When we meet Bobo, who is Alexandra Fuller’s younger self in her memoir DON’T LET’S GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT, it is very late, or very early, and she is in the loo. Her older sister Van is there with her, holding a candle, on the lookout for spiders, snakes, and scorpions, while Bobo pees. Bobo is maybe five, and has woken her sister instead of her parents to accompany her, because waking her parents might mean being mistaken for a “terrorist” and getting shot.
Telling our own stories gives life momentum and allows us to reflect on both the incredible and the awful moments we experience. What makes memoirs so crucial is their ability to help us understand the world and the people around us. While these 8 memoirs range from heartbreaking to hilarious, they all share in the idea that we can learn from each other’s mistakes, traumas, and fortunes—and that there is incredible power in perseverance and redemption.
Every year in classrooms across the country, students learn the names Einstein, Bell, Turing, Oppenheimer, and Salk. The list is important, but it’s also incomplete. Behind every great scientific development, there was likely a woman crunching the numbers, searching the details, and finding the key that solved everything. We managed to find some incredible books about these women and their achievements. Here are the ones we think you should check out first.
I finished Kent Haruf’s absorbing, finely crafted novel OUR SOULS AT NIGHT in tears. It had pierced my heart, where there are no words. To my husband’s bewilderment, all I could manage was wow, wow, wow. I wish I could write like that, I said. I wish my stories could make readers cry.
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A new year means a fresh start, and a fresh start on a fantastic book is exactly what we are looking forward to. So we’re starting off 2017 with 17 of our favorite first lines from books. Happy New Year! And Happy Reading!
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.
As the conclusion to my Promise Falls trilogy, THE TWENTY-THREE, hits bookstores, I thought I’d share my 23 favorite novels that, in one way or another, thrilled me. I know I’ve left some out, or forgotten one or two I will remember moments after I finish writing this, but these are all great books, for a variety of reasons.
The act of storytelling has been used as an engaging plot device throughout literary history. Just think of THE ODYSSEY and THE CANTERBURY TALES. The inventive result is what is known as a framed narrative. Below are some brilliant examples of framed narratives—stories relayed from one character to another within the novel—that are perfect for you to sink your teeth into.
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!”
In 2016, we said good-bye to many literary luminaries. These authors have inspired us, challenged us to think deeply, and opened windows into the lives and struggles of others. Here we remember some of the award winners, trailblazers, and creators of beloved classics whose works will stand the test of time.