61 books like A Guide for the Perplexed

By Dara Horn,

Here are 61 books that A Guide for the Perplexed fans have personally recommended if you like A Guide for the Perplexed. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now

Michael L. Satlow Author Of How the Bible Became Holy

From my list on how to read the Bible.

Why am I passionate about this?

No matter how you read it, the Bible is a strange book. It weaves together beautiful narratives and deadly-dull genealogies; uplifting messages with passages that many today find ethically repulsive. Yet it gained an extraordinary authority, in a predominantly pre-literate society. The question of how this happened has been an intellectual and scholarly preoccupation of mine for decades, and as a professor at Brown University I seek to bring my students and readers into this very foreign world in order to open their eyes to new possibilities in the present.

Michael's book list on how to read the Bible

Michael L. Satlow Why did Michael love this book?

James Kugel, a professor at Harvard and then Bar Ilan University in Israel, has been writing for years on how the Hebrew Bible was read and understood in antiquity. How to Read the Bible will bring you on a remarkable journey through time. Kugel selectively goes through the Hebrew Bible, contrasting how those in antiquity read, understood, and interpreted biblical stories with how modern scholars do. The book is long, and can be read in sections. Kugel’s discussions of both the academic study of the Bible and the way he understands the Bible as both a critic and an Orthodox Jew, are outstanding.

By James L. Kugel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Read the Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

James Kugel’s essential introduction and companion to the Bible combines modern scholarship with the wisdom of ancient interpreters for the entire Hebrew Bible.

As soon as it appeared, How to Read the Bible was recognized as a masterwork, “awesome, thrilling” (The New York Times), “wonderfully interesting, extremely well presented” (The Washington Post), and “a tour de force...a stunning narrative” (Publishers Weekly). Now, this classic remains the clearest, most inviting and readable guide to the Hebrew Bible around—and a profound meditation on the effect that modern biblical scholarship has had on traditional belief.

Moving chapter by chapter, Harvard professor James Kugel…


Book cover of Who Wrote the Bible?

Michael L. Satlow Author Of How the Bible Became Holy

From my list on how to read the Bible.

Why am I passionate about this?

No matter how you read it, the Bible is a strange book. It weaves together beautiful narratives and deadly-dull genealogies; uplifting messages with passages that many today find ethically repulsive. Yet it gained an extraordinary authority, in a predominantly pre-literate society. The question of how this happened has been an intellectual and scholarly preoccupation of mine for decades, and as a professor at Brown University I seek to bring my students and readers into this very foreign world in order to open their eyes to new possibilities in the present.

Michael's book list on how to read the Bible

Michael L. Satlow Why did Michael love this book?

Who Wrote the Bible? is my go-to book for explaining to undergraduates the classic Documentary Hypothesis, that is, the theory that describes how humans wrote and edited the Bible. Friedman’s style is clear and engaging, and he frames his explanation as an academic mystery. I (with other scholars) don’t always agree with his conclusions, but they responsible and worth considering. My students regularly note that this was their favorite book of the semester.

By Richard Elliott Friedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Wrote the Bible? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A much anticipated reissue of Who Wrote the Bible?—the contemporary classic the New York Times Book Review called “a thought-provoking [and] perceptive guide” that identifies the individual writers of the Pentateuch and explains what they can teach us about the origins of the Bible.

For thousands of years, the prophet Moses was regarded as the sole author of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch. According to tradition, Moses was divinely directed to write down foundational events in the history of the world: the creation of humans, the worldwide flood, the laws as they were handed…


Book cover of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

A thorough look at the origins of Christianity and how the once powerful role of serpent (along with the goddess) was undermined and cast as a tempter and deceiver.

Pagels details how a rigidly-patriarchal interpretation of Genesis perpetuates the myth of separation and disconnection from spirit, nature, and ourselves. While snakes as animals are not covered in any depth, this book does explore why negative perceptions of snake still figure so prominently in Western collective consciousness. 

By Elaine Pagels,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Adam, Eve, and the Serpent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author deepens and refreshes our view of early Christianity while casting a disturbing light on the evolution of the attitudes passed down to us. 

"Confirms her reputation as both a scholar and a popular interpreter.... Continuously rewarding and illuminating." —The New York Times

How did the early Christians come to believe that sex was inherently sinful? When did the Fall of Adam become synonymous with the fall of humanity? What turned Christianity from a dissident sect that  championed the integrity of the individual and the idea of free will into…


Book cover of The Jewish Study Bible

Michael L. Satlow Author Of How the Bible Became Holy

From my list on how to read the Bible.

Why am I passionate about this?

No matter how you read it, the Bible is a strange book. It weaves together beautiful narratives and deadly-dull genealogies; uplifting messages with passages that many today find ethically repulsive. Yet it gained an extraordinary authority, in a predominantly pre-literate society. The question of how this happened has been an intellectual and scholarly preoccupation of mine for decades, and as a professor at Brown University I seek to bring my students and readers into this very foreign world in order to open their eyes to new possibilities in the present.

Michael's book list on how to read the Bible

Michael L. Satlow Why did Michael love this book?

I’m going to cheat here and put this book together with two others, The Jewish Annotated New Testament and The Jewish Annotated Apocrypha. Each of these three books has the biblical text; explanatory notes that include scholarly perspectives; and a lengthy set of essays by well-noted scholars. All of these parts of the Bible were written (primarily) by and for Jews in antiquity—including much of the New Testament—and these books seek to recover how they were read and functioned in antiquity.

By Adele Berlin (editor), Marc Zvi Brettler (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jewish Study Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 2004, The Jewish Study Bible is a landmark, one-volume resource tailored especially for the needs of students of the Hebrew Bible. It has won acclaim from readers in all religious traditions.

The Jewish Study Bible combines the entire Hebrew Bible-in the celebrated Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation-with explanatory notes, introductory materials, and essays by leading biblical scholars on virtually every aspect of the text, the world in which it was written, its interpretation, and its role in Jewish life. The quality of scholarship, easy-to-navigate format, and vibrant supplementary features bring the ancient text to life.

This second…


Book cover of Chilling Effect

A.C. Huntley Author Of The Galactic Zookeeper's Guide to Heists and Husbandry

From my list on humorous sci-fi books with female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a child, the thing that plagued me most about my favorite genre, sci-fi, was that none of the protagonists were women! As a daughter to doctors and research scientists, it felt strange that the only female characters in sci-fi were these buxom, mystical healers or seamstresses who meekly repaired their crewmates’ uniforms. While that problem has been remedied over the last two decades of excellence in mainstream sci-fi with some truly unforgettable female heroines, they’re not as plentiful in the niche market of humorous sci-fi. I am thrilled to share this list of my favorite lighthearted, humorous sci-fi reads with female protagonists. 

A.C.'s book list on humorous sci-fi books with female protagonists

A.C. Huntley Why did A.C. love this book?

I enjoyed the pacing of this action-packed book.

Cuban-descended protagonist Eve Innocente is trying to rescue her kidnapped sister from a galactic crime syndicate known as the Fridge. What really carried me through the story were the whacky shenanigans along the way, including a cargo hold full of psychic cats. This book had such a fun feel!

By Valerie Valdes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chilling Effect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Jam-packed with weird aliens, mysterious artifacts, and lovable characters... a tremendous good time and an impressive debut." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred)

A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo…


Book cover of Caraval

Angela Kecojevic Author Of Scareground

From my list on kids books to give you serious goosebumps.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved horror stories, right from when I was a kid, and I first watched Friday the 13th, the ultimate scary movie. The jump scare moment was everything. I spent time studying great suspense writers like Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, and R L Stine. I was in awe at how they had me turning the pages, unable to look away! I think more and more children are discovering the fun and thrill of scary stories, and I love nothing more than making sure I try and implement some of these rules, adding in my own originality, too! 

Angela's book list on kids books to give you serious goosebumps

Angela Kecojevic Why did Angela love this book?

This is more suited to the YA market with an appealing darkness that had me gripped from page one.

An allure of illusions, rich description, and magic. I loved this book! Every sentence was beautiful and intriguing–it was quite unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Add in the mystique of a carnival, and this makes for a remarkable read.

Scarlett was a strong female protagonist, and her desperate need to escape had me reading this long into the night. 

By Stephanie Garber,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Caraval as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

***The Sunday Times bestseller***

WELCOME TO CARAVAL, WHERE NOTHING IS QUITE WHAT IT SEEMS . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organiser,…


Book cover of The Companion

Emmanuelle de Maupassant Author Of The Lady's Guide to Tempting a Transylvanian Count

From my list on gothic historical romance for Halloween.

Why am I passionate about this?

From staying up late to watch old 'Hammer Horror' classics (only occasionally hiding behind the sofa) to reading the chilling romances of Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart, Emmanuelle knew early in life that Gothic Romance was her jam. Slightly sinister anti-heroes hiding a dark secret still make her swoon, and now she gets to create her own. Mind how you flee!

Emmanuelle's book list on gothic historical romance for Halloween

Emmanuelle de Maupassant Why did Emmanuelle love this book?

This erotically-charged Regency Vampire series has danger, drama, and deliciously exotic locations (the first whisks us to the depths of the Egyptian desert). There’s an utterly wicked villainess you’ll love to hate, and a cast of feisty heroes and heroines you can’t help rooting for. High stakes—in every sense!

By Susan Squires,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stripped of his humanity by a woman of extraordinary beauty--and remarkable evil--Ian Rufford must find the key to the curse that haunts him and redemption in Elizabeth Rochewell, a young woman brought up in Egypt and traveling back to a conventional life in England following her father's death. Or


Book cover of Sunshine

L.R. Braden Author Of A Drop of Magic

From my list on urban fantasy brings magic to modern world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed with fantasy stories for as long as I can remember, but the books I read growing up usually took place “somewhere else.” When I first started seeing books that brought magic to a world that resembled mine, I fell in love. Reading magic in a modern setting brought it home and made it real. Now, I gobble up every story I can find that brings magic to the mundane, and I even write my own. I hope the books on this list inspire you to look for the magic in your own life, as they have for me.

L.R.'s book list on urban fantasy brings magic to modern world

L.R. Braden Why did L.R. love this book?

I’ve read this book three times, which is rare for me. I have such a daunting TBR pile that I rarely reread books. But as one of the first urban fantasy stories I ever read, it holds a special place in my heart, and every time I read it, I wish there were more.

The amount of world-building Mckinley achieves in a single, stand-alone book is phenomenal. Within the first few pages, I fell in love with the world’s history, the characters, and the social conflicts present in this book. The depiction of vampires and other magical races was so well done. When the book ended, I was hungry for more, which is why I keep coming back to this exceptional read.

By Robin McKinley,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sunshine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

From award-winning and national bestselling author, Robin McKinley, comes this dark, sensual vampire fairy tale. "A gripping, funny, page-turning, pretty much perfect work of magical literature."--Neil Gaiman

"Sunshine" is what everyone calls her. She works long hours in her family's coffeehouse, making her famous "Cinnamon Rolls as Big as Your Head," Bitter Chocolate Death, Caramel Cataclysm, and other sugar-shock specials that keep the customers coming. She's happy in her bakery-which her stepfather built specially for her-but sometimes she feels that she should have life outside the coffeehouse. One evening she drives out to the lake to get away from her…


Book cover of Blaze

Charles Ardai Author Of Death Comes Too Late

From my list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears.

Why am I passionate about this?

I created Hard Case Crime 20 years ago to revive the look, feel, and storytelling style of the great paperback crime novels of the 1940s and 50s: slender, high-velocity tales with irresistible premises, crackling dialogue, and powerful emotions, all presented behind gorgeous painted covers in the classic pulp style. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to publish Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, James M. Cain, Erle Stanley Gardner, Mickey Spillane, Brian De Palma, Ed McBain, and many more extraordinary authors.

Charles' book list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears

Charles Ardai Why did Charles love this book?

Early in his career, Stephen King wrote half a dozen books under the pen name “Richard Bachman,” and decades later, he revived Bachman for one last novel about a small-time crook who depends on advice from his deceased partner in crime when attempting to pull off the kidnapping of a millionaire’s baby.

It reminds me of Steinbeck, with its pairing of a hapless, brutish soul and a smarter, slicker partner who can’t save him from himself, and the windings of fate as King spins them out broke my heart.

Does a kidnapper deserve sympathy? No, but then again, yes, and the amazing thing is how powerfully Stephen King puts you in this unfortunate man’s shoes and makes you feel what he’s feeling. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blaze as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Master storyteller Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) presents this gripping and remarkable New York Times bestselling crime novel about a damaged young man who embarks on an ill-advised kidnapping plot—a work as taut and riveting as anything he has ever written.

Once upon a time, a fellow named Richard Bachman wrote Blaze on an Olivetti typewriter, then turned the machine over to Stephen King, who used it to write Carrie. Bachman died in 1985 (“cancer of the pseudonym”), but this last gripping Bachman novel resurfaced after being hidden away for decades—an unforgettable crime story tinged with sadness and suspense.…


Book cover of The Cellar

Christina Casino Author Of Unforeseen

From my list on throwing you directly into the character's shoes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I enjoy writing fiction. I’ve never been drawn to one genre in particular so because of this my novels seem to fluctuate depending on the mood I am in when writing. I like the flexibility that self-publishing allows—being able to write in whatever genre I want. To not be bound to one. So far, I have written romantic suspense, crime thriller, and fantasy—with the hopes of one day soon writing a good horror story! I always dreamed of writing about the things that I would never see or never do and the things that are just not possible, I think that’s what keeps it exciting for me.

Christina's book list on throwing you directly into the character's shoes

Christina Casino Why did Christina love this book?

The Cellar will have you holding your breath at each turn! I felt like my skin was crawling while I was reading this book and I was thinking of ways to escape the nightmare. Natasha Preston did a fantastic job of making you feel like you’re living in Summer’s shoes. It’s a gripping story of a horrific kidnapping and the new life Summer finds herself living in. This book makes you glance twice over your shoulder when you’re walking alone at night and it is a reminder of how quickly something like this can happen. The Cellar opens your mind to both the kidnapper and the captives. Highly recommend this book!   

By Natasha Preston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller!
A gripping, ripped-from-the-headlines, twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling thriller author Natasha Preston!
Summer is trapped in a cellar with the man who took her-and three other girls: Rose, Poppy, and Violet. His perfect flowers. His family. But flowers can't survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out...
Teen thrillers also by Natasha Preston:
Awake
The Cabin
You Will Be Mine
The Lost
The Twin


5 book lists we think you will like!

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