With the success of Netflix’s The Crown and Masterpiece’s Victoria, it’s obvious that the complex, dazzling, and often-scandalous lives of royal women fascinate us. While those from the British royal family may be the most well known, there are and have been countless fascinating tales of royalty from around the world. Below are a collection of novels and biographies about some of the most compelling royal women of all time.
I’m losing my mind over the amazing crop of new novels slated for publication in 2017. The excitement over highly anticipated new novels from Paula Hawkins, Celeste Ng, and Nickolas Butler may actually induce heart palpitations. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. While some of these books are already out, we still have months to wait before most hit bookstores. To quell your impatience, make sure you’ve read the dazzling debut novels and story collections that first introduced these writers to the world.
It’s that time of year again—Off the Shelf is celebrating another birthday, and of course you, our readers, get the presents. We can’t think of a better way to spend our third birthday than with some cake and 13 of our favorite books. You’re invited to celebrate with us, and you could win all of the books below.
Being a lover of troubled and complex characters, I want to share a list of books I love that have unreliable narrators. Uncertain of their world, they have all reshaped it in their own ways, often with startling and disturbing results. Their voices are intimate, quirky, unique; their motivations unfathomable. We may not always like these darkly ingenious creations, and yet their stories pursue us from the page, and more often than not, into our dreams…
The SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON’s treehouse, the hidden flowers of THE SECRET GARDEN, Pemberly’s portrait-filled halls in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE—I could list a hundred bookish settings I’ve used to furnish my daydreams. When not imagining myself between the pages of these stories, I would repeatedly rewind (on a VHS tape nonetheless) the scenes of first exploration in their film versions, wishing myself into each character’s footsteps and their expressions of awe. But of all the literary walls to fancy yourself between, top of the list has to be the library in Disney’s animated “Beauty and the Beast.” With shelves filled with colorful spines, spiral staircases, and a massive fireplace to read by, the most wonderful element by far was its feeling of marvel and discovery (I can only hope the library in the live-action remake—in theaters March 17—is just as marvelous). If you share a fascination with libraries, you’ll find even more bibliophile inspiration in these titles.
My introduction to Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR was when my sixth-grade teacher made our class read the play aloud for “dramatic effect.” I read the part of Calpurnia. There is something searing about watching a painfully awkward sixth-grade boy theatrically cry out, “Et tu, Brute?” Needless to say, I never forget the Ides of March. This year I’m celebrating with 15 other works of fiction with dramatic and memorable betrayals.
Every year on March 14th, math lovers around the world celebrate Pi Day (3/14, get it?) by reciting the digits of pi, doing math activities, and eating pie. I’m no mathematician, but I can definitely get behind a holiday that involves delicious baked goods. In honor of the occasion, we’re cozying up with some dessert and reading these pi—and pie—related books.
It’s easy to romanticize the hustle and bustle of big-city living, but sometimes you find yourself jostled around on a crowded New York City subway car and the glamour abruptly drops; suddenly, you remember the litany of frustrations that come with city living: the sea of crowds, constant diversions and compulsions to see everyone and do everything. It’s moments like these I find myself reaching for books with women who have deliberately chosen to pursue their own adventure, their own truths. These women live way outside the norm—in fact, they’re often way off the grid. Inspiring and thought-provoking, these memoirs offer the perfect solace for those moments when you need to expand beyond your everyday life and remember that there’s a whole world outside of that crowded subway car.
Attention, bookworms! Spring Daylight Saving is upon us, which means more time with the sun—and more time to read in it. To get you ready, here are some beloved time-travel reads that are known for turning the clock back, forward, and everywhere in between.
January’s Women’s March on Washington inspired us to read more biographies and memoirs about women who have changed history and about influential women today who are building our future. From Madeleine Albright to Ronda Rousey, here are some of our favorite record setters, rule breakers, and “first-evers” from famous women in history.