10 books like Catfish and Mandala

By Andrew X. Pham,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Catfish and Mandala. Shepherd is a community of 8,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Bicycle

By David V. Herlihy,

Book cover of Bicycle: The History

Evan P. Schneider Author Of A Simple Machine, Like the Lever

From the list on the beautiful act of bicycling.

Who am I?

As a cyclist from a young age (thanks to the encouragement and engineering of my dad—he literally welded one of my first bikes together from the carcass of another kid’s bike that was run over by a car in his driveway on accident), I’ve always had a fondness for bicycles and, more specifically, *riding* bicycles. So, as is probably common for anyone who is fond of something, I’ve spent years exploring it from as many angles as possible. In the process, I’ve loved studying bicycles in motion, along with collecting artistic and philosophical expressions that center the act of getting around on two wheels under your own power. 

Evan's book list on the beautiful act of bicycling

Discover why each book is one of Evan's favorite books.

Why did Evan love this book?

For the history-curious cyclists among us, I submit for your consideration David V. Herlihy’s excellently-researched and well-told history of the two-wheeled machine we love so much.

From its beginnings as a literal “bone shaker” (an iron frame on wooden wheels), to the impossibly-light machines of the 20th and 21st centuries, Herlihy’s tale of cycling commerce, commuting, and competition over time and across the world is as enlightening as it is entertaining.

I’ve turned to it again and again for its historical perspective (and its great photos).

Bicycle

By David V. Herlihy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first comprehensive history of the bicycle-lavishly illustrated with images spanning two centuries

During the nineteenth century, the bicycle evoked an exciting new world in which even a poor person could travel afar and at will. But was the "mechanical horse" truly destined to usher in a new era of road travel or would it remain merely a plaything for dandies and schoolboys? In Bicycle: The History (named by Outside magazine as the #1 book on bicycles), David Herlihy recounts the saga of this far-reaching invention and the passions it aroused. The pioneer racer James Moore insisted the bicycle would…


Book cover of Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran

Peter Zheutlin Author Of Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story

From the list on bicycles and cycling.

Who am I?

About thirty years ago I learned that my great-grandaunt Annie was, arguably, the first woman to circle the world by bicycle (1894-1895) and I spent years rescuing her story from the trash bin of history, for she was virtually forgotten for more than a century. An avid cyclist myself, Annie became both my muse and my inspiration. She was an outlandish character who stepped far outside the bounds of what was expected for women of her time; among other things, she was the married mother of three young children when she took off from Boston for fifteen months on the road, and she pioneered sports-related marketing for women, securing corporate sponsors and adorning her body and her bicycle with advertisements wherever she traveled.

Peter's book list on bicycles and cycling

Discover why each book is one of Peter's favorite books.

Why did Peter love this book?

First published in 1887, Stevens was the first person to circumnavigate the earth on a bicycle, and a high-wheeler at that. Over three years he pedaled, pushed, and dragged his bicycle through all corners of the globe on one of the most epic journeys ever undertaken.

Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran

By Thomas Stevens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran" is a fascinating and profusely-illustrated account of an epic bicycle journey around the world. Starting in America and travelling through Europe, the Middle East, and Finally Asia, the author's entire adventure is here chronicled for the enjoyment of bicycle and travel enthusiasts alike. Contents include: "Over the Sierras Nevadas", "Over the Deserts of Nevada", "Through Mormon-Land and over the Rockies", "From the Great Plains to the Atlantic", "From America to the German Frontier", "Germany, Austria, and Hungary", "Through Slavonia and Servia", "Bulgaria, Roumella, and into Turkey", "Through European…


Life Is a Wheel

By Bruce Weber,

Book cover of Life Is a Wheel: Memoirs of a Bike-Riding Obituarist

Peter Zheutlin Author Of Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story

From the list on bicycles and cycling.

Who am I?

About thirty years ago I learned that my great-grandaunt Annie was, arguably, the first woman to circle the world by bicycle (1894-1895) and I spent years rescuing her story from the trash bin of history, for she was virtually forgotten for more than a century. An avid cyclist myself, Annie became both my muse and my inspiration. She was an outlandish character who stepped far outside the bounds of what was expected for women of her time; among other things, she was the married mother of three young children when she took off from Boston for fifteen months on the road, and she pioneered sports-related marketing for women, securing corporate sponsors and adorning her body and her bicycle with advertisements wherever she traveled.

Peter's book list on bicycles and cycling

Discover why each book is one of Peter's favorite books.

Why did Peter love this book?

Weber was for many years the lead obituary writer for The New York Times, hence the somewhat odd subtitle of this wry chronicle of a bicycle journey from Oregon to New York City. Weber has a sardonic wit that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Life Is a Wheel

By Bruce Weber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Life Is a Wheel chronicles the cross-country bicycle trip Bruce Weber made at the age of fifty-seven, an “entertaining travel story filled with insightful thoughts about life, family, and aging” (The Associated Press).

During the summer and fall of 2011, Bruce Weber, an obituary writer for The New York Times, bicycled across the country, alone, and wrote about it as it unfolded. Life Is a Wheel is the witty, inspiring, and reflective diary of his journey, in which the challenges and rewards of self-reliance and strenuous physical effort yield wry and incisive observations about cycling and America, not to mention…


Wheels of Change

By Sue Macy,

Book cover of Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)

Peter Zheutlin Author Of Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story

From the list on bicycles and cycling.

Who am I?

About thirty years ago I learned that my great-grandaunt Annie was, arguably, the first woman to circle the world by bicycle (1894-1895) and I spent years rescuing her story from the trash bin of history, for she was virtually forgotten for more than a century. An avid cyclist myself, Annie became both my muse and my inspiration. She was an outlandish character who stepped far outside the bounds of what was expected for women of her time; among other things, she was the married mother of three young children when she took off from Boston for fifteen months on the road, and she pioneered sports-related marketing for women, securing corporate sponsors and adorning her body and her bicycle with advertisements wherever she traveled.

Peter's book list on bicycles and cycling

Discover why each book is one of Peter's favorite books.

Why did Peter love this book?

Written for young adults and kids, this book does an excellent job teaching an underappreciated (and relatively unknown) chapter in women’s history. We take the bicycle for granted today, but it was the catalyst for radical changes in the lives of women in the U.S. and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Wheels of Change

By Sue Macy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Take a lively look at women's history from aboard a bicycle, which granted females the freedom of mobility and helped empower women's liberation. Through vintage photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and songs,aWheels of Changeatransports young readers to bygone eras to see how women used the bicycle to improve their lives. Witty in tone and scrapbook-like in presentation, the book deftly covers early (and comical) objections, influence on fashion, and impact on social change inspired by the bicycle, which, according to Susan B. Anthony, "has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." NCSS-Notable Social Studies Trade Books in the…


A Different Pond

By Bao Phi, Thi Bui (illustrator),

Book cover of A Different Pond

Ty Chapman Author Of Sarah Rising

From the list on picture books with purpose.

Who am I?

In my kidlit writing, I am someone who almost exclusively writes more difficult topics, grounded in reality. My debut deals with the police-sanctioned murder of Black people. My second book deals with mental illness and how to bounce back from sad days in a way that’s accessible to young people. I thoroughly enjoy reading and writing more thoughtful picture books with much to say about our greater world. 

Ty's book list on picture books with purpose

Discover why each book is one of Ty's favorite books.

Why did Ty love this book?

A Different Pond is a terrific picture book that focuses on a Vietnamese family—specifically, a little boy and his father, going on a fishing trip to catch dinner. This picture book does an incredible job speaking on complex issues like war, the (non-monolithic) refugee experience, and poverty’s widespread impact on many communities. This book was a big inspiration as I went about writing my own debut picture book.

A Different Pond

By Bao Phi, Thi Bui (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A 2018 Caldecott Honor Book that Kirkus Reviews calls "a must-read for our times," A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event - a long-ago fishing trip. Graphic novelist Thi Bui and acclaimed poet Bao Phi deliver a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son - and between cultures, old and new. As a young boy, Bao and his father awoke early, hours before his father's long work day began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in a Western city. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food,…


Book cover of The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir

Conrad Wesselhoeft Author Of Adios, Nirvana

From the list on memoir-based graphic novels.

Who am I?

I’ve worked as a tugboat hand in Singapore and Peace Corps Volunteer in Polynesia. I’ve served on the editorial staffs of five newspapers, from a small-town daily in New Mexico to The New York Times. I’m also the author of contemporary novels for young adults. Like the writers of these five great graphic novels, I choose themes that are important to me. Foremost are hope, healing, family, and friendship. These are themes I’d like my own children to embrace. Life can be hard, so as a writer I choose to send out that “ripple of hope” on the chance it may be heard or felt, and so make a difference.

Conrad's book list on memoir-based graphic novels

Discover why each book is one of Conrad's favorite books.

Why did Conrad love this book?

This is a superb personal memoir about the Vietnam War and its impact on four generations of one South Vietnamese family. Unlike the legion of memoirs told from the U.S. perspective, Vietnam-born American author Thi Bui gives us the harrowing local view. By compressing her sprawling story into a tight, gripping, intimate tale, she demonstrates the storytelling power of the graphic-novel form. Here hope triumphs and tragedy is merely a runner-up. 

The Best We Could Do

By Thi Bui,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best We Could Do as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

National bestseller
2017 National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Finalist
ABA Indies Introduce Winter / Spring 2017 Selection
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Spring 2017 Selection
ALA 2018 Notable Books Selection

An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family's journey from war-torn Vietnam, from debut author Thi Bui.

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family's daring escape…


Book cover of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain: Stories

Tobey C. Herzog Author Of Writing Vietnam, Writing Life: Caputo, Heinemann, O'Brien, Butler

From the list on Vietnam War literature by authors I've interviewed.

Who am I?

From an early age, I have made a life out of listening to, telling, teaching, and writing about war stories. I am intrigued by their widespread personal and public importance. My changing associations with these stories and their tellers have paralleled evolving stages in my life—son, soldier, father, and college professor. Each stage has spawned different questions and insights about the tales and their narrators. At various moments in my own life, these war stories have also given rise to fantasized adventure, catharsis, emotional highs and lows, insights about human nature tested within the crucible of war, and intriguing relationships with the storytellers—their lives and minds.

Tobey's book list on Vietnam War literature by authors I've interviewed

Discover why each book is one of Tobey's favorite books.

Why did Tobey love this book?

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, this collection of short stories draws upon Butler’s fluency in the Vietnamese language, his experiences as an Army intelligence specialist living in Saigon during the war, and later his extensive contacts with Vietnamese communities in and near New Orleans, Louisiana. These stories are Vietnamese aftermath tales of émigrés adjusting to post-war life in America and yearning to retain their individual and cultural identities—a quest Butler described “as a pursuit of self” in our 2005 interview. For me, this book illuminates the culture, history, and communities that I, and most American soldiers, never attempted to know when we were in Vietnam and tended to ignore once Vietnamese resettled in the U.S. This book reaffirms for me that despite our many differences, we are all linked by the joys, sorrows, and hopes of our universal human condition. 

A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

By Robert Olen Butler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert Olen Butler's lyrical and poignant collection of stories about the aftermath of the Vietnam War and its impact on the Vietnamese was acclaimed by critics across the nation and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993. A contemporary classic by one of America's most important living writers, this edition of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain includes two subsequently published stories that brilliantly complete the collection's narrative journey, returning to the jungles of Vietnam.


Inside Out & Back Again

By Thanhhà Lai,

Book cover of Inside Out & Back Again

Tina Athaide Author Of Orange for the Sunsets

From the list on historical events unfolding.

Who am I?

As a child, I loved escaping into my character’s world—solving mysteries with Nancy Drew, getting into trouble like Anne from Anne of Green Gables, and diving into adventures with Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. But I never saw anyone like myself in those books. A girl with black hair and coffee-colored skin, who licked the last samosa crumb off her fingers. That's one of the reasons I write and read historical fiction. It allows you to take a ride with a person from that place and time, and the first rule of time travel is that you cannot change the past. But when you finish reading you may discover that the past has changed you. 

Tina's book list on historical events unfolding

Discover why each book is one of Tina's favorite books.

Why did Tina love this book?

Growing up, I heard stories about the Vietnam war. Many refugees immigrated to the USA and Canada. I remember a brother and sister enrolling at my school in Alberta. They were from Saigon and had fled Vietnam. They only stayed at my school for a month, but we shared a lunch table during those four weeks and exchanged smiles and a few words as we tried to bridge the language gap. This story is about Hà and her family. Similar to my book, this story is inspired by the author’s childhood experiences, which is what first drew me to the book. It is a favorite among my students.

Inside Out & Back Again

By Thanhhà Lai,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inside Out & Back Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ten-year-old Ha has only ever known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her family and friends close by. But when the Vietnam War reaches the gates of her home, Ha and her family are forced to flee.

The journey onboard a refugee ship bound for America is hard - but nothing can prepare Ha for the strangeness of the country that greets them on the other side. The language is impossible, the food is strange - and not all the locals are friendly. But amongst her struggles, Ha finds joy, friendship…


She Is a Haunting

By Trang Thanh Tran,

Book cover of She Is a Haunting

Katherine Higgs-Coulthard Author Of Junkyard Dogs

From the list on surviving your family if they're trying to kill you.

Who am I?

Ever since I read Flowers in the Attic as a preteen, I’ve been fascinated with the idea that the family that is supposed to nurture you might actually mess you up. Like, beyond the normal dysfunction that most of us experience. That theme keeps coming up in my writing, especially in my current work in progress. It started out as a ghost story with some creepy paranormal elements, but when an editor asked “Yeah, but what really scares you?” the whole story shifted. It became much more horrific when I started examining how the main character’s family was contributing to her fear through their disbelief and her discovery of dark family secrets.

Katherine's book list on surviving your family if they're trying to kill you

Discover why each book is one of Katherine's favorite books.

Why did Katherine love this book?

To be fair, when Jade’s estranged father insists that she come to Vietnam to stay with him in the house he is renovating, he might not know that the house intends to devour her.

But when Jade begins to suffer from sleep paralysis and terrifying visions he dismisses her fears and hides the evidence of the house’s evil intent from his business partners.

Jade’s realization that she can’t count on her dad to protect the family, leads her to go on the offensive against her dad, the house, and anything else that might try to keep her from being who she really is.

She Is a Haunting

By Trang Thanh Tran,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked She Is a Haunting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This house eats and is eaten . . . "A riveting debut from a remarkable new voice! Trang Thanh Tran weaves an impressive gothic mystery in which Jade's father is determined to restore a decrepit home to its former glory and Jade is the only person who feels the soul-crushing devastation of colonialism lingering within its walls." --Angeline Boulley, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Firekeeper's Daughter A House with a terrifying appetite haunts a broken family in this atmospheric horror, perfect for fans of Mexican Gothic. When Jade Nguyen arrives in Vietnam for a visit with her…


A PHO Love Story

By Loan Le,

Book cover of A PHO Love Story

Zoë Markham Author Of Under My Skin

From the list on YA retellings of the classics.

Who am I?

In my previous role as a teacher, I often encountered teens who never, ever read outside of school – and hated having to read in school. Finding YA retellings of the classics became an indispensable tool for me in terms of not only linking the past with the present for the young adults in my classes, but also in terms of helping them see themselves in fiction, finding representation there, and discovering their own importance. It opened up whole worlds for all of us, and offered a pathway to a love of reading that I hope they will never forget!

Zoë's book list on YA retellings of the classics

Discover why each book is one of Zoë's favorite books.

Why did Zoë love this book?

Romeo & Juliet retellings are, in my opinion, the absolute hardest ones to bring anything new to, but Le’s own voices portrayal of Vietnamese culture smashed all my preconceptions and turned what’s often a dry, predictable format into something so insightful and compelling it genuinely took my breath away. With real, authentic teenage protags facing real, contemporary issues, we get an insight into the turmoil of the lives of ‘ordinary’ teens far removed from the ‘glossy’ veneers we’re often presented in YA fiction. A Pho Love Story speaks a unique, powerful truth – and brings a breath of fresh air not only to the original but also to the genre as a whole. (Caution: parts of this book will make you extremely hungry!)

A PHO Love Story

By Loan Le,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

All's fair in love, war and noodles! This delicious debut is perfect for fans of teen romcoms such as When Dimple Met Rishi and Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before.

What if Romeo and Juliet was set in a Vietnamese restaurant?

Linh and Bao like each other. A lot. The only problem? Their families own rival pho restaurants and hate each other's guts, so they have to keep their relationship a secret.

But they can only steal kisses in dark alleys and the art room at school for so long. Can their love transcend an age-old feud…


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