Buying a bookish gift for the book recommender in your life can be a paralyzing task—we get it. What do you get a book lover who seems to have all the books in the world? Here at Off the Shelf, we spend all year looking for new exciting reads and suggesting old favorites . . . and even giving many away. You might be under the impression that we’ve got all we could ever want. But there’s always room on our bookshelves and these are just a few of the books still on our wish lists (hint, hint).
I remember the first time I finished BEARTOWN. I was left completely astounded. The characters were so well done, the town so realistic. Fredrik Backman has a writing style and voice that feels unique to him compared to the rest of his contemporaries. I would read anything he writes (and have so far!). I just haven’t had a chance to pick this one up, so I hope someone gives me this fantastic next book in the Beartown universe!
This is a tome, and I’m well aware of it, but this is the complete Illustrated Edition of the EarthSea books and its perfect for any book lover. I usually ask for an Illustrated Edition of something as a Christmas gift because they are a little bit more expensive and I find that at any point in the year I can take them out and sort of look through them. For the past few years I’ve been receiving the Harry Potter Illustrated Editions as gifts, but since they aren’t doing a new one this year, Le Guin’s book is the one I am most looking forward to.
Have I mentioned that A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS is my all-time favorite book? So, you could imagine the scene I made on the subway when I found out about Khaled Hosseini’s new book SEA PRAYER. Haunted by some of the tragic images from the Syrian war, Hosseini felt compelled to write this short, but timely, read in response to the refugee crisis. Written in letter form, a father addresses his son on the eve of their dangerous sea-crossing journey. SEA PRAYER is just under 50 pages, but its moving message is accompanied by gorgeous and vibrant illustrations that add to an already powerful reading experience. I love everything Khaled Hosseini writes, and if the gift givers in my life are paying any attention to my personal library, they’ll see a gaping hole in the shape of this book.
When ordering books for my family, I absolutely hated myself because I forgot to get myself a copy of WHISKEY IN A TEACUP. It’s got everything—tips on decorating, fashion, southern recipes, hairstyles, and all of it is from eternal being and role model of my lifetime Reese Witherspoon. It’s gorgeous and actually useful for your everyday life. So if anyone wanted to use this guide as my holiday registry, I would very much appreciate it. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank everyone in advance, like I imagine Reese would tell me to do. But I don’t know. Hopefully someone gets this for me, so I can find out.
A few years ago, after finishing Elena Ferrante’s THE NEAPOLITAN NOVELS I came across SULA in a list about books to read next. So, in an effort to find a replacement Lenù and Lila, it was immediately added to the never-ending TBR note on my phone. Several months ago, I passed on a dollar copy at a used bookstore, and have been kicking myself ever since. Then, a few weeks ago at dinner with friends, someone mentioned they had recently read and loved SULA. After recovering from the stun of serendipity, the book was swiftly added to my holiday wish list. This way family and friends can get me the exact book the universe believes I should read. —Ana
Toni Morrison’s address to the Wellesley graduates of 2004 overflows with sage advice and inspiring quotes to live by. Morrison’s books will provide you with enough life lessons to get you through life’s most challenging seasons. SULA is a novel about friendship, unforgivable betrayal, and how a friendship survives through sharply divergent paths of womanhood.
Every new year, I tell myself that I’m going to be better about my skincare and beauty routines and focus on quality over quantity or fads. And 2019 is going to be the year that I finally follow through with it. Luckily, AN ATLAS OF NATURAL BEAUTY, produced by the legendary Parisian apothecary L’Officine Universelle Buly, has everything a person could need: beautiful illustrations, simple recipes that you can make with grocery items like avocado, lemon, or coconut, and proven results.
As a devoted listener of the My Favorite Murder podcast who ate up HBO’s Sharp Objects adaptation with a spoon, I have Megan Miranda’s ALL THE MISSING GIRLS on my holiday wish list. A psychological thriller about the disappearance of two women a decade apart, the story centers on Nicolette Farrell, who heads back to her rural hometown 10 years after her best friend’s disappearance, now a cold case. Nic and her friends were under investigation for their involvement back then, and those old suspicions resurface when, mere days after Nic’s return to Cooley Ridge, another member of the group goes missing. Told in reverse chronological order from the day the second woman goes missing, this book promises all the twists and turns that I crave in true crime accounts, but without the horror and heartbreak of knowing it’s a real-life tragedy. Sign me up.
A spellbinding psychological thriller told in reverse, Megan Miranda’s first novel for adult readers is about the connected disappearances of two young women ten years apart in the same small town. Miranda has an uncanny talent for suspense. Megan Miranda’s new novel, THE PERFECT STRANGER, is just out.
Read a review of the book Megan Miranda can’t stop recommending.
I’ve had Ruth Bader Ginsburg on my mind a lot lately—because seriously, how amazing is she?!—so I’d love to have this book of her writings on my shelf. In it, she talks about a wide range of topics like gender equality, the workings of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, and the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution. What better way to appreciate the great RBG than by reading her works, selected and organized by the Justice herself?