Share Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

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!"

It’s Christmas morning and you’re supposed to get all your favorite things, right? To celebrate, we’re sharing some of our very favorite Off the Shelf recommendations. We love these books and we love these reviews. We wish you a happy, healthy holiday season surrounded by family and friends—and, of course, lots of great books.


Prep
by Curtis Sittenfeld

“My copy of Curtis Sittenfeld’s PREP is ‘well loved,’ to put it lightly. The spine is broken and held together precariously with Scotch tape, the pages are falling out, and the cover is hanging by a corner.”

Read the full review of PREP.

Prep
Curtis Sittenfeld

Although she once felt like an outsider, scholarship student Lee managed to carve a place for herself at the Ault School. When her behavior takes a self-destructive turn, though, her carefully crafted identity is shattered. Curtis Sittenfeld’s debut novel is an insightful and uproarious coming-of-age story, as well as a vivid dissection of class, race, and gender.

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

Why I Keep Returning to This Well-Loved Book

By Nikki Barnhart | November 7, 2017

13 Enthralling Boarding School Novels

By Erin Flaaen | August 25, 2015

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An Everlasting Meal
by Tamar Adler

“When Tamar Adler writes, ‘The amount of food you have left from a meal is always the perfect amount for something,’ it is the sort of guidance that makes her book, AN EVERLASTING MEAL: COOKING WITH ECONOMY AND GRACE, feel like having a good friend in the kitchen with you. It gives wise advice, is highly entertaining, witty, makes you think, and leaves you wanting more; even if it won’t help wash the dishes.”

Read the full review of AN EVERLASTING MEAL.

An Everlasting Meal
Tamar Adler

This insightful, meditative collection of essays breathes life into the belief that we can start cooking from wherever we are, with whatever we have. It is an elegant testimony to the pleasures of home cooking.

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

The Baker’s Dozen: 13 Mouthwatering Food Memoirs to Devour

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | May 5, 2015

Happy Birthday to Us!

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 3, 2015

An Essential Book That Brings Cooking Back To Where It Belongs

By Allison Tyler | July 15, 2014

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Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

“The first memoir by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who died on March 13 at age 51, uses the word ‘death’ only once. I know this because the endpapers include a list: How Many Times Certain Words Appear in This Book. ‘Cool’ appears 22 times, ‘really’ 69, ‘awkward’ and ‘weird’ both six. ‘Love’ gets 78.”

Read the full review of ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AN ORDINARY LIFE.

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
Amy Krouse Rosenthal

MENTIONED IN:

In Memoriam: 14 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2017

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 28, 2017

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

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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Glaciers
by Alexis Smith

“GLACIERS is not loud. It is quiet. The story is not plot-heavy but rich with emotional depth. I was quickly engrossed by Isabel’s place in the world. Just as she is fascinated with stories of the past and stories of fiction, I wanted to know what her story would be.”

Read the full review of GLACIERS.

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

The Little List: 11 Short Books with Big Stories

By Aimee Boyer | April 7, 2017

13 Most Shelved Books on Off the Shelf in 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 13, 2016

The Quiet Book That Ended My Reading Rut

By Nicholas Elliot | September 5, 2016

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The Fire Next Time
by James Baldwin

“I recently re-read THE FIRE NEXT TIME and it continues to feel resonant and urgent (just ask writers Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jesmyn Ward). This has much to do with the courage and chutzpah of its address, and the fact that the fire Baldwin prophesied, the fire that comes from denying history and racial inequality, is now in the streets of America, Canada, and Europe.”

Read the full review of THE FIRE NEXT TIME.

The Fire Next Time
James Baldwin

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

A Searing Testament. A Blazing Pain.

By Kyo Maclear | March 27, 2017

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Gone to Soldiers
by Marge Piercy

“More than 750 pages long, GONE TO SOLDIERS can definitely be intimidating, and I knew when I picked up this novel that it would need to be extraordinary in order to hold my attention for a few weeks. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. I’ve read a variety of pieces on World War II, ranging from both personal and fictional Holocaust accounts to stories from Japan, and GONE TO SOLDIERS is the most complete, complex, and stunning piece of World War II literature I’ve ever encountered.”

Read the full review of GONE TO SOLDIERS.

Gone to Soldiers
Marge Piercy

“More than 750 pages long, GONE TO SOLDIERS can definitely be intimidating, and I knew when I picked up this novel that it would need to be extraordinary in order to hold my attention for a few weeks. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.”

Read Erin Flaaen’s review here.

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 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 Our Birthday!

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 22, 2016

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

By Julianna Haubner | January 26, 2016

An Extraordinary Kaleidoscopic Novel of World War II

By Erin Flaaen | January 6, 2016

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Call Me by Your Name
by André Aciman

“There are books that are so exquisitely rendered, so unfailing in the sweep of their stories and the exactitude of their language that simply hearing their titles causes you to fall back immediately into their pages. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME is one such book.”

Read the full review of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME.

Call Me by Your Name
André Aciman

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

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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A Field Guide to Getting Lost
by Rebecca Solnit

“Of course, the unknowable is often better left that way, and embracing that uncertainty is the end to which Rebecca Solnit urges her readers in A FIELD GUIDE TO GETTING LOST. Solnit takes readers on a winding journey through time and space, through multiple parallel and intersecting histories—of Native American guides and early explorers, of the westward push of the Gold Rush, of her own childhood, and of friends loved and lost. This zigzagging journey is framed by a single question: ‘How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?’”

Read the full review of A FIELD GUIDE TO GETTING LOST.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost
Rebecca Solnit

“Never to get lost is not to live,” instructs Rebecca Solnit in A FIELD GUIDE TO GETTING LOST. Putting aside the truism of journey-as-destination, this ode to wanderlust is filled with essays on navigating modern life when your point of navigation is a moving target. In gorgeous prose and through unexpected paths, Solnit illustrates how sometimes the best way to find what you need is to get lost.

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

Only the Lost Can Be Found

By Hilary Krutt | July 28, 2017

6 Solo Adventure Memoirs for Fans of Cheryl Strayed

By Elizabeth Breeden | March 10, 2017

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Diana
by Andrew Morton

“Few exist in the world’s collective memory with as much grace, class, and humanity as the late Princess of Wales. Diana was the people’s princess even before the world watched with horror as news broke of her tragic death. She was beloved by millions and adored around the world—but truly known by only a select few. She kept her private life a closely guarded secret, her crumbling marriage and medical disorders hidden away from the British public for as long as she could. Then, in 1991, she agreed to work with biographer Andrew Morton to tell her story, and everything changed.”

Read the full review of DIANA.

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

Bop It, Pull It, Read It: 9 Essential Books on the ‘90s

By Julianna Haubner | October 5, 2017

Remembering the People’s Princess

By Elizabeth Breeden | August 31, 2017

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Milk and Honey
by Rupi Kaur

“Who says people don’t read poetry anymore? During the past several months, all my girlfriends have been reading the same collection of poetry. Now, these are twentysomethings who barely read any of the books I send them—let alone poetry—and they don’t buy books regularly. So it meant something when all these young women were raving about Rupi Kaur’s MILK AND HONEY. When I finally decided to pick up this extraordinary collection of poems, I immediately understood why everyone is so obsessed.”

Read the full review of MILK AND HONEY.

Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

MILK AND HONEY is a collection of poetry and prose grounded in the everyday experiences of women and bears witness to both the beautiful and the brutal sides womanhood. Every word feels genuine and evokes such strong feeling. I sobbed on the subway reading this collection for the first time.

Read the review of MILK AND HONEY.

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

10 Books We’re Thankful For

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 23, 2017

11 Books That Will Make You Ugly Cry

By Taylor Noel | June 12, 2017

The Hurting. The Loving. The Breaking. The Healing.

By Taylor Noel | May 24, 2017

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Mr. Fox
by Helen Oyeyemi

“Part of being human is constantly trying to make sense of the world around us, no matter how strange it may be. We do this every day, rationalizing the actions of fellow commuters on the way to work or keeping a planner simply to know when we did what. But there’s something quite beautiful about the nonsensical that forces you to suspend rationality and simply take it all in. Nothing proves this more than Helen Oyeyemi’s devilishly whimsical and altogether riveting novel MR. FOX.”

Read the full review of MR. FOX.

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

A Whimsical and Riveting Love Triangle

By Ruby Rose Lee | June 28, 2017

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The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

“I wanted to write a review about THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green because I really loved this book but I worried about how to write a review for a book that has become so iconic and that so many people have read—I worried that I wouldn’t have anything new to say. But then I thought, maybe there is someone out there like me: a mom, whose daughters loved the book, but was someone who didn’t want to cross the invisible parent/child boundary and read a book that was precious to her kids and thus off-limits to her. I wanted that mom to know she should read this book.”

Read the full review of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.

The Fault in Our Stars
John Green

It appears that even hard-bodied hot dudes have a soft spot—and it comes in the form of John Green’s novel THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. When Hazel’s terminal cancer lands her at Cancer Kid Support Group, the last thing she expected to find was love. But when Augustus shows up, she gets to experience all the thrills, the heartbreak, and the raw emotion of being alive and being in love.

MENTIONED IN:

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

13 Smart Books from @HotDudesReading’s Instagram

By Erica Nelson | August 23, 2016

8 Great Books Told by Child Narrators

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 6, 2014

Why Reading The Fault in Our Stars Makes You a Better Person

By Suzanne Donahue | April 22, 2014

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Lincoln in the Bardo
by George Saunders

“I finished reading LINCOLN IN THE BARDO less than five minutes ago. Despite already being at my desk at work, I needed to get through those last nine pages. Now, I feel I cannot work until I tell someone about this book.”

Read the full review of LINCOLN IN THE BARDO.

Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders

George Saunders is an acclaimed short story writer of collections THE TENTH OF DECEMBER, PASTORALIA, and more. His first novel, LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, is a mesmerizing blend of historical fact and fiction. It is the story of the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, told almost entirely through the voices of the spirits in the graveyard where Willie is laid to rest and where Lincoln returns to hold his son’s body. —Erin

MENTIONED IN:

The 11 Books on Our Nightstands Right Now

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 8, 2018

The 10 Best Books We Read in 2017

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 5, 2018

Readers’ Choice: The Top 25 Shelved Books of 2017

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 29, 2017

Our Gift to You: 13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 25, 2017

24 Books for the Hard-to-Shop-For Person on Your List

By Aimee Boyer | December 11, 2017

10 Literary Names for the Baby Name Obsessed

By Taylor Noel | October 10, 2017

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