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Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in August

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

It’s been a fantastic month of reading, recommending, and repeating. We saw your comments, your likes and shares, and clicks. We’d be remiss if we didn’t look back on all of the books we’ve collected this month and give you a rundown of the best of the best. In case you missed it, here were the most popular books featured on Off the Shelf in August—according to you!


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler

The Cookes—Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sisters Fern and Rosemary—are an ordinary middle-class American family, in all ways but one: Fern is a chimpanzee. Beautifully written, this is the tale of an unconventional family and the heartbreaking consequences of their good intentions.

We're completely obsessed with Mary Doria Russell's review of this award-winning book.

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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Karen Joy Fowler

“WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES is one of those completely absorbing books that makes the rest of the world disappear, while at the same time reminding us all too clearly of the world we come from and its occasional cruelty.”

Read the full review by Midge Raymond here.

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MENTIONED IN:

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in August

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2019

We’re All Completely Obsessed with This Award-Winning Novel

By Mary Doria Russell | August 7, 2019

Off the Shelf Turns 5: The Top 10 Reviews of All Time

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 18, 2019

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

13 Most Shelved Books on Off the Shelf in 2016

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 13, 2016

The Beautiful, Haunting Story of an Unconventional Family

By Midge Raymond | February 1, 2016

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The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise
by Julia Stuart

"Once in a while, I come across a rare, wonderful book that I just want to hug to my chest as soon as I’ve finished the last page." This novel full of whimsy and charm centers on Balthazar Jones, his wife, and his 120-year-old pet tortoise. Tasked with setting up a zoo of the Queen's exotic animals, Balthazar's eccentric life is suddenly changed when his wife leaves him and his tortoise runs way.

Add sunshine to your TBR with these feel-good novels.

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The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise
Julia Stuart

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MENTIONED IN:

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in August

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2019

11 Feel-Good Novels to Add Some Extra Sunshine to Your Days

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 13, 2019

You’ll Fall in Love with the Characters in This Utterly Charming Novel

By Sarah Jane Abbott | October 23, 2018

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The Incarnations
by Susan Barker

Taxi driver Wang begins to receive unusual letters from a mysterious “soul mate” that are filled with the stories of his previous lives—from escaping a marriage to a spirit bride, to being a slave on the run from Genghis Khan, to living as a fisherman during the Opium Wars. With each letter, Wang becomes more convinced that someone is watching him—someone who claims to have known him for more than 1,000 years.

These are the books we couldn't stop thinking about in August!

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The Incarnations
Susan Barker

Read a Book Wherein All Point-of-View Characters Are People of Color

Taxi driver Wang begins to receive unusual letters from a mysterious “soul mate” that are filled with the stories of his previous lives—from escaping a marriage to a spirit bride, to being a slave on the run from Genghis Khan, to living as a fisherman during the Opium Wars. With each letter, Wang becomes more convinced that someone is watching him—someone who claims to have known him for more than 1,000 years.

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MENTIONED IN:

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in August

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2019

8 Books We Can’t Stop Thinking About Right Now

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 9, 2019

What We’re Reading for Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

By Sarah Jane Abbott | February 28, 2017

A Tale of Two Soul Mates

By Elaine Wilson | August 15, 2016

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Watching You
by Lisa Jewell

For fans of BIG LITTLE LIES and the long list of suburban thrillers taking over our reading lists, have you read any Lisa Jewell lately? This month’s Book Club Favorites pick, WATCHING YOU is a heart-pounding domestic mystery with twists and turns—a perfect companion for the last few weeks of summer. In Melville Heights—one of the finest neighborhoods in Bristol, England—a shocking murder reveals secret obsessions that date back twenty years, involving a beloved headmaster, his son, and a student. A Lisa Jewell novel is not to be missed.

Quick! Add these new paperbacks to your shelf, today.

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Watching You
Lisa Jewell

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MENTIONED IN:

7 Domestic Thrillers to Binge-Read Right Now

By Sarah Woodruff | September 6, 2019

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in August

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2019

6 Must-Read Books New in Paperback This August

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 12, 2019

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Mindhunter
by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

During his 25-year career with the Investigative Support Unit, Special Agent John Douglas became a legendary figure in law enforcement as he pursued some of the most notorious and sadistic serial killers of our time.

Read up on the book behind the hit Netflix series, Mindhunter.

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Mindhunter
John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

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Anatomy of a Scandal
by Sarah Vaughan

How much do you trust your husband? In this enthralling and heart-pounding courtroom drama, Sophie Whitehouse grapples with standing by her successful husband after he is accused of a shocking crime. An utterly absorbing read filled with breathless twists and turns, ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL explores how secrets, power, and vengeance affect women.

Check out which classic novel we paired with ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL, and more.

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Anatomy of a Scandal
Sarah Vaughan

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MENTIONED IN:

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in August

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2019

Old and New: The Best Novels to Read If You Loved These Classics

By Maddie Ehrenreich | August 2, 2019

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in January

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 25, 2019

From Stephen King to Ruth Ware: 12 Edge-of-Your-Seat Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 11, 2019

8 Scandalous Reads Featuring the Real Housewives of Literature

By Kerry Fiallo | January 9, 2019

The Most Explosive Courtroom Thriller You’ll Read This Year

By Will Rhino | November 9, 2018

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The Beautiful Bureaucrat
by Helen Phillips

"In THE BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRAT, Helen Phillips makes the most of her literary freedom, putting her considerable talents to work in creating one astounding kitchen sink of a novel. Why choose thriller when you can use the pacing of a thriller? Why restrain the world to a dystopian future when you can highlight how our current world already echoes with dystopia? Why limit yourself when you can have satire and romance. Wordplay and sci-fi. Mystery and existentialism. “You don’t even have to choose!”"

Read more of Elizabeth's review of this book you didn't know you needed.

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The Beautiful Bureaucrat
Helen Phillips

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MENTIONED IN:

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in August

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2019

A Book You Didn’t Know You Needed

By Elizabeth Breeden | July 23, 2019

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Mornings with Rosemary
by Libby Page

In this heart-warming debut, twenty-something journalist Kate Matthews discovers a cross-generational connection while writing a story about the closing the Lido, a local pool and community center. Rosemary, one of the Lido’s longtime members, shares her memories of the place: coping with the aftermath of World War II, navigating the complexities of marriage, and struggling through periods of loss. Within the safe harbor of this transformative place, Rosemary and Kate discover a friendship that will change their lives forever.

Want more books about friendship? Click here.

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Mornings with Rosemary
Libby Page

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MENTIONED IN:

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in August

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2019

The 5 Best Books I Read This Month

By Elizabeth Breeden | August 19, 2019

The Gang’s All Here: 11 Wonderful Books About Friendship to Read Right Now

By Alice Martin | August 6, 2019

The 5 Best Books for Your Beach Bag

By Carrie Cabral | July 10, 2019

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All the Birds, Singing
by Evie Wyld

A mesmerizing mystery of missing sheep and past intrigue, ALL THE BIRDS, SINGING is a profound testament to the hardships of being a woman in a man’s world.

We asked you what books you wish you could read again for the first time. Your answers didn't disappoint!

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All the Birds, Singing
Evie Wyld

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MENTIONED IN:

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in August

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2019

14 Books You Wish You Could Read for the First Time Again

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 31, 2019

10 Literary Names for the Baby Name Obsessed

By Taylor Noel | October 10, 2017

An Eerie and Mesmerizing Mystery in Remote Australia

By Taylor Noel | June 22, 2016

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A Different Kind of Evil
by Andrew Wilson

In this follow up to A TALENT FOR MURDER, famed crime writer Agatha Christie boards a cruise ship headed to the Canary Islands to solve the violent murder of a British Secret Intelligence Service agent. But a seemingly unrelated act of violence that occurs on the ship sparks Agatha’s curiosity and soon she’s on the case to track down what might connect these two deaths. Using one of the genres most beloved authors as inspiration, Andrew Wilson crafts a mystery that will inspire nostalgia even in its originality.

Solve this Agatha Christie-inspired mystery and more from these historical novels.

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A Different Kind of Evil
Andrew Wilson

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MENTIONED IN:

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in August

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 30, 2019

8 Historical Mysteries to Solve Before the End of the Summer

By Alice Martin | July 22, 2019

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