The best books that make you think ‘what if…’

Who am I?

I am a freelance anatomy educator, artist, author, mother, and dog owner. I like to fill my time by engaging the public with science, meeting them where they are and exploring their boundaries. If they are interested in zombies, or flying unicorns then let's start there and mix fantasy and reality to make them think.


I wrote...

The Lama Drama 2019 (The 3rd Sphere)

By Janet Philp,

Book cover of The Lama Drama 2019 (The 3rd Sphere)

What is my book about?

My book intertwines reality and fantasy in a genre I like to call ‘what if’ or ‘I wonder’ (I think it is officially urban fantasy). I take the reality of every day and add a twist; what if it were like this, with the hope that the readers will ask ‘I wonder.’

The story starts when Jayne dies and realises that not everyone on earth is as full of life as she thought and maybe in the fight between good and evil it's not obvious who is on which side.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Janet Philp Why did I love this book?

I could have picked many books that make you think ‘what if’ and not leave the bibliography of Neil Gaiman. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an adult reminiscing on his childhood and the friend, Lettie, who takes him on a fantastical journey which results in ‘things’ crossing realms and plaguing his childhood, or is that just how he remembers it?

By Neil Gaiman, Elise Hurst (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Ocean at the End of the Lane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 'BOOK OF THE YEAR'

AN ACCLAIMED WEST END THEATRE PRODUCTION *****

'Neil Gaiman's entire body of work is a feat of elegant sorcery. He writes with such assurance and originality that the reader has no choice but to surrender to a waking dream' ARMISTEAD MAUPIN

'Some books just swallow you up, heart and soul' JOANNE HARRIS

'Summons both the powerlessness and wonder of childhood, and the complicated landscape of memory and forgetting' GUARDIAN

---

'My favourite response to this book is when people say, 'My childhood was nothing like that - and it was as if…


Book cover of The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Janet Philp Why did I love this book?

This is a tale of the 5 people you meet in heaven and the effect they had on your life or vice versa.  It follows the death of Eddie, a fairground worker, who meets the 5 people who affected his life the most, some of whom he never even met. It prompts the conversations about who you would meet and why, giving pause to think about the effect of your life on others.

By Mitch Albom,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Five People You Meet in Heaven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A STUNNING 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF THE MASTER STORYTELLER'S INSPIRATIONAL CLASSIC

To his mind, Eddie has lived an uninspiring life. Now an old man, his job is to fix rides at a seaside amusement park.

On his eighty-third birthday, Eddie's time on earth comes to an end. When a cart falls from the fairground, he rushes to save a little girl's life and tragically dies in the attempt. When Eddie awakens, he learns that the afterlife is not a destination, but a place where your existence is explained to you by five people - some of whom you knew, others…


Book cover of A Heart in the Right Place

Janet Philp Why did I love this book?

An action-comedy that surpasses their classic Clovenhoof series. Based around an attempt to plan a weekend away so many twists and turns are added that you wonder where the authors get their imagination from. When assassins and werewolves appear you can't help but keep turning the pages.

By Heide Goody,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Heart in the Right Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All Nick wants to do is take his dying father for a perfect father-son weekend in the Scottish Highlands. It’s not much to ask, is it? A log cabin, a roaring fire, a bottle of fine whisky and two days to paper over the cracks in their relationship.However, Nick didn’t plan on making the trip with a dead neighbour in the back of his car. Or the neighbour’s dog. He really didn’t plan on being pursued by a psychotic female assassin intent on collecting body parts. And he really, really didn’t plan on encountering a platoon of heavily armed mercenaries,…


Book cover of The Wolfman

Janet Philp Why did I love this book?

An interesting twist on a vigilante story that makes you wonder if all monsters are really bad. Marlow Higgins is a Vietnam vet who eventually settles down in a small town only to have his solitude disturbed by a serial killer. The killer didn’t anticipate a werewolf joining the hunt and things go from bad to worse.

By Nicholas Pekearo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Wolfman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marlowe Higgins is a hard man; a wanderer. Since being dishonourably discharge after a tour in Vietnam, he's been in and out of prison, moving from town to town, going wherever the wind takes him. He's not really the kind of guy who can stay in one place too long. Every full moon he kills someone. Marlowe Higgins is a werewolf. For years he struggled with his affliction, until he found a way to use his unfortunate curse for good - he only kills really bad people. After years of being on the road, Higgins has found a home in…


Book cover of The Things We Learn When We're Dead

Janet Philp Why did I love this book?

In quite a challenging tale Lorna Love finds herself dead and on a spaceship. As the memories of her life return we find a question being posed; does the way you remember things affect the influence they have on your life? It’s quite a quirky book but generates a lot of thought about the way you view events and the way you let them affect you.

By Charlie Laidlaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Things We Learn When We're Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Things We Learn When We're Dead is about how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, but how we can sometimes get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital - but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.

It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN, because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional…


You might also like...

A Last Serenade for Billy Bonney

By Mark Warren,

Book cover of A Last Serenade for Billy Bonney

Mark Warren Author Of Indigo Heaven

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Composer Archer Teacher Grateful

Mark's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

In this deeply researched novel of America's most celebrated outlaw, Mark Warren sheds light on the human side of Billy the Kid and reveals the intimate stories of the lesser-known players in his legendary life of crime. Warren's fictional composer and Santa Fe journalist, John Blessing, is assigned to report on a jailed prisoner who calls himself "Willima H. Bonney," but what begins as a formal interview evolves into an unexpected relationship and a self-examination of Blessing's own cultured, city values.

After the Kid's death, Blessing embarks on a journey to find Billy's comrades and acquaintances - those who loved the Kid... and others who despised him. Ride along with John Blessing as he unravels one of Western history's most fascinating enigmas.

A Last Serenade for Billy Bonney

By Mark Warren,

What is this book about?

In this deeply researched novel of America's most celebrated outlaw, Mark Warren sheds light on the human side of Billy the Kid, and reveals the intimate stories of the lesser-known players in his legendary life of crime. Warren's fictional composer and Santa Fe journalist, John Blessing, is assigned to report on a jailed prisoner who calls himself "William H. Bonney," but what begins as a formal interview evolves into an unexpected relationship and a self-examination of Blessing's own cultured, city values.

After the Kid's death, Blessing embarks on a journey to find Billy's comrades and acquaintances - those who loved…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Scottish Highlands, magical realism, and Tennessee?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Scottish Highlands, magical realism, and Tennessee.

The Scottish Highlands Explore 39 books about the Scottish Highlands
Magical Realism Explore 391 books about magical realism
Tennessee Explore 61 books about Tennessee