56 books like A Stranger's Journey

By David Mura,

Here are 56 books that A Stranger's Journey fans have personally recommended if you like A Stranger's Journey. 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 The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative

Kendra Allen Author Of The Collection Plate: Poems

From my list on finding inspiration and motivation.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a person who reads solely for pleasure regardless of research, I make it a mission while writing to read books I actually enjoy on topics I wanna learn more about. I chose the books on this list because I’m also a person who reads multiple books at once in various genres, it keeps me honest; aware of holes and discrepancies in my own work and pushes me towards some semblance of completion. All the writers on this list do multiple things at once and I admire their skill and risk in coupling creativity with clarity.

Kendra's book list on finding inspiration and motivation

Kendra Allen Why did Kendra love this book?

Sometimes I need a book that will inspire me not to continue writing, but to start; kinda like when I binge watch YouTube book talks—that’s the feeling this book brings over me—inspired. It’s a book that helps me write anything because I’m a person who struggles with—yet craves the ability to— strip a piece as bare as possible. Strip a story of its fluff and dissect its roots. I need to know what to save for later, and Gornick expressing the difference between situation and story is something I always go back to in order to help declutter my work. 

By Vivian Gornick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A guide to the art of personal writing, by the author of Fierce Attachments and The End of the Novel of Love

All narrative writing must pull from the raw material of life a tale that will shape experience, transform event, deliver a bit of wisdom. In a story or a novel the "I" who tells this tale can be, and often is, an unreliable narrator but in nonfiction the reader must always be persuaded that the narrator is speaking truth.

How does one pull from one's own boring, agitated self the truth-speaker who will tell the story a personal…


Book cover of Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir

Dinty W. Moore Author Of Crafting The Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction

From my list on for essayists and memoirists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dinty W. Moore is the author of the writing guides The Story Cure, Crafting the Personal Essay, and The Mindful Writer, among many other books. He has published essays and stories in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Southern Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere, and has taught master classes and workshops on memoir and essay writing across the United States as well as in Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, and Mexico.

Dinty's book list on for essayists and memoirists

Dinty W. Moore Why did Dinty love this book?

A friendly and accessible guide for anyone wanting to tell their own life story, Fearless Confessions looks at several craft issues in writing – plot, style, voice, point-of-view, metaphor, language – as well as marketing, and ethics. Silverman’s exceptional book offers also provides insight from her own writing journey, useful writing exercises, a helpful discussion of nonfiction sub-genres, and a valuable “Reading List of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction.” A welcoming and supportive text packed with nuggets of pure wisdom.

By Sue William Silverman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This title shows how to craft compelling art out of personal experience. Everyone has a story to tell. ""Fearless Confessions"" is a guidebook for people who want to take possession of their lives by putting their experiences down on paper - or in a Web site or e-book. Enhanced with illustrative examples from many different writers as well as writing exercises, this guide helps writers navigate a range of issues from craft to ethics to marketing and will be useful to both beginners and more accomplished writers. The rise of interest in memoir recognizes the power of the genre to…


Book cover of You Can't Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction

Dinty W. Moore Author Of Crafting The Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction

From my list on for essayists and memoirists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dinty W. Moore is the author of the writing guides The Story Cure, Crafting the Personal Essay, and The Mindful Writer, among many other books. He has published essays and stories in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Southern Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere, and has taught master classes and workshops on memoir and essay writing across the United States as well as in Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, and Mexico.

Dinty's book list on for essayists and memoirists

Dinty W. Moore Why did Dinty love this book?

Gutkind founded the journal Creative Nonfiction and has been a tireless advocate of the CNF genre for decades, as a writer, teacher, public speaker, and publisher. His nuts and bolts guidebook, You Can't Make This Stuff Up, offers a wide-ranging examination of the craft of writing true stories – dialogue, description, beginnings, endings, intimate detail, reflection, point-of-view, framing – as well as clear and helpful chapters about forming a writing habit and learning to live one’s life as a writer. Gutkind has generously packed decades of wisdom and knowledge into perhaps the most comprehensive nonfiction guide available.

By Lee Gutkind,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Can't Make This Stuff Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From rags-to-riches-to-rags tell-alls to personal health sagas to literary journalism everyone seems to want to try their hand at creative nonfiction. Now, Lee Gutkind, the go-to expert for all things creative nonfiction, taps into one of the fastest-growing genres with this new writing guide. Frank and to-the-point, with depth and clarity, Gutkind describes and illustrates each and every aspect of the genre, from defining a concept and establishing a writing process to the final product. Offering new ways of understanding genre and invaluable tools for writers to learn and experiment with, You Can't Make This Stuff Up allows writers of…


Book cover of The Art of Memoir

Helena de Bres Author Of Artful Truths: The Philosophy of Memoir

From my list on to read if you're thinking of writing a memoir.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a philosophy professor who started writing memoir in her mid-thirties. I love the similarities and the differences between memoir and philosophy (to sum it up: both are ways of making sense of your experience, but memoirists are allowed to tell stories, make jokes and break your heart.) On the trail of my obsession with the two, I’ve written a book on the philosophy of memoir and a memoir about philosophy. My sister calls them “your weird book twins.” Whatever! The whole experience has felt like falling in love, and I now want to encourage everyone to give personal writing a shot. 

Helena's book list on to read if you're thinking of writing a memoir

Helena de Bres Why did Helena love this book?

This book is a blast to read and also packed with insight (the Holy Grail, no?) It’s a collection of short chapters on a wide range of questions that either a baby or seasoned memoirist might ask. How do I find my voice? How do I organize my material? Am I betraying my family? (When Karr asked her own mom if she minded being outed as a knife-wielding alcoholic who set her children’s toys on fire, Mrs. Karr apparently replied: “Oh hell, the whole town knew about that.”) Karr draws on her extensive experience as a best-selling memoirist and teacher of memoir, serving up hard-won wisdom and concrete practical advice. Reading The Art of Memoir is like trapping a celebrity genius in a hotel bar and getting the unvarnished version. You’ll love it.

By Mary Karr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Credited with sparking the current memoir explosion, Mary Karr's The Liars' Club spent more than a year at the top of the New York Times list. She followed with two other smash bestsellers: Cherry and Lit, which were critical hits as well. For thirty years Karr has also taught the form, winning teaching prizes at Syracuse. (The writing program there produced such acclaimed authors as Cheryl Strayed, Keith Gessen, and Koren Zailckas.) In The Art of Memoir, she synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and "black belt sinner," providing a unique window…


Book cover of Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them

James R. Benn Author Of Road of Bones

From my list on essential books for writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always wanted to write. It took years to get started, and after working in the library and information technology fields for over thirty-five years, I quit the day job routine in 2011 to write full time. I've learned two valuable lessons since I started writing which have been of immense help. The first is a quote from writer and activist Mary Heaton Vorse, who said, "The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair." The second is from novelist Rachel Basch, who told me that "the story has to move down, as well as forward." Both sound simple. Neither is.

James' book list on essential books for writers

James R. Benn Why did James love this book?

This title is unique among books on writing in that Prose devotes a full chapter to eight critical elements of writing: words, sentences, paragraphs, narration, character, dialog, details, and gesture. For example, she explores concepts such as first sentences and their impact on the narrative. Prose suggests that “close reading” is the key to understanding and learning about literature, for the reader and writer. She takes her readers on a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters―Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov―and discusses why these writers have endured. Throughout, she cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted. One of the most important books on writing I have ever read.

By Francine Prose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reading Like a Writer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In her entertaining and edifying New York Times bestseller, acclaimed author Francine Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and tricks of the masters to discover why their work has endured. Written with passion, humour and wisdom, Reading Like a Writer will inspire readers to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart - to take pleasure in the long and magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; to look to John le Carre for a lesson in how to advance plot through…


Book cover of Making Comics

George Wylesol Author Of 2120

From my list on graphic novels that reinvent the book (literally).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an artist who likes to write, but I’ve never been interested in classic superhero or pulp graphic novels. Early in my career, the word “comics” felt like an insult—it's not “real art,” right? Too childish! While that instinct was definitely wrong, I found a (small) world of experimental, abstract, genre-breaking graphic novels that combine art and writing in a wholly unique way. This is a list of some of my recent favorites that have inspired my drawing and writing practice, and will hopefully inspire you. 

George's book list on graphic novels that reinvent the book (literally)

George Wylesol Why did George love this book?

This is an excellent textbook to get readers and comic makers of all experience levels to loosen up, think deeply and personally, and make better, more confident comics. It’s warm but practical, smart but approachable, deep but unpretentious. This is a comics veteran generously sharing both her knowledge of comics and teaching, as well as her own methods for drawing, brainstorming, and writing. It’s an incredible resource and one I often find myself quoting and recommending to my own students. 

By Lynda Barry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hello students, meet Professor Skeletor. Be on time, don t miss class, and turn off your phones. No time for introductions, we start drawing right away. The goal is more rock, less talk, and we communicate only through images. For more than five years the cartoonist Lynda Barry has been an associate professor in the University of Wisconsin Madison art department and at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, teaching students from all majors, both graduate and undergraduate, how to make comics, how to be creative, how to not think. There is no academic lecture in this classroom. Doodling is enthusiastically…


Book cover of Exploratory Writing: Everyday magic for life and work

Tom Cheesewright Author Of Future-Proof Your Business

From my list on helping you take control of your future.

Why am I passionate about this?

The future is the one thing in which we are all invested. In order to shape the future we must be able to visualise possibilities, prepare for consequences, and take action. My job is to help companies, charities, and governments to see and prepare for the future. But so many of the lessons that I find myself trying to teach to leaders have their parallels in our personal and working lives - including mine. In a time of great uncertainty about the future, we all must take time out to picture where we’re going, make choices about our direction, and invest in ourselves to achieve our dreams.

Tom's book list on helping you take control of your future

Tom Cheesewright Why did Tom love this book?

When examining the future, you’re always dealing with lots of different sources of information.

Trying to understand how they align, interact, and compete is complex. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working as a futurist, trying to plot out a new business plan, or just thinking about your personal life.

One thing that has always helped me is writing. Getting it down on paper is a powerful way to structure your thoughts, to share them, and kick off collaboration.

If you want help using writing to explore your mind and your world, then this is the book. It’s in many ways quite simple, but it’s no less powerful than that.

By Alison Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

** Business Book Awards 2023 Finalist **

'A really powerful book.' - Bruce Daisley

Simple tools, extraordinary results.

Everything we're learning about how we function best as humans in the digital age is pointing towards one of our oldest technologies: the pen and the page.

Exploratory writing - writing for ourselves, not for others, writing when we don't know exactly what it is we want to say - is one of the most powerful and lightweight thinking tools we have at our disposal. It's also been, until now, one of the most overlooked.

But the world's most influential leaders are…


Book cover of Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You'll Ever Need

Valerie Howard Author Of Deep Blue Sea

From my list on for indie authors working to improve their craft.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a published indie author since 2011, and I enjoy reading and studying the craft to make my work the best it can be. I have a passion for indie authors and indie publishing, and I love the flexibility this type of authorship gives me while I homeschool my two young boys, run a non-profit organization, and volunteer at my church.

Valerie's book list on for indie authors working to improve their craft

Valerie Howard Why did Valerie love this book?

This book teaches the secrets of storytelling and story structure from a popular screenplay perspective. When I start a new novel, this is the first book I reach for every time. It teaches how to keep your story engaging to readers and how to best structure the overall plot so your story flows beautifully throughout and ends with satisfaction.

By Jessica Brody,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Save the Cat! Writes a Novel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, which reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.

Novelist Jessica Brody presents a comprehensive story-structure guide for novelists that applies the famed Save the Cat! screenwriting methodology to the world of novel writing. Revealing the 15 "beats" (plot points) that comprise a successful story--from the opening image to the finale--this book lays out the Ten Story Genres (Monster in the House; Whydunit; Dude with a Problem) alongside quirky, original insights (Save the Cat; Shard of Glass) to help novelists craft a plot…


Book cover of Structuring Your Novel

Valerie Howard Author Of Deep Blue Sea

From my list on for indie authors working to improve their craft.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a published indie author since 2011, and I enjoy reading and studying the craft to make my work the best it can be. I have a passion for indie authors and indie publishing, and I love the flexibility this type of authorship gives me while I homeschool my two young boys, run a non-profit organization, and volunteer at my church.

Valerie's book list on for indie authors working to improve their craft

Valerie Howard Why did Valerie love this book?

I can never read too many books about how to structure the overall plot of a novel because I’m a by-the-book plotter. K.M. Weiland brilliantly explains in a down-to-earth way how to make your story work so you are never confused about which plot points should go where in your story, no matter if you plot to the nth degree or like to see where the story takes you with minimal planning.

By K.M. Weiland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Is Structure the Hidden Foundation of All Successful Stories?

Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. In this award-winning guide from the author of the acclaimed Outlining Your Novel, you will learn the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will show you how to perfectly time your story’s major events and will provide you with an unerring standard against which to evaluate your novel’s pacing and progression. Structuring Your Novel will show you:

How to determine the best techniques for empowering your unique and…


Book cover of Sing Me the Creation: Creative Writing Sourcebook

Leon Conrad Author Of Story and Structure: A complete guide

From my list on writing without killing creativity.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer, I love words and am continuously fascinated by the way they work. In terms of writing manuals, I particularly value the work of writers who combine knowledge and understanding of writing techniques while also providing inspiration and keys to freeing the imagination. I’ve found these books brilliantly complement my professional interest in story structure and how story works, and match my own approach to combining theory with practice; craft with art in my work on story. I hope you find they inspire creativity in you, too.

Leon's book list on writing without killing creativity

Leon Conrad Why did Leon love this book?

I picked up this book as the title sounded interesting, but it sat on my bookshelves for over five years before I delved into it. Since then, it’s become one of my favourite guides to writing. It’s described as ‘probably the most unusual guidebook for creative writing in the world.’ It’s full of insights such as ‘grammar is a mapping of the human soul,’ or ‘the social word… is serious play.’ The play takes place in a field with the four ‘great human virtues’ at its corners: beauty, good will, truth, and openness. It’s a ‘sourcebook of spells’ that have the power to ‘carry you into that place of the heart from which true language comes.’

By Paul Matthews,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sing Me the Creation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an inspirational workbook of creative writing exercises for poets and teachers, and for all who wish to develop the life of the imagination. Paul Mathews gives us permission to indulge our fantasy, and then, when that life is flowing, provides the tools to craft it into poetry and song. There are over 300 exercises for improving writing skills, for self study. They are also ideally suited for group work with adults. Teachers will find these exercises popular with students.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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