Your Shelf Life
5 books to read this month
The Book of Strange New Things
By Michel Faber
The story of a preacher who travels galaxies away to tend to a diseased population, while his wife faces an environmental apocalypse on earth. Faber explores faith and the resilience of committed love.
By Jane Smiley
The first in a trilogy about an Iowa farming family in the 1920s. The Langdons have five remarkably different children who become vivid characters over the course of three decades. Each chapter covers a single year up to the 1950s.
By Meg Wolitzer
The title is a play on Sylvia Plath’s famous poem “The Bell Jar.” It’s the story of Jam Gallahue, who is sent to boarding school after her boyfriend tragically dies. She and her classmates conjure up a magical world where she can reunite with him.
By Marilynne Robinson
Lila is a homeless girl who takes shelter in church and soon marries John Ames, the protagonist and pastor who appears in Robinson’s earlier books. But her life before Ames was one of struggle, makeshift families, petty violence, and desperation.
By Colm Tóibín
A powerful character study of a proud young widow and mother of four in small-town Ireland in the 1960s. After her husband dies, she struggles to provide for her children. But as she makes her way, she discovers a long-lost talent.