Share No Time Like the Present: 10 Books We’ll Finally Read in 2016

No Time Like the Present: 10 Books We’ll Finally Read in 2016

Julianna Haubner joined the editorial team at Simon & Schuster in September 2014. A lifelong reader, she is most drawn to literary fiction, biography, cultural history, and narrative non-fiction; it’s her firm belief that every human should own a copy of Cheryl Strayed’s TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, and EMPIRE FALLS is the book that changed her life. When Julianna’s not reading and reviewing, she’s downloading podcast episodes as if there are more than 24 hours in a day, watching Bravo, baking, and running the Off the Shelf Instagram. You can follow her on Twitter @jhaubner2.

The New Year may have just begun, but as any bookworm will know, our to-read lists have been building for months! This year, one of our resolutions is to embrace the old and the new by means of reading the books we’ve always meant to read. From beloved classic novels to recent nonfiction, here are the titles we’re going to show some love in 2016.


The Little Friend
by Donna Tartt

If you’ve read and loved THE GOLDFINCH and THE SECRET HISTORY, the novel Tartt wrote in between is perfect for your 2016 pile. In Alexandria, Mississippi, a woman named Harriet sets out to uncover why her brother died twelve years before, but to do so she must confront family secrets and her town’s rigid lines of race and class.

The Little Friend
Donna Tartt

If you’ve read and loved THE GOLDFINCH and THE SECRET HISTORY, the novel Tartt wrote in between is perfect for your 2016 pile. In Alexandria, Mississippi, a woman named Harriet sets out to uncover why her brother died twelve years before, but to do so she must confront family secrets and her town’s rigid lines of race and class.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel García Márquez
Some of us at Off the Shelf have read this one, and now it’s time for everyone to read it. Márquez’s novel follows the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of a family. Its characters are unforgettable, and its words will have you savoring every moment. It’s been on our shelves for some time, but at least it hasn’t been a century!
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

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A Game of Thrones
by George R. R. Martin
If, as you binge-watch “Game of Thrones,” you’re constantly telling yourself “This is the year that I read the book!” make it happen in 2016. Leading into the series’ new season, the person on everyone’s mind will be Jon Snow. Though the plotlines between page and screen are diverging, nothing compares to Martin’s drama—and you’ve got a few books to get through!
A Game of Thrones
George R. R. Martin

This is high fantasy at its bloodiest, morally complicated finest, and is the inspiration for another brilliant television adaptation to obsess over.

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The Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett
An equally long but equally fantastic staple on to-read lists everywhere. This epic is set in twelfth-century England and follows the lives of those involved in the building of a great Gothic cathedral. This one has it all: good versus evil, romance, intrigue, adventure, and architecture.
The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett

This two-novel epic set in medieval England centers around a Gothic cathedral and the pride, love, and greed it inspires in the townspeople affected by its creation. Political, social, and religious upheaval make for a storyline that’s fast paced and action packed without sacrificing historical detail.

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Lolita
by Vladimir Nabokov
It’s perhaps the greatest literary catch-22 (see what we did there?) that although classics are beloved, they’re often passed over in favor of more recent hits, since we know the classics aren’t going anywhere. So, we’re resolving to dive deep into Humbert Humbert’s obsessive and doomed passion for Dolores this year and cross this one off the to-read list.
Lolita
Vladimir Nabokov

The original dysfunctional relationship. Humbert Humbert’s obsession with the young, beautiful girl he nicknames “Lolita” is passionate, doomed, and completely unsettling.

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Columbine
by Dave Cullen

In this masterwork of reporting, Dave Cullen takes us back to the event that shocked the nation and arguably began the modern age of gun violence: the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, police files, and tapes, Cullen presents a close-up portrait of the killers, but also of the community and country that they forever changed. Sadly, this is still so relevant today.

Columbine
Dave Cullen

In this masterwork of reporting, Dave Cullen takes us back to the event that shocked the nation and arguably began the modern age of gun violence: the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, police files, and tapes, Cullen presents a close-up portrait of the killers, but also of the community and country that they forever changed. Sadly, this is still so relevant today.

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Can't and Won't
by Lydia Davis

A 2013 Man Booker Prize winner, this collection showcases the humor, insight, and irony in the everyday moments of ordinary lives. If you’re seeking an entry point into Davis’s prolific body of work, look no further.

Can't and Won't
Lydia Davis

A 2013 Man Booker Prize winner, this collection showcases the humor, insight, and irony in the everyday moments of ordinary lives. If you’re seeking an entry point into Davis’s prolific body of work, look no further.

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The Corrections
by Jonathan Franzen
The ultimate holiday homecoming novel. Enid Lambert wants her family together for one perfect Christmas, but there are a few things in her way: her husband’s Parkinson’s disease and the personal dramas of her grown children. Though this book feels somewhat tragic, it’s also smart, funny, and unfiltered—quintessential Franzen.
The Corrections
Jonathan Franzen

The Corrections is a grandly entertaining novel for the new century--a comic, tragic masterpiece about a family breaking down in an age of easy fixes. After almost fifty years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives. The oldest, Gary, a once-stable portfolio manager and family man, is trying to convince his wife and himself, despite clear signs to the contrary, that he is not clinically depressed. The middle child, Chip, has lost his seemingly secure academic job and is failing specatcularly at his new line of work. And Denise, the youngest, has escaped a disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain on an affair with a married man--or so her mother fears. Desperate for some pleasure to look forward to. Enid has set her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home.Stretching from the Midwest at midcentury to the Wall Street and Eastern Europe of today, The Corrections brings an old-fashioned world of civic virtue and sexual inhibitions into violent collision with the era of home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental health care, and globalized greed. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, deeply humane, it confirms Jonathan Franzen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.

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Five Days at Memorial
by Sheri Fink

In this landmark investigation of a landmark event, Fink’s medical and journalism backgrounds come together to show what happened at Memorial Medical Center in the five days following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Though many of us know how the story ends, the book reads like a suspense novel, introducing a number of memorable characters and the question that we frequently ask ourselves when disaster strikes: “What would I do?”

Five Days at Memorial
Sheri Fink

In this landmark investigation of a landmark event, Fink’s medical and journalism backgrounds come together to show what happened at Memorial Medical Center in the five days following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Though many of us know how the story ends, the book reads like a suspense novel, introducing a number of memorable characters and the question that we frequently ask ourselves when disaster strikes: “What would I do?”

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The Devil in the White City
by Erik Larson
If this book’s tenure on the bestseller list isn’t enough to make you finally pick it up, maybe the recent news will: Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are adapting this nonfiction thriller about murder and mayhem at the 1893 World’s Fair, and you’ll definitely want to read it before catching it on the big screen.
The Devil in the White City
Erik Larson

On Elizabeth’s wish list

As days grew shorter and nights colder I (naturally) began listening to more podcasts and watching documentaries about a cheery subject: serial killers. I’m excited to curl up with THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY because of Erik Larson’s fantastic eye for character, storytelling, and impeccable research in his true-crime investigation into the serial killer who haunted the 1893 World’s Fair. Cocoa and killers go well together, right?

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