Share Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

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!"

Is it your month to select your book club’s next read? Are you struggling to come up with an idea? Have all of your fiction choices started to sound the same? Change up your club’s selections by choosing one of these nonfiction reads. From memoirs that explore race and class in America to a biography about one of our favorite characters from history and Broadway (i.e., Eliza Hamilton), these books will definitely give your book club plenty to discuss, even after you’ve drained the entire bottle of wine. 


The Girls of Atomic City
by Denise Kiernan

This New York Times bestseller is the incredible true story of the top-secret World War II town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the young women brought there unknowingly to help build the atomic bomb. 

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
The Girls of Atomic City
Denise Kiernan

Intimate and detailed, Denise Kiernan explores the untold story of the thousands of young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in American history: the creation of the atomic bomb.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 10, 2020

Join Our Book Club and You Could Win 14 of Our Favorite Reads

By Something to Read About | September 5, 2017

The XY Factor: 13 True Tales of Women Who Changed Science

By Julianna Haubner | January 5, 2017

Girl Crazy: 15 Literary Ladies You’ll Want to Know

By Aimee Boyer | March 29, 2016

11 Spellbinding Tales for Fans of Erik Larson

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | April 16, 2015

The Girls of Atomic City is My Grandmother’s Story

By Justina Bachelor | May 7, 2014

Close

The Bright Hour
by Nina Riggs

Poet and essayist Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, she received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal. THE BRIGHT HOUR is about how to make the most of all the days, even the painful ones. It’s about the way literature, especially Nina’s direct ancestor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and her other muse, Montaigne, can be a form of prayer.  

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
The Bright Hour
Nina Riggs

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 10, 2020

Author Picks: 7 Engrossing Books Elin Hilderbrand Recommends

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 20, 2020

Close

The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

THE GLASS CASTLE is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family. With two unique but deeply dysfunctional parents, the Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. 

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
The Glass Castle
Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose stubborn nonconformity was both their curse and their salvation. In this astonishing memoir—the basis of the forthcoming film starring Brie Larson—Walls recounts how her family’s dysfunction left her and her siblings to fend for themselves, weather their parents’ betrayals, and finally find the resources and will to leave home.

Read a review of THE GLASS CASTLE here.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

Influential Fiction: 9 Popular Books Our Readers Can’t Get Enough Of

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 14, 2020

Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 10, 2020

Our Top 20 Books from the 21st Century (So Far)

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 15, 2020

6 Must-Read Books If You Love EDUCATED

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 8, 2020

7 Books About Dysfunctional Families That Will Make You Appreciate Your Own

By Ana Perez | November 25, 2019

8 Enlightening Books that Will Change Your Worldview

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 28, 2019

Close

From the Ashes
by Jesse Thistle

In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is. 

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
From the Ashes
Jesse Thistle

#1 National Bestseller
Finalist, CBC Canada Reads
A Globe and Mail Book of the Year
An Indigo Book of the Year
A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of the Year

In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

If I can just make it to the next minute...then I might have a chance to live; I might have a chance to be something more than just a struggling crackhead.

From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis-Cree man who refused to give up.

Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, whose tough-love attitudes quickly resulted in conflicts. Throughout it all, the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling with all that had happened, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. Finally, he realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heartwarming and heart-wrenching memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful past, the abuse he endured, and how he uncovered the truth about his parents. Through sheer perseverance and education—and newfound love—he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family.

An eloquent exploration of the impact of prejudice and racism, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help us find happiness despite the odds.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 10, 2020

Close

A Dream Called Home
by Reyna Grande

From the bestselling author of the remarkable memoir, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US comes an inspiring account of one woman’s quest to find her place in America as a first-generation Latina university student and aspiring writer determined to build a new life for her family one fearless word at a time. 

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo iTunes logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
A Dream Called Home
Reyna Grande

From bestselling author of the remarkable memoir, The Distance Between Us comes an inspiring account of one woman’s quest to find her place in America as a first-generation Latina university student and aspiring writer determined to build a new life for her family one fearless word at a time.Here is a life story so unbelievable, it could only be true” (Sandra Cisneros, bestselling author of The House on Mango Street).

As an immigrant in an unfamiliar country, with an indifferent mother and abusive father, Reyna had few resources at her disposal. Taking refuge in words, Reyna’s love of reading and writing propels her to rise above until she achieves the impossible and is accepted to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Although her acceptance is a triumph, the actual experience of American college life is intimidating and unfamiliar for someone like Reyna, who is now estranged from her family and support system. Again, she finds solace in words, holding fast to her vision of becoming a writer, only to discover she knows nothing about what it takes to make a career out of a dream.

Through it all, Reyna is determined to make the impossible possible, going from undocumented immigrant of little means to “a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer” (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild); a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist whose “power is growing with every book” (Luis Alberto Urrea, Pultizer Prize finalist); and a proud mother of two beautiful children who will never have to know the pain of poverty and neglect.

Told in Reyna’s exquisite, heartfelt prose, A Dream Called Home demonstrates how, by daring to pursue her dreams, Reyna was able to build the one thing she had always longed for: a home that would endure.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo iTunes logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

5 Must-Read #OwnVoices Books by Latinx Authors to Read Now

By Ana Perez | September 16, 2020

Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 10, 2020

Close

Heartland
by Sarah Smarsh

An essential read for our times: an eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in America that will deepen our understanding of the ways in which class shapes our country. Beautifully written, in a distinctive voice, HEARTLAND combines personal narrative with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, challenging the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. 

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
Heartland
Sarah Smarsh

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 10, 2020

6 Must-Read Books If You Love EDUCATED

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 8, 2020

Books We Like to Give: 10 Reads We’re Excited to Gift This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 2, 2019

6 Fantastic Books New in Paperback This September

By Alice Martin | September 16, 2019

Close

From Scratch
by Tembi Locke

This Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller is “a captivating story of love lost and found” (Kirkus Reviews) set in the lush Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hours. 

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
From Scratch
Tembi Locke

This Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller is “a captivating story of love lost and found” (Kirkus Reviews) set in the lush Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hours.

It was love at first sight when actress Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in Florence. There was just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian family did not approve of his marrying a black American woman. However, the couple, heartbroken but undeterred, forged on. They built a happy life in Los Angeles, with fulfilling careers, deep friendships, and the love of their lives: a baby girl they adopted at birth. Eventually, they reconciled with Saro’s family just as he faced a formidable cancer that would consume all their dreams.

From Scratch chronicles three summers Tembi spends in Sicily with her daughter, Zoela, as she begins to piece together a life without her husband in his tiny hometown hamlet of farmers. Where once Tembi was estranged from Saro’s family, now she finds solace and nourishment—literally and spiritually—at her mother-in-law’s table. In the Sicilian countryside, she discovers the healing gifts of simple fresh food, the embrace of a close knit community, and timeless traditions and wisdom that light a path forward. All along the way she reflects on her and Saro’s romance—an incredible love story that leaps off the pages.

In Sicily, it is said that every story begins with a marriage or a death—in Tembi Locke’s case, it is both. “Locke’s raw and heartfelt memoir will uplift readers suffering from the loss of their own loved ones” (Publishers Weekly), but her story is also about love, finding a home, and chasing flavor as an act of remembrance. From Scratch is for anyone who has dared to reach for big love, fought for what mattered most, and those who needed a powerful reminder that life is...delicious.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
Close

Eliza Hamilton
by Tilar J. Mazzeo 

From the New York Times bestselling author of IRENAS CHILDREN comes the extraordinary life and times of Eliza Hamilton, the wife of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and a powerful, unsung hero in America’s early days. This captivating account of the woman behind the famous man is perfect for fans of the works of Ron Chernow, Lisa McCubbin, and Nathaniel Philbrick. 

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
Eliza Hamilton
Tilar J. Mazzeo 

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 10, 2020

8 Unforgettable True Stories of Women Who Made Their Mark on History

By Kerry Fiallo | March 5, 2020

Readers’ Choice: The Top 25 Most Shelved Books of the Year!

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 24, 2018

9 Royal Reads for Your Post-“Romanoffs” Binge

By Sarah Woodruff | November 20, 2018

4 Great Novels (and 1 Biography) About Real Women From History

By One.More.Page | October 26, 2018

Close

Southern Discomfort
by Tena Clark

For fans of beloved memoirs like EDUCATED and THE GLASS CASTLE comes a true story set in rural Mississippi during the Civil Rights era about a white girl coming of age in a repressive society and the woman who gave her the strength to forge her own path—the black nanny who cared for her.  

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
Southern Discomfort
Tena Clark

For fans of beloved memoirs like Educated and The Glass Castle, a “raw and deeply honest” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) true story set in rural Mississippi during the Civil Rights era about a white girl coming of age in a repressive society and the woman who gave her the strength to forge her own path—the black nanny who cared for her.

In her memoir that is a “story of love and fury” (Jackson Clarion-Ledger), Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer Tena Clark recounts her chaotic childhood in a time fraught with racial and social tension. Tena was born in 1953 in a tiny Mississippi town close to the Alabama border, where the legacy of slavery and racial injustice still permeated every aspect of life. On the outside, Tena’s childhood looked like a fairytale. Her father was one of the richest men in the state; her mother was a regal beauty. The family lived on a sprawling farm and had the only swimming pool in town; Tena was given her first car—a royal blue Camaro—at twelve.

But behind closed doors, Tena’s family life was deeply lonely and dysfunctional. By the time she was three, her parents’ marriage had dissolved into a swamp of alcohol, rampant infidelity, and guns. Adding to the turmoil, Tena understood from a very young age that she was different from her three older sisters, all of whom had been beauty queens and majorettes. Tena knew she didn’t want to be a majorette—she wanted to marry one.

On Tena’s tenth birthday, her mother, emboldened by alcoholism and enraged by her husband’s incessant cheating, walked out for good, instantly becoming an outcast in their society. Tena was left in the care of her nanny, Virgie, even though she was raising nine of her own children and was not allowed to eat from the family’s plates or use their bathroom. It was Virgie’s acceptance and unconditional love that gave Tena the courage to stand up to her domineering father, the faith to believe in her mother’s love, and the strength to be her true self.

Combining the spirit of brave coming-of-age memoirs such as The Glass Castle and vivid, evocative Southern fiction like To Kill a Mockingbird, Southern Discomfort is “an unforgettable southern story… [that] sings brightly to the incredible strength of family ties and the great power of love” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and is destined to become a new classic.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 10, 2020

6 Must-Read Books If You Love EDUCATED

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 8, 2020

Close

Thank you for joining our email list!

If you create an Off the Shelf account, you'll be able to save books to your personal bookshelf, and be eligible for free books and other good stuff.

Click here to create your free account.

You must be logged in to add books to your shelf.

Please log in or sign up now.