100 books like Akin

By Emma Donoghue,

Here are 100 books that Akin fans have personally recommended if you like Akin. 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 News of the World

R.J. McCarthy Author Of Wat Haggard and Prairie Wren

From my list on imperfect heroes redeemed.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was never a fan of superheroes, not even as a child. My heroes had to be credible, human, acceptably flawed yet redeemable by a personal moral code that ultimately defined their actions. The heroes in my favorite books are of this ilk, determined to pursue the right thing, regardless of how life challenges them. It speaks to how I’ve tried to live my life–and still do.

R.J.'s book list on imperfect heroes redeemed

R.J. McCarthy Why did R.J. love this book?

Not necessarily a fan of Westerns, I loved this original story.

Set in post-Civil War, eastern Texas, an unlikely hero, Jefferson Kyle Kidd is enjoined to return a young white girl, rescued from Indians, to living relatives. Initially reluctant, Kidd commits himself to his mission regardless of challenge.

I love it when I find myself there in a story. I found myself swallowed by the challenges they faced, my attention (and tension) rising with each one. I also love it when I find myself rooting for the characters as I did with this believable story.

Though there is action, I loved that it was Kidd’s quick-witted intelligence (and that of the girl) that set the story apart.

By Paulette Jiles,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked News of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust. In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his…


Book cover of Fragile Beasts

Darlene Jones Author Of When the Sun was Mine

From my list on friendship between young people and seniors.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid on the farm in Saskatchewan, I had a handful of books to read and re-read and read yet again. No television, no radio—just books. Then we moved to the city and I discovered the bookmobile, but I could only take out three books at a time. Deciding was torture. From bookmobile to library to bookstore to e-reader. Life is good. With all that reading, I knew I had to write a novel. I finally did. One became seven. How on earth did that happen? Re-reding my books I realized that teens play significant roles in all my novels. I’m a retired teacher—go figure!

Darlene's book list on friendship between young people and seniors

Darlene Jones Why did Darlene love this book?

I liked this book so much, I read it twice. What made it so good? O’Dell’s mastery of creating “real” people. I cared about them. I wanted to be in the story with them such was the power of her writing—a captivating story with an unusual set of characters, their lives intersecting in unexpected ways. Spain, the US, bulls and bullfighters, an old lady, a couple of teen brothers, a dysfunctional family, love and hate, baseball…

By Tawni O'Dell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When their hard-drinking, but loving, father dies in a car accident, teenage brothers Kyle and Klint Hayes face a bleak prospect: leaving their Pennsylvania hometown for an uncertain life in Arizona with the mother who ran out on them years ago. But in a strange twist of fate, their town’s matriarch, an eccentric, wealthy old woman whose family once owned the county coal mines, hears the boys’ story. Candace Jack doesn’t have an ounce of maternal instinct, yet for reasons she does not even understand herself, she is compelled to offer them a home.

Suddenly, the two boys go from…


Book cover of Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen

Darlene Jones Author Of When the Sun was Mine

From my list on friendship between young people and seniors.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid on the farm in Saskatchewan, I had a handful of books to read and re-read and read yet again. No television, no radio—just books. Then we moved to the city and I discovered the bookmobile, but I could only take out three books at a time. Deciding was torture. From bookmobile to library to bookstore to e-reader. Life is good. With all that reading, I knew I had to write a novel. I finally did. One became seven. How on earth did that happen? Re-reding my books I realized that teens play significant roles in all my novels. I’m a retired teacher—go figure!

Darlene's book list on friendship between young people and seniors

Darlene Jones Why did Darlene love this book?

I was guilted into buying the book when I went to Glen’s book signing event. He’s a friend. After the reading, I noticed that everyone in attendance had one or more copies of his books along with their credit cards in their hands. I felt obligated to buy a copy. The book sat on my shelf for several weeks until guilt forced me to take it down and read. I finished the book that night, and reread it the next day. I recommend it all the time.  

By Glen Huser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At 15, Tamara has survived the foster care system through brains, will, and attitude. Now close to getting out, she dreams of being a model. First, though, there's high school to get through, along with her teacher's latest community project volunteering at the local seniors home. Tamara doubts she can endure either the residents or the smells. Then she's assigned to Jean Barclay a cranky, wealthy, and extremely frail former schoolteacher. As the two warily size each other up, they realize each is the key to achieving their own very different goals. Miss Barclay wants to attend Wagner's Ring Cycle…


Book cover of The Reading List

Heather Hepler Author Of We Were Beautiful

From my list on when you’re feeling your worst.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have bad days. At times there have been a lot of bad days. I’m alone, caring for someone, working, scooping the cat box, and mopping the floors. Sometimes it can all feel a little sad and hopeless, like I am alone in the world. Stories are where I go when I’m happy. When I want adventure, mystery, or romance. But they are mostly where I go when I want to feel like I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes. I can see that it’s not just me. I’m not alone.

Heather's book list on when you’re feeling your worst

Heather Hepler Why did Heather love this book?

I’ve always believed that reading can change the world, or at least my part of it. This book proved this to me as it wove seemingly unconnected lives together. Grief, anger, sadness, and loneliness all fall away when they begin reading and talking about the stories.

This book reminded me of sitting on the floor at the back of my town’s library. It reminded me of what it’s like to travel across time and around the world with just a book spread out on my lap. 

By Sara Nisha Adams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*A finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards for Fiction, discover this year's most uplifting and heart-warming debut*

'Absolutely gorgeous' RUTH WARE
'The most heartfelt read of the summer' SHONDALAND
'A joyful, uplifting read!' GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
'A captivating debut' HEIDI SWAIN

_________________________________________________________________

A faded list.
Nine favourite stories.
For two strangers, friendship is only a page away . . .

When Mukesh Patel pops to the local library, forgoing his routine of grocery shopping and David Attenborough documentaries, he has no idea his life's about to change.

He meets Aleisha, a reluctant librarian and the keeper of a curious reading list…


Book cover of The Address

Susie Orman Schnall Author Of We Came Here to Shine

From my list on historical fiction set in NYC.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love being entertained while I read, but I equally love to learn something. That has led me to fall in love with the historical fiction genre, and is what also led me to write We Came Here to Shine and The Subway Girls. Part of being able to write good historical fiction is to learn from the masters in the genre. I am drawn to historical fiction that features ambitious women who were notable in their time for going against the strictures and conventions forced upon them, and I have chosen all of these books for you because they feature women like that. I hope you enjoy!

Susie's book list on historical fiction set in NYC

Susie Orman Schnall Why did Susie love this book?

Davis is well-known for basing her meticulously researched stories in famous NYC buildings and The Address, set at The Dakota, the famed apartment building on the Upper West Side, is no exception. It’s the story of Sara Smythe who comes from London to work for the Camden family upon the opening of The Dakota in the late 1800s. Her station rises along with opportunities, and her relationship with her employer becomes more complicated. Davis alternates this story with one set in the 1980s and masterfully connects the two in a way the reader will not have seen coming.

By Fiona Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue comes the compelling national bestselling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota—New York City’s most famous residence.

When a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house the Dakota, leads to a job offer for Sara Smythe, her world is suddenly awash in possibility—no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America. The opportunity to be the female…


Book cover of Bruiser

William Mark Habeeb Author Of Venice Beach

From my list on poignant coming-of-age about boys.

Why am I passionate about this?

My novel Venice Beach—like the five books I recommend here—has been classified as a “coming-of-age” novel, a classification that I have no quarrels with as long as it’s understood that coming-of-age is not regarded simply as a synonym for “adolescence” or “being a teenager.” The coming-of-age years—generally defined as between ages 12 and 18—are so much more than a period of life wedged between childhood and adulthood. Coming of age is a process, not a block of time; it is a hot emotional forge in which we experience so many “firsts” and are hammered, usually painfully, into the shapes that will last a lifetime. 

William's book list on poignant coming-of-age about boys

William Mark Habeeb Why did William love this book?

Bruiser is only nine years old, younger than most “coming of age” protagonists, but his anxiety-ridden family life in a Manhattan apartment has aged him. His father is a philanderer who rarely is home and often physically abusive when he is; his mother is a deeply depressed poet. Bruiser spends most of his time running around his Upper West Side neighborhood with a make-shift gang of older boysand has the bruises to show for it, hence his nicknameor hiding at the bottom of the clothes hamper when his parents are going at it. He befriends a 10-year-old girl, Darla, who lives across the courtyard with her drug-addled mother and who convinces him to run away with her. Their journey, which takes them first to West Virginia in search of Darla’s father and eventually to North Carolina, is the book’s magic. Both kids are pre-puberty, so it’s…

By Ian Chorao,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After spending another morning hiding in the clothes hamper eavesdropping on his miserable parents, Bruiser realizes it's time to change his life. It's New York City during the late 1970s, and in the middle of a chilly autumn night he takes to the open road with Darla, a kindred spirit who lives across the alleyway. Their flight from the mounting tensions of home -- an adventure dotted with frightening episodes and surprising revelations -- is a journey in search of liberation and emotional truth.

This is Bruiser's tale in his own words, captured by first-time novelist Ian Chorao with uncanny…


Book cover of Write My Name Across the Sky

Blair Bryan Author Of When Wren Came Out

From my list on women’s fiction you’ll think about years later.

Why am I passionate about this?

My writing often focuses on motherhood and the difficult choices mothers are asked to make every day. I search for books to help me understand the points of view of other women. What they're thinking and feeling and the revelations that shape them and change the trajectory of their lives. I decided a long time ago, that if I'm going to invest the amount of time it takes to write a novel, then I have to have a passion for it. I strive to write characters that resonate, with those who are often marginalized in society because I want to shine a light on all the facets of humanity, not just the pretty ones. 

Blair's book list on women’s fiction you’ll think about years later

Blair Bryan Why did Blair love this book?

I identified with WIllow, the musician, who poured her whole heart and soul into a record that never hit the big time. She is disappointed with her current level of success and goes home to New York to stay with her Aunt Gloria in her famous mother’s old penthouse. The story revolves around an investigation into stolen art and I adored the seventy-year-old Gloria who chose herself instead of the love she found in the arms of a passionate artist turned art smuggler. The characters are richly detailed and women you want to know, and the prose is lyrical and complex, so beautiful you have to pause to appreciate it. 

By Barbara O'Neal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Write My Name Across the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The USA Today bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids returns with a tale of two generations of women reconciling family secrets and past regrets.

Life's beautiful for seventysomething influencer Gloria Rose, in her Upper West Side loft with rooftop garden and scores of Instagram followers-until she gets word that her old flame has been arrested for art theft and forgery, and, knowing her own involvement in his misdeeds decades earlier, decides to flee. But that plan is complicated when the nieces she raised are thrown into crises of their own.

Willow, overshadowed by her notorious singer-songwriter mother, has…


Book cover of Seize the Day

Charles Salzberg Author Of Man on the Run

From my list on reads for valuable lessons as a crime writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an English major in college and my dream was to write the Great American Novel. My literary heroes were writers like Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, Jean Rhys, Margaret Drabble, Truman Capote, and Norman Mailer. They “taught” me how to write. About a dozen years ago, I concentrated on writing crime novels, like Swann’s Last Song and Second Story Man, both of which were nominated for Shamus Awards (Second Story Man won the Beverly Hills Book Award.) I'm a magazine journalist and write nonfiction books, screenplays, plays, and book reviews. I teach writing here in New York City, and I’m on the Board of PrisonWrites and the New York Writers Workshop.

Charles' book list on reads for valuable lessons as a crime writer

Charles Salzberg Why did Charles love this book?

I grew up on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. We lived above an all-purpose drugstore that included two aisles of paperback books.

Almost every day after school, that store became my own personal library. If were attracted by a particular title or cover, it would wind up in my to-buy list.

Seize the Day was one of those books. The protagonist is the hapless Tommy Wilhelm, a small-time loser who spends his life trying to impress his big-shot father (think Willie Loman only less successful).

Desperately trying to make something of himself that his father can be proud of, Wilhelm gets involved with conman father figure Tamkin.

What impressed me most was Bellow’s ability to create a living, breathing, deeply flawed character that you’re actually rooting for.

What makes characters like Wilhelm compelling is not only the constant struggle to survive in a world that seems to be stacked against them.…

By Saul Bellow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“What makes all of this so remarkable is not merely Bellow’s eye and ear for vital detail. Nor is it his talent for exposing the innards of character in a paragraph, a sentence, a phrase. It is Bellow’s vision, his uncanny ability to seize the moment and to see beyond it.” –Chicago Sun-Times

A Penguin Classic

Fading charmer Tommy Wilhelm has reached his day of reckoning and is scared. In his forties, he still retains a boyish impetuousness that has brought him to the brink of chaos: He is separated from his wife and children, at odds with his vain,…


Book cover of Tough Titties: On Living Your Best Life When You're the F-ing Worst

Ann Aikens Author Of A Young Woman's Guide to Life: A Cautionary Tale

From my list on funniest memoirs with advice for a happy life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised when unsupervised kids roamed freely in the woods, my friends and I became adept at finding fun. My 20s were spent in New York in the 1980's zeitgeist of exploration and excess. A lifelong fan of comedy, I worked at the Comedy Cellar, where I booked and watched countless standup comics. Later, I left NYC’s glamor for Vermont’s nature. Since then, my Vermont newspaper column, "Upper Valley Girl," has amused and astonished (and possibly appalled) readers with humor and candor. Ever adventurous to the point of risk, making awful mistakes, and enduring impossible people, I learned limits the hard way. I advise young people not to do the same. 

Ann's book list on funniest memoirs with advice for a happy life

Ann Aikens Why did Ann love this book?

Advice by way of memoir, which I liked more as it went along. Maybe it was a slow start for me because she had seemingly lucky breaks, and I’ve had struggles. By the end, I was in LOVE.

She is frank, ballsy, unapologetic, kickass riotous, with an apparent ability to moonwalk, all of which is to say totally New York City in a way that I badly miss, having left 30 years ago.

I relived some of my youth. I learned things and laughed.

By Laura Belgray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY BESTSELLER

What does it take to grow up cool and popular, master adulthood, fast track your success, and always be your best? Laura Belgray wouldn't know.

Her wildly relatable coming-of-age stories include hate-following her 6th grade bully on social media decades later; moving home post-college to measure her self-worth in hookups with Upper West Side bartenders; dating a sociopathic man-baby; proving herself in the early '90s at New York's coolest magazine (as the world's worst intern); falling for get-rich-quick schemes on the Internet; and, most of all, saying "tough titties" to the supposed-to's in life: driving a car,…


Book cover of A Fall of Marigolds

Addison Armstrong Author Of The Light of Luna Park

From my list on New York City past to present.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up thinking I liked reading about NYC more than I’d like living there. It was too hectic and loud for a bookworm like me, I thought, too dirty and dangerous. Then my husband was accepted to Cornell’s MD/PhD program, and we moved to Manhattan. Immediately, I found that while the city is as dirty as I’d feared (and it smells), its advantages far outweigh the rest. I can’t get enough of the parks, museums, food, diversity, or the history, much of which drives The Light of Luna Park. So, without further ado, here are my five favorite books that take place in New York from the 1800s to today.

Addison's book list on New York City past to present

Addison Armstrong Why did Addison love this book?

I can’t resist a good dual timeline, and A Fall of Marigolds delivers. The primary timeline centers on an Ellis Island nurse who’s adopted the hospital as her refuge after escaping the notorious Triangle Shirtwaist Fire; the secondary, a woman who loses her husband on 9/11. There are thematic parallels—loss, grief, healing, love—as well as striking similarities between the two events, but it is a scarf that ties the two characters directly together. 

I was only three years old on 9/11, so I don’t have my own memories of it. Even to me, Meissner conveys the tragedy so intimately that I think I came away with a better understanding of its horrors. But don’t be scared away: This book is about new beginnings more than it is about destruction.

By Susan Meissner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A beautiful scarf connects two women touched by tragedy in this compelling, emotional novel from the author of As Bright as Heaven and The Last Year of the War.

September 1911. On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries...and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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