100 books like Autobiography of a Face

By Lucy Grealy,

Here are 100 books that Autobiography of a Face fans have personally recommended if you like Autobiography of a Face. 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 Nightingale

Rhys Bowen Author Of The Paris Assignment

From my list on brave women in WWII.

Who am I?

I am Rhys Bowen, New York Times best selling author of two historical mystery series and several Internationally best selling historical novels. Many of these take place in and around World War II. I have particularly focused on the bravery of ordinary women, the unsung heroines who risked their lives against impossible odds. My stories take place in France, Italy, as well as, England so these books resonated with me.

Rhys' book list on brave women in WWII

Rhys Bowen Why did Rhys love this book?

This is another story that will tear your heart out.

I think this book is an eye opener about what was life for ordinary people in Nazi occupied France during WWII. It’s another book about how women had to make choices, balancing their own survival with their moral compass.

I loved the disfunctional relationship between the two sisters, who were abandoned by their father and grew up with different lives. 

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked The Nightingale 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, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women.

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women's stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah's…


Book cover of Circe

S.G. Slade Author Of Touch of a Witch

From my list on spellbinding novels with threads of magic woven in their core.

Who am I?

I’m a British writer with a passion for the stories of history, both real and imagined. I have always been fascinated by tales and relics of the past, old ruins, ancient buildings, mythology, and the uncanny power of the natural world. All these things connect us to the ghosts of the past. So, I write historical fantasy novels based in the England I explored growing up, but brushed with the shadow of the supernatural, magic, witchcraft, and seductive illusion. I also write straight historical fiction under the name Samantha Grosser.

S.G.'s book list on spellbinding novels with threads of magic woven in their core

S.G. Slade Why did S.G. love this book?

I read this book when I was in hospital having surgery a few years ago, and it utterly transported me away from pain and anxiety to another world.

I’ve always loved Greek myth, and I love a book that makes you question things you thought you knew, bringing another side of the story to the fore. For thousands of years, we’ve taken Odysseus’s side on his long journey home from Troy. But who was the witch Circe, and how did she come to be alone on her island in the first place?

Questions of power and justice, love and betrayal, are woven through the text, and these are the themes that never fail to stir me. Written in beautiful prose, I’ve read it twice and recommended it to everyone I know.

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…


Book cover of Code Talker

Carol Fiore Author Of Flight through Fire

From my list on on loss that do more than make us cry.

Who am I?

Loss, with its many contours, finds us all. For me, it came quite unexpectedly. During a long decade of profound grieving, I found inspiration in books. Through real characters and fictional ones, I learned and questioned and found strength. Adversity should evoke more than sadness. When we cheer for the characters on the page, we learn about ourselves. These are books that have helped me dig deeper into my own loss and to live fuller. I start with The Right Stuff because I know what it means to be married to a test pilot and to get the knock on the door. Loss does not have to be the end.

Carol's book list on on loss that do more than make us cry

Carol Fiore Why did Carol love this book?

Can there be anything more poignant than a story about a hero who doesn’t think he’s a hero? About a man who endured a boarding school full of abuse, lived through the horrors and injuries of WWII, returned to hate and racism, lost family, and yet confronted it all with resilience and forgiveness?

This memoir is from Chester Nez—one of the original Navajo code talkers. It contains wonderful photos and the actual Navajo code. This is an important piece of history as well as a genuinely insightful read and peek into Navajo culture.

The last line of the book, written when Mr. Nez was 86, reads “It’s been a good life—so far.” As an outsider I couldn’t disagree more. His life was tragic and profoundly difficult, but he endured with grace and strength. This simple last line says much about the heroes we should all admire. It has been a…

By Chester Nez, Judith Schiess Avila,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII.

His name wasn’t Chester Nez. That was the English name he was assigned in kindergarten. And in boarding school at Fort Defiance, he was punished for speaking his native language, as the teachers sought to rid him of his culture and traditions. But discrimination didn’t stop Chester from answering the call to defend his country after Pearl Harbor, for the Navajo have always been warriors, and his upbringing on a New Mexico reservation gave him the strength—both physical and mental—to excel as a marine.

During…


Book cover of About Looking

Sallie Tisdale Author Of The Lie about the Truck: Survivor, Reality TV, and the Endless Gaze

From my list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’ve always been interested in ambiguity and ambivalence. How does that apply to the self? What does it mean to present myself to others? How do I appear to the world and how close is that to what I see myself to be? Are we ever truly seen—or willing to be seen? In a world where cameras exist everywhere and we are encouraged to record rather than simply be, how do we look in a mirror? Hannah Arendt said that we could tell reality from falsehood because reality endures. But I feel that nothing I experience endures; nothing remains the same, including the reflection. If anything lasts, it may be my own make-believe. Everything I write is, in some way, this question. Who is that?

Sallie's book list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror

Sallie Tisdale Why did Sallie love this book?

This is a book of essays about the act of looking, especially looking at photographs and paintings and animals and other people. Thus these are essays about history, memory, suffering, beauty, and the self. Berger had a generous spirit; he wrote often about the lives of peasants and spent the last forty years of his life in rural France. Berger gazed upon the world in all its forms with composure and curiosity. 

By John Berger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As a novelist, essayist, and cultural historian, John Berger is a writer of dazzling eloquence and arresting insight whose work amounts to a subtle, powerful critique of the canons of our civilization. In About Looking he explores our role as observers to reveal new layers of meaning in what we see. How do the animals we look at in zoos remind us of a relationship between man and beast all but lost in the twentieth century? What is it about looking at war photographs that doubles their already potent violence? How do the nudes of Rodin betray the threats to…


Book cover of The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

Rajiv Sethi Author Of Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime, and the Pursuit of Justice

From my list on human interactions and the complexity of social life.

Who am I?

Rajiv Sethi is an economist, currently a professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. His research deals with information and beliefs, with particular focus on how stereotypes condition interactions among strangers. 

Rajiv's book list on human interactions and the complexity of social life

Rajiv Sethi Why did Rajiv love this book?

This path-breaking book presents a view of human communication as theater, where speakers choose their words to create desired impressions, and listeners try to interpret speech while guarding against manipulation and deceit.

Strategic interaction and interpretation are central to the argument. In effect, Goffman is examining dynamic games with incomplete information, decades below the formal language for such analyses was developed. 

By Erving Goffman,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the defining works of twentieth-century sociology: a revelatory analysis of how we present ourselves to others

'The self, then, as a performed character, is not an organic thing ... it is a dramatic effect'

How do we communicate who we are to other people? This landmark work by one of the twentieth century's most influential sociologists argues that our behaviour in social situations is defined by how we wish to be perceived - resulting in displays startlingly similar to those of actors in a theatrical performance. From the houses and clothes that we use as 'fixed props' to…


Book cover of Life of the Mind: One/Thinking, Two/Willing

Sallie Tisdale Author Of The Lie about the Truck: Survivor, Reality TV, and the Endless Gaze

From my list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’ve always been interested in ambiguity and ambivalence. How does that apply to the self? What does it mean to present myself to others? How do I appear to the world and how close is that to what I see myself to be? Are we ever truly seen—or willing to be seen? In a world where cameras exist everywhere and we are encouraged to record rather than simply be, how do we look in a mirror? Hannah Arendt said that we could tell reality from falsehood because reality endures. But I feel that nothing I experience endures; nothing remains the same, including the reflection. If anything lasts, it may be my own make-believe. Everything I write is, in some way, this question. Who is that?

Sallie's book list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror

Sallie Tisdale Why did Sallie love this book?

The relentless and erudite work of Arendt never ceases to challenge me. In the books included here—Thinking and Willing—she explores what it means that the self knows itself to be a self, and how that knowledge refracts and splits upon encountering others, and then changes when returning to solitude again. I read her knowing that she has not just considered but felt her ideas. “To be alive means to be possessed by an urge toward self-display. . . .Up to a point we can choose how to appear to others.”

By Hannah Arendt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The most intriguing…and thought-provoking book that Hannah Arendt wrote (The New York Times Book Review), The Life of the Mind is the final work by the political theorist, philosopher, and feminist thinker.This fascinating book investigates thought itself as it exists in contemplative life. In a shift from Arendt's previous writings, most of which focus on the world outside the mind, this is an exploration of the mind's activities she considered to be the most fundamental. The result is a rich, challenging analysis of human mental activity in terms of thinking, willing, and judging.


Book cover of Females

Sallie Tisdale Author Of The Lie about the Truck: Survivor, Reality TV, and the Endless Gaze

From my list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’ve always been interested in ambiguity and ambivalence. How does that apply to the self? What does it mean to present myself to others? How do I appear to the world and how close is that to what I see myself to be? Are we ever truly seen—or willing to be seen? In a world where cameras exist everywhere and we are encouraged to record rather than simply be, how do we look in a mirror? Hannah Arendt said that we could tell reality from falsehood because reality endures. But I feel that nothing I experience endures; nothing remains the same, including the reflection. If anything lasts, it may be my own make-believe. Everything I write is, in some way, this question. Who is that?

Sallie's book list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror

Sallie Tisdale Why did Sallie love this book?

A short, powerful investigation of how we construct and succumb to the lies of gender. Chu explores our fears of desire and how we allow politics to corrupt identity, believing gender to be so constructed that it can only be given and not created. Female is a quality we all carry, whatever label we use. Chu forces the reader to look in the mirror with a question instead of a statement, always uncertain about who that person really is. 

By Andrea Long Chu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Everyone is female, and everyone hates it."

So begins Andrea Long Chu's genre-defying investigation into sex and lies, desperate artists and reckless politics, the smothering embrace of gender and the punishing force of desire.

Drawing inspiration from a forgotten play by Valerie Solanas-the woman who wrote the SCUM Manifesto and shot Andy Warhol-Chu aims her searing wit and surgical intuition at targets ranging from performance art to psychoanalysis, incels to porn, and even feminists like herself. Each step of the way she defends the indefensible claim that femaleness is less a biological state of women and more a fatal existential…


Book cover of The Right Stuff

Carol Fiore Author Of Flight through Fire

From my list on on loss that do more than make us cry.

Who am I?

Loss, with its many contours, finds us all. For me, it came quite unexpectedly. During a long decade of profound grieving, I found inspiration in books. Through real characters and fictional ones, I learned and questioned and found strength. Adversity should evoke more than sadness. When we cheer for the characters on the page, we learn about ourselves. These are books that have helped me dig deeper into my own loss and to live fuller. I start with The Right Stuff because I know what it means to be married to a test pilot and to get the knock on the door. Loss does not have to be the end.

Carol's book list on on loss that do more than make us cry

Carol Fiore Why did Carol love this book?

It seems incomprehensible that I didn’t read this book until my test pilot husband died. He’d applied to NASA, just before the plane crash.

This book is popular in the aviation community because Tom Wolfe nailed it—the pilot lingo, the tall tales from the cockpit, the egos, the spot-on descriptions, and mostly, the brilliance and love of adventure. I’ve spent most of my life around pilots (I’m a licensed private pilot) and Wolfe gets it. He is an extremely talented writer who helped bring Chuck Yeager’s ultra-cool bravery into the mainstream. Wolfe traces the successes and horrific failures of the early NASA program, weaving characters together in a way that is more action fiction than true life. This book will change the way you look at airplanes and the people who fly them. 

My late husband was buried with his tattered copy of The Right Stuff.

By Tom Wolfe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A wonderful novel and perfect book club choice, The Right Stuff is a wildly vivid and entertaining chronicle of America's early space programme.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY US ASTRONAUT SCOTT KELLY

'What is it,' asks Tom Wolfe, 'that makes a man willing to sit on top of an enormous Roman Candle...and wait for someone to light the fuse?' Arrogance? Stupidity? Courage? Or, simply, that quality we call 'the right stuff'?

A monument to the men who battled to beat the Russians into space, The Right Stuff is a voyage into the mythology of the American space programme, and a dizzying…


Book cover of Truth & Beauty: A Friendship

Patti Miller Author Of True Friends

From my list on the wonders and challenges of friendship.

Who am I?

As a full-time writer of creative non-fiction, I am passionately interested in what makes us human. Like most people. I have always been fascinated by friendship and have had many friends throughout my life. I decided to write about friendship when a good friend 'pruned' me, that is, ended our friendship. I was bewildered and hurt and wanted to understand what had happened, which led me to write True Friends. When I discussed the topic with others, it turned out that most people had also experienced a friend break-up, but it was not much written about—until now!

Patti's book list on the wonders and challenges of friendship

Patti Miller Why did Patti love this book?

Ann Patchett is a successful American novelist, and Truth and Beauty is her memoir about her friendship with the poet, Lucy Grealy. She writes beautifully about Grealy, her talent and her warm, engaging personality, but also about her struggles and eventual death. Patchett conveys the depth of a passionate friendship by letting the reader see all her thoughts and feelings, courageously looking at how we can love someone, but how they can also try us to our limits. It is a book for those who love literature and are fascinated by the depth and intricacy of a creative connection between humans.

By Ann Patchett,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Truth & Beauty 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?

From the bestselling author of The Dutch House, Commonwealth and Bel Canto, Winner of The Women's Prize for Fiction and the Pen/Faulkner Award.

When Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college they began a friendship that would define their lives. Lucy Grealy lost part of her jaw to childhood cancer, and a large part of her life to chemotherapy and endless reconstructive surgeries. Stoic but vulnerable, damaged by bullying but fascinated by fame, Lucy had an incandescent personality that illuminated those around her.

In this tender, brutal book, Ann Patchett describes Lucy's life and her own platonic love for…


Book cover of Johnny Got His Gun

Leighton Gray Author Of Dream Daddy

From my list on to completely ruin your day.

Who am I?

I like to create silly, fun things. This is not the kind of content I consume. If something makes me feel bad, I generally like it; if it is also beautiful, I will like it a lot. It is through the generosity of the Shepherd team that I was allowed to flip a promo for a gay dad comic into a way for me to peer pressure you into consuming media that will make you feel bad. Consider this list an aperitif for the feel-goodness of Dream Daddy, a delicate shot glass of cyanide after a hearty meal. Bon appetit!

Leighton's book list on to completely ruin your day

Leighton Gray Why did Leighton love this book?

War sucks, man. And strangely, there aren’t many books about war! I can’t think of a single one. Really a missed opportunity on the part of the writer community at large. I mean, just think of the movies that could be made on the topic! Hollywood, take notes.

/s, as the kids say. More seriously: this book is claustrophobic on a cellular level. Reading it feels like suffocating in the dark. Extrapolate the ending of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream into an entire book about the horrors of war, and that’s Johnny Got His Gun.

By Dalton Trumbo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Johnny Got His Gun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Trumbo sets this story down almost without pause or punctuation and with a fury accounting to eloquence.”—The New York Times

This was no ordinary war. This was a war to make the world safe for democracy. And if democracy was made safe, then nothing else mattered—not the millions of dead bodies, nor the thousands of ruined lives. . . . This is no ordinary novel. This is a novel that never takes the easy way out: it is shocking, violent, terrifying, horrible, uncompromising, brutal, remorseless and gruesome . . . but so is war.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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