to serve the Union cause as a chaplain, he faces a world of brutality that tests his faith. As he recovers from a near-fatal illness, March must rejoin his family, who have no idea what he has endured.
When his brother is killed, Gjorg is bound by the code of Kanun (a set of traditional Albanian laws) to kill his brother’s murderer, but in doing so, he then faces his own turn to be hunted down. BROKEN APRIL is a harrowing tale of a lesser-known European society as Gjorg lives out his final 30 days.
May We Be Forgiven
In this darkly comic novel, when Harold Silver’s successful but hot-headed brother loses control and commits an act of shocking violence, Harold suddenly finds himself playing parent to his brother’s two adolescent children and building a makeshift twenty-first-century family.
The Sixteenth of June
A story of the frictions and loyalty of friendship with just a hint of James Joyce, the uncertainty of early adulthood, and the yearning to belong. When a talented, mourning young singer, her fiancé, and her best friend come together, first for a funeral, then for a family party, long-simmering tensions rise, forcing them to confront the past.
A finely observed, wry social satire set in Philadelphia over the course of a single day, this debut novel, which is a nod to James Joyce’s celebrated classic Ulysses, is about the secrets we keep and the lengths we go to for acceptance and love.
The First of July
THE FIRST OF JULY begins at the start of World War II and progresses through the Battle of Somme to tell the story of the war through the experiences of four men. All have joined the military in different units and for different reasons before they find themselves fighting in one of the bloodiest battles in human history.
Snow in August
At the end of World War II, an 11-year-old Irish Catholic boy and a lonely rabbi from Prague form an unlikely friendship. Neither can escape the swirling prejudices of the time, though, and as anti-Semitism reaches their Brooklyn neighborhood, the only way out may be a miracle.
The Septembers of Shiraz
A gripping and powerful account of the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution. When a rare-gem dealer is wrongly accused of being a spy and arrested, his family is thrown into turmoil while facing the collapse of everything they’ve known. From the jeweler’s son safely in America to his wife, who continues searching for her husband, this is a story of love, both for one’s family and one’s home.
The October Country
From the author of FAHRENHEIT 451, this collection of short stories spans from chilling encounters with funhouse mirrors to parasitic accident-watchers to haunting examinations of childhood loss. Ray Bradbury’s knack for science fiction resonates throughout the 19 stories in this collection.
An unforgettable love story between a writer and his muse. Fallon and Ben, an aspiring novelist, meet shortly before Fallon’s scheduled cross-country move. They proceed to reunite every year on the same date, sharing tales of their separate relationships and tribulations. As the years progress, though, Fallon begins to wonder if the life Ben has portrayed to her is actually a lie.
When Luke Crisp, a recent graduate and heir to his father’s company, leaves home and blows his trust fund, he finds himself humbled, alone, and too ashamed to ask his father for help. Secretly, he takes a lowly job at one of his father’s copy centers, where he falls in love with a single mother and starts to discover true happiness.