Off the Shelf’s 15 Favorite Book Lists from 2016
Our motto at Off the Shelf is “the more the merrier.” What could be better than a book recommendation? A whole list of book recommendations. Because we like to share, we’ve gathered some of our favorite lists of 2016. Enjoy!
Few people love books as much as we do. Authors might be the exception to that rule. It’s no wonder, then, that so many have included books as crucial plot points in their novels, often crafting brilliant stories within stories. For a meta reading experience, here are 13 great novels in which books play a prominent role—usually instigating the plot.
2The Boston Girl
Here’s a party game for you: Can you name a “girl” book? Of course you got GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, but there are lots of other girl books that you’ll want to add to your reading list. Whether you like thrillers, literary fiction, or history, these “girls” all have one thing in common—they are compulsively readable.
We like big books and we cannot lie—we buy them, we shelve them, and we stare at them, promising that someday, when we have the time, we’ll read them. Winter is the perfect season for crossing some of those wonderful doorstops off your list.
4The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
When I was young, there was nothing more thrilling than pulling a brand-new, yellow-spined Nancy Drew mystery off my shelf. If as an adult you are awash with nostalgia for the Nancy Drew series, here are some grown-up female sleuths with continuing series to devour.
5Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
So you’ve finished reading A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman and fallen in love with the (secretly wonderful) Swedish curmudgeon known as Ove. And now you’re bereft. We understand. What do you read after falling under the spell of such an unexpected, surprising, charming book?
6The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Talking about race isn’t easy. It’s personal, it’s political, it’s visceral. Here are 12 books that have changed the way we talk about race in America.
Call them unreliable, odd, or downright nuts: there’s nothing more addictive than being behind the wheel with a protagonist who’s not entirely there. You might not want to be their friend, but these eight books feature narrators who you’d be crazy to miss.
8Amy and Isabelle
So many writers who we admire have new books out this year: Richard Russo, Ann Patchett, Jane Hamilton, and Amor Towles, just to name a few. But the good news doesn’t stop there. To help you combat the dreaded waiting-for-the-next-book syndrome, here are some of our favorite older books from writers with new ones out this year.
9Interpreter of Maladies
I love India so much that I cannot wait to go back. At this very moment, I am struggling against the desire to pack some lightweight clothing into a suitcase and head to Kerala, where I spent the better part of a week while traveling abroad in 2012. Here are a few of the stories I return to when I’m longing for a jasmine flower tucked behind my ear and a seat at an old friend’s table on the streets of Cochin.
From “Serial” to “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” the true crime genre has seen a recent renaissance in pop culture. Here are expertly written true crime books where you can discover some of the darkest and oddest moments in history. Even if you’re not a true crime junkie, you’ll enjoy these compelling narratives and fascinating tales.
11Eat, Pray, Love
I LOVE books but with young children, work, a marriage, a house, most days are a juggling act with no downtime to sit and read for fun. I have worked in audiobook publishing for years and listened sporadically but never embraced the format completely until recently. Now I listen anytime, anywhere: on the train, the bus, getting groceries or coffee, cooking, cleaning, walking and even going to bed.
12Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Several months ago, I read GONE TO SOLDIERS by Marge Piercy and fell in love with its unique kaleidoscopic perspectives on the war. I have since been on a hunt for more World War II fiction that portrays the war from viewpoints outside of Europe. I have discovered many novels that show the war as it played out in Asia, America, and the Pacific. Here are just a few I most look forward to reading.
13This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage
At Off the Shelf, we not only love to write about great books we’ve read, we also love to talk about them endlessly—inside the office and out (where it’s more acceptable to drink wine). We’ve collected these fantastic titles that are perfect for book clubs because they incite thoughtful reflection, introduce readers to worlds they’ve never experienced before, and are beautifully written.
With Thanksgiving over, I’m sure that yet another feast is the last thing you want to see. But it is the season to start getting chummy with those in the office who make the best cookies and treats. My favorite sweet to share is a classic sugar cookie with icing, and I’ve made it so many times now I know the recipe by heart. While you wait an hour for the dough to set in the fridge or for your dozens and dozens of cookies to chill, open up one of these great books exploring the history of the ingredients you’ll be using!
15West of Sunset
Hollywood has long been the land of dreams and epic storytelling, but many stories of scandal, betrayal, and mystery remain behind the curtain. It’s no wonder that novels inspired by the gossip and intrigue of Tinseltown are so exciting to read. Travel to the golden age of Hollywood with these enchanting, glittering, and sometimes dark tales behind the scenes of your favorite silver-screen legends.