Share 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

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!"

Off the Shelf is made possible by a small group of passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with Off the Shelf readers. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. It gives us great pleasure to offer you a collection of our favorite single-title recommendations from 2016. Trust us when we say, “You’ve got to read this!”


Euphoria
by Lily King
“The engine that propels this juicy, smart novel is desire—sexual and intellectual, essential and existential. It seeps out of every sentence, filling the reader with the longing of the characters.” - Molly Prentiss
Euphoria
Lily King

The engine that propels this juicy, smart novel is desire—sexual and intellectual, essential and existential.

Read Molly Prentiss’s review here.

MENTIONED IN:

Love Is In the Air and These 13 Books Are On Our Minds

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 14, 2017

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

13 Most Shelved Books on Off the Shelf in 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 13, 2016

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

A Burning, Brilliant, and Brutal Novel

By Molly Prentiss | March 28, 2016

8 Glorious and Triumphant Novels of Scientific Discovery

By Leora Bernstein | January 21, 2016

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Gone to Soldiers
by Marge Piercy

“Upon finishing GONE TO SOLDIERS, I immediately recommended it to several friends, my mother, and my sister. I went to social media and wrote the same message to all: this is a book you need to read—all 750+ pages of it. It’s a beautiful story that will leave you haunted, as the characters are, by a war that shattered so many lives.”

Read the full review by Erin Flaaen here.

Gone to Soldiers
Marge Piercy

“Upon finishing GONE TO SOLDIERS, I immediately recommended it to several friends, my mother, and my sister. I went to social media and wrote the same message to all: this is a book you need to read—all 750+ pages of it. It’s a beautiful story that will leave you haunted, as the characters are, by a war that shattered so many lives.”

Read the full review by Erin Flaaen here.

MENTIONED IN:

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

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The Spellman Files
by Lisa Lutz

“There’s something delightfully endearing about Lisa Lutz’s kinetic and quirky THE SPELLMAN FILES. It reads like a well-scripted television sitcom/family drama and, considering Lutz’s screenwriting background, that vibe makes perfect sense. As soon as I’d finished reading this offbeat novel, I wanted to binge-read the rest of the books in the series.”

Read the full review by Allison Tyler here.

The Spellman Files
Lisa Lutz

“There’s something delightfully endearing about Lisa Lutz’s kinetic and quirky THE SPELLMAN FILES. It reads like a well-scripted television sitcom/family drama and, considering Lutz’s screenwriting background, that vibe makes perfect sense. As soon as I’d finished reading this offbeat novel, I wanted to binge-read the rest of the books in the series.”

Read the full review by Allison Tyler here.

MENTIONED IN:

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

12 Super Sleuthy Books for Grown-Up Fans of Nancy Drew

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 23, 2016

Nancy Drew Meets Jack Daniels

By Allison Tyler | April 11, 2016

12 Bloody Good Mysteries—Even for the Faint of Heart

By Emma Volk | October 27, 2015

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Different Seasons
by Stephen King

“You’ll find the themes of hope and innocence weaved throughout the four novellas that comprise Stephen King’s DIFFERENT SEASONS, warped and broken as they may seem. The ways in which they’re tested, sustained, mangled, or transformed are often uncomfortable but always captivating.”

Read the full review by Amar Deol here.

Different Seasons
Stephen King

“You’ll find the themes of hope and innocence weaved throughout the four novellas that comprise Stephen King’s DIFFERENT SEASONS, warped and broken as they may seem. The ways in which they’re tested, sustained, mangled, or transformed are often uncomfortable but always captivating.”

Read the full review by Amar Deol here.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Stephen King Books for Every Kind of Reader

By Sarah Jane Abbott | September 21, 2017

7 Books That Give Us Library Envy

By Elizabeth Breeden | March 16, 2017

10 Terrible Book Characters We Love to Hate

By Kerry Fiallo | February 6, 2017

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

Happy Birthday, Stephen King! 8 of Our Favorites From the Master

By Sarah Jane Abbott | September 21, 2016

A Stephen King Collection Awash in Twisted Hope and Wonder

By Amar Deol | September 7, 2016

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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler

“WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES is one of those completely absorbing books that makes the rest of the world disappear, while at the same time reminding us all too clearly of the world we come from and its occasional cruelty.”

Read the full review by Midge Raymond here.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Karen Joy Fowler

“WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES is one of those completely absorbing books that makes the rest of the world disappear, while at the same time reminding us all too clearly of the world we come from and its occasional cruelty.”

Read the full review by Midge Raymond here.

MENTIONED IN:

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

13 Most Shelved Books on Off the Shelf in 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 13, 2016

The Beautiful, Haunting Story of an Unconventional Family

By Midge Raymond | February 1, 2016

12 Literary Families to Invite Over for Thanksgiving

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 19, 2015

Piper’s Prison Book Club: 10 Books from Orange Is the New Black

By Hilary Krutt | July 28, 2015

11 Novels that Explore the Beautiful and Complex Bonds of Sisterhood

By Hilary Krutt | June 23, 2015

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The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
by Issa Rae

“I’ve spent much of my twenties trying to come to terms with my awkwardness, cringing months—years, even—after any given social misstep. Enter Issa Rae, the queen of graceless girls like me. Her web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” and hilarious resulting memoir provide an uncannily accurate and helpful guide for navigating the world as an awkward black girl.”

Read the full review by Tolani Osan here.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
Issa Rae

“I’ve spent much of my twenties trying to come to terms with my awkwardness, cringing months—years, even—after any given social misstep. Enter Issa Rae, the queen of graceless girls like me. Her web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” and hilarious resulting memoir provide an uncannily accurate and helpful guide for navigating the world as an awkward black girl.”

Read the full review by Tolani Osan here.

MENTIONED IN:

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

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The Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery

“The novel contains all the hallmarks of a modern French classic: quirky characters prone to fatalistic philosophical musings, action set against the florid backdrop of a ritzy hôtel particulier in bourgeois Paris, vivid voyeuristic depictions of the residents’ interior lives—and just a touch of playful pretention.”

Read the full review by Hilary Krutt here.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Muriel Barbery

“The novel contains all the hallmarks of a modern French classic: quirky characters prone to fatalistic philosophical musings, action set against the florid backdrop of a ritzy hôtel particulier in bourgeois Paris, vivid voyeuristic depictions of the residents’ interior lives—and just a touch of playful pretention.”

Read the full review by Hilary Krutt here.

MENTIONED IN:

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

A Tale of Two Lovable Misanthropes in Haute Paris

By Hilary Krutt | April 1, 2016

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The Age of Miracles
by Karen Thompson Walker

“THE AGE OF MIRACLES was so frightening because the apocalypse begins as an annoyance, like a lipstick that has melted. Walker’s greatest device is that the end of the world comes incrementally, almost casually, and each turned page winds the reader just a little more tightly.”

Read the full review by Richard Fifield here.

The Age of Miracles
Karen Thompson Walker

“THE AGE OF MIRACLES was so frightening because the apocalypse begins as an annoyance, like a lipstick that has melted. Walker’s greatest device is that the end of the world comes incrementally, almost casually, and each turned page winds the reader just a little more tightly.”

Read the full review by Richard Fifield here.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Dystopian Novels for People Who Don’t Read Dystopian Novels

By Taylor Noel | April 13, 2017

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

13 Most Shelved Books on Off the Shelf in 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 13, 2016

It’s the End of the World as We Know It: 13 Profound Books of Pessimism, Plagues, and Pandemics

By Julianna Haubner | November 1, 2016

9 Literary Novels That Sparkle With the Magical and Surreal

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | March 31, 2016

A Masterful and Moving Tale of Too Much Time

By Richard Fifield | January 25, 2016

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The Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller

“I’ve always thought that a good book should be either the entry point inward, to learn about yourself, or a door outward, to open you up to new worlds. With THE SONG OF ACHILLES, Madeline Miller gave me both.”

Read the full review by Taylor Jenkins Reid here.

The Song of Achilles
Madeline Miller

“I’ve always thought that a good book should be either the entry point inward, to learn about yourself, or a door outward, to open you up to new worlds. With THE SONG OF ACHILLES, Madeline Miller gave me both.”

Read the full review by Taylor Jenkins Reid here.

MENTIONED IN:

Waiting in the Wings: 11 Famous Stories Told from Another Point of View

By Julianna Haubner | August 17, 2017

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

A Forbidden Romance of Epic Proportions

By Taylor Jenkins Reid | June 15, 2016

11 Ground-breaking LGBTQ Novels

By Emma Volk | February 4, 2016

Under the Spell of the Gods: 11 Tales for Fans of Classical Mythology

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | May 28, 2015

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The Interestings
by Meg Wolitzer

“Like any good friend group, Wolitzer’s novel has a little bit of everything. There’s romance, there’s comedy, there’s drama, there’s sadness, and there’s an undeniable, everlasting devotion to the people you take the journey with.”

Read the full review by Julianna Haubner here.

The Interestings
Meg Wolitzer

“Like any good friend group, Wolitzer’s novel has a little bit of everything. There’s romance, there’s comedy, there’s drama, there’s sadness, and there’s an undeniable, everlasting devotion to the people you take the journey with.”

Read the full review by Julianna Haubner here.

MENTIONED IN:

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

A Modern Classic About Friendship Formed Over Vodka and Tang

By Julianna Haubner | August 29, 2016

Reading XXL: 15 Extra Long Books Perfect for Extra Long Winter Nights

By Julianna Haubner | January 26, 2016

9 Novels That Celebrate the Joys of Friendship

By Emma Volk | September 3, 2015

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Crazy Love You
by Lisa Unger

“I am a scaredy-cat. I can’t get past the opening credits of ‘American Horror Story,’ the poster for ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ gave me nightmares for months, and I still can’t look at a spider without wanting to cry. So maybe reading Lisa Unger’s CRAZY LOVE YOU wasn’t the best idea for me. But I am so glad I did, and I want everyone else to experience this horrifying and wonderful book, too.”

Read the full review by Leora Bernstein here.

Crazy Love You
Lisa Unger

“I am a scaredy-cat. I can’t get past the opening credits of ‘American Horror Story,’ the poster for ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ gave me nightmares for months, and I still can’t look at a spider without wanting to cry. So maybe reading Lisa Unger’s CRAZY LOVE YOU wasn’t the best idea for me. But I am so glad I did, and I want everyone else to experience this horrifying and wonderful book, too.”

Read the full review by Leora Bernstein here.

MENTIONED IN:

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

A Deeply Satisfying Merry-Go-Round of a Mystery

By Leora Bernstein | March 30, 2016

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Bee Season
by Myla Goldberg

“When asked about how she structured the novel, Goldberg said in an interview with Grendel.org, ‘I did write it very consciously to get darker and stronger as it continues. I wanted it at first to be [a] sunny, happy . . . read, and to lull people into this sense of complacency and then hit them over the head.’ As I read BEE SEASON, I was pleased to find just that; what begins with a child’s small victory leads to the unraveling of a family.”

Read the full review by Sarah Jane Abbott here.

Bee Season
Myla Goldberg

“When asked about how she structured the novel, Goldberg said in an interview with Grendel.org, ‘I did write it very consciously to get darker and stronger as it continues. I wanted it at first to be [a] sunny, happy . . . read, and to lull people into this sense of complacency and then hit them over the head.’ As I read BEE SEASON, I was pleased to find just that; what begins with a child’s small victory leads to the unraveling of a family.”

Read the full review by Sarah Jane Abbott here.

MENTIONED IN:

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

A Richly Layered Novel of a Family Unraveling

By Sarah Jane Abbott | June 20, 2016

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Eight Hundred Grapes
by Laura Dave
“Laura Dave takes what seems to be a romantic comedy and spins it into a thoughtful meditation on the nature of love, partnership, and family—and what it means to take your life into your own hands.” - Elizabeth Breeden
Eight Hundred Grapes
Laura Dave

EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES is escapist reading at its best because not only are there sun-dappled fields to picture, a dashing neighbor vying for Georgia’s attention, and behind-the-scenes winemaking (author Laura Dave took her wine research seriously!), there is also real heart.

Read Elizabeth Breeden’s review here.

MENTIONED IN:

Love Is In the Air and These 13 Books Are On Our Minds

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 14, 2017

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

A Delicious Read to Enjoy With a Glass of California Pinot

By Elizabeth Breeden | October 19, 2016

14 Books You Need in Your Summer Beach Bag

By Off the Shelf Staff | June 7, 2016

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