Share Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

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!"

Believe it or not, sometimes our very own staff has trouble resisting the book recommendations Off the Shelf has to offer. Thankfully, we’ve got a great feature to keep track of our ever-growing TBR. The “Your Shelf” feature allows you (and us) to create reading lists from the books you find on OfftheShelf.com.

To start building “Your Shelf,” simply sign up for an Off the Shelf account. Then, when you see a book you want to add to your reading list, click “Add to Your Shelf” below the book cover, and we’ll save your favorites for you.

Here’s a peek at our most recently shelved books.


The Romanovs
by Simon Sebag Montefiore
I recently finished an advance copy of Ariel Lawhon's historical suspense novel I WAS ANASTASIA, which revisits the last days of the Romanov family and the controversy of whether the youngest daughter survived, and now I'm in a total Russian history reading hole. Thankfully, our own Taylor Noel has a great list of books to read under that umbrella. On it—and now on my to-read list—is Simon Sebag Montefiore’s THE ROMANOVS, an epic and sweeping history of the family, spanning 20 tsars and tsarinas, that reads just like a novel.  —Julianna
The Romanovs
Simon Sebag Montefiore

An intimate and heartrending true account of Russia’s 20 tsars and tsarinas as they turned a war-ruined principality into one of the greatest empires, only to lose it all, THE ROMANOVS’ cast of characters includes Ivan the Terrible, Tolstoy, Pushkin, Bismarck, Lincoln, Queen Victoria, and Lenin. Simon Sebag Montefiore’s dazzling epic reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence, and wild extravagance.

MENTIONED IN:

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

8 Books About Royal Russian History

By Taylor Noel | April 25, 2017

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Lily and the Octopus
by Steven Rowley

I happen to love dogs and artistically pleasing covers, so safe to say, LILY AND THE OCTOPUS caught my eye. Now add the promise of some magical realism and illuminating, emotional prose and this one just got bumped up on my to-read list.  —Nikki

Read the full review of LILY AND THE OCTOPUS.

Lily and the Octopus
Steven Rowley

MENTIONED IN:

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

Readers’ Choice: September’s 10 Most Shelved Books on Off the Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | September 29, 2017

11 LGBTQ Stories to Celebrate Pride Month

By Off the Shelf Staff | June 27, 2017

The Unforgettable Novel I Recommended to Everyone

By Elizabeth Breeden | June 7, 2017

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On Such a Full Sea
by Chang-rae Lee
Though I don’t read much dystopian fiction, ON SUCH A FULL SEA has all the elements I generally love in fiction: a mysterious disappearance, a strong heroine who sets out in search of the missing person, and masterful storytelling. Against a vividly imagined future America, Chang-rae Lee tells a stunning, surprising, and riveting story that explores identity, culture, work, and love. I added this to my shelf hoping to finally conquer a genre that I care for only on the silver screen. —Tolani
On Such a Full Sea
Chang-rae Lee

Against a vividly imagined future, ON SUCH A FULL SEA tells the stunning and surprising story of a long-declining American society strictly stratified by class. Using a deeply ethereal voice, Chang-Rae Lee tells the story of Fan, a fish-tank diver, who leaves her home in the B-Mor settlement (once known as Baltimore) when the man she loves mysteriously disappears.

MENTIONED IN:

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

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

By Taylor Noel | April 13, 2017

We the People: 10 Novels Featuring a Greek Chorus

By Tolani Osan | September 9, 2016

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Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta
I’m always on the lookout for new, diverse authors, so I found myself adding almost every book from the “14 Books by Diverse Authors You Need to Read Right Now” list earlier this year. UNDER THE UDALA TREES particularly drew my interest. Two girls—both displaced by the civil war in Nigeria—fall in love in a culture where prejudice against same-sex relationships is still rampant. I can’t wait to read this one. —Erin
Under the Udala Trees
Chinelo Okparanta

Inspired by Nigeria’s folktales as well as its war, UNDER THE UDALA TREES is a powerful novel about a girl who is sent away to safety and falls in love with another displaced girl. Neither of their ethnic communities accepts their love and they are forced to learn the price of living a lie.

MENTIONED IN:

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

14 Books by Diverse Authors You Need to Read Right Now

By Taylor Noel | May 8, 2017

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Cork Dork
by Bianca Bosker
I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time in Napa Valley with my wine-loving father. Though I can sniff and twirl wine in goblet, I can’t readily identify flavors or vintages. I put CORK DORK on my shelf because I’m fascinated with the wine world. I want to learn more so I will be ready for my next trip to Napa! —Wendy
Cork Dork
Bianca Bosker

MENTIONED IN:

12 Foodie Books For Every Eater (and Reader) On Your Gift List

By Allison Tyler | December 8, 2017

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

9 Books We Can’t Stop Talking About

By Off the Shelf Staff | June 29, 2017

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Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I added ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AN ORDINARY LIFE to my shelf as soon as I read the incredibly selling Off the Shelf review. In her 2005 memoir, Amy Krouse Rosenthal alphabetizes her thoughts and experiences to tell the story of her ordinary life, including lists, charts, and time lines. This charming and wholly relatable book exposes the magic in the mundane and shows how extraordinary an ordinary life can be. —Taylor

Read the full review of ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AN ORDINARY LIFE.

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
Amy Krouse Rosenthal

MENTIONED IN:

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

In Praise of an Ordinary Life

By Katy Hershberger | September 13, 2017

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The Disaster Artist
by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell
I saw The Room, the movie at the center of this behind-the-scenes story, years ago, but still quote it to this day. It was a movie written, produced, directed by, and starring a spellbinding figure named Tommy Wiseau. I’ve long wondered what drove him to get this movie made. Did he truly think this would be the greatest movie ever? I’m sure that the author’s account of how it actually happened is FAR more bizarre than I can even imagine. —Chris D.
The Disaster Artist
Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

Hailed by The Huffington Post as “possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed,” The Disaster Artist is the hilarious, behind-the-scenes story of a deliciously awful cinematic phenomenon as well as the story of an odd and inspiring Hollywood friendship. Greg Sestero, Tommy’s costar, recounts the film’s bizarre journey to infamy, explaining how the movie’s many nonsensical scenes and bits of dialogue came to be and unraveling the mystery of Tommy Wiseau himself. But more than just a riotously funny story about cinematic hubris, “The Disaster Artist is one of the most honest books about friendship I’ve read in years” (Los Angeles Times).

MENTIONED IN:

The 10 Most Popular Lists on Off the Shelf in 2017

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 12, 2017

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

10 Books to Read Before You See the Movies This Fall

By Tolani Osan | October 3, 2017

#TheDisasterArtist and Other Mistakes I’ve Made on Instagram

By Grace Stearns | November 11, 2014

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Call Me by Your Name
by André Aciman

I have avoided this book for years. Every last one of my friends read this book on some iteration of a Fire Island vacation during the summer, and I missed the boat. When we all gathered together for ciders in the pubs this fall, it was all they would talk about, and I was stuck in a corner fending for myself. I vowed then and there never to read this nemesis of a title that had ruined Pumpkin Spice season for me. Then I read Rakesh Satyal’s beautiful review and was re-inspired to get into this book before the world saw the film. I just picked it up from the library and can already see what all the fussy fuss was about. —Stu

Read the full review of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME.

Call Me by Your Name
André Aciman

MENTIONED IN:

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

The 5 Best Books I’ve Read This Month

By Meagan Harris | November 8, 2017

Readers’ Choice: October’s 10 Most Shelved Books on Off the Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 27, 2017

The Undeniable Love Story You’ll Want to Read Before You See the Movie

By Rakesh Satyal | October 12, 2017

10 Books to Read Before You See the Movies This Fall

By Tolani Osan | October 3, 2017

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The Curse of Beauty
by James Bone
 A while back, a friend pointed out a likeness of Audrey Munson to me—a golden statue at the top of a New York City building.  A Gilded Age actress and model, she served as muse for many pieces of art around the city.  Then, lo and behold, Off the Shelf offered up a biography of her, which delves into the darkness underneath the glitz and glamour of her life: forbidden romance, murder, suicide, and madness.  I can’t wait to read it! —Sarah Jane
The Curse of Beauty
James Bone

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A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles

It usually takes a couple of reviews to truly get me motivated for a new novel, but the attraction was immediate with A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW. An introspective man of privilege confined to isolation in a luxury hotel is enough to entice me, but place that hotel across the street from the Kremlin, and I’m already reading. —Chris G.

Read the full review of A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW.

A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles

Read with a Moscow Mule

Maybe it’s the copper cup or the alliteration in the name that attracts us to this beverage again and again. And the perfect companion is A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW, set in the beautiful Metropol hotel in Moscow. Amor Towles spins the immersing story of Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to house arrest after being deemed an unrepentant aristocrat.

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The Beautiful Cigar Girl
by Daniel Stashower

Kerry’s review of THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL convinced me I must read this “mysterious and odd” murder mystery that inspired  Edgar Allan Poe to create one of the first fictional stories based on a true crime. It takes place in New York City in the 1800s, always a draw for me, and speaks to both political and social issues of the time. The tragic and unsolved case of “The Beautiful Cigar Girl” led to much-needed change in this city, and I’m eager to read all about it. —Allison

Read the full review of THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL.

The Beautiful Cigar Girl
Daniel Stashower

MENTIONED IN:

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

The 5 Best Books I Read Last Month

By Sarah Jane Abbott | October 11, 2017

A Beautiful Girl, Her Mysterious Death

By Kerry Fiallo | November 7, 2016

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HEX
by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
I love witches. I also love the internet. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a book that combined the two. The English translation of this acclaimed Dutch novel follows a quaint town that is haunted by the terrifying specter of a witch who spends nights beside children’s beds. The teenagers of the town are determined to let the world know the truth of their small town and take to the web, only to release a chilling and deadly series of events. —Kerry
HEX
Thomas Olde Heuvelt

MENTIONED IN:

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

10 Spooky Literary Locations to Spend Your Halloween

By Kerry Fiallo | October 31, 2017

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