10 books like American Dirt

By Jeanine Cummins,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like American Dirt. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

I had thought that science fiction rather than pure fantasy would not appeal to me, but this novel changed my mind. It rammed home the message that the world created by the author dictates the challenges faced by the characters, and plays as strong a role in the story as the adventures and the characters themselves. Like my favourite fantasy novelists, Frank Herbert had delivered an imaginative world peopled by strong characters. As with many of the great fantasies the threats come not just from other characters but also from the world itself, in this case the giant sandworms protecting the precious life-giving spice.

Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…


Klara and the Sun

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Book cover of Klara and the Sun

Klara and the Sun is narrated from the perspective of a female AI in a close future. Explicitly, the novel tackles the responsibilities of loving someone and an unreachable core of “humanness.” But not-so-explicitly, its peculiar and endearing voice detaches the female identity from a biological body. It pushes the boundaries of femininity beyond visual signs and appearances. All the while, the protagonist is continually making sense of human nature, finding the worth of ourselves in the way we love who’s around us. The novel redefines not just what it is to be female, but what it is to be human.

Klara and the Sun

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*The #1 Sunday Times Bestseller*
*Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021*
*A Barack Obama Summer Reading Pick*

'A delicate, haunting story' The Washington Post
'This is a novel for fans of Never Let Me Go . . . tender, touching and true.' The Times

'The Sun always has ways to reach us.'

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges…

Island of the Blue Dolphins

By Scott O’Dell,

Book cover of Island of the Blue Dolphins

This winner of the Newbury Medal is another book that gave me the courage to write a book that includes my own invented tribe. The author, Scott O'Dell, also spent his early years in Southern Calif. as did I and much of the described island flora and fauna is reminiscent of Santa Catalina Island. After hunting for otters Karina's tribe misses the first boat that was to take them back to the mainland. When she misses the second one because of an act of bravery, she is fated to survive many years alone which she does with unimaginable courage and tenacity.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

By Scott O’Dell,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Island of the Blue Dolphins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Twelve-year-old Karana escapes death at the hands of treacherous hunters, only to find herself totally alone on a harsh desolate island. How she survives in the face of all sorts of dangers makes gripping and inspiring reading.

Based on a true story.

The New Wilderness

By Diane Cook,

Book cover of The New Wilderness

This book changed my mind. 

Bea’s five-year-old daughter is frail and sickly, a victim of rampant air pollution. In an effort to save her, Bea and her family join an experimental program that requires them to live in the wild as nomadic hunters and gatherers. I must admit, I was initially drawn to the idea of trading the rat race for the wilderness. (No more alarm clocks! No more traffic jams!) But by the time I finished the book, that notion had lost its appeal. (No food pantries! No hospitals! Starvation! Death!) Exploring this intriguing but brutal scenario from the comfort of my living room is as close as I care to get!

The New Wilderness

By Diane Cook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'THE ENVIRONMENTAL NOVEL OF OUR TIMES.' Lemn Sissay, Booker Prize judge

From an acclaimed Guardian First Book Award finalist comes a debut novel 'brutal and beautiful in equal measure' (Emily St. John Mandel)

Longlisted for the DUBLIN Literary Award 2022

A Guardian Best Science Fiction Book of the Year

A 'Best Book of the Year 2020' according to BBC Culture * An Irish Times Best Debut Fiction of 2020

Bea's daughter, Agnes, is slowly wasting away, her lungs ravaged by the smog and pollution of the overpopulated metropolis they call home.

The only alternative is to build a life in…


The Sun Also Rises

By Ernest Hemingway,

Book cover of The Sun Also Rises

I’m recommending The Sun Also Rises because it was the first book to capture the essence of soldiers who struggled to return to civilian life. They used alcohol to hide their pain and drown their PTSD, their struggles with masculinity or to regain it, and inability to love. I like the way this book captures the feelings soldiers have when they leave the service, such as loss of purpose. Soldiers today returning from the wars similarly struggle with alcohol, drug abuse, and all too prevalent suicide. However, the sun will rise tomorrow. 

The Sun Also Rises

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jake Barnes is a man whose war wound has made him unable to have sex—and the promiscuous divorcée Lady Brett Ashley. Jake is an expatriate American journalist living in Paris, while Brett is a twice-divorced Englishwoman with bobbed hair and numerous love affairs, and embodies the new sexual freedom of the 1920s. The novel is a roman à clef: the characters are based on real people in Hemingway's circle, and the action is based on real events, particularly Hemingway's life in Paris in the 1920s and a trip to Spain in 1925 for the Pamplona festival and fishing in the…

The Lion's Game

By Nelson DeMille,

Book cover of The Lion's Game

John Corey is a wise-cracking NY cop who joins an FBI task force where he works with FBI Agent Kate Mayfield to take custody of a Libyan terrorist known as the Lion. The Task Force is at JFK waiting for the terrorist who is flying in from Libya on a 747. When they lose communication with the pilot, they realize something is wrong. The rest is a rollercoaster ride all the way to the end. You will not be disappointed.

The Lion's Game

By Nelson DeMille,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

April 1986 : American F - 111 warplanes bomb the Al Azziyah compound in Libya where President Gadhafi is residing. A 16-year-old youth, Asad - Arabic for 'lion ' - loses his mother, two brothers and two sisters in the raid. Asad sees himself as chosen to avenge not only his family but his nation, his religion and the Great Leader - Gadhafi. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Twelve years later, Asad arrives in New York City, intent on killing all five surviing pilots across America who participated in the bombing , one by one.…


The Drop

By Dennis Lehane,

Book cover of The Drop

After a lonely barman, Bob, rescues an abused puppy from a trashcan, his mundane world is turned upside down. He befriends an emotionally scarred woman, which puts him at odds with her ex, and unknowingly gets drawn into a con against the Chechen Mafia that uses the bar for money drops.

Lehane is masterful at creating flawed characters that pins readers to the text. As a short novel, The Drop is loaded with punchy dialogue, rapid characterisation, and off-beat humour. However, it’s barman Bob’s stoic presence that makes this such a fascinating read. He fades sublimely into the gloomy Boston crime scene in a profound way, which makes him one of the most unconventional protagonists caught on paper.

The Drop

By Dennis Lehane,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane's The Drop is a crime story, a love story, and ultimately a journey of faith, set in Boston's underworld.

"[A] gritty gem...a stark and moving short novel." - Publishers Weekly

Two days after Christmas, Bob Saginowski, a lonely bartender looking for a reason to live, rescues an abused and abandoned pit bull puppy from a trash can and meets a damaged woman named Nadia Dunn looking for something to believe in.

As their relationship grows, they cross paths with the Chechen mafia, who have taken over his cousin Marv's bar and use it…


Dr. No

By Ian Fleming,

Book cover of Dr. No

Dr. No is so much more sinister than you remember him in the movie that began the James Bond series in 1962. He is a reclusive Chinese-German millionaire who lives on a Jamaican island where an MI-6 agent has gone missing. M calls on James Bond to find the missing agent and upon arrival is treated to a basket of poisoned fruit and a deadly centipede is left in his bed while he’s asleep. Dr. No has pincers for hands which just adds to the tension as Bond closes in. The menacing villain forces Bond to navigate his way through an obstacle course constructed within the facility's ventilation system while Bond suffers electric shocks, burns, and an ordeal with poisonous spiders. This is such an enjoyable read for anyone who likes thrillers.  

Dr. No

By Ian Fleming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dr. No as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dispatched by M to investigate the mysterious disappearance of MI6’s Jamaica station chief, Bond was expecting a holiday in the sun. But when he discovers a deadly centipede placed in his hotel room, the vacation is over.

On this island, all suspicious activity leads inexorably to Dr. Julius No, a reclusive megalomaniac with steel pincers for hands. To find out what the good doctor is hiding, 007 must enlist the aid of local fisherman Quarrel and alluring beachcomber Honeychile Rider. Together they will combat a local legend the natives call “the Dragon,” before Bond alone must face the most punishing…


Be Cool

By Elmore Leonard,

Book cover of Be Cool

I’ll admit, the Russian villain in this thriller is a very bit part, but I can’t have a top 5 list of any thriller without including Elmore Leonard. I read one of Leonard’s first urban thrillers, Glitz, back in ‘80’s and was blown away with how gritty it was. I’d never heard dialogue coming out of character’s mouths like that before. He wrote dialogue like people actually spoke—not with perfect dialect, but street language. It’s the reason he was dubbed the Dickens of Detroit. If you’ve read Elmore Leonard and liked him, then pick this up and read it. It’s a quasi-sequel to Get Shorty with shylock Chili Palmer moving from the movie industry to the music business. 

If you’ve never read Leonard, then start with this one. My writing career would never have flourished like is has without reading Leonard, so this on is near to my heart. Enjoy.  

Be Cool

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The sequel to Chili Palmer's hit movie tanked and now Chili's itching for a comeback. So when a power lunch with record-label executive and former associate Tommy Athens ends in a mob hit, he soon finds himself in an unlikely alliance with organized-crime detective Darryl Holmes and the likely next target of Russian gangsters. But where others see danger, Chili Palmer sees story possibilities.

Enter Linda Moon, a singer with aspirations that go further than her current gig in a Spice Girls cover band. Chili takes over as Linda's manager, entering the world of rock stars, pop divas, and hip-hop…


The Chain

By Adrian McKinty,

Book cover of The Chain

This book made me wonder.

Rachel’s daughter has been kidnapped, and to get her back, Rachel must pay a ransom and abduct another child. The kidnapper is another mother whose child has been kidnapped—by someone else whose child has been kidnapped, by someone else whose... Well. You get the idea. As I tore through this novel, I couldn’t help wondering what I would do in that situation. Could I actually kidnap somebody else’s child? I still don’t have an answer, but watching this ingenious plot unfold was a rollercoaster ride I’ll never forget.

The Chain

By Adrian McKinty,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


When a mother is targeted by a dangerous group of masterminds, she must commit a crime to save her kidnapped daughter—or risk losing her forever—in this "propulsive and original" award-winning thriller (Stephen King).

It's something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it's a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a…

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