100 books like Amy Johnson

By Constance Babington Smith,

Here are 100 books that Amy Johnson fans have personally recommended if you like Amy Johnson. 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 Fate is the Hunter: A Pilot's Memoir

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Author Of Bird

From my list on pioneering aviation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for flying old aeroplanes led me to the pilots who flew them in history, and my particular fascination is with the interwar period and the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’, which saw the establishment of the early commercial air routes and the historic solo flights by pilots flying basic machines and pushing themselves and their aircraft to the very limits of endurance to prove that it could be done. I was absolutely mesmerised by the stories of their bravery and obsession. My recommended books all share the theme of pioneering aviation as this has been a consuming interest for much of my adult life, both in and out of the cockpit. 

Tracey's book list on pioneering aviation

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Why did Tracey love this book?

First published in 1961, this memoir may be the best book ever written about aviation by someone who was both a pilot and a terrific writer. 

I took the liberty of using this title as the heading for one of the chapters in my own book as a tribute to Gann. His visceral accounts of flying the early airliners in America during the 1930s in the burgeoning years of commercial aviation are literally heart-stopping. 

We take so much for granted in this modern age of airline flying but this wonderful book will forever change your perspective of the risks and challenges that went before.  

By Ernest K. Gann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ernest K. Gann’s classic pilot's memoir is an up-close and thrilling account of the treacherous early days of commercial aviation. “Few writers have ever drawn readers so intimately into the shielded sanctum of the cockpit, and it is hear that Mr. Gann is truly the artist” (The New York Times Book Review).

“A splendid and many-faceted personal memoir that is not only one man’s story but the story, in essence, of all men who fly” (Chicago Tribune). In his inimitable style, Gann brings you right into the cockpit, recounting both the triumphs and terrors of pilots who flew when flying…


Book cover of Lady Icarus: The Life of Irish Aviator Lady Mary Heath

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Author Of Bird

From my list on pioneering aviation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for flying old aeroplanes led me to the pilots who flew them in history, and my particular fascination is with the interwar period and the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’, which saw the establishment of the early commercial air routes and the historic solo flights by pilots flying basic machines and pushing themselves and their aircraft to the very limits of endurance to prove that it could be done. I was absolutely mesmerised by the stories of their bravery and obsession. My recommended books all share the theme of pioneering aviation as this has been a consuming interest for much of my adult life, both in and out of the cockpit. 

Tracey's book list on pioneering aviation

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Why did Tracey love this book?

This is about one of our most brilliant female aviators. 

Largely forgotten today, the Irish Lady Heath, one of our first female Olympians and the first woman in Britain to hold a commercial pilot’s licence, was also the first person to fly solo from Cape Town to England in 1928. 

Her flight was the inspiration for my first expedition up Africa in 2013, about which we made a documentary screened by the BBC, and this book is the moving story of Mary Heath’s exceptional but ultimately tragic life.

By Lindie Naughton,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Birth of British Aviation: Prisoners of Hope

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Author Of Bird

From my list on pioneering aviation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for flying old aeroplanes led me to the pilots who flew them in history, and my particular fascination is with the interwar period and the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’, which saw the establishment of the early commercial air routes and the historic solo flights by pilots flying basic machines and pushing themselves and their aircraft to the very limits of endurance to prove that it could be done. I was absolutely mesmerised by the stories of their bravery and obsession. My recommended books all share the theme of pioneering aviation as this has been a consuming interest for much of my adult life, both in and out of the cockpit. 

Tracey's book list on pioneering aviation

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Why did Tracey love this book?

I loved reading about these very early pioneers who today are largely forgotten or never known, notably Frank McLean, who met the Wright brothers, and went on to cut an irresistibly romantic, dare-devil figure. 

He became an overnight celebrity when he flew a flimsy seaplane between the towers of Tower Bridge in London in 1912. After the First World War, he was one of the first pilots flying to Africa and down the Nile in what would become one of the early air routes for Imperial Airways in the 1930s.  

Also, Charles Rolls, of Rolls-Royce fame, who was tragically killed in a freak incident at the Bournemouth air display in 1910, the first Brit to be killed in a flying accident. 

By Helen Landau,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Birth of British Aviation: Prisoners of Hope


Book cover of Magnificent Women and Flying Machines: The First 200 Years of British Women in the Sky

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Author Of Bird

From my list on pioneering aviation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for flying old aeroplanes led me to the pilots who flew them in history, and my particular fascination is with the interwar period and the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’, which saw the establishment of the early commercial air routes and the historic solo flights by pilots flying basic machines and pushing themselves and their aircraft to the very limits of endurance to prove that it could be done. I was absolutely mesmerised by the stories of their bravery and obsession. My recommended books all share the theme of pioneering aviation as this has been a consuming interest for much of my adult life, both in and out of the cockpit. 

Tracey's book list on pioneering aviation

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Why did Tracey love this book?

This is a lively history of the first 200 years of British women in the sky. 

Given that women were largely blocked by a hostile male establishment from participating in commercial and military aviation for most of the 20th century, this is a riveting account of the unconventional women who defied gravity and everything else to get airborne. Marvellous stuff!

By Sally Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Magnificent Women and Flying Machines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just eighteen months after two Frenchmen made the world's first ever flight, a fearless British woman hopped into a flimsy balloon and flew across the London sky for nearly an hour. Since then, many other remarkable British women have decided to defy traditional society and follow their dreams to get into the sky. Magnificent Women and Flying Machines tells the stories of the pioneers who achieved real firsts in various forms of aviation: in ballooning, parachuting, gliding, airships and fixed-wing flight - right up to a trip to the International Space Station! Full of entertaining adventure mixed with a wealth…


Book cover of Last Flight - Amelia Earhart's Flying Adventures

Clare Mulley Author Of The Women Who Flew for Hitler: A True Story of Soaring Ambition and Searing Rivalry

From my list on female pilots.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clare Mulley is the award-winning author of three books re-examining the history of the First and Second World War through the lives of remarkable women. The Woman Who Saved the Children, about child rights pioneer Eglantyne Jebb, won the Daily Mail Biographers' Club Prize and is now under option. Polish-born Second World War special agent Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, is the subject of the Spy Who Loved, a book that led to Clare being decorated with Poland’s national honour, the Bene Merito. Clare's third book, The Women Who Flew for Hitler, long-listed for the Historical Writers Association prize, tells the extraordinary story of Nazi Germany’s only two female test pilots, whose choices and actions put them on opposite sides of history. Clare reviews for the Telegraph, Spectator, and History Today. A popular public speaker, she has given a TEDx talk at Stormont, and recent TV includes news appearances for the BBC, Sky, and Channel 5 as well as various Second World War history series.

Clare's book list on female pilots

Clare Mulley Why did Clare love this book?

There are several good biographies of Earhart by Mary S. Lovell and others, but worth also looking at is this compilation of the letters, diary entries and charts that Earhart sent back to her husband, bringing a striking immediacy to her final flight.

By Amelia Earhart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last Flight - Amelia Earhart's Flying Adventures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amelia Earhart was twice the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air: initially in 1928 as a passenger just a year after Lindbergh's pioneering flight and then in 1932 flying solo. Like her contemporaries Amy Johnson and Beryl Markham she was featured in all the fashionable magazines of the day as a symbol of the new independent woman. The list of records Amelia established reads like a catalogue of aviation history and includes the first flights from Hawaii to California and from California to Mexico. In 1937 she attempted with a copilot, Frederick J. Noonan, to fly around the…


Book cover of A Town Called Dust: The Territory 1

Paula Weston Author Of The Undercurrent

From my list on YA set in Australia – but not quite as we know it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Australian and there’s a big place in my heart for Australian-set stories. I read mostly for escapism, but there’s a deeper connection with tales from my own backyard. I’ve also always loved speculative fiction – everything from epic and paranormal fantasy to space opera and dystopian thrillers – and I’m excited when my favourite genres and setting come together. My day job is in local government. I’ve seen how government decisions can impact the trajectory of a society, and I’m particularly drawn to stories that explore that theme. I’m the author of five speculative fiction novels with Australian settings: the four novels in The Rephaim series (supernatural fantasy) and The Undercurrent (slightly futuristic/pre-apocalyptic). 

Paula's book list on YA set in Australia – but not quite as we know it

Paula Weston Why did Paula love this book?

I knew from the blurb this was going to be my kind of book. I really loved the post-apocalyptic Australian setting and the way the desert wasteland society is structured. The concept of dirt farmers is particularly genius.

As well as the excellent world building, there’s page-turning action, an epic zombie battle, and a clever setup for the next installment. This is the first in The Territory trilogy, which follows the increasingly important role of Squid and Lyn, two teenagers caught up in a battle against ghouls and who learn secrets about themselves and their society as they trek across the Outback.

By Justin Woolley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Town Called Dust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stranded in the desert, the last of mankind is kept safe by a large border fence ... Until the fence falls.

Squid is a young orphan living under the oppressive rule of his uncle in the outskirts of the Territory. Lynn is a headstrong girl with an influential father who has spent her entire life within the walled city of Alice.

When the border fence is breached, the Territory is invaded by the largest horde of undead ghouls seen in two hundred years. Squid is soon conscripted into the Diggers-the armed forces of the Territory. And after Lynn finds herself…


Book cover of The Swan Book

Hoa Pham Author Of The Other Shore

From my list on slippaging between worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I want to write about the magic of the everyday and often this is seen in the slippages between worlds like the worlds of the living and the dead. Ghosts and spirits feature heavily in my work and fascinate me as a reader too. This is not in the realm of fantasy to me, ghosts are real and actual.

Hoa's book list on slippaging between worlds

Hoa Pham Why did Hoa love this book?

This amazing book is about Oblivia a girl who survives gang rape living in a swamp with thousands of black swans who is promised to Warren Finch the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia an indigenous man.

In her journey we meet many out there characters told in mythic style in a future Australia devastated by climate change. This book is a potent mix of speculative fiction and magic realism featuring indigenous communities and characters. I admire it for the breadth of its vision and the intimacy of Oblivia and of course the swans.

By Alexis Wright,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A hypnotic and “astonishingly inventive” (O, The Oprah Magazine) novel about an Aboriginal girl living in a future world turned upside down—where ancient myths exist side-by-side with present-day realities.

Oblivia Ethelyne was given her name by an old woman who found her deep in the bowels of a gum tree, tattered and fragile, the victim of a brutal assault by wayward local youths. These are the years leading up to Australia’s third centenary, and the woman who finds her, Bella Donna of the Champions, is a refugee from climate change wars that devastated her country in the northern hemisphere.

Bella…


Book cover of Stray Bats

Eugen Bacon Author Of Danged Black Thing

From my list on short stories in literary and speculative fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an African Australian author of several novels and fiction collections, and a finalist in the 2022 World Fantasy Award. I was announced in the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships for ‘doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction’. I have a master's degree with distinction in distributed computer systems, a master's degree in creative writing, and a PhD in creative writing. The short story is my sweetest spot. I have a deep passion for the literary speculative, and I write across genres and forms, with award-winning genre-bending works. I am especially curious about stories of culture, diversity, climate change, writing the other, and betwixt.

Eugen's book list on short stories in literary and speculative fiction

Eugen Bacon Why did Eugen love this book?

Margo Lanagan’s mini-collection Stray Bats is an exceptional showcase of refined writing—less is always more. Powerful bite-size vignettes in this dark illustrated miscellany of micro fiction and prose poetry encompass rhyme, beauty, and something most sinister. Offering up constellations, maidens in flight, familiars, hag hunters, vixen wives, and spirit girls, this kind of dark, fantastical writing and the ghosts of its graphics haunt you for a super long time…

By Margo Lanagan, Kathleen Jennings (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dachshund droids, mad crones, shapeshifting children, a plethora of witches, dragonstalkers, familiars, slithering eels and, of course, bats, flit and fly through these pages, aided and abetted by Kathleen Jennings’s deft and inspired pencil drawings. Stray Bats is a glorious miscellany of vignettes based on poems by Australian women. While some of the pieces hie close to the originals in form and theme, some stray far, far from them even as Lanagan delights in playing with language, rhyme, and rhythm.

This could be the perfect gift for that slightly otherworldly person in your life—or for yourself, when you need a…


Book cover of Loving Country: A Guide to Sacred Australia

Lee Mylne Author Of Frommer's Australia

From my list on discovering Australia, specifically guide books..

Why am I passionate about this?

As a full-time travel writer for 30 years, I’ve travelled all over Australia and am still constantly surprised and thrilled by new places. Ask me what my favourite place is, and it’s impossible to choose! From the grandeur of Western Australia’s Kimberley and the red ochre colours of the Outback to the deep blue of the oceans and lush rainforests...I love it all and I love sharing my discoveries – both in cities and on the long and winding roads – with readers. When I’m not travelling or writing about it, I’m usually planning the next trip!

Lee's book list on discovering Australia, specifically guide books.

Lee Mylne Why did Lee love this book?

Far from an ordinary guidebook, Loving Country, A Guide to Sacred Australia gets to the heart of this ancient continent through the eyes and stories of Australia’s First Nations people. Beautifully designed and illustrated with photographs, the book opens up an Australia that many visitors never – sadly – see. Exploring Australia’s Indigenous culture is one of the best ways to understand this country, and there are many ways of doing that, if you seek them out. After consultation with Indigenous communities and elders, the authors have chosen just 18 places to feature, telling the stories of the Dreaming, explaining traditional cultural practices, and outlining tours that will open a new world to those who care to dive deep into the culture.

By Bruce Pascoe, Vicky Shukuroglou,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Loving Country is a powerful and essential guidebook that offers a new way to travel and discover Australia through an Indigenous narrative. In this beautifully designed and photographed edition, co-authors Bruce Pascoe and Vicky Shukuroglou show travellers how to see the country as herself, to know her whole and old story, and to find the way to fall in love with her, our home.

Featuring 18 places in detail, from the ingenious fish traps at Brewarrina and the rivers that feed the Great Barrier Reef, to the love stories of Wiluna and the whale story of Margaret River, there is…


Book cover of This Is Shyness

Paula Weston Author Of The Undercurrent

From my list on YA set in Australia – but not quite as we know it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Australian and there’s a big place in my heart for Australian-set stories. I read mostly for escapism, but there’s a deeper connection with tales from my own backyard. I’ve also always loved speculative fiction – everything from epic and paranormal fantasy to space opera and dystopian thrillers – and I’m excited when my favourite genres and setting come together. My day job is in local government. I’ve seen how government decisions can impact the trajectory of a society, and I’m particularly drawn to stories that explore that theme. I’m the author of five speculative fiction novels with Australian settings: the four novels in The Rephaim series (supernatural fantasy) and The Undercurrent (slightly futuristic/pre-apocalyptic). 

Paula's book list on YA set in Australia – but not quite as we know it

Paula Weston Why did Paula love this book?

This is still one of the coolest books I’ve ever read. It has wonderfully left-of-centre characters, original plot, and world building, a hint of darkness, and sharp dialogue. I love its Australian flavour (just enough to feel familiar). The setting is also off-kilter enough to be dystopian, but not so much so that it feels alien.

Best of all, at the novel's heart is an engaging, offbeat romance. There are also well-handled themes of alienation, grief, identity, and self-discovery.

(It was part of a gift pack of novels my Australian publisher sent me when I signed my first book deal back in 2011, and I instantly fell in love with it.)

By Leanne Hall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Is Shyness 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?

A captivating novel told from the points of view of two unforgettable characters. In the suburb of Shyness, the sun doesn't rise. Wolfboy meets a stranger called Wildgirl, who dares him to be her guide through the endless night. There are things that can only be said in the dark.This is Shyness was shortlisted for a number of major Australian literary awards and named a Children's Book Council of Australia Notable Book.

Leanne Hall won the 2009 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing for this spellbinding debut for readers fourteen and up.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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