Some people make ‘getting in shape’ their resolution, other people just want to get a better job, car, refrigerator... Maybe some more sleep.
These are great plans and all, but, if you’re like me, you just want to read more books than you did last year (if the book is good enough the ‘more sleep’ goal never works out anyways, trust me).
Finding time to discover a book you’d actually like to read and then sitting down to read it might take more time than you have to spend with your busy schedule, though. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to make a list consisting of a book per month - a book calendar, if you will - for you to consider. If this doesn’t have quite what you’re looking for, R&B Used Books has a ‘Book of the Month Club’ every month to give you EVEN MORE options! Stay tuned for possible future blogs about those books too!
January - the fresh month; the month of new things and hopeful expectation. (Fun fact: named after the god Janus, who was the god of doors… which is kinda funny but, hey, he had the ability to see the past and future so not too bad of a gig)
For the first month of the year, I’ve chosen the book A Man Called Ove; a New York Times Bestseller, written by a Swedish author named Fredrik Backman.
The protagonist is an elderly man named Ove. He is the quintessential crotchety old man. A good representative of me by the end of the year each year before I become “new” with the turn of the year. He has a better excuse for being that way than I do since he fairly recently lost the love of his long life and, thus, no longer feels there’s any point to his life. The turn of the year (his life up to that point) comes with the appearance of some new neighbors who break all his rules but also attach themselves into his life in all the right (and, for him, initially unwanted) ways. For a heartwarming, comic, and stubborn start to the year, try this novel on for size! (Btw,
I spotted it in R&B at one point!)
February - the ‘it’s still cold outside’ month; there’s a romantic holiday in there. (February itself is named after Februa, which was the ‘feast of purification,’ cleanliness and all that jazz)
Personally, I can take or leave the Valentine’s holiday. It’s a beloved national holiday for a reason, though, so I’ll do what I can to please the people.
If you can stomach that theme, a good classic is always Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Elizabeth (Lizzy) is witty and stubborn in her unwillingness to acknowledge Mr. Darcy, while the rest of her sisters swoon over other eligible men their mother puts in their sights. Some relationships end well, others… not so much. Lizzy, though, has the clearness of conscience to know what she wants and to not settle for anything less. For this reason, Ms. Elizabeth Bennett’s tale is the one I recommend.
March - somehow the illegitimate owner of the first day of spring (we all know there’s still snow happening in Michigan); Also, named after Mars, the Roman god of war. Fierce.
Deception is used as a weapon in war, so this writer feels that the name suits the month. For a tale of war, here’s ‘classic piece of literature’ round 2!
King Lear is a play written by William Shakespeare. Though there is a military leader involved, the main war involved in this plot is an internal one. A man struggles with his own identity once he has lost some of his men’s loyalty and finds himself in the midst of a storm in the woods. Other characters even disguise their true identities in order to deceive, but occasionally to aid, their fellow man. Overall, King Lear is a play which reminds us of the power we have through knowing our identities, and the storms we can face in search of one. How’s that for a deep, soul-searching theme for the 3rd month of 2018?
April - showers… lots and lots of rain showers, all for those May flowers. There are 3 theories as to where April got its name, which means it truly is the month of variety. Rain, some snow still, a sprinkling of sunny days…
Such a chaotic month needs a book with some major plot action to keep up with it! The most intense book I can remember reading recently is Inferno by Dan Brown. It even has an appropriate title for this category! This book is a continuation of The Da Vinci Code stories with Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, yet again at the forefront of a potentially deadly mystery. Langdon and his companion are forced to balance being chased through Florence’s streets with trying to crack codes in order to save...everyone. Your heart will be in your throat but you’ll never lose interest while reading this thrilling novel!
May - Here are the flowers! named after Maia, earth goddess of growing plants NATURALLYYYY. So much potential for nature puns… But I digress!
Flowers grow, but so do people. The former require water, the latter require challenging life moments. The New York Times Bestseller and recipient of the National Book Award, The Round House by Louise Erdrich, is a novel which entails heartbreak and tests of unimaginable difficulty for a young boy named Joe. Where most children are expected to remain innocent and carefree, Joe and his friends set out to obtain justice for unspeakable crimes which have occurred too close to home. If you choose to read this, get ready to feel allllllll the emotions!
June - summer; time for visiting one of the many lakes around here; Named after Juno, queen of the gods & goddess of marriage, weddings, & such -
So this is the month to be out and about and planning things. Coincidentally, much of the literature that I most enjoy involves some research and planning. Sepulchre by Kate Mosse could not have been possible without Mosse’s willingness to study and dig up the past. This novel involves a double narrative, one in modern day America but eventually France; while the other is entirely set in 19th century France. Culture, history, murder, superstition, mystery, and more make this novel one to look for!
July - freedom and fireworks!; Named after Julius Caesar… doesn’t quite fit what July means for Americans but hey, lets roll with it!
What I have pulled from this strange combination is that this is a month of BIG things/people. Important, that’s the word. So what would be better than to read about one of the most important people in America? Ellen Degeneres. She’s funny, personable, likes to dance, and LOVES animals, which are all the things which designate an important person by my definition. I personally have not yet had a chance to read her book Seriously… I’m Kidding, but I’ve heard a lot of good things AND it has 3.72/5 stars on Goodreads. I like to round up. It has 4/5 stars. I think it’s fair to say, though, that if you like watching her on TV you’ll have just as good of a time reading her thoughts. If you don’t get to it first, I will!!
August - Summer. Is. Ending; the Romans named this month after their first emperor, Augustus.
Speaking of things ending and the ability to become a Roman emperor….. A book I have not read yet is The Captain’s Daughter by Meg Mitchell Moore. It actually has nothing to do with an emperor BUT there is a lobsterman. Close enough… Daughter of widowed lobsterman, Eliza Barnes, tried to leave the boat life behind and move to the suburbs. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the life that Eliza thought she had left behind comes back to her in a summer of choices and revelations. Just like the end of summer, this book seems a little sad but it may have enough beautiful moments to make it worth it!
September - Football; back to school; thanks to the Romans its name comes from the Latin word ‘septem’ as the 7th month of their year!
Everything starts beginning to look a lot less like summer and a lot more like fall during this month, too. When I think of trees and nature, my mind always goes to Walden by Henry D. Thoreau. Can you imagine living out by a pond for months, or even just a few weeks? Thoreau did it. He studied Walden Pond, a real pond, for two years, two months, and two days and then he wrote about it (I’d certainly hope he’d have something to write about after spending that much time studying one area). He talks about the people in town, too, but for the most part Thoreau just reflects on his surroundings and self-reliance. Gorgeous descriptions of nature that make you feel like you’ve been outside recently, even if you haven’t. Definitely give it a try!
October - spooky, harvesty, and full of hayrides; Named because ‘octo’ .. it’s the 8th month on the Roman calendar. Basically, the people who named the months were running low on creativity..
BUT, for this month of fall fun and fear, I recommend reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. This is no sparkly vampire novel. It is a novel of ancient letters and darkness. Heard of Vlad the Impaler? I hope you’ve heard of Dracula. Dive into this book to see how their bloody and merciless stories connect to the modern world. Mwuahaha!
November - turkey or if you’re a vegetarian, tofurkey - or if you like to live life on the edge, turducken; Veteran’s day; it’s the 9th month soooo the name comes from Novem, which is Latin for (you guessed it) ‘nine.’ *Sigh*
It’s the month when feasting truly begins and continues from here for another month or two. This means that you might want something a little lighter to read. A lot of people are deterred by the word ‘poetry’ but trust me for a second! The World’s Wife is a collection of poetry written by Carol Ann Duffy, but it’s not just any normal collection of poems. Duffy uses myth and other recognizable stories to craft her writing. You’ll recognize which story each piece is inspired by on Duffy’s quest to highlight the wives of famous male characters using their, often satirical, perspectives on their husbands. Laugh the food away this month!
December - holiday spirit; money thrown out of the window for our loved ones; fruitcake; & I’ve given up on the Romans, but I’m sure you can guess how December got its name.
How people celebrate the holidays, and what gifts they choose to purchase or make, often says something about their values. Hard Times by Charles Dickens incorporates characters from a variety of backgrounds and just as many different perspectives on life. This somewhat complicated story-line is set in the unpleasantly named Coketown and involves people who are more... practically minded, and those who… well, grew up in the circus (one example). Uncover the mystery alongside these unique characters and see which side of the spectrum of perspectives you fall on! If anything, you’ll walk away from this book with some quirky new name ideas for your pets.
Guest blogger for R&B Used Books.