60 books like All the Birds in the Sky

By Charlie Jane Anders,

Here are 60 books that All the Birds in the Sky fans have personally recommended if you like All the Birds in the Sky. 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 Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Duncan Hubber Author Of Notes from the Citadel: The Philosophy and Psychology of A Song of Ice and Fire

From my list on The best philosophical fantasy novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic at the University of Queensland whose research areas include horror films, screen trauma theory, the cinematic representation of urban spaces, and the collision of romanticism and postmodernism in fantasy literature. My first book, POV Horror: The Trauma Aesthetic of the Found Footage Subgenre, was adapted from my PhD thesis. I am an avid member of the A Song of Ice and Fire fandom, and my second book represents over a decade of talking and writing about George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, having grown out of conversations in forums, podcasts, symposiums, and fan conventions, as well as my own background in literary analysis and research.

Duncan's book list on The best philosophical fantasy novels

Duncan Hubber Why did Duncan love this book?

Clarke transports the reader to England during the time of the Napoleonic Wars. There is, however, one small twist: magic once existed in this world and has now returned through two men, drastically changing the course of history and society.

The story is rich in gothic atmosphere and wry humour, and is positively bursting with ideas (there are almost 200 footnotes!). Clarke imbues her protagonists with conflicting approaches to the pursuit of knowledge, with Norrell representing cautious rationality and conservative methodology, while Strange embodies an adventurous spirit and a willingness to embrace the arcane and often the dangerous.

By Susanna Clarke,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of…


Book cover of A Wizard of Earthsea

Stephen B. Heard Author Of Charles Darwin's Barnacle and David Bowie's Spider: How Scientific Names Celebrate Adventurers, Heroes, and Even a Few Scoundrels

From my list on stories about naming and language.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the names of people and things. Why do we use the names we do? What do they mean? Who made them up? Is there power in knowing something’s name? I later discovered that all these questions are very old—the idea that names have power goes back at least to ancient Egypt. When I became a biology professor, I found that my students and colleagues mostly didn’t know or care why animals and plants have the Latin names they do. But those names are fascinating, and there are stories to uncover whenever we tug on a name’s meaning like a loose thread.

Stephen's book list on stories about naming and language

Stephen B. Heard Why did Stephen love this book?

I know, another “children’s book”—but another with plenty to say to me as an adult (and later books in the series are more obviously oriented to older readers). The adventures of the young man Sparrowhawk at a wizarding school dive deeply into the power of names and naming. (Earthsea predates by 30 years that other boy-coming-of-age-at-wizard-school book.)

I love the richly detailed fantasy world, with a society that’s like ours but also not, and the wise but real characters with human failings they struggle to overcome. Along the way, there are lots of interesting ideas about language. I still get lost in the world of Earthsea, as I do in a few other books.

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked A Wizard of Earthsea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The first book of Earthsea in a beautiful hardback edition. Complete the collection with The Tombs of Atuan, The Furthest Shore and Tehanu

With illustrations from Charles Vess

'[This] trilogy made me look at the world in a new way, imbued everything with a magic that was so much deeper than the magic I'd encountered before then. This was a magic of words, a magic of true speaking' Neil Gaiman

'Drink this magic up. Drown in it. Dream it' David Mitchell

Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.

Hungry for power and knowledge,…


Book cover of The Once and Future Witches

Virginia Watts Author Of Echoes from The Hocker House

From my list on leaving you spellbound.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an unusual child. My favorite stories were fairytales, no tale was too tall for me. On Christmas Eve, my father always read a story called “Giant Grummer’s Christmas” because it was my favorite. Giant Grummer lived in a huge castle made of limburger cheese. He threatened to reach his long arm down chimneys to steal the presents Santa left but Santa saved the day by giving Giant Grummer presents too. Folklore, legends, and magic are important. We need to believe more in the “make believe.” Everyone should read stories about ghosts and witches and cheese-eating giants, anything fantastical to open their worlds and set their imaginations free.

Virginia's book list on leaving you spellbound

Virginia Watts Why did Virginia love this book?

Alix Harrow writes that “behind every witch is a women wronged.”

Here are three sisters wronged by an abusive father who have hurt and betrayed each other in the past, but the bonds of love and sisterhood and witchcraft are stronger.

This book is for every woman because every woman has felt powerless. Every woman has been marginalized and dismissed but these three sisters prove to all of us that there is great power when women come together as they have throughout history.

I was rooting like crazy for these the sisters to prevail. I was charmed by the spells they cast based on fairy tales, nursery rhymes, lullabies. This is a book rooted in feminist tradition told in the tradition of great folklore. 

By Alix E. Harrow,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Once and Future Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Glorious . . . a tale that will sweep you away' Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Tiger

'A gorgeous and thrilling paean to the ferocious power of women' Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer

In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when…


Book cover of Unbecoming

Emily Croy Barker Author Of The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

From my list on fantasy about learning magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was ten, I found a book on witchcraft on the shelves of my local bookstore and eagerly set out to learn how to practice magic. I had very little success—one rain spell maybe worked, but to be honest, rain was in the forecast anyway. So instead I became a novelist who likes to write about people who can do magic. I love books that not only sweep you into other worlds but show you how it really feels to live there. I hope these five novels give you a truly magical escape. 

Emily's book list on fantasy about learning magic

Emily Croy Barker Why did Emily love this book?

Cynthia, a forty-something English professor in the throes of perimenopause, develops unusual abilities and slowly learns to channel them, with help from a visiting faculty member from Faerie. I was lucky enough to read this book in an early draft, and then in its final version. What I love about this novel is how it treats magic as yet another weird thing that happens to you as you get older. I also relished watching Cynthia figure out her new powers in the context of ordinary life: navigating faculty politics, being a mom, working on her marriage. A smart, wry twist on the School for Magic trope.

By Lesley Wheeler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What if women gained uncanny power at middle age? In Unbecoming, Cyn's family is shattering, and she is at war with her own body. Then, when her best friend flies off on a mysterious faculty exchange program, a glamorous stranger takes her place--Fee Ellis, a Welsh poet who make it all look easy. But it may be costly to welcome this charismatic outsider to their little college town. Cyn's best friend, meanwhile, communicates only in ominous fragments.


Book cover of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

Dwain Worrell Author Of Androne

From my list on suspenseful science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

To be honest, and this will sound strange, but suspense is the air I breathe. I’m a pretty calm, boring human being, and the only thing that gets my heart pumping are films, TV, books, and video games in this genre. Suspense and thrillers are genres that make up ninety percent of the entertainment that I consume, and one hundred percent of the entertainment that I write.

Dwain's book list on suspenseful science fiction

Dwain Worrell Why did Dwain love this book?

I can only speak from my experience and, wow, this book hooked me right at the end of that first chapter, “but it’s happening faster.” Now to go into what that means, I will remain spoiler-free, but my jaw dropped. And the story only ramped up after that.

I love stories where the protagonist finds themselves in genuine peril, and Claire puts Harry August in a particular type of peril that truly had me terrified for his well-being in every chapter. The best type of suspense escalates in every chapter and it escalates here in this book in the best possible ways.

By Claire North,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'ONE OF THE FICTION HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DECADE' Judy Finnigan, Richard and Judy Book Club

Featured in the Richard and Judy Book Club, the BBC Radio 2 Book Club and the Waterstones Book Club
Winner of the John W. Campbell Award
Shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award

SOME STORIES CANNOT BE TOLD IN JUST ONE LIFETIME

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before.

Nothing ever changes - until now.…


Book cover of 14

Ricardo Henriquez Author Of The Catcher's Trap

From my list on those who love a good nightmare.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write horror, read horror, watch horror, and live horror. The last one may be a bit of an exaggeration. When I was 10 years old, I begged my parents to take me to the theater to see Friday the 13: The Final Chapter. Of course, they said no. When I was 14, and a horror rebel, I sneaked into a movie theater to watch Friday the 13: New Blood. Thank goodness when they said The Final Chapter, they didn’t mean it. It was around this age that I discovered Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot; that book changed my life for good. I can talk to you about horror books for hours and hours.

Ricardo's book list on those who love a good nightmare

Ricardo Henriquez Why did Ricardo love this book?

This blend of horror, mystery, and coming-of-age novel is a perfect summer read. I actually read this book while laying on a hammock in my backyard. The characters are likable, the mystery is intriguing, and the love story weave in the middle is endearing. You won’t have heart palpitations reading this book, but I can assure you that weird dreams will be part of the experience. 

By Peter Clines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 14 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches. There are some odd things about Nate's new apartment.


Book cover of The Last Dog on Earth

Jeremiah Franklin Author Of Rise of the Crow

From my list on helping you survive the apocalypse.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an “arm-chair survivalist” and author of the Dark Tomorrow trilogy, I have zero experience when it comes to actually surviving an end-of-the-world scenario, but I like to imagine that I have a good head start when the SHTF. After reading the novels recommended here, I’m confident that readers will be well-prepared when the next zombie invasion or global pandemic begins wiping out the human race. And if none of us survive the first wave of an alien attack or the coming of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, at the very least we will have read a few good books before we are all violently probed and trampled in the name of dystopian fiction.

Jeremiah's book list on helping you survive the apocalypse

Jeremiah Franklin Why did Jeremiah love this book?

If you are like me, and you are a vehement admirer of both dogs and tales of global destruction, The Last Dog on Earth, is the perfect canine-based/post-apocalyptic book for you! Centered around an expletive-spouting dog named Lineker, and his agoraphobic owner, Reginald, Walker’s story of survival in the dystopian ruins of a future London is at times humorous, dark, and thought-provoking. On an unexpected quest to deliver an orphaned girl to her family, Lineker and his owner are faced with dangers from all angles including riots, murderous government agents, and of course squirrels—the common and hated enemy of dogs across the world. In the end, I found the canine’s ongoing commentary to be both hilarious and spot-on, and if you’re planning to face Armageddon one step at a time, what better way to do than with a faithful and foul-mouthed dog by your side.

By Adrian J. Walker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Every dog has its day...

And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can be.

Reg, an agoraphobic writer with an obsession for nineties football, plans to wait out the impending doom in his second floor flat, hiding himself away from the riots outside.

But when an abandoned orphan shows up in the stairwell of their building, Reg and Lineker must brave the outside in order to save not only the child, but themselves...


Book cover of The Illusion of the End

Amin Samman Author Of History in Financial Times

From my list on philosophy challenging how you think about history.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are so many different ways of thinking and writing about history. I first noticed this while studying at university, when I saw just how different economic history looked from other kinds of history. I later learned that all kinds of historical writing are forms of literature, only they are rarely recognized as such. I am now a university professor and this is my area of expertise: the overlap between the philosophy of history and economics. The books on this list are great examples of unusual or ‘weird’ works on history that challenge some of our deepest assumptions about what history is and how best to think or write about it.

Amin's book list on philosophy challenging how you think about history

Amin Samman Why did Amin love this book?

Baudrillard is by now famous for declaring the end or disappearance of pretty much everything. That includes ‘history,’ and it is in this book where he speaks most directly about this. But unlike others, he doesn’t say that we’ve reached the end of history. Instead, he suggests that we’ve banished the end by going beyond it. It is a terrifying thought, really, because it means we can only dream of the end, and that beneath this illusion is something endless, artificial, and inhuman.

By Jean Baudrillard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The year 2000, the end of the millennium: is this anything other than a mirage, the illusion of an end, like so many other imaginary endpoints which have littered the path of history?
In this remarkable book Jean Baurdrillard-France's leading theorist of postmodernity-argues that the notion of the end is part of the fantasy of a linear history. Today we are not approaching the end of history but moving into reverse, into a process of systematic obliteration. We are wiping out the entire twentieth century, effacing all signs of the cold War one by one, perhaps even the signs of…


Book cover of Father Elijah: An Apocalypse

Carlo Kennedy Author Of Time Signature

From my list on fiction with a Christian worldview.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an Irish-Italian-American, I’ve got a lifetime of cultural and family traditions to bring to the table, and I want that in the books I read. I love books that celebrate the beauty of life, love, family, and creation. A novel can open up the world, and uplift the reader, adding joy to life – that’s what I’m looking for when I read, and I imagine others, too, want uplifting stories. That doesn’t mean preachy or sanctimonious – stories should be about real imperfect people who sometimes fall short of the ideal – but I definitely want stories that take place in a universe where God, and right and wrong, exist. 

Carlo's book list on fiction with a Christian worldview

Carlo Kennedy Why did Carlo love this book?

In this book, the author speculates about the events that could give rise to the anti-Christ, and a few brave souls who might try to stop his rise to power.

But this is not your grandfather’s end-times fiction. It’s deeply entrenched in actual events of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, and the story is eminently plausible.

It’s not about world wars or secret underground Christian armies – it’s about how pride is conquered by humility, how the biggest things the devil can throw at us are defeated by the holiness of unknown saints.

This is the real deal. You will not want to put it down!

By Michael O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Michael O'Brien presents a thrilling apocalyptic novel about the condition of the Roman Catholic Church at the end of time. It explores the state of the modern world, and the strengths and weaknesses of the contemporary religious scene, by taking his central character, Father Elijah Schafer, a Carmelite priest, on a secret mission for the Vatican which embroils him in a series of crises and subterfuges affecting the ultimate destiny of the Church.

Father Elijah is a convert from Judaism, a survivor of the Holocaust, a man once powerful in Israel. For twenty years he has been "buried in the…


Book cover of Pure

Benoit Lanteigne Author Of The Cyborg's Crusade

From my list on sci-fi books with strange settings.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some people like realism in their stories, but I prefer something more out there. I enjoy it when a story takes place in a fictional world, be it in a fantasy land like Lord of the Rings or something sci-fi. So, it’s not surprising that when I started writing my own series, The Cyborg Crusade, I decided to invent a new world. This required a ton of work and gave me a further appreciation for the effort it takes to come up with a strange new setting. This is why I decided to make this list of books featuring either a unique world or a twist on the existing one.

Benoit's book list on sci-fi books with strange settings

Benoit Lanteigne Why did Benoit love this book?

I rarely read young adult books, but Pure’s cover intrigued me. That’s good because it was a fun read.

Well-developed characters and a clever setting play a large part in the book’s charm. Pure takes place after a nuclear war. There are plenty of survivors, but the radiation left behind has a secret side effect never disclosed to the public: It causes flesh to merge with objects.

For instance, the main character has a doll for a hand. Her grampa has a fan stuck in his throat. Some people are fused with the ground. A group of mothers merged with their children. Adding to this, a giant dome hosts the last “pure” humans. While Pure relies on common young adult tropes, the result feels fresh and unique.

By Julianna Baggott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. We will, one day, emerge from the Dome to join you in peace. For now, we watch from afar, benevolently.

Pressia Belze has lived outside of the Dome ever since the detonations. Struggling for survival she dreams of life inside the safety of the Dome with the 'Pure'.

Partridge, himself a Pure, knows that life inside the Dome, under the strict control of the leaders' regime, isn't as perfect as others think.

Bound by a history that neither can clearly remember, Pressia and Partridge are destined to forge a new world.


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