100 books like A House in the Sky

By Amanda Lindhout, Sara Corbett,

Here are 100 books that A House in the Sky fans have personally recommended if you like A House in the Sky. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Jim Landwehr Author Of Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir

From my list on the trials and joys of outdoor adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a lover of all things outdoors since I was a boy. After my father was killed at a young age, my brothers and I took his love for outdoor adventure and made it our own. Fully aware of all that can go wrong, my brothers and I went into our ventures with a keen sense of humor. Camping, fishing, and kayaking all come with their own challenges and requisite hilarious moments. It is these moments of adversity, and personal risk, that are sometimes lightened by a good dose of laughter and levity.

Jim's book list on the trials and joys of outdoor adventure

Jim Landwehr Why did Jim love this book?

Much like A Walk in the Woods, Wild takes an ordinary person and puts them in an extremely challenging environment only to show they were unprepared for the rigors of the great outdoors.

Strayed has a similar goal to Bryson, but chooses the Pacific Crest Trail. The hike is an attempt at self-discovery as well as to challenge herself after experiencing various addictions and the loss of her mother. Strayed’s motives are not unlike those of my brothers and I as we ventured into the BWCAW while navigating our young lives as twenty-somethings.

By Cheryl Strayed,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the…


Book cover of Under the Tuscan Sun

Susan Pohlman Author Of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home

From my list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the transformational power of travel ever since my husband and I unexpectedly signed a lease to an apartment on the Italian Riviera instead of divorce papers. The power of that year abroad saved our marriage, united our family of four in a sacred way, and introduced us to the many cultures of Europe. I learned the crucial difference between taking a trip and embarking on a journey. Capturing a travel experience on the page for those who can’t journey to a destination themselves is a joy and a privilege I don’t take lightly. Publishing this memoir allowed me to pivot in my career to a full-time writer and writing coach/editor.

Susan's book list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel

Susan Pohlman Why did Susan love this book?

I remember seeing this book for the first time on my mother’s bedside table.

As a mother of six children (five boys and a girl—me), I strongly suspect she dreamed of escape from time to time. A mother now myself, I understand feelings of overwhelm.

When I read this book back in the late ‘90s I saw a woman brave enough to step into her dreams and create a beautiful and sensuous life. It was bold, and it allowed me to dream of a bigger life. It made me curious if I could ever do such a thing.

Read the story of how she and her husband transformed an old villa as well as their lives!

By Frances Mayes,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Under the Tuscan Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the New York Times bestseller that inspired the film. The perfect read for anyone seeking an escape to the Italian countryside.

When Frances Mayes - poet, gourmet cook and travel writer - buys an abandoned villa in Tuscany, she has no idea of the scale of the project she is embarking on.

In this enchanting memoir she takes the reader on a journey to restore a crumbling villa and build a new life in the Italian countryside, navigating hilarious cultural misunderstandings, legal frustrations and the challenges of renovating a house that seems determined to remain a ruin.

Filled with…


Book cover of The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World.

Susan Pohlman Author Of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home

From my list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the transformational power of travel ever since my husband and I unexpectedly signed a lease to an apartment on the Italian Riviera instead of divorce papers. The power of that year abroad saved our marriage, united our family of four in a sacred way, and introduced us to the many cultures of Europe. I learned the crucial difference between taking a trip and embarking on a journey. Capturing a travel experience on the page for those who can’t journey to a destination themselves is a joy and a privilege I don’t take lightly. Publishing this memoir allowed me to pivot in my career to a full-time writer and writing coach/editor.

Susan's book list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel

Susan Pohlman Why did Susan love this book?

This is just plain fun and inspiring to read!

Three friends, each on the brink of a quarter-life crisis, make a pact to quit their high-pressure New York City media jobs and leave behind their friends, boyfriends, and everything familiar to embark on a year-long backpacking adventure around the world.

From the first chapter when they were invited to dance with the Maasai in Kenya, I was swept along with them for an unforgettable journey!

By Jennifer Baggett, Holly C Corbett, Amanda Pressner

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A triumphant journey about losing yourself, finding yourself and coming home again. Hitch yourself to their ride: you’ll embark on a transformative journey of your own.”  — Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of The One That I Want and Time of My Life

Three friends, each on the brink of a quarter-life crisis, make a pact to quit their high pressure New York City media jobs and leave behind their friends, boyfriends, and everything familiar to embark on a year-long backpacking adventure around the world in The Lost Girls.

With their thirtieth birthdays looming, Jen, Holly, and…


Book cover of Ciao, America! An Italian Discovers the U.S.

Susan Pohlman Author Of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home

From my list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the transformational power of travel ever since my husband and I unexpectedly signed a lease to an apartment on the Italian Riviera instead of divorce papers. The power of that year abroad saved our marriage, united our family of four in a sacred way, and introduced us to the many cultures of Europe. I learned the crucial difference between taking a trip and embarking on a journey. Capturing a travel experience on the page for those who can’t journey to a destination themselves is a joy and a privilege I don’t take lightly. Publishing this memoir allowed me to pivot in my career to a full-time writer and writing coach/editor.

Susan's book list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel

Susan Pohlman Why did Susan love this book?

This book helped me fall in love with travel memoir long before the thought of living in Italy ever crossed my mind.

Beppe Severgnini is laugh-out-loud funny. He and his wife move to Washington D.C. and must navigate and make sense of the American lifestyle. If you are looking for a few giggles, grab this one.

By Beppe Severgnini,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ciao, America! An Italian Discovers the U.S. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the wry but affectionate tradition of Bill Bryson, Ciao, America! is a delightful look at America through the eyes of a fiercely funny guest — one of Italy’s favorite authors who spent a year in Washington, D.C.

When Beppe Severgnini and his wife rented a creaky house in Georgetown they were determined to see if they could adapt to a full four seasons in a country obsessed with ice cubes, air-conditioning, recliner chairs, and, of all things, after-dinner cappuccinos. From their first encounters with cryptic rental listings to their back-to-Europe yard sale twelve months later, Beppe explores this foreign…


Book cover of Under an Afghan Sky

Stephanie Chitpin Author Of Keep My Memory Safe: Fook Soo Am, The Pagoda

From my list on expanding perspectives and empathy for others.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Full Professor of Leadership within the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Canada. I am the recipient of the 2020 Research Excellence Award. My research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Ontario Ministry of Education, Canada, is international in scope. I am also the founder of the Equitable Leadership Network at the University of Ottawa. 

Stephanie's book list on expanding perspectives and empathy for others

Stephanie Chitpin Why did Stephanie love this book?

Fung writes a powerful story about survival, her captivity, and her indomitable spirit under the most perilous of circumstances that she lived through in Kabul, Afghanistan after being grabbed by the Taliban. As the Canadian reporter describes her bone-chilling account of the horrific twenty-eight days, I am left in awe of her strength and courage. 

By Mellissa Fung,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under an Afghan Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In October 2008, Mellissa Fung, a reporter for CBC’s The National, was leaving a refugee camp outside of Kabul when she was kidnapped by armed men. She was forced to hike for several hours through the mountains until they reached a village; there, the kidnappers pushed her towards a hole in the ground. “No,” she said. “I am not going down there.”

For more than a month, Fung lived in that hole, which was barely tall enough to stand up in, nursing her injuries, praying and writing in a notebook. Under an Afghan Sky is the gripping tale of Fung’s…


Book cover of When Stars Are Scattered

Alison Prowle Author Of Strength-based Practice with Children and Families

From my list on finding hope following childhood adversity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in the South Wales Valleys during the 1970s and 80s, I witnessed firsthand the effects of multiple adversities on the lives of those around me. Life was difficult for many families in the area as they battled with poverty, ill health, and lack of opportunity. I watched many amazing, creative, and talented young people fail to realise their potential. This sparked a passion and a career for supportive intervention with families and young children. It is my aim to help equip the workforce to better understand and respond to childhood adversity, be trauma aware, advocate for children’s rights, and make a positive difference in the lives of children and young people.

Alison's book list on finding hope following childhood adversity

Alison Prowle Why did Alison love this book?

It is difficult to imagine a more adverse childhood experience than growing up in a refugee camp.

In 2016 and 2017, I was privileged to spend some time working with children and families in a refugee camp in North France. The living conditions were very difficult, with regular food shortages, ill health, uncertainty, and ever-present danger. However,  I was continually amazed by the resilience, creativity, generosity, and humour shown by the children, even in the face of such difficulties.

When Stars Are Scattered is a beautiful children’s book that tells the true story of Omar and his brother Hassan as they grow up in a Kenyan refugee camp. Filled with beautiful illustrations and thoughtful insights into daily life in the camp, this book exemplifies hope in the face of adversity. 

By Omar Mohamed, Victoria Jamieson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked When Stars Are Scattered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A National Book Award Finalist, this remarkable graphic novel is about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would…


Book cover of The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert

MaryAnn Shank Author Of The Mystical Land of Myrrh

From my list on strong Somali women.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia in the late 1960’s I witnessed the upheaval in the society due to the massive changes in government demanded by the Western world. There were so many brave people emerging from this chaos, especially women. There was even a young Somali woman who saved my life. That such strength grows in such circumstances still amazes me. I am honored to bring a few of them to you, and to share a small part of my personal experience in Somalia.

MaryAnn's book list on strong Somali women

MaryAnn Shank Why did MaryAnn love this book?

Shugri is the last nomad in her family. There are no more.

She fled the wars, the famines, the torture that had become Somalia and, through a treacherous journey became a refugee in hostile places, landing finally in California. Along with her constant confusion with escalators and washing machines, she overcame her fears of torture, and her suspicions, to become a nurse, a wife and a mother, a valuable citizen of her community.

I have met Shugri, and she is now one of the kindest, gentlest people I know. She has a lot to teach all of us about strength of character, and loving.

By Shugri Said Salh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A remarkable and inspiring true story that "stuns with raw beauty" about one woman's resilience, her courageous journey to America, and her family's lost way of life.

Finalist for the 2022 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nonfiction Award
Winner of the 2022 Gold Nautilus Award, Multicultural & Indigenous Category

Born in Somalia, a spare daughter in a large family, Shugri Said Salh was sent at age six to live with her nomadic grandmother in the desert. The last of her family to learn this once-common way of life, Salh found herself chasing warthogs, climbing termite hills, herding goats, and moving constantly…


Book cover of Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman: 90,000 Lives Changed

MaryAnn Shank Author Of The Mystical Land of Myrrh

From my list on strong Somali women.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia in the late 1960’s I witnessed the upheaval in the society due to the massive changes in government demanded by the Western world. There were so many brave people emerging from this chaos, especially women. There was even a young Somali woman who saved my life. That such strength grows in such circumstances still amazes me. I am honored to bring a few of them to you, and to share a small part of my personal experience in Somalia.

MaryAnn's book list on strong Somali women

MaryAnn Shank Why did MaryAnn love this book?

Hope is sometimes a rare commodity in a land torn by war, famine, and drought for decades.

Blessed help is often even rarer. Dr. Hawa Abdi is that rare person who pours hope into such a desolate environment and saves lives. Dr. Hawa Abdi created a hospital out of nothing, treating all who came to her doorstep, no questions asked. It sits in northern Somalia, with trained nurses and medical supplies brought in from donations.

Dr. Hawa Abdi is a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee for her unrelenting work to help Somalia, her home, bringing hope to many hundreds of her people. Indeed an inspirational story of compassion, and making dreams come true.

By Hawa Abdi, Sarah J Robbins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For the last twenty years, Dr Hawa Abdi and her daughters have run a refugee camp on their family farm not far from Mogadishu which has grown to shelter 90,000 displaced Somalis: men, women, and children in urgent need of medical attention. As Islamist militia groups have been battling for control of the country creating one of the most dire human rights crises in the world, Dr. Abdi's camp is a beacon of hope for the Somalis, most of whom have no proper access to health care. She was recently held hostage by a militant groups who threatened her life…


Book cover of Seven Days In May

Bob Reiss Author Of The Last Spy

From my list on thrillers that affected the real world.

Why am I passionate about this?

This will sound corny but if writers aren’t dreamers, who is? As a journalist, I got to cover real events, but I was also concerned about what could happen. But how do you write about something you fear will happen, but hasn’t happened yet? How to drive across future consequences when you are limited by that moment’s reality? A journalist will quote leaders, or reports, and hope that does the trick. A novelist can bring characters to life who will one day have to live with a tragedy and their own choices. My short story collection Still Hungry will be published in January 2023.

Bob's book list on thrillers that affected the real world

Bob Reiss Why did Bob love this book?

Like most readers, I’m scared these days about the future of our democracy. As a reporter I’ve covered trouble spots; like Somalia – where no law existed - and Sudan, where I was in a crowd fleeing at the mere sight of an airplane, fearing bombs. One of my friends lost his wife in a Washington car bombing. Others escaped danger during a Chilean coup. Seven Days in May imagined an attempted coup in the US, and although the setting was decades ago, some forces at play are the same, since human motivation never changes. This book sobered up the nation back then by reminding readers what happens when some of us....any of us...think they know better than everyone else and believe force is the way to go. We could use that reminder now.

By Fletcher Knebel, Charles W. Bailey II,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Days In May as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vintage hardcover


Book cover of Desert Flower

Martin Fletcher Author Of Promised Land: A Novel of Israel

From my list on the refugee experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my work as a news reporter and war correspondent, I met people on the worst day of their lives. I always wondered: What now? How will they get on with life? My own parents faced that dreadful dilemma. Penniless refugees, their families murdered in the Holocaust, unemployed in London, how on earth did they find the strength to carry on? One day at a time, they just did what they had to do. That is the subject of my fiction, always trying to answer that existential question: How do we live with trauma, and still find love and happiness?

Martin's book list on the refugee experience

Martin Fletcher Why did Martin love this book?

It isn’t the best-written book but Waris Dirie’s account of her escape from Somalia, her life as a domestic servant in London, her marriages of convenience, and her ultimate triumph in New York’s world of fashion, haunted me for years.

A frank, intimate account of a beautiful woman’s escape from a nomadic tribal life of female abuse to scaling the heights of western fashion modeling.

By Waris Dirie, Cathleen Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Waris Dirie (the name means desert flower) lives a double life - by day she is a famous model and UN spokeswoman on women's rights in Africa, at night she dreams of her native Somalia. Waris, one of 12 children, was born into a traditional family of desert nomads in East Africa. She remembers her early childhood as carefree- racing camels and moving on with her family to the next grazing spot - until it came her turn to meet the old woman who administered the ancient custom imposed on most Somalian girls: circumcision. Waris suffered this torture when she…


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