My family’s tradition at Thanksgiving—after turkey, before pie—is to go around the table and share what we are thankful for. In that spirit, I asked my fellow Off the Shelfers to share what books they are thankful for. Written by poets and artists and other brilliant minds, these 9 books remind us what is truly important—be it laughter or sorrow or dinosaurs. They make us feel less alone and connected in a way that only books can. And we want you to know that we are also thankful for you, our readers.
—Wendy Sheanin, publisher of Off the Shelf
Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I know I can turn to Allie Brosh’s collection of illustrated essays. Whether it’s the dysfunctional dynamic between her two dogs or the chaos that ensues when a goose gets into her house, her antics can always be relied upon for comic relief. I’m also thankful for Brosh’s courage and honesty in writing about her struggle with depression—her essays provide solace for others and shed light on a disorder that is often misunderstood. —Sarah Jane
“I have read very few books in my life that compelled me to laugh so loudly in public that it made the people around me visibly uncomfortable. Allie Brosh’s HYPERBOLE AND A HALF is one of them.”
The poet Elizabeth Alexander (she read her original poem “Praise Song for the Day” at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration) was married to the Eritrean painter Ficre Ghebreyesus when he died suddenly, leaving her a widow with two adolescent boys. Deeply moving but not sentimental, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is their transcendent love story. If you’re a fan of Joan Didion’s THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING, pick this one up. And a box of Kleenex, too.
If you’ve never read the novel that spawned the film franchise, here’s the place to start; it differs in many ways from the film, so reading this is like experiencing an entirely new Jurassic Park adventure.
This extraordinary poetry collection was the support beam I desperately needed when my world felt shaky after the 2016 election. With grace and intimate understanding, Rupi Kaur writes about how essential survival is in the face of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. As a young woman, these conversations are more important now than ever, and I’m so grateful this book serves as a reminder of female strength. —Taylor
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.
Since 1951, the story of Holden Caulfield's coming-of-age has rightfully mesmerized generations of readers - 65 million copies have been sold around the world.