10 books like Amy and Isabelle

By Elizabeth Strout,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Amy and Isabelle. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

By Jesmyn Ward,

Book cover of Sing, Unburied, Sing

This richly-told journey story revolves around 13-year-old Jojo and his family. Jojo lives with his grandparents, Mam and Pop, his baby sister, Kayla, and his emotionally absent and drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on the small family farm. The many trials Jojo faces while caring for his baby sister on a trip with his neglectful, selfish mother to Parchman Prison to retrieve his father propel him toward maturity. At the beginning of the novel Jojo says he doesn’t understand his mother, but by the end he has developed understanding.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

By Jesmyn Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018 WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2017 ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2017 SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE NEW STATESMAN, THE FINANCIAL TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, TIME AND THE BBC Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalist for the Kirkus Prize Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award 'This wrenching new novel by Jesmyn Ward digs deep into the not-buried heart of the American nightmare. A must' Margaret Atwood 'A powerfully…


Where'd You Go, Bernadette

By Maria Semple,

Book cover of Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Witty, hilarious, and heartbreaking, Maria Semple’s book about a modern family living in Seattle confronting modern meaninglessness is inventive and playful in its use of forms. Each chapter feels like a new opportunity for Semple to explore a different way of capturing this family of three that has begun to drift apart. Part mystery, part satire, the novel perfectly captures the absurdity of trying to understand the strange people we call family.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

By Maria Semple,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Where'd You Go, Bernadette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A misanthropic matriarch leaves her eccentric family in crisis when she mysteriously disappears in this "whip-smart and divinely funny" novel that inspired the movie starring Cate Blanchett (New York Times).

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is her best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette vanishes. It all began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle --…


Peace Like a River

By Leif Enger,

Book cover of Peace Like a River

Years ago, I pulled this novel from the library shelf on a whim, knowing nothing then of its author. Oh, what a powerful book! Reuben’s coming of age pulled me in and never let go. Eleven years old and asthmatic, Reuben idolizes his brother Davy. But after Davy is wanted for murder, Reuben faces the moral dilemma of justice versus loyalty. Initially, Reuben considers the federal agent tasked with finding Davy a “bad guy” and struggles with his father’s cooperation with the agent. But as time goes on, Reuben’s decision to value the agent’s life over his brother’s freedom suggests that growing up involves allowing one's perception of right and wrong to change as evidence is presented. 

Peace Like a River

By Leif Enger,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Peace Like a River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Israel Finch and Tommy Basca, the town bullies, break into the home of school caretaker Jeremiah Land, wielding a baseball bat and looking for trouble, they find more of it than even they expected. For seventeen-year-old Davey is sitting up in bed waiting for them with a Winchester rifle. His younger brother Reuben has seen their father perform miracles, but Jeremiah now seems as powerless to prevent Davey from being arrested for manslaughter, as he has always been to ease Reuben's daily spungy struggle to breathe. Nor does brave and brilliant nine-year-old Swede, obsessed as she is with the…


Free Love

By Tessa Hadley,

Book cover of Free Love

It's 1969, Phyllis is married to a kind man, with two children and a large house in suburban London. Her domestic world is not far removed from a dutiful 50s housewife’s. Then a much younger man, dashing, selfish, and a family friend, kisses her in a dark garden, and her life explodes. She abandons her family and moves to a shabby flat in Ladbroke Grove. A new world opens to her – she meets people of colour, artists, activists, drinkers, and idealists. She experiences sexual freedom and romantic love. Phyllis’s teenage daughter joins her in her new life, and mother and daughter must work out a different kind of relationship. I found myself feeling furious with Phyllis at the same time as emphasising with her.

Free Love

By Tessa Hadley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Tessa Hadley recruits admirers with each book. She writes with authority, and with delicacy: she explores nuance, but speaks plainly; she is one of those writers a reader trusts.”—Hilary Mantel

From the bestselling author of Late in the Day and The Past comes a compulsive new novel about one woman’s sexual and intellectual awakening in 1960s London.

1967. While London comes alive with the new youth revolution, the suburban Fischer family seems to belong to an older world of conventional stability: pretty, dutiful homemaker Phyllis is married to Roger, a devoted father with a career in the Foreign Office. Their…


Monogamy

By Sue Miller,

Book cover of Monogamy

This book is a page-turner. Annie, the main character in this novel has just found out her husband has been having an affair. The book circles back to their marriage and how completely different they are. 

Somehow the relationship works as they totally balanced each other. I love how Sue Miller creates pictures of characters so we get to know them at a granular level. I ended up loving all of them despite their imperfections. Annie makes a life for herself as a widow having been transformed by the man she loved. Opposite personalities can enrich each other as often as they drive each other crazy.

Monogamy

By Sue Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book of the Year
DAILY MAIL 'BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR TO GIFT FOR CHRISTMAS'
SUNDAY EXPRESS' S MAGAZINE 'WINTER WARMERS'
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 'BEST BOOKS OF 2020' ONLINE

'One of the most emotionally truthful novels I have ever read' DAISY BUCHANAN
'Almost every line glows with even-handed wisdom - a superb novel, beautifully put together' DAILY MAIL
'An invaluably moving book' JULIET NICOLSON
'One to read first for the story and then to re-read at leisure and marvel at how real these people feel' ERIN KELLY
'Penetrating, intelligent, humane, funny too ... Smart and powerfully alive'…


Unless

By Carol Shields,

Book cover of Unless

Carol Shields’ last novel, Unless (published after her death) follows forty-something mom Reta Winters: Reta’s three daughters are almost grown, she has decent work translating French writers, and she has a supportive husband. Then oldest daughter Norah disappears, and it turns out Norah is now living on the streets of downtown Toronto, wearing a sign around her neck that reads “goodness,” but not speaking a word. This sounds like a bleak scenario, having one’s daughter reject everything she’s grown up with and refusing to explain. But Unless is a sharp, thoughtful, and even funny novel, one that’s not like any other that I’ve read, and Norah’s disappearance leads Reta to come of age as she questions every aspect of her life. 

Unless

By Carol Shields,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The dazzling novel from Carol Shields, author of 'The Stone Diaries', winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and 'Larry's Party', winner of the Orange Prize.

All her life, it seems to Reta Winters, she has enjoyed the useful monotony of happiness. She has a loving husband, three bright daughters and supportive friends, and is experiencing growing success as a writer and translator. Then her eldest daughter suddenly withdraws from the world, abandoning university, family and loving boyfriend to sit on a street corner, uncommunicative but for a sign around her neck bearing one word, 'Goodness'. The anguish of her loss leads…


Rich in Love

By Josephine Humphreys,

Book cover of Rich in Love

Having read this novel a number of times, I am always drawn into its emotional depth. The departure of 17-year-old Lucille Odom’s mother Helen has a shattering effect on Warren, Lucille’s father, and his paralysis intensifies Lucille’s coming of age. Warren’s regression into a kind of adolescent state forces Lucille into the role of parent. She must take control in ways that are at the limit of her competence. Lucille says, “I don’t know now whether the disappearance of my mother was like a trigger mechanism setting off the series of surprises that was to follow. There is no reason the one thing had to lead to the others. But a family without a mother is vulnerable.” As she guides her family through discontent, Lucille discovers she is a woman rich in love.

Rich in Love

By Josephine Humphreys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the age of seventeen, Lucille Odom finds herself in the middle of an unexpected domestic crisis. As she helps guide her family through its discontent, Lucille discovers in herself a woman rich in wisdom, rich in humor, and rich in love.


Child of My Heart

By Alice McDermott,

Book cover of Child of My Heart

Though I have read and relished all of Alice McDermott’s novels, Child of my Heart is my favorite. Theresa, age 15, is East Hampton’s most sought-after babysitter when her favorite cousin, eight-year-old Daisy, comes to spend the summer in this gorgeous coming-of-age novel. Though Theresa and Daisy share a magical world, Theresa eventually realizes the ongoing bruises on Daisy’s feet and body mean she is seriously ill. While the cousins intuitively conceal Daisy’s condition, Theresa becomes aroused by and wary of her sexual attraction to the father of Flora, a toddler she babysits. Through the haunting presence of death and her dawning sexuality for a much-older man, Theresa crosses into adulthood. 

Child of My Heart

By Alice McDermott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the cusp of fifteen, pretty Theresa is the town's most sought-after babysitter - cheerful, beloved, adored by children and animals, but also a solitary soul with an already complex understanding of human nature. She is Titania among her fairies, the one person to call on for help with a child in extreme distress. Theresa does not doubt her power over the fathers of her adoring charges either, like the elderly artist whose signature and doodles may fetch a fortune, but whose potential lechery Theresa toys with like a kitten with yarn. Yet, during this unforgettable summer, it is her…


Testimony

By Anita Shreve,

Book cover of Testimony

One of Anita Shreve’s lesser-known novels, I love Testimony for the contemporary conundrum it introduces. No more sweeping things under the rug; administrations must deal with transgressions in a public manner. In Testimony, students at another New England boarding school behave badly, capturing a lewd act on film. No matter how you code it, a crime has been committed, and the school must deal with it.

While the novel explores multiple points of view, the perspective of the accused student’s mother had the greatest effect on me: “You stand up… You get into your car and back out of your driveway and make the turn onto the street and immediately a new set of pictures darts in front of you like small boys on bicycles. Rob in a helmet on a skateboard… A boy with a bad haircut holding up his Cub Scout handbook…” The second-person technique wonderfully conveys…

Testimony

By Anita Shreve,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices -- those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal -- that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in Testimony a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No…


Ghosts of the Northeast

By David J. Pitkin,

Book cover of Ghosts of the Northeast

Pitkin writes in a very accessible style. What drew me into this book, in particular, is that he starts the book off with a personal experience. He writes of the incident that turned him from a skeptic into a believer in the paranormal. Intriguing stuff, to be sure ... but this revelation also changed his attitude towards teaching, making him more tolerant of other cultures, and more open to sharing different worldviews with his students. Whereas prior to this experience, he had been dismissive of what he saw as "primitive" beliefs (regarding African belief in witchcraft and the afterlife), he was now more willing to explore alternative belief systems with his students.

Ghosts of the Northeast

By David J. Pitkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Pitkin, David J.


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