90 books like City of Girls

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Here are 90 books that City of Girls fans have personally recommended if you like City of Girls. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Hamnet

Erna Buffie Author Of Let Us Be True

From my list on grown-up time travelers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I vividly remember visiting our local museum as a little girl and being fascinated by the carefully displayed artifacts of the past, especially the ordinary things people had touched and used on a daily basis: a wooden bowl, a stone tool, an old bottle, its logo embossed on a blue glass surface. It made me want to travel through time, to touch the past, to be inside the hearts and minds of the people who came before me. I wanted to learn about their lives, their joys and suffering, and especially to learn from their mistakes. Each of the books I’ve suggested offers an opportunity to step into the shoes of another and time travel with them.

Erna's book list on grown-up time travelers

Erna Buffie Why did Erna love this book?

By far, my favorite book of 2020, Hamnet, reimagines Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, not as the older spouse who trapped him into a loveless marriage but as the woman I’ve always imagined and wanted her to be – her husband’s match in every way.

Although, having said that, this particular time travel trip wasn’t easy, given that the book opens with a scene of the boy, Hamnet, racing through a village desperately trying to find help for his sister who has been struck down by the plague - a scene that painfully mirrored my own sense of fear and panic in what were then the early days of the COVID pandemic. 

Thankfully I forged on, and in the end was entranced by O’Farrell’s portrayal of Anne, captivated by her textured recreation of life in Elizabethan England and enthralled by her masterful telling of a timeless story about love, loss,…

By Maggie O'Farrell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION - THE NO. 1 BESTSELLER 2021
'Richly sensuous... something special' The Sunday Times
'A thing of shimmering wonder' David Mitchell

TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART.

On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London.

Neither…


Book cover of The Giver

Jesse Maas Author Of Not for the Faint of Heart

From my list on fiction books that capture the meaning of simply being human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about writing books that put good into the world and highlight meaningful and inspiring themes, which, in turn, means I am also passionate about reading books that do the same. I love to write and read books that leave the reader feeling like there is still good in the world, even when it seems to be very dark around us. If people read my books or any on this list, I sincerely hope they feel encouraged and inspired and enjoy them as much as I do.

Jesse's book list on fiction books that capture the meaning of simply being human

Jesse Maas Why did Jesse love this book?

While I don’t always love mainstream classics, The Giver is a classic for a reason, and, in my opinion, it rightfully deserves its place on the shelf.

I love the emotional draw of this book and the invitation to think deeper about the meaning of life and the burden it can take on us. I love books that challenge us to think about the bigger concepts of life and all they entail: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

By Lois Lowry,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Giver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

THE GIVER is soon to be a major motion picture starring Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

Now available for the first time in the UK, THE GIVER QUARTET is the complete four-novel collection.

THE GIVER: It is the future. There is no war, no hunger, no pain. No one in the community wants for anything. Everything needed is provided. And at twelve years old, each member of the community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders.

Jonas has never thought there was anything wrong with his world. But from the moment he is…


Book cover of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature

Pouline Middleton Author Of One Woman Three Men: A Novel about Modern Love and Sex

From my list on how to get a deep and fulfilling love life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was living one of the darkest periods of my life when a friend took me to a Louise Bourgeois show. I wandered among her pieces feeling numb. Then I entered a large room filled with Passage Dangereux from 1997. A most depressing art piece that put me into contact with the restrictions in a family, the limitations we set for each other, and the unhappiness everywhere. When I left the room, I felt a lift in my spirits. I’m a writer to try to put more precise words to what goes on inside ourselves when we are alone and when we fall in love and enter into a relationship with another person. 

Pouline's book list on how to get a deep and fulfilling love life

Pouline Middleton Why did Pouline love this book?

A man I was working with recommended this book to me, when he heard about my novel, while it was in the making. I got hold of this book and already after the first chapter I understood why. Janice Radway investigates how Harlequin novels have such a large audience. In essence it is because romance novels always end well, as opposed to life, that keeps being complicated. It taught me that I’m a very romantic person. This was something I had never regarded as a positive trait so of course I failed to see just how important romance was and is to me. By identifying with millions of women who read these romance novels, I gained a respect that I still feel is lacking in our culture: A respect for our emotions and the big role they play in our sense of satisfaction with life.  

By Janice A. Radway,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Reading the Romance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1984, Reading the Romance challenges popular (and often demeaning) myths about why romantic fiction, one of publishing's most lucrative categories, captivates millions of women readers. Among those who have disparaged romance reading are feminists, literary critics, and theorists of mass culture. They claim that romances enforce the woman reader's dependence on men and acceptance of the repressive ideology purveyed by popular culture. Radway questions such claims, arguing that critical attention ""must shift from the text itself, taken in isolation, to the complex social event of reading."" She examines that event, from the complicated business of publishing and…


Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

Book cover of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

Sam Baldwin Author Of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Englishman who fell in love with a 300-year-old former sausage curing hut on the side of a Slovenian mountain in 2007. After years of visits spent renovating the place, I moved to Slovenia, where I lived and worked for many years, exploring the country, customs, and culture, learning some of the language, and visiting its most beautiful places. I continue to be enamored with Slovenia, and you will regularly find me at my cabin, making repairs and splitting firewood.

Sam's book list on books about Slovenia

What is my book about?

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house, but what was meant as a pitstop becomes life-changing when he decides to stay. Along the way, he meets a colourful cross-section of Slovene society: from dormouse hunters, moonshine makers, beekeepers, and bitcoin miners, to a man who swam the Amazon, and a hilltop matriarch who…

Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

What is this book about?

'Charming, funny, insightful, and moving. The perfect book for any Slovenophile' - Noah Charney, BBC presenter

'A rollicking and very affectionate tour' - Steve Fallon, author of Lonely Planet Slovenia

'Delivers discovery and adventure...captivating!' - Bartosz Stefaniak, editor, 3 Seas Europe

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house but what was meant as…


Book cover of The Five Love Languages

Khadijah Butler Author Of Laying the Foundation: Brick by Brick

From my list on self-help that stretches you and inspire change.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child and even as an adult, I’ve always been curious and stopped at nothing to seek out answers. Fast forward, I’ve been a clinical research professional for over 17 years so it’s no surprise that writing a How-To Book would come naturally. Having a passion for others took me on an altruistic journey of addressing my pain points and helping others address theirs. I hope at least one of these books will help you in becoming the best version of yourself!

Khadijah's book list on self-help that stretches you and inspire change

Khadijah Butler Why did Khadijah love this book?

Becoming a manager at an early age and now a nonprofit founder, I realize how important the statement ‘Relationship before Task’ is. While this book is used to sustain relationships of love, the lessons on how we invest emotionally in other areas of our life, including the workplace and friendships, is just as impactful. This book encourages me to give guidance, not ultimatums when making my needs known. Overall, this book is a reminder that being relationship-focused will bring us the love and/or significance that we’re looking for. 

By Gary Chapman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Five Love Languages as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through fun-filled presentations before a live audience, Gary Chapman helps you identify your personal love language. He also helps you understand the love language of your spouse.


Book cover of So Big

Eileen Brill Author Of A Letter in the Wall

From my list on female protagonists who challenge norms.

Why am I passionate about this?

Change is essential for growth. My degree is in economics and I started out in the corporate world until I had my second child, after which I became a painter and, eventually, a sign language interpreter. My mother was an inspiration to me, believing that learning and adapting are essential to knowing oneself. She was true to her values, proud and independent, rarely caring if others felt differently. At the age of 45, she earned her Bachelor’s degree and began a 30-year career in social work. Because of her influence on me, I tend to gravitate toward protagonists who are headstrong and evolve into self-sufficient, fulfilled individuals.

Eileen's book list on female protagonists who challenge norms

Eileen Brill Why did Eileen love this book?

Novels really are timeless and this one, written almost 100 years ago, gives a portrait of feminism before it was a term. The protagonist Selena has a strong work ethic and doesn’t fear the implications of being a widowed mother of a young son and needing to run a small farm on her own. I loved that she relishes the challenge of her responsibility and thinks outside the box to find a niche market, becoming successful by not succumbing to the expectations of others. She doesn’t feel tamped down by her farming community’s judgments of what she can and cannot accomplish. Reading, and enjoying, a novel published in 1924 reminded me that oldies are quite often the besties.

By Edna Ferber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inspired by the life events of Antje Paarlberg, So Big is an award-winning drama that depicts the life of Selina Peake de Jong. Raised in a strict farming community, Selina decides to be a schoolteacher. Good-hearted and kind, she attempts to inspire her students to work for their dreams, no matter how nontraditional they seem. By encouraging artistic expression, Selina changes the lives of her students. When she marries a farmer named Pervus, the two welcome a baby boy into their family, naming their child Dirk. However, after the family suffers a tragic loss, Selina is forced to quit her…


Book cover of Song of the Cuckoo Bird: A Novel

Eileen Brill Author Of A Letter in the Wall

From my list on female protagonists who challenge norms.

Why am I passionate about this?

Change is essential for growth. My degree is in economics and I started out in the corporate world until I had my second child, after which I became a painter and, eventually, a sign language interpreter. My mother was an inspiration to me, believing that learning and adapting are essential to knowing oneself. She was true to her values, proud and independent, rarely caring if others felt differently. At the age of 45, she earned her Bachelor’s degree and began a 30-year career in social work. Because of her influence on me, I tend to gravitate toward protagonists who are headstrong and evolve into self-sufficient, fulfilled individuals.

Eileen's book list on female protagonists who challenge norms

Eileen Brill Why did Eileen love this book?

In addition to the fact that this story is set in another country and culture, I love that we meet the protagonist as a young, orphaned child, and a strong-willed one at that. She defies norms that would have her married at the age of eleven and remains in an ashram, where she builds a life her own way. I read this book over ten years ago and, though I cannot remember all the details, the story stayed with me for the descriptions of the characters and settings. I have always been drawn to Indian authors and stories about strong Indian women who often endure inequality and even abuse yet find their place and community. Just writing this recommendation makes me want to read it all over again!

By Amulya Malladi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A sweeping epic set in southern India, where a group of outcasts create a family while holding tight to their dreams from the bestselling author of A House for Happy Mothers.

Barely a month after she is promised in marriage, eleven-year-old orphan Kokila comes to Tella Meda, an ashram by the Bay of Bengal. Once there, she makes a courageous yet foolish choice that alters the fabric of her life: Instead of becoming a wife and mother, youthful passion drives Kokila to remain at the ashram.

Through the years, Kokila makes a home in Tella Meda alongside other strong yet…


Book cover of Guesthouse for Ganesha

Eileen Brill Author Of A Letter in the Wall

From my list on female protagonists who challenge norms.

Why am I passionate about this?

Change is essential for growth. My degree is in economics and I started out in the corporate world until I had my second child, after which I became a painter and, eventually, a sign language interpreter. My mother was an inspiration to me, believing that learning and adapting are essential to knowing oneself. She was true to her values, proud and independent, rarely caring if others felt differently. At the age of 45, she earned her Bachelor’s degree and began a 30-year career in social work. Because of her influence on me, I tend to gravitate toward protagonists who are headstrong and evolve into self-sufficient, fulfilled individuals.

Eileen's book list on female protagonists who challenge norms

Eileen Brill Why did Eileen love this book?

It’s important to be open-minded as you’re reading this book and understand that it is reality blended with mysticism and spirituality, which means you will need to suspend disbelief. Throughout the novel I enjoyed the interweaving of Ganesha’s commentary with the main narrative, as it kept me wondering how and when he might show himself to Esther and what role he fills in the story. It lent some mystery and edginess to the plotline. Esther is unconventional, especially when it comes to her mothering, and some readers might be put off by this, but her survival instinct is admirable, in my opinion. Teitelman does a fantastic job setting up Esther’s fastidious dedication to quality and perfection, which plays into that survival instinct.

By Judith Teitelman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gold Award in the Regional Fiction (Europe) category of the 2020 IPPY Awards
Gold Medal in the Fiction-Literary category of the 2020 Readers' Favorite Book Awards
Silver Award in the Audiobook: Fiction category of the 2020 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards

"Teitelman paints an intensely beautiful world in which different cultures merge in surprising ways. . . . A rich and moving story about an unlikely pair." -Kirkus Reviews

In 1923, seventeen-year-old Esther Grunspan arrives in Koeln "with a hardened heart as her sole luggage." Thus begins a twenty-two-year journey, woven against the backdrops of the European Holocaust and the Hindu…


Book cover of High School

Nathan Hesselink Author Of Finding the Beat: Entrainment, Rhythmic Play, and Social Meaning in Rock Music

From my list on biographies to get you inside of a musician’s head.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been playing and singing music since I was six, and my childhood dream was to become an orchestral cello player. Over the years, I learned a number of other instruments and studied music around the globe, yet I was always intrigued, even intimidated, by those who were able to compose. This list of books helps readers like me really get inside the heads of some of the greatest composers (and performers) of popular music in the 20th and 21st centuries. While many of my questions were answered, there remains a sense of mystery and wonder that even the artists themselves can’t always explain.

Nathan's book list on biographies to get you inside of a musician’s head

Nathan Hesselink Why did Nathan love this book?

Tegan and Sara’s joint autobiography reminded me how often music acts as a lifeline to survive childhood and beyond.

These identical twins from Calgary have such an amazing vibe and energy to their songs, and through their music they have been super advocates for gender and sexuality equality. Learning more about them also made me proud to be Canadian.

By Sara Quin, Tegan Quin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From iconic musicians Tegan and Sara comes a nostalgic memoir about high school, detailing their first loves and first songs in a compelling look back at their origin story.

'Genius' Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors
'A gift' Elliot Page, actor
'Utterly charming' Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties

Before they became international musicians and LGBTQ+ icons, twin sisters Sara and Tegan Quin came of age in 90s Canada. They argued relentlessly, skipped school, dropped acid and fell in and out of love - sometimes with their best friends.

One day they found their stepdad's…


Book cover of My Best Friend's Exorcism

Jaq Evans Author Of What Grows in the Dark

From my list on people who are unsure of horror genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a horror and speculative fiction author who reads everything but who is tired of strict genre definitions and loves introducing people to work they might not have considered—especially the spooky stuff, and especially when I’m asked about horror recommendations for non-horror lovers. I think dark fiction gives us a way to process painful emotions in a safe space; it offers catharsis for being alive in a difficult world; it can definitely be a lot of fun while also giving you a way to empathize with people outside your own direct experience. I’ve tried to hit on all of that in this list!  

Jaq's book list on people who are unsure of horror genre

Jaq Evans Why did Jaq love this book?

This was my first Grady Hendrix book, and it had everything that makes his work an instant buy for me now: the characters are well-realized and imperfect, with their relationship at the forefront of the horror; it’s incredibly funny; the scary scenes are burned into my brain to this day. I love the ‘80s vibes of this novel (it has a certain Heathers flair)—from the outfits to the TV evangelist exorcist.

I really enjoy feeling grounded in place and time, especially with horror and speculative fiction, where you need to suspend your disbelief. This book manages to walk the perfect line between being way over the top yet also having a very relatable and emotionally resonant story of friendship.

By Grady Hendrix,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked My Best Friend's Exorcism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act different. She s moody. She s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she s nearby. Abby s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil? Like an unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist, My Best Friend s…


Book cover of Paper Girls, Volume 1

Amber Mosby Author Of Thunder and Lightning

From my list on strong female leads of color.

Why am I passionate about this?

I chose these stories because as a Black woman, seeing characters like me in stories as the main character instead of the sidekick or friend is always so refreshing. Like the main characters of my own novels, Black women taking charge is something to be celebrated.

Amber's book list on strong female leads of color

Amber Mosby Why did Amber love this book?

This group of graphic novels will take you on a time traveling, inter-dimensional, coming-of-age journey for a group of 12-year-old girls. I include this choice because of the versatility of the characters. It's easy for the reader to see themselves in any of the leads including Tiff Quilkin, a smart, video game-loving young woman from a mixed-race family. She learns a lot about herself as a Black woman, learns about what it means to have white loved ones in modern society, and learns about what she stands for as an individual. It is her quick thinking that helps the others navigate the future they are suddenly transported to and it is her prudent planning that gives the girls a way to escape when they are being hunted. 

As a whole, Paper Girls is an amazing series. The fact that a young Black woman plays an integral part in the story…

By Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (artist),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Paper Girls, Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang's Eisner Award winning series Paper Girls is coming Amazon Prime Video in July 2022!

From Brian K. Vaughan, #1 New York Times bestselling writer of SAGA, and Cliff Chiang, legendary artist of WONDER WOMAN, comes the first volume of an all-new ongoing adventure.

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

Collecting Issues #1-5 for only $9.99! "Along with Paper Girls,…


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