100 books like A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens,

Here are 100 books that A Christmas Carol fans have personally recommended if you like A Christmas Carol. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Lolita

Charles Salzberg Author Of Man on the Run

From my list on reads for valuable lessons as a crime writer.

Who am I?

I was an English major in college and my dream was to write the Great American Novel. My literary heroes were writers like Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, Jean Rhys, Margaret Drabble, Truman Capote, and Norman Mailer. They “taught” me how to write. About a dozen years ago, I concentrated on writing crime novels, like Swann’s Last Song and Second Story Man, both of which were nominated for Shamus Awards (Second Story Man won the Beverly Hills Book Award.) I'm a magazine journalist and write nonfiction books, screenplays, plays, and book reviews. I teach writing here in New York City, and I’m on the Board of PrisonWrites and the New York Writers Workshop.

Charles' book list on reads for valuable lessons as a crime writer

Charles Salzberg Why did Charles love this book?

Lolita isn’t usually thought of as a crime novel but it is.

Thirty-seven-year-old Humbert Humbert stalks 12-year-old Lolita, then breaks all kinds of laws, moral, ethical, and legal, as he transports her across state lines.

The first time I read Lolita, I was dazzled by Nabokov’s stunning use of language—and remember, English was not his native tongue—word-play, and his ability to create full-blooded characters that leap off the page.

Nabokov pulls off this morally compromised tale with wit and humor, while dealing with the serious topic of pedophilia.

Reading Lolita gave me license to create morally challenged characters like Francis Hoyt, one of the protagonists in my novels.

Nabokov proved you don’t have to like, admire, or even feel a kinship with a character, so long as that character is interesting and compelling enough that readers are fascinated about him or her without being turned off.

By Vladimir Nabokov,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Lolita as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of my tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.'

Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, frustrated college professor. In love with his landlady's twelve-year-old daughter Lolita, he'll do anything to possess her. Unable and unwilling to stop himself, he is prepared to commit any crime to get what he wants.

Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? Or is he all…


Book cover of Christmas Day in the Morning

Joni Hilton Author Of A Little Christmas Prayer

From my list on classic Christmas books.

Who am I?

I’ve written dozens of plays and books, always with heart and humor. If you love Christmas, you know that it can also be a frenzied time, so we all need to curl up on a cozy night and read Christmas stories to bring back the magic and generosity of this special holiday. I like well-told tales that reaffirm the love we know is so important, stories that will mean just as much a hundred years from now. And surprise endings are always a delight!

Joni's book list on classic Christmas books

Joni Hilton Why did Joni love this book?

This touching tale, set on a farm, captures the timeless desire we all have to give the perfect gift to those we love. Rob learns the true meaning of love as he gives of himself, and finds a way to surprise his father. Buck has a beautiful way of showing rather than telling, and pulls us in with hope and vulnerability. A gift of love is the best gift of all, and Christmas is the perfect time to share this tender family story.

By Pearl S. Bucks, Mark Buehner (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christmas Day in the Morning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

The true joy of Christmas is to love and to awaken love.

"Christmas Day in the Morning is as gorgeous as the day it celebrates. And unlike so many other presents, the real gift isn't the book itself, it's the simple, pure message. If you give anything this year, give love."
--Jason F. Wright, New York Times best-selling author of Christmas Jars

In this adaptation of "Christmas Day in the Morning" Rob looks back on his boyhood and remembers giving an unusual gift of self a gift that filled him with Christmas joy. Now, fifty years later, Rob realizes he…


Book cover of Papa Panov's Special Christmas

Joni Hilton Author Of A Little Christmas Prayer

From my list on classic Christmas books.

Who am I?

I’ve written dozens of plays and books, always with heart and humor. If you love Christmas, you know that it can also be a frenzied time, so we all need to curl up on a cozy night and read Christmas stories to bring back the magic and generosity of this special holiday. I like well-told tales that reaffirm the love we know is so important, stories that will mean just as much a hundred years from now. And surprise endings are always a delight!

Joni's book list on classic Christmas books

Joni Hilton Why did Joni love this book?

This heart-warming tale is a true Christmas classic. A lonely old shoemaker dreams that Jesus will come and visit him, so he eagerly anticipates the event, hoping to make him a special pair of shoes. Instead, his heart is tugged by others in need, and he helps three different people, from a street sweeper to a beggar. Finally, he gives up waiting for Christ to visit and realizes it was only a dream. But then he hears the voice of Jesus and learns that Jesus came to him in every person he helped that day.

By Leo Tolstoy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Papa Panov's Special Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally written by French author Reuben Saillens and later retold by Leo Tolstoy, this endearing story has now acquired the status of a folk-tale. The heart-warming story of Papa Panov's generosity reflects the true spirit of Christmas. It is Christmas Day, and Papa Panov, the lonely old shoemaker, is expecting a special visitor. Things do not turn out at all as he thought, but by the end of the day the sparkle is back behind his little spectacles. A beautiful gift edition of a much-loved classic.


She Refused to Bow

By Farida Manekshah,

Book cover of She Refused to Bow

Farida Manekshah

New book alert!

What is my book about?

A personal memoir which introduces the supernatural in the most natural way.

A message which came in a dream and brought you wealth. A sadhu's warning. The presence you feel as you pray at a grave. A well that dries up. The vision you see as you peer out of the window of your cabin. A jinni. An ancient religion. When everything you say and do has consequence. Because nothing that is done can be undone.

She Refused to Bow

By Farida Manekshah,

What is this book about?

A personal memoir which introduces the supernatural in the most natural way.

A message which came in a dream and brought you wealth. A sadhu's warning. The presence you feel as you pray at a grave. A well that dries up. The vision you see as you peer out of the window of your cabin. A jinni. An ancient religion. When everything you say and do has consequence. Because nothing that is done can be undone.


Book cover of The Gift of the Magi

Barbara Hinske Author Of The Christmas Club

From my list on heartwarming Christmas books.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by the role that love plays in a satisfying life—from romantic love, to brotherly love, to friendship. Compassion and caring affect not only the recipient, but also profoundly change the life of the giver as well. That’s why I’m drawn to redemptive character arcs. I write women’s fiction, sweet Christmas stories, and literary fiction that revolve around these themes—sometimes with a hint of mystery/thriller/suspense for fun! My novella, The Christmas Club, was adapted for the screen in 2019 as a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie of the same name.

Barbara's book list on heartwarming Christmas books

Barbara Hinske Why did Barbara love this book?

This story shines a spotlight on selfless love. I cried buckets when I read this as a child. I also wondered if I’d ever be willing to cut my hair, as Della did, to raise the money to buy Jim that watch chain. I’m still not sure I would. The story beautifully articulates the parameters of selfless love. I’ve always been fascinated by this theme.

By O. Henry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The Gift of the Magi" is a short story, about a young married couple and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money. As a sentimental story with a moral lesson about gift-giving, it has been a popular one for adaptation, especially for presentation during the Christmas season.


Book cover of The Elves And The Shoemaker

Joni Hilton Author Of A Little Christmas Prayer

From my list on classic Christmas books.

Who am I?

I’ve written dozens of plays and books, always with heart and humor. If you love Christmas, you know that it can also be a frenzied time, so we all need to curl up on a cozy night and read Christmas stories to bring back the magic and generosity of this special holiday. I like well-told tales that reaffirm the love we know is so important, stories that will mean just as much a hundred years from now. And surprise endings are always a delight!

Joni's book list on classic Christmas books

Joni Hilton Why did Joni love this book?

Christmas is a wonderful time for magical tales that children love. In this one, a poor but good-hearted cobbler is rewarded for his honesty during the night, when clever elves sneak into his shop and make shoes for him to sell. It gives children the chance to imagine invisible helpers, and also the thrill of doing good deeds in secret.

By Grimm Brothers, Jim LaMarche,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Elves And The Shoemaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is the classic tale of elfin magic, loved by generations of children and made new by an artist of international acclaim. Jim LaMarche's stunning paintings, reminiscent of his earlier work in The Rainbabies, are the perfect compliment to this favorite Grimm fairy tale.


Book cover of The Time Machine

James Papandrea Author Of From Star Wars to Superman: Christ Figures in Science Fiction and Superhero Films

From my list on thought-provoking time travel.

Who am I?

I am a lifelong fan of science fiction, and especially all things time travel. However, I do get annoyed by time travel stories where the time travel is never really explained or it’s just reduced to a magical vehicle for the story setting. I want my science fiction to ask the big questions of humanity. I have a PhD in history and theology, and in my research for my book From Star Wars to Superman, I combined a lifetime of enjoying science fiction and time travel with a career studying those big philosophical questions, and I’ve come to the conclusion that true sci-fi has to be thought-provoking.

James' book list on thought-provoking time travel

James Papandrea Why did James love this book?

I had to include this book because this is the book that opened up the whole world of time travel for me.

I read it as a young teenager and have loved everything about the concept of time travel ever since. I think the reason is that there is this implied desire to fix the mistakes of our past or something, and that whole idea bubbles under the surface of Wells’ classic.

Of course on the other side of that coin is that I would later come to learn that Wells was an atheist, and so that brings up the whole question of whether time travel is a human attempt to play God, and whether time travel is only possible in a universe where there is no God. 

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Time Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

A brilliant scientist constructs a machine, which, with the pull of a lever, propels him to the year AD 802,701.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition of The Time Machine features an introduction by Dr Mark Bould.

The Time Traveller finds himself in a verdant, seemingly idyllic landscape where he is greeted by the diminutive Eloi people. The Eloi are beautiful but weak and indolent, and the explorer is perplexed by…


Book cover of Never Let Me Go

Suzanne Heywood Author Of Wavewalker: A Memoir of Breaking Free

From my list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out.

Who am I?

I'm fascinated by these books about coming of age because they all share elements of my own experience. While I was growing up, I was told by my parents that my life on board our boat Wavewalker was ‘privileged’ and that I was lucky not to live a ‘boring’ life like other children. It took me a long time to question this view, and even longer to find an escape. As an adult looking back, I now know that many of the things I was told by my parents were not true. That experience of growing up and discovering that what you have been told is not right is deeply disturbing, while also being liberating.

Suzanne's book list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out

Suzanne Heywood Why did Suzanne love this book?

I love Kazuo Ishiguro’s work and this is my favourite book of his.

Never Let Me Go is the fictional story of a childhood that initially seems acceptable, despite the early indications that something strange is going on. As the story proceeds, however, it becomes clear that this is a horrific world, one in which children are being grown for their organs.

But the power of the story for me is not the revelation itself but the way in which it is revealed, layer by layer, as the characters become older and more knowing. That experience of becoming aware that all is not right with your world, and then trying to come to terms with that, is something I can resonate with.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Never Let Me Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most acclaimed novels of the 21st Century, from the Nobel Prize-winning author

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense…


Book cover of Letters from Father Christmas

Tim Slover Author Of The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus

From my list on Christmas stories to read at a fireside.

Who am I?

When our two boys hit their difficult years around age seven or eight and the other kids at school were starting to doubt Santa Claus, they began to ask questions about how he operated. Luckily I had answers, which became, eventually, The Christmas Chronicles. Now that I was outed as a Santa supporter, I started doing Christmas readings here and there, including every year on a radio holiday show for Access Utah, a PBS affiliate. That’s given me the delightful task of seeking out all kinds of Yuletide literature. These are a few of my favorites. 

Tim's book list on Christmas stories to read at a fireside

Tim Slover Why did Tim love this book?

Yes, that J.R.R. Tolkien. Each year he took a break from Middle-earth to write and illustrate incredible letters from Father Christmas to his and Edith’s four children, John, Michael, Christopher, and Priscilla. Being Tolkien, he created an entire polar world and history in the letters, which feature elves, goblins—who launch a major attack one year—and Father Christmas’s great assistant and companion, North Polar Bear. Here is a high Yuletide adventure from the fantasy Master, himself. And somehow reading it makes you feel more creative yourself.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Letters from Father Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

This beautiful, deluxe slipcased edition of Tolkien's famous illustrated letters from Father Christmas to his children includes for the first time every available letter, picture and envelope that he sent them, reproduced in glorious colour. The perfect Christmas gift for Tolkien lovers of all ages.

This classic festive book of Tolkien's amazing Father Christmas letters written to his children between the 1920s and the 1940s has been reworked into a sumptuous, new deluxe edition. It contains brand new high-quality digital reproductions of his wonderful letters and pictures, including a number of them that have never been printed before, a revised…


Book cover of Lazarillo de Tormes / The Guide Boy of Tormes

Richard Zimler Author Of The Last Kabbalist in Lisbon

From my list on outsiders and misfits.

Who am I?

I’m originally from New York but have lived in Portugal for the last 31 years. I write my novels in English and my children’s books in Portuguese. When I discovered the Lisbon Massacre of 1506, in which 2,000 forcibly converted Jews were murdered and burnt in the city’s main square, I asked my Portuguese friends what they could tell me about it. They all replied, “What Massacre?” I found out then that this crime against humanity wasn’t taught in Portuguese schools. It had been nearly completely forgotten. That made me furious, so I decided to write a novel about it (The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon). When I’m not working on a book, I like to garden and travel. 

Richard's book list on outsiders and misfits

Richard Zimler Why did Richard love this book?

Published way back in 1554, this revolutionary novel is irreverent, amusing, and gloriously critical of the hypocrisy of 16th century Spanish society and, by extension, our own times. The main character is a destitute scoundrel named Lazarillo who seeks to better his fortunes while in the service of a brutal priest and host of other unseemly characters. By creating an anti-hero who is a witty misfit and outcast, and by portraying Spanish society as morally bankrupt, the author earned the wrath of the Spanish monarchy – which banned the novel – and the Catholic Church, which placed it on its Index of forbidden literature. My novel is also on the Church’s list of forbidden books, so I feel a special kinship with the unnamed author of this groundbreaking work.    

By Anonymous,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lazarillo de Tormes / The Guide Boy of Tormes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Los mejores libros jamás escritos

Edición de Florencio Sevilla Arroyo, catedrático de Filología Española en la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

El Lazarillo de Tormes inauguró el género de la novela picaresca. Relata las desventuras que un joven de origen humilde sufre al servicio de sus amos, entre los que se cuentan un ciego, un clérigo y un hidalgo pobre. Los avatares por los que pasa Lázaro son un magnífico pretexto para plasmar una ácida crítica a la sociedad de la época. Asimismo, el tratamiento de la anécdota, el lenguaje sobrio y eficaz, y una nueva concepción en el uso de…


Book cover of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Barry Keith Grant Author Of Voyages of Discovery: The Cinema of Frederick Wiseman

From my list on appreciating the films of Fredrick Wiseman.

Who am I?

I’ve loved cinema since I was 9 years old growing up in New York City and my grandmother took me to see The Ten Commandments at the Paradise Theater, Loew’s magnificent flagship theater in the Bronx. The theater’s famous canopy of twinkling stars on the ceiling was the perfect magical venue, and I was thunderstruck not only by the epic sweep of the movie but also by the opulence of the theater, which mirrored the monumental pyramids that Ramses constructs in the film. Ever since, my passion for movies has been as all-consuming as DeMille’s jello sea was for the infidel Egyptians who doubted the power of special effects and cinematic illusion.

Barry's book list on appreciating the films of Fredrick Wiseman

Barry Keith Grant Why did Barry love this book?

Kesey’s great American novel shares with Frederick Wiseman’s first and most controversial film, Titicut Follies, a view of the nation as a mental institution.

Like Wiseman’s films, the novel resonates with American mythology, from the falsely mute Native American narrator, chief Bromden, to the boisterous protagonist, Randall Patrick McMurphy, who sports underwear with images of whales on it.

In the book, Chief Bromden refers to “The Combine” as a combination of the military-industrial complex and dominant ideology, the same phrase the governor of the Canal Zone uses to describe the political and economic control of Zonian life in Wiseman's Canal Zone. It is no coincidence that Milos Forman, the director of the award-winning 1975 film adaptation of Cuckoo’s Nest, had his cast and crew watch Titicut Follies multiple times before beginning production.

By Ken Kesey,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's 1962 novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Now in a new deluxe edition with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk and cover by Joe Sacco, here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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