Share 12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

All year, we’ve been sharing lists of books we love in hopes that you’ll find a great new book for your nightstand, or for your “to be read” list. Of course, behind the scenes, we’re keeping our own TBR lists—and they seem to grow exponentially. During the holidays, if our friends and family ask us what we’d like for as gifts—the answer is often a book we’ve been eyeing. Here are a few of the books that we’re really hoping for. Hint, hint!


Big Magic
by Elizabeth Gilbert

On Wendy’s wish list

I would like to start my new year with a shot of creativity and write more than email in 2017. Elizabeth Gilbert’s curious and compassionate exploration of creativity is just the inspiration I’m looking for.

Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert

On Wendy’s wish list

I would like to start my new year with a shot of creativity and write more than email in 2017. Elizabeth Gilbert’s curious and compassionate exploration of creativity is just the inspiration I’m looking for.

MENTIONED IN:

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

11 Books to Read While You Wait for Oprah’s Memoir

By Erica Nelson | April 5, 2016

7 Books to Help You Reorganize, Reinvent, and Rejuvenate

By Emma Volk | October 6, 2015

Close

The Devil in the White City
by 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?

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?

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

13 Book Recommendations from the Gilmore Girls Themselves

By Erin Flaaen | November 22, 2016

11 Fascinating Books That Will Turn You Into a True Crime Junkie

By Kerry Fiallo | July 14, 2016

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

By Julianna Haubner | January 7, 2016

Get Your Kicks with This 8 Book Tour of Route 66

By Hilary Krutt | July 21, 2015

Close

Eat Like a Gilmore
by Kristi Carlson

On Chris’s wish list

With the return of “Gilmore Girls” this fall, love for the show’s quirky cast of characters has been reignited. This would be a great cookbook for recipes to make while watching the show—and having full-color photos of each recipe is awesome.

Eat Like a Gilmore
Kristi Carlson

On Chris’s wish list

With the return of “Gilmore Girls” this fall, love for the show’s quirky cast of characters has been reignited. This would be a great cookbook for recipes to make while watching the show—and having full-color photos of each recipe is awesome.

MENTIONED IN:

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

Close

Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"
by Miles Hyman

On Sarah Jane’s wish list

THE LOTTERY has always been a favorite of mine, so when I heard that it was being adapted into a graphic novel by Shirley Jackson’s own grandson, I was hooked. I can’t wait to see a fresh, visual interpretation of the iconic story.

Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"
Miles Hyman

On Sarah Jane’s wish list

THE LOTTERY has always been a favorite of mine, so when I heard that it was being adapted into a graphic novel by Shirley Jackson’s own grandson, I was hooked. I can’t wait to see a fresh, visual interpretation of the iconic story.

MENTIONED IN:

The 5 Best Books I Read Last Month

By Sarah Jane Abbott | October 11, 2017

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

Close

The Collected Stories
by Mavis Gallant

On Stuart’s wish list

Every year at Christmas I ask for one fat book that I will keep on my nightstand year-round and sort of pick at. I’ll read a few chapters here and a few chapters there sprinkled throughout my routine reading. I more often than not turn to the Everyman’s Library editions for my selection since they are so well curated. This year I’m asking for THE COLLECTED STORIES OF MAVIS GALLANT. It weighs in at one thousand pages, so I’m sure it will last me all year.

The Collected Stories
Mavis Gallant

On Stuart’s wish list

Every year at Christmas I ask for one fat book that I will keep on my nightstand year-round and sort of pick at. I’ll read a few chapters here and a few chapters there sprinkled throughout my routine reading. I more often than not turn to the Everyman’s Library editions for my selection since they are so well curated. This year I’m asking for THE COLLECTED STORIES OF MAVIS GALLANT. It weighs in at one thousand pages, so I’m sure it will last me all year.

MENTIONED IN:

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

Close

Cooking for Jeffrey
by Ina Garten

On Allison’s wish list

I want Ina Garten’s new cookbook, COOKING FOR JEFFREY. It’s Ina! It’s Jeffrey! It’s love! It’s food! I hear the Devil’s Food Cake recipe is phenomenal. I don’t even like Devil’s Food Cake. I still want this book.

Cooking for Jeffrey
Ina Garten

On Allison’s wish list

I want Ina Garten’s new cookbook, COOKING FOR JEFFREY. It’s Ina! It’s Jeffrey! It’s love! It’s food! I hear the Devil’s Food Cake recipe is phenomenal. I don’t even like Devil’s Food Cake. I still want this book.

MENTIONED IN:

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

Close

Gratitude
by Oliver Sacks

On Erica’s wish list

I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking about my future—the kind of life I want to live and what a well-spent life looks like. But considering my life has necessitated a deeper processing of my own mortality, and that of those close to me. So, I’ve taken to reading about life and death—and learning new ways to appreciate each day and the time I get to spend with the people I love. I would quite like to read GRATITUDE by Oliver Sacks next.

Gratitude
Oliver Sacks

On Erica’s wish list

I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking about my future—the kind of life I want to live and what a well-spent life looks like. But considering my life has necessitated a deeper processing of my own mortality, and that of those close to me. So, I’ve taken to reading about life and death—and learning new ways to appreciate each day and the time I get to spend with the people I love. I would quite like to read GRATITUDE by Oliver Sacks next.

MENTIONED IN:

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

Close

Blonde
by Joyce Carol Oates

On Julianna’s wish list

I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and more so when an author is ambitious enough to assume the voice of a famous (or rather, infamous) figure. In this novel, Joyce Carol Oates reimagines the life of Norma Jeane Baker, known to the world as Marilyn Monroe, as she rises and falls in the Golden Age of Hollywood. I’ve been quite obsessed with old movies and the “You Must Remember This” podcast lately, so it seems like a perfect holiday fit.

Blonde
Joyce Carol Oates

On Julianna’s wish list

I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and more so when an author is ambitious enough to assume the voice of a famous (or rather, infamous) figure. In this novel, Joyce Carol Oates reimagines the life of Norma Jeane Baker, known to the world as Marilyn Monroe, as she rises and falls in the Golden Age of Hollywood. I’ve been quite obsessed with old movies and the “You Must Remember This” podcast lately, so it seems like a perfect holiday fit.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Scandalous Novels That Illuminate the Golden Age of Hollywood

By Kerry Fiallo | December 30, 2016

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

Close

The Pianist
by Wladyslaw Szpilman

On Tolani’s wish list

Confession: I watched the Oscar-nominated movie “The Pianist” and dubbed it my all-time favorite long before I even knew it was ripped from the pages of the harrowing yet inspiring memoir of Polish pianist Władysław Szpilman. Because I love a rich tale about the resilience of the human spirit, I put the DVD on my wish list years ago. This year, I'd love to read Szpilman's story—in his own words—about surviving underground in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The Pianist
Wladyslaw Szpilman

On Tolani’s wish list

Confession: I watched the Oscar-nominated movie “The Pianist” and dubbed it my all-time favorite long before I even knew it was ripped from the pages of the harrowing yet inspiring memoir of Polish pianist Władysław Szpilman. Because I love a rich tale about the resilience of the human spirit, I put the DVD on my wish list years ago. This year, I'd love to read Szpilman's story—in his own words—about surviving underground in Nazi-occupied Poland.

MENTIONED IN:

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

15 Incredible Movies That Started As Books

By Tolani Osan | December 12, 2016

Close

News of the World
by Paulette Jiles

On Amy’s wish list

As a lover of American history, thanks in large part to watching the nine VHS tapes of Ken Burns’s “Civil War” over and over again, I would love to get this novel for Christmas. This post-civil war fiction takes place in Texas and follows a surly aging Captain as he escorts a rebellious young girl back to her family. It sounds like the unlikely but heartwarming match ups in PAPER MOON and TRUE GRIT, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

News of the World
Paulette Jiles

On Amy’s wish list

As a lover of American history, thanks in large part to watching the nine VHS tapes of Ken Burns’s “Civil War” over and over again, I would love to get this novel for Christmas. This post-civil war fiction takes place in Texas and follows a surly aging Captain as he escorts a rebellious young girl back to her family. It sounds like the unlikely but heartwarming match ups in PAPER MOON and TRUE GRIT, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

MENTIONED IN:

12 Book Club Books to Celebrate National Reading Group Month

By Taylor Noel | October 24, 2017

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

Close

Bellevue
by David Oshinsky

On Kerry’s wish list

Few things interest me as much as New York City’s history and with a nurse for a sister, it’s only natural that I would be intrigued by New York City’s iconic hospital. From being the home of the nation’s first nursing school to becoming a metonym for all psychiatric hospitals, Bellevue obviously has a storied history—and it’s one that I have little knowledge of, even though it remains an essential place for patients in New York City today. David Oshinsky won a Pulitzer Prize for his last non-fiction work, POLIO, and I have no doubt that BELLEVUE will be fascinating, evocative, and beautifully written.

Bellevue
David Oshinsky

On Kerry’s wish list

Few things interest me as much as New York City’s history and with a nurse for a sister, it’s only natural that I would be intrigued by New York City’s iconic hospital. From being the home of the nation’s first nursing school to becoming a metonym for all psychiatric hospitals, Bellevue obviously has a storied history—and it’s one that I have little knowledge of, even though it remains an essential place for patients in New York City today. David Oshinsky won a Pulitzer Prize for his last non-fiction work, POLIO, and I have no doubt that BELLEVUE will be fascinating, evocative, and beautifully written.

MENTIONED IN:

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

Close

The Wonder
by Emma Donoghue

On Erin’s wish list

Emma Donoghue is one of my favorite authors, so it’s taken every bit of my self-restraint to wait for the holidays to get a copy of her new book. In THE WONDER, a nurse is called to a small Irish village to observe the “miracle” of a girl said to have survived without food for months. Donoghue has already proved to be a skilled and remarkable writer in ROOM, FROG MUSIC, and SLAMMERKIN, giving me confidence that her newest novel will be another amazing read.

The Wonder
Emma Donoghue

On Erin’s wish list

Emma Donoghue is one of my favorite authors, so it’s taken every bit of my self-restraint to wait for the holidays to get a copy of her new book. In THE WONDER, a nurse is called to a small Irish village to observe the “miracle” of a girl said to have survived without food for months. Donoghue has already proved to be a skilled and remarkable writer in ROOM, FROG MUSIC, and SLAMMERKIN, giving me confidence that her newest novel will be another amazing read.

MENTIONED IN:

12 Books on Our Literary Wish Lists This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 19, 2016

Close

Thank you for joining our email list!

If you create and Off the Shelf account, you'll be able to save books to your personal bookshelf, and be eligible for free books and other good stuff.

Click here to create your free account.

You must be logged in to add books to your shelf.

Please log in or sign up now.