100 books like A Woman Is No Man

By Etaf Rum,

Here are 100 books that A Woman Is No Man fans have personally recommended if you like A Woman Is No Man. 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 Origins: A Memoir

Steven A. Cook Author Of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square

From my list on understanding the Middle East.

Who am I?

Steven A. Cook is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for the Middle East and Africa studies and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S. Middle East policy. 

Steven's book list on understanding the Middle East

Steven A. Cook Why did Steven love this book?

I read Maalouf's book many years ago and it remains one of the best books I have ever read about identity. It helps that he is a gifted writer and that Maalouf's story is so compelling.

By Amin Maalouf,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Origins, by the world-renowned writer Amin Maalouf, is a sprawling, hemisphere-spanning intergenerational saga.

Set during the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth, in the mountains of Lebanon and in Havana, Cuba, Origins recounts the family history of the generation of Maalouf's paternal grandfather, Boutros. Why did Boutros, a poet and educator in Lebanon, travel across the globe to rescue his younger brother, Gebrayel, who had settled in Havana?

Maalouf is an energetic and amiable narrator, illuminating the more obscure corners of late Ottoman nationalism, the psychology of Lebanese sectarianism, and the dynamics of…


Book cover of Arabian Love Poems

Sam Dagher Author Of Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family's Lust for Power Destroyed Syria

From my list on people of the Levant region.

Who am I?

Sam Dagher is a Lebanese-American journalist and author with more than 15 years of experience reporting on the Middle East and its people. He has lived in Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus and worked throughout the region. Sam has been committed to telling the region’s stories from the ground up and in the process shedding new light on the root causes of war, extremism, and migration.

Sam's book list on people of the Levant region

Sam Dagher Why did Sam love this book?

Damascus-born Nizar Qabbani, a lawyer by training, abandoned a career in diplomacy in the late 1960s to become one of the Arab world’s most beloved poets. Both his sensual and political poems carry seeds of defiance, rebellion and a quest for liberation from autocratic institutions and rigid social norms. This edition reproduces Qabbani’s own handwritten text of the selected poems.

By Nizar Qabbani, Bassam K. Frangieh, Clementina R. Brown

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This translation of Nizar Kabbani's poetry is accompanied by the striking Arabic texts of the poems, penned by Kabbani especially for this collection. Kabbani was a poet of great simplicity - direct, spontaneous, musical, using the language of everyday life. He was a ceasless campaigner for women's rights, and his verses praise the beauty of the female body, and of love. He was an Arab nationalist, yet he criticized Arab dictators and the lack of freedom in the Arab world.


Book cover of The Shell: Memoirs of a Hidden Observer

Sam Dagher Author Of Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family's Lust for Power Destroyed Syria

From my list on people of the Levant region.

Who am I?

Sam Dagher is a Lebanese-American journalist and author with more than 15 years of experience reporting on the Middle East and its people. He has lived in Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus and worked throughout the region. Sam has been committed to telling the region’s stories from the ground up and in the process shedding new light on the root causes of war, extremism, and migration.

Sam's book list on people of the Levant region

Sam Dagher Why did Sam love this book?

The Shell is a peek into both the horrors and absurdities of totalitarian regimes told in the form of a prison diary kept by the author. Khalifa, a Christian by birth and an atheist, was mistaken (or perhaps not, given what I learned about the Assad regime in the course of my work) for a radical Islamist, arrested and locked up in the notorious Tadmor desert prison, more accurately a death camp. The book reveals the horrific consequences of the logic and methods of the Assad family and other dictators in the Middle East and beyond: Anyone suspected of harboring a hint of opposition to the ruler will be labeled a terrorist and traitor, crushed and turned into an example to instill fear in the wider population.

By Moustafa Khalifa, Paul Starkey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The work of a moder-day Sozhenitsyn that exposes acts of violence and brutality committed by the Syrian regime. This compelling first novel is the astonishing story of a Syrian political prisoner of conscience—an atheist mistaken for a radical Islamist—who was locked up for 13 years without trial in one of the most notorious prisons in the Middle East. The novel takes the form of a diary which Musa keeps in his head and then writes down upon his release. In Tadmur prison, the mood is naturally bleak and yet often very beautifully captured. The narrator, a young graduate, is defiant…


Book cover of We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria

Sam Dagher Author Of Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family's Lust for Power Destroyed Syria

From my list on people of the Levant region.

Who am I?

Sam Dagher is a Lebanese-American journalist and author with more than 15 years of experience reporting on the Middle East and its people. He has lived in Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus and worked throughout the region. Sam has been committed to telling the region’s stories from the ground up and in the process shedding new light on the root causes of war, extremism, and migration.

Sam's book list on people of the Levant region

Sam Dagher Why did Sam love this book?

Pearlman expertly, delicately and lovingly assembles elements from the stories and journeys of close to 90 Syrians into a mosaic “mapped onto Syria’s historical trajectory from authoritarianism to revolution, war, and exile” as she explains in the introduction. For me there are echoes of Maalouf’s Origins in this book: More than a hundred years later and Syrians and Levantines are still having to flee their homelands because of tyranny, conflict and political and social upheaval. Pearlman is an accomplished professor at Northwestern University who speaks Arabic and has spent more than 20 years studying and living in the Middle East. Her expertise and empathy shine through in a book that gives us a chance “to listen to actual Syrians, as human beings,” as she says.

By Wendy Pearlman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONG-LISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL

Reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, an astonishing collection of intimate wartime testimonies and poetic fragments from a cross-section of Syrians whose lives have been transformed by revolution, war, and flight.

Against the backdrop of the wave of demonstrations known as the Arab Spring, in 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. The government's ferocious response, and the refusal of the demonstrators to back down, sparked a brutal civil war that over the past five years has escalated into the worst humanitarian…


Book cover of The Other Family

V.P. Morris Author Of ShadowCast

From my list on thrillers with morally gray female protagonists.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by people’s motives whether that be in real life or written on the page. That’s what drew me to write in the thriller genre to begin with because at the core, it's about finding out why people do things. But sometimes this genre portrays female characters as either innocent damsels or evil femme fatales, neither of which captures that women are a mix of good and bad like all other people. That’s why I try to write my female protagonists in my novels, short stories, and fictional podcasts, in a way that makes them conflicted humans and causes them to experience both downfalls and triumphs. 

V.P.'s book list on thrillers with morally gray female protagonists

V.P. Morris Why did V.P. love this book?

This novel is exactly what I look for in a thriller.

It’s fast-paced, filled with twists, and full of complex female characters.

The Howell Family is forced to move from California to Brooklyn for the husband’s job. Wife and mother, Nora is tasked with setting up their new home and getting her two teen daughters settled into their new schools.

However, she discovers their new Brownstone was the site of a grisly murder of an entire family in the 1990s. Soon one of the daughters notices someone stalking her and their house causing the family to fear the killer has returned.

But Nora isn’t the helpless stay-at-home mother everyone thinks she is as she goes through great lengths including hiding a dark past to keep her family safe. 

By Wendy Corsi Staub,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of PopSugar's Most Anticipated Books!

One of Bibliofile's Most Anticipated Mystery/Thriller Books!

“Great psychological suspense with a wallop of a twist.” —Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author

New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub makes her trade paperback debut with a fast-paced thriller in the vein of Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs and Megan Collins’ The Winter Sister. Here, a family making a fresh start moves into a house which was the site of an unsolved triple homicide—and are watched by an unknown person...

The watcher sees who you are...and knows what you did. 

It’s the…


Book cover of The Better Sister

Adam Mitzner Author Of A Conflict of Interest

From my list on to read after you’ve binged Law & Order.

Who am I?

I come by my love of legal thrillers honestly – when I’m not writing them, I’m living them as a full-time practicing lawyer. The cases in my real-life legal practice are far less exciting than those experienced by the lawyers in my books (or the books I’ve recommended here), but the throughline that connects them is that in reality and in fiction, the stakes are very high, the people involved have a motivation for what they’ve done, and the outcome is always in doubt until that last page. 

Adam's book list on to read after you’ve binged Law & Order

Adam Mitzner Why did Adam love this book?

I first met Alafair Burke after my first book was accepted for publication (at a book reading she was giving) and she was extremely generous with her time and advice about being a crime-fiction writer. I’ve read most of her books, but this is my favorite, combining first-rate knowledge of the legal system with long-hidden family secrets and resentments. 

By Alafair Burke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bestselling author of The Ex and The Wife
*The Girl She Was, available to pre-order now*
'Highly addictive' KARIN SLAUGHTER 'A major talent' HARLAN COBEN

Keep your enemies close and your sister closer...

For a while, it seemed like both Taylor sisters had found happiness. Chloe landed a coveted publishing job in New York City. Nicky got married to a promising young attorney named Adam McIntosh and became a mother to a baby boy named Ethan.

But now, fourteen years later, it is Chloe who is married to Adam. When he is murdered at the couple's beach house, she has…


Book cover of The Darlings

Jillian Medoff Author Of When We Were Bright and Beautiful

From my list on very rich families with very dark secrets.

Who am I?

According to Entertainment Weekly, I’m a “bestselling author who has made a name for [myself] with uncannily insightful takes on the dark side of family institutions.” But really, I’m just a novelist who has always been fascinated by the myriad ways we play out our unresolved issues from childhood, again and again, over the course of our lives. Although my books are very different from each other, they all focus on the interrelationships among family members (traditional families, work families, etc.). In my most recent novel, When We Were Bright and Beautiful, I look at how wealth, privilege, and power can corrupt even the most loving relationships.

Jillian's book list on very rich families with very dark secrets

Jillian Medoff Why did Jillian love this book?

From the first scene of The Darlings, Christina Alger plunges you into the lives of the fabulously wealthy. The daughter of a Wall Street financier, Alger grew up in this world, and her experience and insight make the book sing. The Darlings is fast-paced and compulsively readable, and the characters are well-drawn and authentic. This novel includes everything I love: financial crimes, shocking scandals, lots of details, and terrific storytelling. 

By Cristina Alger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Cristina Alger's debut novel offers a fresh and modern glimpse into New York's high society. I was hooked from page one' Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada

From the author of The Banker's Wife and Girls Like Us comes an explosive drama about family, greed and high society scandal.

The Darlings of New York are untouchable. But no one is safe from a scandal this big.

When Carter Darling's business partner commits suicide, it triggers a huge financial investigation.

The allegations are serious. The danger of it exposing their private lives is equally threatening.

In times of crisis,…


Book cover of Blue Labyrinth

J.M. Adams Author Of Second Term

From my list on fearless female warriors.

Who am I?

Female warriors add more depth to the action/thriller genre and make any character infinitely more interesting. I’ve read and watched enough Jacks, Johns, and Jakes to last a lifetime and I want some Janes in my reading life. I’ve been an avid reader for more than 40 years and always felt that there was a blank space when it comes to female protagonists. Many of my favorite female characters were relegated to supporting roles including some on my list, but when I find a great female character I end up reading her again and again. And if you haven’t seen it yet, watch Lioness on Amazon, it will leave you breathless! 

J.M.'s book list on fearless female warriors

J.M. Adams Why did J.M. love this book?

When it comes to Constance Greene, I hardly know where to begin.

She’s certainly the oldest and most deadly character in fiction writing today. I say she’s the oldest because she’s trapped in the body of a thirty-something-year-old woman even though she was born in 1873, long story.

She appears as a supporting character in multiple novels, as the love interest of Detective Aloysius Pendergast, but she is so much more than that. She’s eloquent, brilliant, and does not succumb to emotional distress under any threat of death.

In Blue Labyrinth, eight highly trained mercenaries pursue her and none of them live to tell the tale. At her most ruthless, she can kill with any tool at her disposal and she is loyal to the man she loves.

By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


When a longtime enemy shows up dead on Pendergast's doorstep, the murder investigation leads him into his own dark past as a vengeful killer waits in the shadows.

It begins with murder. One of Pendergast's most implacable, most feared enemies is found on his doorstep, dead. Pendergast has no idea who is responsible for the killing, or why the body was brought to his home. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect crime, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased.

The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on…


Book cover of Murder on Memory Lake

Susan McCormick Author Of The Fog Ladies

From my list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters.

Who am I?

I am a doctor, an award-winning writer, and lifelong lover of mysteries. Many mysteries feature smart characters. I prefer those with wise characters, who can teach me something about a life well-lived. Or not. Sometimes the mistakes are more instructive and more fun. Stories with older characters offer a plethora of life experience and wisdom, and usually poignancy and humor as well. From my life as a doctor and my daily visits to my mother’s retirement community dinner table, I see seniors who are strong, wise, vital, and often overlooked. I love stories that give voice to this robust and rich generation who have so much to offer.

Susan's book list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters

Susan McCormick Why did Susan love this book?

A widow with a new lease on life thanks to her secretly wealthy aunt becomes involved in a murder.

Multigenerational, with the Italian grandma, her newbie journalist granddaughter, plus an ex-nun sister and an ex-sister-in-law.

This story involves food, jokes, and family love, albeit with much more brashness and outspokenness than any of the other books I listed, and also a lot more Italian, though the book is set in New Jersey.

By J.D. Griffo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder on Memory Lake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Alberta Scaglione, her golden years are turning out much more differently than she expected—and much more deadly . . .
 
Alberta Scaglione’ s spinster aunt had some secrets—like the fortune she squirreled away and a secret lake house in Tranquility, New Jersey. More surprising: she’s left it all to Alberta. Alberta, a widow, is no spring chicken and she’s gotten used to disappointment. So having a beautiful view, surrounded by hydrangeas, honeysuckle, and her cat, Lola, sounds blissful after years of yelling and bickering and cooking countless lasagnas.
 
But Tranquility isn’t as peaceful as it sounds. There’s a body…


Book cover of Daisy Darker

Marie Still Author Of We're All Lying

From my list on whiplash inducing twists.

Who am I?

As a reader and a writer, I am drawn to the darker side of human nature. Dysfunctional families, toxic relationships, liars, murderers, bring on the bad. An avid reader of horror and thrillers, I love a jaw-dropping twist. I aim for that feeling in my own novels, opening up reader questions and slowly delivering satisfying answers until the final big reveal. While inside my head is very dark and murdery, outside I live a very normal, law-abiding life, in Tampa with my husband, our four kids, and two dogs.  

Marie's book list on whiplash inducing twists

Marie Still Why did Marie love this book?

Sticking with the ‘could this family be any more toxic’ theme, Daisy Darker is another WTF did I just read thriller. A h/t to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, the setting sets the mood right from the start. Nana’s house Seaglass is on an atmospheric island and includes quirky features like eighty clocks on one wall. The family’s bad behavior is called out when Nana reads her will, which is timely since the next morning she’s found dead. Alice Feeney has a brilliant way with words, she says the creepiest things in the most beautiful way.   

By Alice Feeney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER*
"Alice Feeney is great with TWISTS and TURNS." —Harlan Coben

The NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR of Rock Paper Scissors returns with a locked-room mystery when a family reunion leads to murder in a delightfully twisty and atmospheric thriller, as seen on the TODAY show.

“A dysfunctional family meets Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None with a truly gasp-inducing twist. This is the book you've been looking for.” —Catherine Ryan Howard, bestselling author of 56 Days

Daisy Darker was born with a broken heart. Now after years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire…


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