Anthony Doerr books in the sun

10 Popular Authors Whose Previous Books You May Have Missed

Sara Roncero-Menendez
July 7 2021
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It’s easy to stick to the best of the best reads, the ones all of our friends, colleagues, and book-obsessed social media favorites are talking about. But the authors behind some of your most recent favorites probably have other great books hiding in their bibliographies that are going underappreciated. What’s a reader to do, other than seek out these under-the-radar works and give them their fair shake? Here are ten authors you’ve already read and loved, and the backlist books from their repertoire that you should be reading.

If you like the books in this list, check out Off the Shelf’s sweepstakes! Fans of Anthony Doerr’s ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE will especially enjoy this chance to win excellent books from his backlist, plus an advance copy of his upcoming book CLOUD CUCKOO LAND (coming out on 9/28).

Four Seasons in Rome
by Anthony Doerr

You may be familiar with Anthony Doerr’s bestselling historical novel ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, set in both France and Germany during World War II. But if you’re looking to read more of his work, let Doerr take you to Rome with him in this touching memoir. FOUR SEASONS IN ROME follows the author through personal ups and downs as well as explores this ancient city’s art and literature, drawing together people and places across time. From sweet vignettes, like taking his newborn twins to the Pantheon to wait for snow to fall, to the everyday interactions with butchers and bakers that reveal more of Rome’s character, this book will give you wanderlust like nothing else will.

Enter for a chance to win this book and more by Anthony Doerr!

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Four Seasons in Rome
Anthony Doerr

Exquisitely observed, in this book Doerr describes his varied adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world. He reads Pliny, Dante, and Keats and visits the piazzas, temples, and ancient cisterns they describe. He attends the vigil of a dying Pope John Paul II and takes his twins to the Pantheon in December to wait for snow to fall through the oculus. He and his family are embraced by the butchers, grocers, and bakers of the neighborhood, whose clamor of stories and idiosyncratic child-rearing advice is as compelling as the city itself.

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One True Loves
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid writes beautifully written works of historical fiction, THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO and DAISY JONES & THE SIX. But before either of those hit the scene, there was ONE TRUE LOVES, a book about the nature of love and fidelity. Emma Blair is lucky enough to marry her high school sweetheart, Jesse, with whom she leads a life of fun and adventure until he goes missing on their first wedding anniversary. Years later, Emma falls in love again, this time with her old friend Sam. But just when Emma is finally happy and ready to marry Sam, Jesse reappears, having spent the years apart longing to come home. Torn between the two great loves of her life, Emma is faced with an impossible choice, one that will lead readers to tears no matter whom she picks.

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One True Loves
Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Rin Tin Tin
by Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean is best known for her work in discovering the real, if somewhat bizarre stories of orchid poachers in THE ORCHID THIEF and the mysterious fire that burned down the Los Angeles Public Library in THE LIBRARY BOOK. Orlean brought that same level of research, dedication, and passion to RIN TIN TIN, the story of an international movie-star dog who appeared in twenty-seven films throughout the 1920s. She captures the story of this canine catapulted into fame through his relationship with his rescuer, the American soldier Lee Duncan, who trained him to act. Touching on fascinating subjects such as the use of dogs in the war effort, the heyday of silent films, and the strength of human bonds with animals, this book will have you reaching for the tissues and giving your pets extra love.

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Rin Tin Tin
Susan Orlean

Spanning from a dog’s improbable discovery on a battlefield in 1918 to his tumultuous rise through Hollywood and beyond, this is a quintessentially American story of reinvention.

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The Humans
by Matt Haig

If you were in a book club, bookstore, or library at any point in the last year or so, you’ve seen, if not already read, THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY by Matt Haig. After exploring all the winding paths life has to offer in Haig’s newest book, you should now consider life from the perspective of someone not from this world. THE HUMANS follows professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, who is, in reality, an alien. At first, “Andrew” is disgusted by what he finds here and ready to head back to his utopian home world, but from peanut butter to rock music to the intricate relationship of family, he comes to see the beauty of human existence. Sometimes, there’s nothing like seeing your world through the eyes of someone else.

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The Humans
Matt Haig

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Signal to Noise
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Before the fantastical GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW and the terrifying MEXICAN GOTHIC, author Silvia Morena-Garcia was mixing magic and music in SIGNAL TO NOISE. Meche’s childhood in 1980s Mexico City was all about music in its many forms, a passion she shared with her DJ father and her friends Sebastian and Daniela. It is through this audio obsession that she realizes she and her friends can cast spells by listening to songs, changing their lives with a simple change in the soundtrack. But things get complicated, and it is only when Meche returns twenty years later to attend her father’s funeral that she can try to untangle the messed-up mixtape of her past.

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Signal to Noise
Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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The Truth About Melody Browne
by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell made waves on the thriller scene with hits like THEN SHE WAS GONE and WATCHING YOU. If you were finally able to put those two books down, the next one you reach for should be THE TRUTH ABOUT MELODY BROWNE. Melody has no memory of her childhood before the fire that took her home and her family’s possessions, but after an encounter with a hypnotist, she starts remembering fragments of her lost past. Little by little, she begins investigating locations and places full of people who seem to know her, to try to piece together her life while raising her son as a single mom. With the same signature twists and turns that made her famous, Jewell weaves a tale of intrigue and family drama sure to delight and keep readers up at night.

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The Truth About Melody Browne
Lisa Jewell

This “touching, insightful, and gripping story” (Sophie Kinsella, #1 New York Times bestselling author) from the instant New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone follows a young woman searching for answers about her unknown past and the mysterious fire that irrevocably changed her life.

When she was a child, Melody Browne’s house burned down, destroying all her family’s possessions and her memories. Ever since this tragic event, Melody Browne has had no recollection of her life before she was rescued from the flames.

Now in her early thirties, Melody is a single mother, living in the middle of London with her teenaged son. She hasn’t seen her parents since she left home at fifteen, but Melody has no desire to reconnect until one night, while attending a hypnotist show with a date, she faints. When she comes around, she is suddenly overwhelmed with fragmented memories of her life before that fateful fire.

Slowly, she begins the arduous process of piecing together the real story of her childhood. Her journey takes her up and down the countryside, to seaside towns to the back streets of London, where she meets strangers who seem to love her like their own. But the more answers she uncovers, the more questions she is left with, and Melody can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever know the whole truth about her past.

“An absolute must-read” (Cosmopolitan, UK), The Truth About Melody Browne “will make you laugh, cry—then tell all your friends about it” (Daily Record).

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Little Earthquakes
by Jennifer Weiner

You might have picked up Jennifer Weiner’s BIG SUMMER, the romantic drama about a plus-sized social media influencer attending her nasty frenemy’s wedding that turns into a murder mystery partway through. If you’re looking for the same heart but maybe with less murder, LITTLE EARTHQUAKES could be your next read. Following a group of friends as they navigate the transition into being moms, each woman confronts her own set of challenges: Becky has the mother-in-law from hell; Kelly is trying to manage her career and her kid while her unemployed husband takes it easy; Ayinde’s basketball-playing husband throws their family into the spotlight after secrets are revealed; and the mysterious Lia has left her whole life behind to start anew. Funny, sweet, and sometimes frustrating, this book captures the chaos and majesty of motherhood.

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Little Earthquakes
Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner's richest, wittiest, most true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate one of life's most wonderful and perilous transitions: the journay of new motherhood.

Becky is a plump, sexy chef who has a wonderfull husband and baby girl, a restaurant that received a citywide acclaim -- and the mother-in-law from hell. Kelly is an event planner who's struggling to balance her work and motherhood while dealing with unemployed husband who seems content to channel-surf for eight hours a day. Ayinde's basketball superstar husband breaks her trust at her most vulnerable moment, putting their new family even more in the public eye. Then, there's Lia, a Philadelphia native who has left her Hollywood career behind, along with her husband, and a tragic secret to start her life all over again.

From prenatal yoga to postbirth sex, Little Earthquakes is a frank, funny, fiercely perceptive take on the comedies and tragedies of love and marriage.

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The Heather Blazing
by Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín is best known for the heart-wrenchingly beautiful bestseller BROOKLYN, but this Irish author has a number of great other great novels as well. Case in point: THE HEATHER BLAZING may seem like a simple account of one man’s summer, but Tóibín’s writing takes it to the next level. Eamon Redmond is a successful judge in Dublin who travels to his vacation home in Ballyconnigar. Throughout the course of the season, Redmond reflects on his past, including the hole left by the passing of his mother at a young age, and his experiences with his father and his wife. The novel deals with themes of suffering, family, and the inability to communicate with those we love, and the kind of lyrical writing in Tóibín’s most famous work that captured the imaginations of so many readers is waiting between the covers of this book.

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The Heather Blazing
Colm Tóibín

Eamon Redmond is a judge in Ireland’s high court who is just beginning to discover how painfully unconnected he is from other human beings. With effortless fluency, Colm Tóibín reconstructs the history of Eamon’s relationships—with his father, his first “girl,” his wife, and the children who barely know him—and he writes about Eamon’s affection for the Irish coast with such painterly skill that the land itself becomes a character. The result is a novel that ensnares us with its emotional intensity and dazzles with its crystalline prose.

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The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
by Stephen King

With a bibliography as lengthy and genre-crossing as Stephen King’s, you’re bound to have a few great books that get overshadowed. So if you’ve finished classics like THE SHINING and SALEM’S LOT, why not check out one of his underrated novels (and one of my personal favorites), THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON. Nine-year-old Trisha McFarland is having a hard time dealing with her parents’ divorce, and when her mom and brother break out into yet another vicious fight while hiking, Trisha decides to slip away, only to end up lost in the mountains. Thankfully, she’s got her wits, determination, and a functioning radio that lets her listen to Boston Red Sox games and follow her hero, Tom Gordon. But something dark is lurking in the woods, and it’ll take everything Trisha has to make it back home alive.

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The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
Stephen King

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Long Division
by Kiese Laymon

Essayist and author Kiese Laymon seemed to burst onto the scene with his memoir HEAVY, a book detailing his journey from a complex childhood to even trickier adulthood. That work navigates themes of race, abuse, addiction, and weight, plus his complicated relationship with his mother, all in haunting and unrelenting prose that can’t help but hold your attention. Laymon’s book, LONG DIVISION—which was originally published in 2013 and was rereleased this June—highlights that mastery of language and character by weaving together the real and the fantastical. In 2013, Citoyen “City” Coldson achieves Internet fame in one of the worst ways possible: a very public meltdown on national TV. But that’s not the strangest thing to happen to City, as he then receives a book without an author called Long Division that seems to star him, but in 1985 as a time-traveler who steals from a girl in the future—a girl who, in the present, has gone missing. Funny, inspiring, and deeply insightful, this novel is a must-read for anyone in need of a little revelation.

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Long Division
Kiese Laymon

From Kiese Laymon, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Heavy, comes a “funny, astute, searching” (The Wall Street Journal) debut novel about Black teenagers that is a satirical exploration of celebrity, authorship, violence, religion, and coming of age in post-Katrina Mississippi.

Written in a voice that’s alternately humorous, lacerating, and wise, Long Division features two interwoven stories. In the first, it’s 2013: after an on-stage meltdown during a nationally televised quiz contest, fourteen-year-old Citoyen “City” Coldson becomes an overnight YouTube celebrity. The next day, he’s sent to stay with his grandmother in the small coastal community of Melahatchie, where a young girl named Baize Shephard has recently disappeared.

Before leaving, City is given a strange book without an author called Long Division. He learns that one of the book’s main characters is also named City Coldson—but Long Division is set in 1985. This 1985-version of City, along with his friend and love interest, Shalaya Crump, discovers a way to travel into the future, and steals a laptop and cellphone from an orphaned teenage rapper called...Baize Shephard. They ultimately take these items with them all the way back to 1964, to help another time-traveler they meet to protect his family from the Ku Klux Klan.

City’s two stories ultimately converge in the work shed behind his grandmother’s house, where he discovers the key to Baize’s disappearance. Brilliantly “skewering the disingenuous masquerade of institutional racism” (Publishers Weekly), this dreamlike “smart, funny, and sharp” (Jesmyn Ward), novel shows the work that young Black Americans must do, while living under the shadow of a history “that they only gropingly understand and must try to fill in for themselves” (The Wall Street Journal).

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