100 books like A Year Without Mom

By Dasha Tolstikova,

Here are 100 books that A Year Without Mom fans have personally recommended if you like A Year Without Mom. 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 Catherine, Called Birdy

Madina Papadopoulos Author Of The Step-Spinsters

From my list on transporting you to medieval life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Madina Papadopoulos is a New Orleans-born, New York-based freelance writer and author. She is currently working on the sequel to The Step-Spinsters, the first in the Unspun Fairytale series, which retells classic princess stories set in the late Middle Ages. She studied French and Italian at Tulane University and received her MFA in screenwriting at UCLA. After teaching foreign languages at the university level, as well as in childhood and elementary school programs, she developed and illustrated foreign language coloring workbooks for preschoolers. As a freelance writer, she focuses on food, drinks, and entertainment.

Madina's book list on transporting you to medieval life

Madina Papadopoulos Why did Madina love this book?

Much of the fiction set in the Middle Ages follows landmark historical moments and infamous individuals. But just as today, nothing is more complex than the inner life of a teenage girl, so it was in 1290. Written as a personal diary, this book follows Catherine, nicknamed ‘Birdy,’ as she trudges through her lessons on becoming a lady (sewing, spinning, soap making), her fears of an arranged marriage to a gnarly old nobleman, the importance of friendship and the heartbreak of unrequited love. Universal truths, all comically relatable and sprinkled with amusing details of picking off fleas and using the privy. As a preteen and teen, I read, re-read, and re-re-read Catherine's diary, escaping into her daily life as I easily imagined myself in it. This book was a friend I knew I could always return to for comfort and understanding.

By Karen Cushman,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Catherine, Called Birdy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOVIE STREAMING ON AMAZON PRIME.

A funny coming-of-age novel about a fourteen-year-old girl's fight for freedom and right to self-determination in medieval England.

Catherine's in trouble. Caught between a mother who is determined to turn her into the perfect medieval lady and a father who wants her to marry her off to much older and utterly repulsive suitor.

Luckily, Catherine has a plan. She has experience outwitting suitors and is ready to take matters into her own hands . . .

Karen Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdy is the inspiration for Prime Video's medieval comedy film directed by…


Book cover of A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir

Frieda Wishinsky Author Of Avis Dolphin

From my list on bringing real events and real kids alive.

Why am I passionate about this?

From the time I was a kid, I loved books about real people who lived through difficult and colorful times.  As a writer, I’ve written about people whose lives fascinated and inspired me like Franklin Law Olmsted (The Man Who Made Parks) I believe that a riveting story or memoir gives the reader a strong sense of a person and the times in which they lived. And after reading one of these books, I wanted to know more about the person and the period in which they lived.

Frieda's book list on bringing real events and real kids alive

Frieda Wishinsky Why did Frieda love this book?

Beverly Cleary's kid's books have been enjoyed by many generations of readers. I loved her true to life, tinged with humor books as a reader, teacher, and writer.

Like me, many readers wonder about the lives of people we admire and luckily Cleary has written a riveting, direct, and insightful memoir that helps us connect her fiction with her real-life experiences. Throughout Cleary comes across as someone we wish we knew.

By Beverly Cleary,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Girl from Yamhill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Told in her own words, A Girl from Yamhill is Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary's heartfelt and relatable memoir-now with a beautifully redesigned cover! Generations of children have read Beverly Cleary's books. From Ramona Quimby to Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse to Ellen Tebbits, she has created an evergreen body of work based on the humorous tales and heartfelt anxieties of middle graders. But in A Girl from Yamhill, Beverly Cleary tells a more personal story-her story-of what adolescence was like. In warm but honest detail, Beverly describes life in Oregon during the Great Depression, including her difficulties in learning…


Book cover of The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

Polly Farquhar Author Of Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream

From my list on middle-grade books where setting makes the story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books where the setting is just as big and alive as the characters. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a familiar place or someplace new: if a vivid setting is a key element of the story, I’m in. I think it’s because I grew up in one of those small towns in the beautiful middle of nowhere where if someone asks where you’re from, it’s just easier to say someplace else. I wanted to see the world, and books let me do that. I also wanted validation in reading—and writing—about the small places I knew, and books let me do that, too.  

Polly's book list on middle-grade books where setting makes the story

Polly Farquhar Why did Polly love this book?

This middle-grade memoir written and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin is hands down one of my favorite books in any category, period.

It is a short but rich story with layers of setting, from the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the courtyard of the narrator’s communal apartment building, to his private world under the family table in their one-room apartment. I laughed out loud, except for when I was crying.

By Eugene Yelchin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Genius Under the Table 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?

An Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Honor Winner

With a masterful mix of comic timing and disarming poignancy, Newbery Honoree Eugene Yelchin offers a memoir of growing up in Cold War Russia.

Drama, family secrets, and a KGB spy in his own kitchen! How will Yevgeny ever fulfill his parents’ dream that he become a national hero when he doesn’t even have his own room? He’s not a star athlete or a legendary ballet dancer. In the tiny apartment he shares with his Baryshnikov-obsessed mother, poetry-loving father, continually outraged grandmother, and safely talented brother, all Yevgeny has is his…


Book cover of Stitches

Frieda Wishinsky Author Of Avis Dolphin

From my list on bringing real events and real kids alive.

Why am I passionate about this?

From the time I was a kid, I loved books about real people who lived through difficult and colorful times.  As a writer, I’ve written about people whose lives fascinated and inspired me like Franklin Law Olmsted (The Man Who Made Parks) I believe that a riveting story or memoir gives the reader a strong sense of a person and the times in which they lived. And after reading one of these books, I wanted to know more about the person and the period in which they lived.

Frieda's book list on bringing real events and real kids alive

Frieda Wishinsky Why did Frieda love this book?

In this riveting memoir told through minimum text and vivid black and white graphic art, we learn of the hardships, sorrow, and choices Small dealt with as a young man. Although heartbreaking, this is ultimately a story of courage despite a painful upbringing. The reader senses how art helped Small cope with sadness, disappointment, and confusion growing up in a difficult family.

By David Small,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

David Small, a best-selling and highly regarded children's book illustrator, comes forward with this unflinching graphic memoir. Remarkable and intensely dramatic, Stitches tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who awakes one day from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he has been transformed into a virtual mute-a vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot. From horror to hope, Small proceeds to graphically portray an almost unbelievable descent into adolescent hell and the difficult road to physical, emotional, and artistic recovery.

A National Book Award finalist; winner of the ALA's Alex Award; a…


Book cover of The One and Only

Peter Martuneac Author Of Her Name Was Abby

From my list on with strong, admirable women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have an amazing daughter in my life, and I want there to be more books for her to read that feature strong, admirable, and good women in leading roles. That’s one of the things I keep an eye out for in the books I read as well as the books I write.

Peter's book list on with strong, admirable women

Peter Martuneac Why did Peter love this book?

So often, the ‘strong woman’ character is in fact just a really rude, self-centered person, but not here. In Julia Ash’s The ELI Chronicles series, Ruby is a kind-hearted, brilliant scientist trying to do what’s right for her family and for the world. She’s also a great mother and is in a healthy, wholesome marriage with a supportive husband. That’s wonderfully refreshing amidst the plethora of toxic relationships we see in movies and books.

By Julia Ash,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“And while the zombie action is exceptional, readers will likely find themselves rooting for the messy demise of Ox, whose lechery boils from the page.” – Kirkus Reviews

Ruby thinks being a new mother and government microbiologist during a pandemic are hard enough. But then the pathogen mutates into ZOM-B and Russia kidnaps her while on assignment in Taiwan.

Somehow, Ruby is at the center of a global crisis.

Will she find out why? More importantly, can she save her family and perhaps the world?

If only she could break out of the Moscow prison and find her way back…


Book cover of 57 Hours: A Survivor's Account of the Moscow Hostage Drama

David Satter Author Of The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia's Road to Terror and Dictatorship Under Yeltsin and Putin

From my list on contemporary Russia.

Why am I passionate about this?

David Satter is a leading commentator on Russia and the former Soviet Union. He is the author of five books on Russia and the creator of a documentary film on the fall of the U.S.S.R. He is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He has been a fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, and an associate of the Henry Jackson Society in London.

David's book list on contemporary Russia

David Satter Why did David love this book?

Vesselin Nedkov was in Moscow on a business trip when he decided to buy a ticket to the Broadway style musical Nord-Ost, which was being shown at the Theater on Dubrovka. This book is his harrowing account of the ordeal as the theater and its thousand visitors were seized by armed terrorists and held for 57 hours before being "liberated" by the Russian special forces who attacked the theater with lethal gas. Rich in detail, his book also raises the many unanswered questions about the massive loss of innocent life. 

By Paul Wilson, Vesselin Nedkov,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 57 Hours as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To celebrate the last night of a business trip in Moscow, Canadian resident Vesselin Nedkov and a friend picked up two tickets to the hottest musical in town. Halfway through the show, his life was changed forever. 57 Hours is Nedkov's harrowing account of being trapped between two immovable and unpredictable forces: inside the theatre, suicidal Chechen rebels, loaded with explosives, demanded an end to the bloody civil war that was ravaging Chechnya; outside, Russian special forces prepared to storm the theatre, refusing to negotiate with the rebels. Through fifty-seven hours of fear and fatigue, Nedkov discovered courage and ingenuity…


Book cover of Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey

Edward Dusinberre Author Of Distant Melodies: Music in Search of Home

From my list on loss and discovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

For three decades I have been the first violinist of the Takács Quartet, performing concerts worldwide and based at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I love the ways in which books, like music, offer new and surprising elements at different stages of life, providing companionship alongside joys and sorrows. 

Edward's book list on loss and discovery

Edward Dusinberre Why did Edward love this book?

Suspicious of biography, Malcolm dissects various myths about Chekhov’s death in this engaging book that mixes travel writing with acute readings of Chekhov’s stories and plays. As Malcolm visits some of the places crucial to Chekhov’s life and work (the scenes in Ukraine are of course poignant), she moves seamlessly between her own everyday experiences and the predicaments of Chekhov’s characters. In amongst the despair, disappointment, and absurdity she discovers beauty, humor, and occasional visions of hope.

By Janet Malcolm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To illuminate the mysterious greatness of Anton Chekhov’s writings, Janet Malcolm takes on three roles: literary critic, biographer, and journalist. Her close readings of the stories and plays are interwoven with episodes from Chekhov’s life and framed by an account of Malcolm’s journey to St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Yalta. She writes of Chekhov’s childhood, his relationships, his travels, his early success, and his self-imposed “exile”—always with an eye to connecting them to themes and characters in his work. Lovers of Chekhov as well as those new to his work will be transfixed by Reading Chekhov.


Book cover of Gorky Park

James Tarr Author Of Bestiarii

From my list on technically accurate thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For people who know something about a technical field, there is nothing that can ruin a book or movie faster than inaccuracies about that field. I’ve worked as an armored car driver, police officer, and private investigator in and around Detroit, and have been writing for outdoor magazines for close to twenty years, so not only do I know a lot about the featured subjects/characters of most thrillers, I care about how accurately they’re portrayed, and have brought that passion to my writing. I’ve written five thrillers set in Detroit, many of them featuring a private investigator, and when writing Bestiarii and its sequels did extensive research on dinosaurs.

James' book list on technically accurate thrillers

James Tarr Why did James love this book?

As a child of the eighties I grew up in the Cold War, where the Soviet Union was the enemy…but most Americans didn’t know anything about it. 

Gorky Park peeled back the curtain on the day-to-day lives of a few not-so-average Russians. The hugely successful novel features Moscow policeman Arkady Renko investigating a murder that has international repercussions. This novel opened a window into a foreign world that few people in the West had ever seen—in addition to being very smartly written. 

Even today this novel is fascinating, and it spawned half a dozen more sequels starring Renko.

By Martin Cruz Smith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Gorky Park as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don't miss the latest book in the Arkady Renko series, THE SIBERIAN DILEMMA by Martin Cruz Smith, 'the master of the international thriller' (New York Times) - available to order now!

THE NOVEL THAT STARTED IT ALL - ARKADY RENKO NOVEL #1

'One of those writers that anyone who is serious about their craft views with respect bordering on awe' Val McDermid

'Makes tension rise through the page like a shark's fin' Independent

***
Three bodies found frozen in the snow. And the hunt for the killer begins...

It begins with a triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three…


Book cover of Moscow Diary

Andreea Ritivoi Author Of Intimate Strangers: Arendt, Marcuse, Solzhenitsyn, and Said in American Political Discourse

From my list on memoirs about crossing cultures to find yourself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Romania, a closed society during the Cold War, and I never expected to live anywhere else, especially not in the West. When communism ended, I rushed out of Eastern Europe for the first time, eager to find places and people I could only read about before. I also discovered the power longing and homesickness can have on defining our identities. I moved to the United States, where I now live and work, cherishing my nostalgia for the world I left behind, imperfect as it was. The books I read and write are always, in one way or another, about traveling across cultures and languages.

Andreea's book list on memoirs about crossing cultures to find yourself

Andreea Ritivoi Why did Andreea love this book?

Walter Benjamin was a Jewish German philosopher who escaped Nazi Germany only to commit suicide upon arrival in Spain.

This book captures an earlier time in his life, when he was still hopeful, an idealist in search of intellectual adventures and political transformation. He went to Moscow to define his political vision and found a city both seductive and elusive. The intense winter scenes in the deep Muscovite cold are unforgettable, even though he mentions them almost in passing.

Benjamin had another reason to go to Moscow: he was in love. But the woman he wished to pursue was also elusive, unavailable both in practical and emotional terms. The book speaks to the fascination Western leftist intellectuals have had with Russian culture and politics, turning to Russia as an alternative to a corrupt West.

Benjamin’s reflections about philosophy, history, and the Moscow of the 1920s makes me fantasize about our…

By Walter Benjamin, Gary Smith (editor), Richard Sieburth (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The life of the German-Jewish literary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) is a veritable allegory of the life of letters in the twentieth century. Benjamin's intellectual odyssey culminated in his death by suicide on the Franco-Spanish border, pursued by the Nazis, but long before he had traveled to the Soviet Union. His stunning account of that journey is unique among Benjamin's writings for the frank, merciless way he struggles with his motives and conscience.

Perhaps the primary reason for his trip was his affection for Asja Lacis, a Latvian Bolshevik whom he had first met in Capri in 1924…


Book cover of Archangel: A Novel

Michael Khodarkovsky Author Of Russia's 20th Century: A Journey in 100 Histories

From my list on Russia and USSR in the 20th Century.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has always been my passion. Since I was 16, I tried to understand the world around me and the forces that shaped it. I thought that history as a discipline provided the best answers. In the 1970s, because of the official anti-Semitism, it was impossible to get into the history department programs at the Soviet universities. Nonetheless, I resolved to study history after my emigration to the US in 1979 and joined a graduate program at the University of Chicago. For four decades I have been writing about Russian history, although I also read, teach, and write on global history.

Michael's book list on Russia and USSR in the 20th Century

Michael Khodarkovsky Why did Michael love this book?

A brilliant novel set in 1990s Russia. The plot involves Stalin and one of his deep secrets. The author seamlessly moves the story from the 1930s to 1990s and back. One rarely sees a historical novel so accurate in capturing the historical events and so utterly captivating. It is on par with some of the best thrillers.

By Robert Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

_______________________________________
'With Archangel, Robert Harris confirms his position as Britain's pre-eminent literary thriller writer' The Times

'He has a talent for heart-poundingly tense story-telling, and an ability to conjure up atmospheres almost palpable with menace' Sunday Times
_______________________________________
Deadly secrets lurk beneath the Russian ice.

Historian Fluke Kelso is in Moscow, attending a conference on recently unclassified Soviet papers, when an old veteran of the Soviet secret police visits his hotel room in the dead of night. He tells Kelso about a secret notebook belonging to Josef Stalin, stolen on the night of his death.

Though Kelso expects little, he…


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