Stories about new beginnings are perfect gifts for family and friends this season of hope.

A Good American by Alex George

A Good American is a heartwarming tale of starting all over again in a foreign land. Alex George weaves an immigrant story yet still features the general theme of belongingness, adaptation, struggle, love, and building relationships that would later become family. The novel follows the story of the Meisenheimer family, told by James, a third-generation American living in Beatrice, Missouri. James’ grandparents, Frederick and his pregnant wife Jette, crossed the turbulent Atlantic and found themselves in the flood-swollen Mississippi. It then follows how Jette worked hard to build the family and feed the town with sauerkraut and soul food. We also learn of the family’s children-Joseph and Rosa, and of the third generation, including James. It’s a saga of a family, their loves and losses, and how they have come to call America their home.

Five Seasons by Abraham B. Yehoshua

How do you move on from the death of a loved one? Five Seasons by Abraham B. Yehoshua (A.B. Yehoshua) presents a fresh and comical narrative about new beginnings after death. In the autumn, Molkho’s wife dies. For many, he has dedicated his life to caring and loving his wife, but now newfound freedom is filled with erotic fantasies. In winter, he goes to operas of Berlin and engages in a funny affair with a legal advisor who has a sprained ankle. In spring, he finds himself in Galilee with an underage Indian girl. In summer, Molkho goes to Jerusalem and meets an old classmate who offers to seduce his infertile wife. Finally, in autumn, Molkho meets Nina, who is Russian. Five Seasons is about an unexpected journey and coming home to start life again.

My Alcoholic, My Love by Margaret Moschack

Ending a toxic relationship and finding the courage to start again despite the odds is nothing short of inspiring. My Alcoholic, My Love: My Love and Loss of an Alcoholic Husband is a 2020 memoir by Margaret Moschack. For many years, Margaret has dutifully played his role as a wife and a mother. Despite her husband’s drinking problem, Margaret chose to stick with their marriage for many reasons. Divorce is still a taboo in our society. Margaret also had to consider the future of their children. My Alcoholic, My Love is a tough-love alcoholic love story that ends in one’s awakening. In this amazing book, Margaret details how she decided to end the toxic relationship and manage to get as far away as possible from her alcoholic husband and begin life anew.

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön 

Pema Chödrön is an American Tibetan Buddhist and an ordained nun. She has published several notable works, including Start Where You Are, Welcoming the Unwelcome, and No Time to Lose. However, her most remarkable work is the 1996 classic When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. In this engaging masterpiece, Pema Chödrön introduces readers to the art of Using painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage, how to reverse habitual patterns, and how to work with chaotic situations. When Things Fall Apart offers guidance for ending harmful practices, toxic attitudes, and embracing a better and new you. It is a meaningful gift you can give family and friends this Christmas.

The Quarter-Life Breakthrough by Adam Poswolsky

The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters is the complete title of Adam “Smiley” Poswolsky’s comic memoir about starting all over again. In this brutally honest narrative, Adam shares his experience of how one day he grew tired of his well-paying job and realized it’s not making him happy at all. Part memoir, part guidebook, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough offers fresh, honest, counterintuitive, and inspiring career advice for readers stuck in a quarter-life crisis (or third-life crisis) and those trying to figure out what to do with their life. The book is a beautiful read filled with humor, sincerity, wisdom, and encouragement.