Off the Shelf readers have spoken! Irresistible forbidden romances. White-knuckling philosophical thrillers. Powerful memoirs. Here are the 10 most popular book recommendations on Off the Shelf this year. Bravo, readers. These are some pretty impressive picks.
I often read the book a movie is based on before getting the ticket. I generally think it’s a good rule to follow. In the case of DISOBEDIENCE by Naomi Alderman, I read the book long ago, loved it, and cannot wait to see the characters—played by Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz—on the big screen.
There is a reason THE LIGHT WE LOST was a New York Times bestseller, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, and optioned for a movie: it’s that good. Since I tore through the novel several months ago, I’ve found myself recommending it to everyone and anyone who will listen.
It was a dark and rainy afternoon—with one of those eerie midsummer storms—the day I bought I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS at the Strand bookstore. I was braving this ominous weather to get Iain Reid’s novel that I had only just heard about and I knew I couldn’t wait to read it. I was immediately intrigued by its premise: a book that mainly consists of a single conversation between a girl and her boyfriend, Jake, on a car ride to visit her boyfriend’s family, described as a philosophical—as opposed to psychological—thriller.
Some people can’t walk past a bookstore without going inside. Well, I can’t pass by a book with books on the cover without picking it up. As soon as I laid my eyes on MIDNIGHT AT THE BRIGHT IDEAS BOOKSTORE, I knew I would soon be flipping its pages.
Carol Rifka Brunt’s brilliant and layered TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME is the story of 14-year-old June, who falls forward into the wilds of her adolescence after the death of her beloved uncle, Finn. It is also a story of siblinghood, grief, vulnerability, and shame.
In this tender coming-of-age story, June Elbus is fourteen years old and grieving the loss of her uncle Finn, a renowned painter with whom she shared a special bond. Though her mother refuses to speak about the mysterious illness that Finn suffered from, his death brings a new friend into June’s life: one whom she must keep secret, but will ultimately help her heal.
Looking for a smart, well-written, and emotionally volatile book you absolutely won’t be able to put down? Well, look no further. Michael Robotham’s THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS is one of those blockbuster thrillers that you have to finish reading in one sitting because you desperately need to know what happens next. And even after you turn the last page, you can’t stop thinking about it.
I’d been hearing about THE BRIGHT HOUR for a while before I read it. All I knew was that it was a memoir written by a 37-year-old woman dying of breast cancer. No way, I thought. I’m not emotionally or mentally prepared for that reading experience, of confronting that fear.
In every reader’s life, you will come across a genre that grabs you and makes you want to go out and find every book you can on the subject. For many readers these past few years that subject has been World War II. Whether it be the stunning ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr, the touching THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah, or the beautiful EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN by Chris Cleave, we have all found a plethora of books to satisfy this itch. And satisfy it I did, perhaps too well.
On the exhaustive subject of World War II, Jessica Shattuck has found a fresh perspective and an interesting viewpoint of the typical German citizen struggling against their homeland to do the right thing. This kind of bravery seems welcome and essential for today’s reader. —Stuart
There is some kind of alchemy involved in finding the right book at the right time. I truly believe there is a specific and perfect time in anyone’s life to read a story—you just have to cross your fingers and hope that you’ll cross paths with it, or have the book pressed into your hands by a loved one, precisely when you need it the most.
“I love you, always. Time is nothing.”
A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.
A good book should draw you in right from the start. I’ve always felt that way, both as a reader and as a writer. There are simply too many good books in the world—and too little time—to spin our wheels delving into something that doesn’t hook us.