100 books like Anxious People

By Fredrik Backman,

Here are 100 books that Anxious People fans have personally recommended if you like Anxious People. 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 The Overstory

Culley Holderfield Author Of Hemlock Hollow

From my list on books in which nature is a teacher.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up fascinated by the natural world, in particular by the hemlock trees in a hollow in the North Carolina mountains where my family owned a cabin. Later, the hollow and that cabin would provide inspiration for my novel, Hemlock Hollow, in which a scientist wrestles with the ghosts of her past. Those hemlocks are in decline now due to the hemlock wooly adelgid, an invasive species working its way through the Appalachian Mountains. In many ways, my writing takes the grief of losing something so dear as grist for stories that center the power of place over time, and I’m drawn to other books that do the same.

Culley's book list on books in which nature is a teacher

Culley Holderfield Why did Culley love this book?

What’s not to love about a book structured as a tree? This is a vast, episodic novel that takes traditional storytelling and turns it on its head.

A cast of characters connect through stories that grow from seed to trunk to limb. I finished this long read and immediately wanted to start again. It’s the kind of book that rewards a second or third pass. Complex, rife with science and faith and desperate longing, this book is a celebration of the tree, a clarion call to return our attention to our roots before it is too late.

One of Powers’ characters asks, “What do all good stories do?” He answers, “They kill you a little. They turn you into something you weren’t.” I think that’s true of all of these books, and most definitely this one.

By Richard Powers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of-and paean to-the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers's twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours-vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see…


Book cover of Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss and Bold Living

Rachel Blythe Kodanaz Author Of Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time: What to Do with Your and a Loved One's Personal Possessions

From my list on embracing life’s challenges.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rachel is a heart-minded professional specializing in current and relevant approaches in support of individuals and workplaces following a loss or trauma. She is a best-selling author, seasoned keynote speaker, and business consultant. She began her career serving in management of Fortune 500 companies, overcoming her own adversity following the sudden death of her husband while raising a 2-year-old. She was immediately confronted with the see-saw created when personal and professional trajectories collide, giving her the opportunity to provide invaluable insights about loss. Her books include best-selling Living with Loss One Day at a Time, Finding Peace, and Grief in the Workplace: A Comprehensive Guide for Being Prepared.

Rachel's book list on embracing life’s challenges

Rachel Blythe Kodanaz Why did Rachel love this book?

This poignant memoir is beautifully written in short, powerful chapters that mirror the shock and heartache of caring for and losing a beloved spouse while showing the resilience of the human spirit. I like that it is written in such short, easy-to-digest chapters, since it is so difficult for most bereaved to focus attention and concentrate, especially early on. At the same time, Nancy manages to convey, with clarity and honesty, all the personal details of her journey through grief and what she learned along the way.

By Nancy Sharp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The past is simply part of our story; just not the whole story...On the very day that Nancy Sharp delivered premature twins, she learned that her husband's brain cancer returned after eighteen months in remission.  Less than three years later, at the age of 37, she became a widow. But while many in that situation would crumble, Nancy had an innate ability to hold life and death in the same moment. She learned to "see beyond the frame's edge."  In BOTH SIDES NOW: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living, Nancy shares her unforgettable journey - one that…


Book cover of From Sole to Soul: A Daily Prescription For Moving Forward In Your Life

Debra Fine Author Of The Fine Art of Small Talk: How To Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills -- and Leave a Positive Impression!

From my list on cultivating connections.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cultivating connections is Debra Fine’s passion. Her previous life as an engineer and introvert left her longing for connections. Inspired to learn and then teach, Debra’s programs and books are designed to supply the tools and skills for great conversations, networking, and building relationships. Now the author of the bestselling book The Fine Art of Small Talk How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills - and Leave a Positive Impression Debra delivers keynote programs and training workshop to hundreds of clients both face-to-face and virtually.

Debra's book list on cultivating connections

Debra Fine Why did Debra love this book?

This book inspires the reader to connect their mind with movement. The author has filled the days of the year with practice prompts, ideas to help boost self-awareness and push past adversity, and wisdom from artists and scholars as well. Sole to Soul motivated me to connect with nature, my own stillness, and with others. A great daily devotional. And a great gift especially during these tough times.

By Audrey Boxwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Sole to Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"From Sole to Soul: A Daily Prescription For Moving Forward In Your Life" is a daily invitation to step forward in life. Dr. Audrey Boxwell has filled the days of the year with practice prompts, ideas to help boost self-awareness and push past adversity, and wisdom from artists and scholars who have motivated her and hundreds of clients over the years. There is no better prescription for joy and well-being than daily movement. Sole to Soul gets readers up on their feet, ready to seize the days one step at a time.


The Unproposed Guy

By Bhavik Sarkhedi, Suhana Bhambhani,

Book cover of The Unproposed Guy

Bhavik Sarkhedi Author Of The Unproposed Guy

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Wanderlust Film Aficionado Bibliophile Solo Traveler Movie Buff

Bhavik's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The Unproposed Guy is a captivating journey through the life of Kevin, a character stuck in a mundane existence and unfulfilling relationships, who discovers his passion for stand-up comedy and rapping amidst an existential crisis.

This contemporary fiction is peppered with humor, sarcasm, and poignant insights into modern relationships and societal expectations. Kevin's struggles and transformations offer a unique blend of comedy and emotional depth, making it a must-read for those seeking a fresh, humorous perspective on love, life, and self-discovery. Dive into Kevin's character of failed relationship and who portrays himself as "Every guy's best friend and every girl's worst nightmare".

The Unproposed Guy

By Bhavik Sarkhedi, Suhana Bhambhani,

What is this book about?

There has been no significant change in the life of Kevin—a monotonous routine, ordinary family, and miserably failing relationships—until he finds out he is going through something abnormal: 'Existential Crisis'.

He has always been a marvellous entertainer, but has a mysterious way of putting off girls. The talent in him is growing creatively, and abundantly, but his inability to impress a girl keeps pulling him down slowly. He realises he can be any guy’s best friend, but he also seems to be every girl’s worst nightmare.

Hop onto the rollercoaster journey of Kevin’s life, as he navigates through mocking friends…


Book cover of The Island of Sea Women

Debra Fine Author Of The Fine Art of Small Talk: How To Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills -- and Leave a Positive Impression!

From my list on cultivating connections.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cultivating connections is Debra Fine’s passion. Her previous life as an engineer and introvert left her longing for connections. Inspired to learn and then teach, Debra’s programs and books are designed to supply the tools and skills for great conversations, networking, and building relationships. Now the author of the bestselling book The Fine Art of Small Talk How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills - and Leave a Positive Impression Debra delivers keynote programs and training workshop to hundreds of clients both face-to-face and virtually.

Debra's book list on cultivating connections

Debra Fine Why did Debra love this book?

Island of the Sea Women is a work of historical fiction that takes place on the island of Jeju in South Korea. Although the focus is on the women divers who harvest the ocean floor for seafood (by hand and with no breathing equipment!!) it is also about connection. First and foremost the idea of connecting one’s heart to forgiveness. This is a theme throughout the book. But also the women’s positive connections to their fellow divers and teachers, their families especially their husbands, nature, and their spirit world burn bright with hope. But their connection to constant loss and pain, a brutal husband, and the invaders from both Japan and the USA combines to make this book unforgettable.

By Lisa See,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“A mesmerizing new historical novel” (O, The Oprah Magazine) from Lisa See, the bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and devastating family secrets on a small Korean island.

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement…


Book cover of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Lauri Robinson Author Of An Unlikely Match for the Governess

From my list on that create great discussions for book club.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I read by flashlight under the covers and loved family vacations because long car rides meant hours of reading time (they still do!). I love belonging to book clubs because of the variety. Stories I might not have chosen, but end up loving. For years I devoured romance novels, especially historical and westerns. When my husband said, “You should write a book, you’ve read so many.” I decided to try and now have over 70 published romance novels, 50+ with Harlequin, Mills & Boon, and one young adult book that I co-wrote with two of my granddaughters. I hope my recommendations provides your book club with lively discussions!     


Lauri's book list on that create great discussions for book club

Lauri Robinson Why did Lauri love this book?

This book can be discussed with the young, the old, and everyone in-between. Anyone who’s had a relationship with an animal, be it dog, cat, horse, etc., any special pet, believes they know what the animal is thinking.

This book is in a dog’s point of view. Enzo, an amazing canine, and faithful supporter of Denny, gives the reader full insight to a day in a dog’s life. Actually, many days. From puppy to old dog, Enzo is loveable, laughable, and wise. 

This book provides range of topics explore, including how easily it is to believe that a dog told this story. Months later, my book club still talks about this book.

As soon as I finished this book, I wanted to start reading it again!

By Garth Stein,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Art of Racing in the Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, this heart-warming and inspirational tale follows Enzo, a loyal family dog, tells the story of his human family, how they nearly fell apart, and what he did to bring them back together.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: he thinks and feels in nearly human ways. He has educated himself by watching extensive television, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo realizes that racing is a metaphor: that by applying the techniques a driver would apply on…


Book cover of All the Pretty Horses

Mark Warren Author Of Indigo Heaven

From my list on Westerns that don’t thrive off of gunfights.

Why am I passionate about this?

Because I grew up in the 1950s and ’60s, my supply of heroes was liberally doled out by the 130+ Western series that dominated nighttime television in those decades. My parents allowed me one program per week. It was a Western. I was soon interested in history, to know what really did happen in the American West, and so I came to understand the great discrepancies between fact and TV. The truth, for me, is so much more interesting than the myth. As a Western historian, I've done my share of historical research, but I still gravitate toward fiction as a writer. I love the freedom to engage my characters’ thoughts and emotions.

Mark's book list on Westerns that don’t thrive off of gunfights

Mark Warren Why did Mark love this book?

The dialogue and immersion into Southwestern culture is so immediate and authentic, one might as well have signed up for a secret journey into the heart of the borderlands.

Every paragraph reads like a masterpiece of literature, and taken together they comprise the kind of story that the reader wants never to end. McCarthy has the rare ability to entertain and edify at the same time. 

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked All the Pretty Horses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Grady Cole is the last bewildered survivor of long generations of Texas ranchers. Finding himself cut off from the only life he has ever wanted, he sets out for Mexico with his friend Lacey Rawlins. Befriending a third boy on the way, they find a country beyond their imagining: barren and beautiful, rugged yet cruelly civilized; a place where dreams are paid for in blood.

The first volume in McCarthy's legendary Border Trilogy, All The Pretty Horses is an acknowledged masterpiece and a grand love story: a novel about the passing of childhood, of innocence and a vanished American…


Book cover of The World According to Garp

J.M. Unrue Author Of The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

From my list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an old guy. I say this with a bit of cheek and a certain amount of incongruity. All the books on my list are old. That’s one area of continuity. Another, and I’ll probably stop at two, is that they all deal with ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances—those curveballs of life we flail at with an unfamiliar bat; the getting stuck on the Interstate behind a semi and some geezer in a golf cap hogging the passing lane in a Buick Le Sabre. No one makes it through this life unscathed. How we cope does more to define us than a thousand smiles when things are rosy. Thus endeth the lesson.

J.M.'s book list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do

J.M. Unrue Why did J.M. love this book?

Irving took the Keseyian banner and supercharged it.

An eccentric novel with eccentric characters that all made perfect sense. I especially liked the wrestling sub-theme. A foray into a competitive sport that is both mundane and allegorical. Rich in whimsy. The term pre-disastered is a master stroke of piquant invention.  

By John Irving,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The World According to Garp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A masterpiece from one of the great contemporary American writers.

'A wonderful novel, full of energy and art, at once funny and heartbreaking...terrific' WASHINGTON POST

Anniversary edition with a new afterword from the author.

A worldwide bestseller since its publication, Irving's classic is filled with stories inside stories about the life and times of T. S. Garp, struggling writer and illegitimate son of Jenny Fields - an unlikely feminist heroine ahead of her time.

Beautifully written, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP is a powerfully compelling and compassionate coming-of-age novel that established John Irving as one of the most imaginative writers…


Book cover of Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Nancy Crochiere Author Of Graceland

From my list on runaway moms.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young working mom, I occasionally longed to follow the example of columnist Erma Bombeck and hide from my family in the car. Instead, I channeled the mayhem of family life into a humor column called “The Mother Load,” which detailed the day-to-day challenges of running a business while caring for two daughters, one husband, two guinea pigs, and a dancing rabbit. When I decided to pursue my life-long dream to write fiction, my debut novel was a humorous story about a mother-daughter-grandmother road trip/chase from Boston to Memphis. Although my writing doesn’t shy away from serious issues, I choose to see the world through a humorous and ultimately hopeful lens.

Nancy's book list on runaway moms

Nancy Crochiere Why did Nancy love this book?

How can you not love a novel about an agoraphobic mother who somehow promises her 15-year-old daughter that she’ll take her to Antarctica?

The mom, Bernadette, knows she can’t handle that kind of trip, but in her desperate attempts to make it work, things get out of hand, and Bernadette disappears. It’s up to 15-year-old Bee to play detective and find her. Set in Seattle, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is a delightful mix of comedy and satire with a wonderful message about the need to face up to the disappointments in one’s past.

By Maria Semple,

Why should I read it?

12 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 --…


Book cover of Bridget Jones's Diary

Patricia Marcantonio Author Of Misbehaving at Cactus Lanes

From my list on taking on a second chance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to tell stories, a love I discovered ever since I was a kid listening to my family who love to tell stories. Mine defy genres because the voice and characters guide me into how their tales should be told. I've written mysteries, YA and middle-grade books, a graphic novel, and courtroom drama. My newest book is driven by the character of Margaret Adams, who's seeking a new life after years of being buried alive with sometimes hilarious results. I just had to listen...

Patricia's book list on taking on a second chance

Patricia Marcantonio Why did Patricia love this book?

How can you not love Bridget? How she stumbles through life, all the while trying so hard to be cool. Searching for a second chance at love despite betrayals and humiliations.

Meanwhile, she notes her days and nights in her diary–the fluctuating weight, cigarette and cocktail counts, and the worry about ending up alone and being eaten by wild dogs. The result is a character so human and funny that it hurts. Write on, Bridget. 

By Helen Fielding,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Bridget Jones's Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The multi-million copy number one Bestseller

A dazzlingly urban satire on modern relationships?
An ironic, tragic insight into the demise of the nuclear family?
Or the confused ramblings of a pissed thirty-something?

As Bridget documents her struggles through the social minefield of her thirties and tries to weigh up the eternal question (Daniel Cleaver or Mark Darcy?), she turns for support to four indispensable friends: Shazzer, Jude, Tom and a bottle of chardonnay.

Welcome to Bridget's first diary: mercilessly funny, endlessly touching and utterly addictive.

Helen Fielding's first Bridget Jones novel, Bridget Jones's Diary, sparked a phenomenon that has seen…


Book cover of Emma

Charisse Cooke Author Of The Attachment Solution: How to develop secure, strong and lasting relationships

From my list on how to create a great relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fortunate enough to meet my husband over 17 years ago, and we have packed a lot of life in since then. Along with two kids and a dog, we’ve had our fair share of tough moments: financial challenges, bereavement, family issues, marital disagreement, and traumatic life events that taught me just as much as my two decades-long career as a relationship psychotherapist has. This, combined with working with individuals, couples, and partners in search of what love means and how to practically go about achieving it, has clarified for me just how much we all need tools and teachings when it comes to matters of the heart.

Charisse's book list on how to create a great relationship

Charisse Cooke Why did Charisse love this book?

Jane Austen would have made such a great therapist! Her razor-sharp observations, combined with profound insights into people and relationships, make this book an all-time favorite of mine. I love her descriptions of falling in (and out of) love and how fallible each of her characters is, reminding us of our humanity–especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

What also strikes me is how true it is that pride, image, and status can still play out in our more modern relationships today. This book feels very old-fashioned in places, but it warns us how easily we can hurt other people and damage relationships, sometimes irrevocably. There’s a lot to learn from Emma, and I enjoy seeing relationships depicted in fiction, where so much can be explored through a fascinating and absorbing story, too.

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Her masterpiece, mixing the sparkle of her early books with a deep sensibility' Robert McCrum, Observer

Although described by Jane Austen as a character 'whom no one but myself will much like', the irrepressible Emma Woodhouse is one of her most beloved heroines. Clever, rich and beautiful, she sees no need for marriage, but loves interfering in the romantic lives of others, until her matchmaking plans unravel, with consequences that she never expected. Jane Austen's novel of youthful exuberance and gradual self-knowledge is a brilliant, sparkling comic masterpiece.

Edited with an Introduction by FIONA STAFFORD


5 book lists we think you will like!

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