54 books like Ahab's Wife

By Sena Jeter Naslund,

Here are 54 books that Ahab's Wife fans have personally recommended if you like Ahab's Wife. 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 Light Between Oceans

Kendra Broekhuis Author Of Between You and Us

From my list on impossible choices that will rip your heart out.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom and author for the past decade, and during that time, I went through the stillbirth of my second baby. Grief taught me a lot about compassion, including the importance of being able to see the nuance of difficult subject matters. I learned it’s easy to theorize what to do in a situation until you're in that situation. For that reason, I love books in all sorts of genres that are layered with characters’ past griefs, impossible scenarios, and tensions regarding the choices they make. I picked five of my favorite books with a heart-ripping plot that sparks interesting discussion and leaves readers pondering, "What would I have done?"

Kendra's book list on impossible choices that will rip your heart out

Kendra Broekhuis Why did Kendra love this book?

This is one of those books that can set off a fire of controversy because of the choices made by its characters, and I love that about it.

The main couple’s marriage lies on a foundation of grief that includes war, extreme isolation, and multiple pregnancy losses. The story dives into the way grief shapes us, as well as the morality of how much we should let our grief shape our choices.

I loved the characters, the moving plot, and the moral conundrum of this book.

By M.L. Stedman,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Light Between Oceans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The years-long New York Times bestseller and Goodreads Best Historical Novel that is “irresistible…seductive…with a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page” (O, The Oprah Magazine)—soon to be a major motion picture from Spielberg’s Dreamworks starring Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz, and Alicia Vikander, and directed by Derek Cianfrance.

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young,…


Book cover of The Poisonwood Bible

Kevin Chen Author Of Ghost Town

From my list on family saga books that unravel dark secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have 7 sisters and 1 brother. I was the 9th child in my family. To get a son who would carry on the family heritage, my parents tried 7 times without any success. After 7 unwanted daughters, my brother finally arrived. Then they had me as the second boy in the family. The plot twist was: I am gay. I turned out to be the 8th unwanted daughter because of my sexuality. Coming from this small-town big family full of superstitions and secrets, I am naturally drawn to dramatic family stories with many dark and psychological twists.

Kevin's book list on family saga books that unravel dark secrets

Kevin Chen Why did Kevin love this book?

At first, I was scared by the thickness of the book. More than 600 pages? I didn’t think I would have the patience and time to finish it. My book club chose the book as a reading challenge for everyone. A challenge indeed. But a colorful one.

I remember carrying the book with me everywhere I went. As I finally reached the last page of this riveting family saga set in Africa, I felt older and wiser. Wow, I actually finished the thick novel. It was a great achievement.

I was never bored or tired. I did not want the story to end. It could have been 6000 pages and I still would have thrown myself into this epic story.

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Poisonwood Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**NOW INCLUDING THE FIRST CHAPTER OF DEMON COPPERHEAD: THE NEW BARBARA KINGSOLVER NOVEL**

**DEMON COPPERHEAD IS AVAILABLE NOW FOR PRE-ORDER**

An international bestseller and a modern classic, this suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and their remarkable reconstruction has been read, adored and shared by millions around the world.

'Breathtaking.' Sunday Times
'Exquisite.' The Times
'Beautiful.' Independent
'Powerful.' New York Times

This story is told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.

They carry with them everything they believe they will…


Book cover of Random Passage

E.M. Spencer Author Of Freedom Reins

From my list on Canadian historical fiction with strong females.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Canadian who enjoys travelling and reading historical fiction from around the world. Having had the privilege of living in a variety of areas in Canada from coast to coast since childhood, I can recall listening to the stories of past generations and exploring the locations where some of these events took place. With a passion for Canada’s beauty and the history of its people, I like to research, explore, and incorporate these passions into my own stories.

E.M.'s book list on Canadian historical fiction with strong females

E.M. Spencer Why did E.M. love this book?

I am in awe of the strength, determination, and hope of early pioneers. Imagine uprooting your family from what few comforts they know and travelling across the ocean to an unknown barren land to start over. Where survival means every member working hard day in and day out to build a place of shelter, gather and grow food, and fish the cold Atlantic waters in order to care for and build a life while struggling to survive harsh weather and dangerous seas. Would I be strong enough to endure such a difficult life?

By Bernice Morgan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new edition of Bernice Morgan’s classic, best-selling family saga. Forced to flee England, the Andrews family books passage from Weymouth, England to unknown prospects, only to discover a barren, inhospitable land at the end of their crossing: a fresh start in a distant country, New Found Land. There, on the island of Cape Random, the Vincent family introduces them to their way of life. To the pensive, seventeen-year-old Lavinia Andrews, uprooted from everything familiar, it seems a fate worse than the one they left behind. Driven by loneliness she begins a journal. Random Passage satisfies the craving for those…


Book cover of The Outlander

Kim Taylor Blakemore Author Of The Good Time Girls

From my list on fierce women in the American West.

Why am I passionate about this?

The United States Old West is a legend, a myth, a land of contradictions. I grew up and have never left this vast land of scorching deserts, soaring peaks, misty coasts, and redwoods that touch the heavens. I grew up on the myths – Tombstone, Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane, Pearl Hart. What I love most are the stories of the women of the West, who survive with grit, wiles, and no small amount of courage. I love finding the lesser known women through novels and research and seeing their lives bloom before my eyes. Cowgirls, sufragettes, doctors, ex-slaves, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, cattle rustlers, homesteaders, dancehall girls.

Kim's book list on fierce women in the American West

Kim Taylor Blakemore Why did Kim love this book?

The Outlander is a gripping historical fiction novel set in the Canadian Rockies.

The story follows Mary Boulton, a young woman on the run from her dangerous husband. As Mary navigates the rugged wilderness, she encounters a cast of memorable characters and faces numerous trials.

I loved its evocative and atmospheric writing, transporting me to the untamed Rocky Mountains in the early 20th century. Adamson's portrayal of Mary as a strong and resourceful protagonist captivated me. The land is brutal and beautiful at one, as are the characters she encounters.

The Outlander is a compelling tale of survival, filled with suspense, surprising twists and turns, and a captivating exploration of the human spirit. I could not put this down.

By Gil Adamson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a moonlit night in 1903, a mysterious young woman flees alone across the Canadian wilderness, one quick step ahead of her pursuers. Mary Boulton is nineteen years old, half mad, and widowed - by her own hand. Tearing through the forest with dogs howling in the distance, she is desperate, her nerves burning, and she is certain of one thing only - that her every move is being traced. Two red-headed brothers, rifles across their backs, lurch close behind her: monstrous figures, identical in every way, with the predatory look of hyenas. She has murdered their brother, and their…


Book cover of Bartleby the Scrivener

R.H. Emmers Author Of Lynerkim's Dance and Other Stories

From my list on stories you should read (but probably haven’t).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been attracted to the overlooked, the obscure, the forbidden. Maybe it’s as simple as the fact I grew up in a time when it seemed natural to rebel against norms. Or maybe it’s that I inherited an oddball gene from some ancient ancestor. Anyway, it led me to interesting adventures—hanging out with a crew of gun runners in eastern Turkey—and interesting career choices—strike organizer, private detective, etc. It also shaped my reading and my writing. I read everything, but I’m particularly drawn to the quirkyGrendel, the fiction of Christine Rivera Garza for instance. And in my writing too: Lynerkim, the protagonist of my novella, is undoubtedly an odd duck.

R.H.'s book list on stories you should read (but probably haven’t)

R.H. Emmers Why did R.H. love this book?

Everybody knows Ahab, but do you know Bartleby? It’s a strange story about a strange man, which, of course, attracts me. Bartleby is a lawyer’s copyist who decides he doesn’t want to do this sort of writing anymore and meets every instruction with the words: I would prefer not to. You can read Bartleby as simply a humorous tale. Or you can read it as a story of the existential crisis most writers, myself included, face at one time or the other. Melville was feeling dissatisfied with his choice of a writing career—the critics were unfriendly—and, in my opinion, the title character reflects this. It’s also, in my view, an implicit critique of economic control in America—my SDS youth would approve! It’s not for nothing that the story’s final words are: “Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!”

By Herman Melville,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bartleby the Scrivener 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?

At the period just preceding the advent of Bartleby, I had two persons as copyists in my employment, and a promising lad as an office-boy. First, Turkey; second, Nippers; third, Ginger Nut. These may seem names, the like of which are not usually found in the Directory. In truth they were nicknames, mutually conferred upon each other by my three clerks, and were deemed expressive of their respective persons or characters.


Book cover of The American Whaleman: A Study of Life and Labor in the Whaling Industry

Skip Finley Author Of Whaling Captains of Color: America's First Meritocracy

From my list on from an expert on whaling captains of color.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before becoming a writer I was widely acknowledged as a successful radio station executive, a business relying heavily on audience and other numerical information. That earned me the nickname “Data” (from Star Trek). Having written an article about a Black whaling captain for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine I became intrigued about how this could have occurred in the years of slavery and began buying and reading books on whaling to find that answer. About 100 such books resulted in my book on 50 some men who had attained that lofty rank; today I’m up to about 180 and/or I can attest I’ve read fundamentally all of the books on the subject.

Skip's book list on from an expert on whaling captains of color

Skip Finley Why did Skip love this book?

Author Hohman’s classic treatise offers readers the most complete—and interesting and readable—history of the business of whaling that is so vitally important, having been published in literally the year of the last working American whaleship (The Wanderer). It offers a rare contemporary history of the fifth largest industry in America—and the third largest in its home state of Massachusetts.

By Elmo Paul Hohman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book has been considered by academicians and scholars of great significance and value to literature. This forms a part of the knowledge base for future generations. So that the book is never forgotten we have represented this book in a print format as the same form as it was originally first published. Hence any marks or annotations seen are left intentionally to preserve its true nature.


Book cover of A Short Bright Flash: Augustin Fresnel and the Birth of the Modern Lighthouse

Eric Jay Dolin Author Of Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

From my list on lighthouse history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up near the coasts of New York and Connecticut, and since an early age I was fascinated by the natural world, especially the ocean. I have held a variety of jobs, including stints as a fisheries policy analyst at the National Marine Fisheries Service, a program manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and an environmental consultant stateside and in London. Throughout my career, one thing remained constant: I enjoyed writing and telling stories. I am the author of 14 non-fiction books on American history, including Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates, and Leviathan: The History of American Whaling.

Eric's book list on lighthouse history

Eric Jay Dolin Why did Eric love this book?

Fresnel lenses, invented by Frenchman Augustin Fresnel, are the crown jewels of lighthouse illumination. They not only greatly increased the intensity of the light, as compared with earlier forms of lighting, but also became one of the most important and strikingly beautiful inventions of the nineteenth century. Levitt’s luminous prose and great skill at storytelling makes this a fascinating and compelling read. It will make you look at lighthouses and Fresnel lenses with a well-deserved measure of awe.

By Theresa Levitt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Short Bright Flash as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Augustin Fresnel (1788-1827) shocked the scientific elite with his view of the physics of light. The lens he invented was a feat of engineering that made lighthouses blaze many times brighter, further and more efficiently than they had before. As secretary of France's Lighthouse Commission, he planned and oversaw the lighting of the nation's coast. Although Fresnel died young, his brother Leonor presided over the spread of the new technology around the globe. The new lights were of strategic importance in navigation and the Fresnel legacy played an important role in geopolitical events. Levitt's scientific and historical account, rich in…


Book cover of The Lighthouse Stevensons: The Extraordinary Story of the Building of the Scottish Lighthouses by the Ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson

Eric Jay Dolin Author Of Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

From my list on lighthouse history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up near the coasts of New York and Connecticut, and since an early age I was fascinated by the natural world, especially the ocean. I have held a variety of jobs, including stints as a fisheries policy analyst at the National Marine Fisheries Service, a program manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and an environmental consultant stateside and in London. Throughout my career, one thing remained constant: I enjoyed writing and telling stories. I am the author of 14 non-fiction books on American history, including Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates, and Leviathan: The History of American Whaling.

Eric's book list on lighthouse history

Eric Jay Dolin Why did Eric love this book?

In the late eighteenth century, and throughout the nineteenth, the Stevenson family were great innovators in lighthouse design and construction. While not the first to successfully tackle the engineering challenge of building a massive stone lighthouse offshore, where it would be subject to the merciless thrashing of the ocean, the Stevensons did become the most famous and respected group of engineers doing that kind of work. Their signature lighthouses off the Scottish coast, including Bell Rock and Skerryvore, served as standards for lighthouse builders who followed in their footsteps. Bathurst’s elegantly written book is a captivating profile of this consequential family.

By Bella Bathurst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The epic story of how Robert Louis Stevenson's ancestors built the lighthouses of the Scottish coast against impossible odds.

`Whenever I smell salt water, I know that I am not far from one of the works of my ancestors,' wrote Robert Louis Stevenson in 1880. `When the lights come out at sundown along the shores of Scotland, I am proud to think they burn more brightly for the genius of my father!'

Robert Louis Stevenson was the most famous of the Stevensons, but not by any means the most productive. ,The Lighthouse Stevensons,, all four generations of them, built every…


Book cover of America's Lighthouses: An Illustrated History

Eric Jay Dolin Author Of Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

From my list on lighthouse history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up near the coasts of New York and Connecticut, and since an early age I was fascinated by the natural world, especially the ocean. I have held a variety of jobs, including stints as a fisheries policy analyst at the National Marine Fisheries Service, a program manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and an environmental consultant stateside and in London. Throughout my career, one thing remained constant: I enjoyed writing and telling stories. I am the author of 14 non-fiction books on American history, including Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates, and Leviathan: The History of American Whaling.

Eric's book list on lighthouse history

Eric Jay Dolin Why did Eric love this book?

Although a bit dated, Holland’s book offers a wonderful and wide-ranging tour of the general and often contentious history of America’s lighthouses. It also includes profiles of many of the nation’s most noteworthy and important lighthouses, broken down by region, and presented in a way that highlights the reasons why they are so memorable. Numerous historic images enliven the text.

By Francis Ross Holland Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked America's Lighthouses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A detailed, scholarly, masterly book…and yet the romance is still there." — Chicago Tribune
Beacons of light along the shore have guided mariners for thousands of years — from the days when olive oil lamps burned on darkened hillsides to signal the location of ancient harbors, to modern times when automated stations sent out 350,000 candlepower beams that cut through darkness and fog.
The present volume, the first full-scale study of the United States Lighthouse Service, is a celebration of these vanishing symbols of security. Written by a historian of the National Park Service, this book describes the founding and…


Book cover of Guardians of the Lights: Stories of U.S. Lighthouse Keepers

Eric Jay Dolin Author Of Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

From my list on lighthouse history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up near the coasts of New York and Connecticut, and since an early age I was fascinated by the natural world, especially the ocean. I have held a variety of jobs, including stints as a fisheries policy analyst at the National Marine Fisheries Service, a program manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and an environmental consultant stateside and in London. Throughout my career, one thing remained constant: I enjoyed writing and telling stories. I am the author of 14 non-fiction books on American history, including Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates, and Leviathan: The History of American Whaling.

Eric's book list on lighthouse history

Eric Jay Dolin Why did Eric love this book?

At its core, the history of America’s lighthouses is about people. Undoubtedly the most important actors are the male and female keepers, who—often with the invaluable assistance of their families—faithfully kept the lights shining and the fog signals blaring. Guardians of the Lights presents a wonderful survey of many of the most interesting and unique lighthouse keepers through the centuries, focusing special attention on their noble actions in the service of saving others.

By Elinor de Wire,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a charming blend of history and human interest, this book paints a colorful portrait of the lives of a vanished breed—the lighthouse keepers—from the year 1716, when the first lighthouse was established in America, to the early 1980s when automation replaced the last human “guardian of the light." A wealth of material from the archives of the 19th and 20th centuries—primarily letters, diaries, and newspaper accounts—provides vivid stories about lighthouse keeping in this country: the daily work; coping with fog, storms and other catastrophes; legends and ghosts; women's and families' roles; lighthouse children and pets; the natural world around…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in lighthouses, whaler, and whaling?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about lighthouses, whaler, and whaling.

Lighthouses Explore 21 books about lighthouses
Whaler Explore 14 books about whaler
Whaling Explore 17 books about whaling