100 books like Dinner with the Schnabels

By Toni Jordan,

Here are 100 books that Dinner with the Schnabels fans have personally recommended if you like Dinner with the Schnabels. 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 Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

C Fleming Author Of Dark Horse

From my list on quirky lead female characters to fall in love with.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing fiction since an early age, and I naturally create central female characters that I hope are warm, funny, and in some way flawed. Modules of my university degree dealt with psychology and sociology, and I automatically studied other people to inspire elements of my character. Lee Child is quoted as saying readers remember characters more than the plot, so when compiling my list, I recalled five female leads that have made me laugh, cringe, and relate to in equal measure. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 

C's book list on quirky lead female characters to fall in love with

C Fleming Why did C love this book?

I’ve never read a book as quickly as I read this one. Our eponymous lead character is quirky and odd, but the story is written with so much empathy, depth, and humor that I was rooting for her from the start.

I loved how the relationship between Eleanor and Raymond plays out and avoids the predictable ‘boy meets girl’ ending. It doesn’t surprise me that the book is ‘in development’ as a movie, as the story plays out like a film when you read it. Definitely read this one first before you see the film! (It probably won’t take long as I couldn’t put this book down.)

By Gail Honeyman,

Why should I read it?

27 authors picked Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

"Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!" -Reese Witherspoon

No one's ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of…


Book cover of The Rosie Project

Ruth Leigh Author Of The Diary of Isabella M Smugge

From my list on books you read and re-read even though you know every word by heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I learned to read at four and have been telling stories ever since. Books were my escape from unhappiness into a new and endless world. Left to myself, I’d read ten or so weekly, and my mind was packed with characters, dialogue, jokes, prose, and poetry like an over-brimming literary reservoir. Words are my thing, and I am an avid collector of them. I was reading David Copperfield at eight and specialised in 18th and 19th-century literature at university. I’ve written five books and am working on the sixth. I love writing humour but have also authored Jane Austen Fan Fiction and poetry. Without books, my world is nothing.

Ruth's book list on books you read and re-read even though you know every word by heart

Ruth Leigh Why did Ruth love this book?

To my knowledge, no one has written a main character like Don Tilman before. A tall, handsome genetics professor who’s never had a second date, he approaches his need for a wife with typical precision and the use of a complex spreadsheet. Don navigates the unfamiliar world of feelings and unplanned activities with his customary efficiency, but what is this strange new emotion he’s feeling?

I simply adore this book and often read it twice a year. It’s an absolute delight, funny, poignant, and so incredibly life-affirming. You’ll be cheering Don and Rosie on and hoping that everything works out for them. I do every time, and I know what happens!

By Graeme Simsion,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Rosie Project as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international bestselling romantic comedy “bursting with warmth, emotional depth, and…humor,” (Entertainment Weekly) featuring the oddly charming, socially challenged genetics professor, Don, as he seeks true love.

The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her…


Book cover of The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman

Hazel Prior Author Of How the Penguins Saved Veronica

From my list on characters who have something important to say.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by people, especially people who don’t follow the herd, who lurk on the edges of society, who are strongly individual. Their opinions often seem wiser than those of society and the media, and I find it refreshing to climb into their shoes… That’s why my fictional characters might be obsessively making harps, counting everything in sight, or embarking on a mission to save penguins! The books I’ve listed here contain a range of eccentrics. Molly The Maid, Harold Fry, Iona Iverson, Noman Foreman, and Janice are all marvellous characters who made me laugh, cry and ponder. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

Hazel's book list on characters who have something important to say

Hazel Prior Why did Hazel love this book?

I loved this book for its characters, especially Norman. Only a twelve-year-old boy, Norman has suffered the loss of his one true friend and now forms brave new plans: to find his birth father and to perform as a stand-up comedian at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. He is helped by his mother, her older colleague, and others he meets on the road trip to Scotland. Norman has terrible skin psoriasis, a fetish for cheese on toast, and vast quantities of courage and determination.

Some wisdom from Norman: "Never give up. Because no matter if everything goes to hell in a hand basket and you lose your father, your footy career, your baby, your memory, your son, your breath or your best friend, you’ve just got to keep on going."

By Julietta Henderson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiring, feel-good Richard & Judy Book Club pick about a small boy with a big heart - and even bigger dreams.

'One of those gorgeous books that completely lifts your spirits and restores your faith in humanity' - Ruth Jones, co-creator of Gavin and Stacey and bestselling author of Us Three

It was a journey they would always remember . . . for a friend they'd never forget.

Norman and Jax are a legendary comedic duo in waiting, with a five-year plan to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe by the time they're fifteen. But when Jax dies before they…


Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

By Mari Sangiovanni,

Book cover of Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

Mari Sangiovanni

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Introducing the irrepressible Liddy-Jean Carpenter, a young woman who has learning disabilities but also has a genius plan.

While Liddy-Jean spends her days doing minor office tasks with nobody paying attention, she sees how badly the wand-waving big boss treats the Marketing Department worker bees. So, she takes lots of notes for a business book to teach bosses to be better. Liddy-Jean likes office-mate Rose and Rose’s new friend Jenny, but she doesn’t like Rose’s creepy boyfriend. So how can she save Rose?

Liddy-Jean knows with certainty that love is love, and she concludes that Rose should be with Jenny,…

Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

By Mari Sangiovanni,

What is this book about?

Novelist and filmmaker Mari SanGiovanni introduces readers to the irrepressible Liddy-Jean Carpenter, a matchmaker with special talents who will charm readers with her wit, wisdom, and sensibilities in this warm, enchanting love-is-love office romance.

Liddy-Jean Carpenter has learning disabilities. But she also has a surprisingly genius plan.

While she spends her days doing minor office tasks with nobody paying attention, she sees how badly the wand-waving big boss treats the Marketing Department worker bees. So, she takes lots of notes for a business book to teach bosses to be better.

While compiling pages of bad behavior notes, she finds she…


Book cover of The Full Ridiculous

Jane Riley Author Of The Likely Resolutions of Oliver Clock

From my list on uplifting novels that mix humor with poignancy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to read and write novels that are uplifting and life-affirming where the main character, who's often quirky and upbeat, must find their way out of the drama and chaos life has dealt them. Growing up in a family where humor – often black – reigned supreme, with a father who penned silly limericks, I’m drawn to seeing the funny side of things. Showing the light and dark of life in a comedic yet poignant way not only makes for entertaining reading but is enlightening and inspiring. I believe novels should reflect us and our failings while offering hope that it’ll all be alright in the end. 

Jane's book list on uplifting novels that mix humor with poignancy

Jane Riley Why did Jane love this book?

In a similar vein to the previous book, this novel focuses on a man whose life is spiralling out of control. His professional life begins to crumble, he nearly gets run over by a car and his two teenage children get themselves into angst-causing strife. What I love the most about this book is that it’s narrated in the second person by the main character Michael who’s essentially having a mid-life crisis breakdown. This can be hard to pull off, but it works here as it’s like Michael’s providing commentary on himself and his life as if observing someone else. It makes for some hilarious writing, despite the serious theme. The author shows that sometimes to really appreciate the highs of life, you need to hit rock bottom first. 

By Mark Lamprell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Michaelo O’Dell is hit by a car, and when he doesn’t die, he is surprised and pleased. But he can’t seem to move, frozen in the crash position. He can’t concentrate, or control his anger and grief, or work out what to do about much of anything. His professional life begins to crumble, and although his wife Wendy is heroically supportive, his teenage children only exacerbate his post-accident angst. His daughter Rosie punches out a vindictive schoolmate, plunging the family into a special parent-teacher hell. Meanwhile, his son Declan is found with a stash of illicit drugs, and a strange…


Book cover of Early Morning Riser

Daisy Buchanan Author Of Pity Party

From my list on break your heart, then put it back together again.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that books have saved my life. When I was a child, I was often depressed and anxious, and I instinctively found refuge in reading. I sought books acknowledging that the world can be a painful and difficult place but showed that it was also filled with happiness, love, and joy as long as you knew where to look. My passion for reading has stayed with me, I host the You’re Booked podcast where I talk to iconic authors about the books that have brought them comfort and joy. And whenever I feel anxious, I still reach for a book–because reading heals my heart. 

Daisy's book list on break your heart, then put it back together again

Daisy Buchanan Why did Daisy love this book?

This book had me laughing from the first page. I could see the town immediately and hear every character’s voice clearly in my head. I found it incredibly easy to read. Before I knew it, I was halfway through the story and I loved Jane, Duncan and Jimmy as though they were members of my own family.

Because this book is so funny, I found that the sad, serious parts affected me deeply. But ultimately, I found it hugely uplifting. It reminded me that the worst events can bring out the best in me and the people I love. I can’t think of anyone I know who wouldn’t love this book. 

By Katherine Heiny,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Alternately bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny, a wise, bighearted novel of love, disaster, and unconventional family—from the acclaimed author of Standard Deviation, who has been called the "literary descendant of Jane Austen, sharing Austen's essentially comic world view" (NPR).     

Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan's old girlfriends everywhere—at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away.

While Jane may be able to come to terms with dating the world's most prolific seducer of women, she wishes…


Book cover of We All Want Impossible Things

Daisy Buchanan Author Of Pity Party

From my list on break your heart, then put it back together again.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that books have saved my life. When I was a child, I was often depressed and anxious, and I instinctively found refuge in reading. I sought books acknowledging that the world can be a painful and difficult place but showed that it was also filled with happiness, love, and joy as long as you knew where to look. My passion for reading has stayed with me, I host the You’re Booked podcast where I talk to iconic authors about the books that have brought them comfort and joy. And whenever I feel anxious, I still reach for a book–because reading heals my heart. 

Daisy's book list on break your heart, then put it back together again

Daisy Buchanan Why did Daisy love this book?

I fell in love with Ash and her best friend Edi before I was halfway down the first page. I can see why other readers have compared this book to Nora Ephron’s novels. It’s funny, heart-filled, sexy, and sweet, but never twee. I could totally relate to Ash, who grieves unconventionally and tries to be the best friend, mother, and human in the world while secretly rebelling and acting up.

Most of all, I adored how this book focuses on family and how we build our families through love. It’s a book I haven’t stopped talking about since I read it, and I think I will read it every year.

By Catherine Newman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked We All Want Impossible Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Catherine Newman sees the heartbreak and comedy of life with wisdom and unflinching compassion. The way she finds the extraordinary in the everyday is nothing short of poetry. She’s a writer’s writer—and a human’s human.”—New York Times bestselling author Katherine Center

“A riotously funny and fiercely loyal love letter to female friendship. The story of Edi and Ash proves that a best friend is a gift from the gods. Newman turns her prodigious talents toward finding joy even in the friendship’s final days. I laughed while crying, and was left revived. Newman is a comic masterhand and a dazzling philosopher…


Book cover of The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding

Nicky Pellegrino Author Of P.S. Come to Italy

From my list on all the feels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written fourteen novels about family, friendship, food, and love; stories that I hope transport people so completely and utterly, that they almost forget they are reading and instead find themselves walking in the shoes of the characters. That’s what I’m aiming for anyway. As a reader it’s what I want also – to laugh and cry, and feel the characters are people that I know and feel sorry to leave them behind when I turn the last page. 

Nicky's book list on all the feels

Nicky Pellegrino Why did Nicky love this book?

This gently-paced and richly atmospheric story is a real experience to read.

It is filled with myths and wonders, raw sadness, and exquisite beauty. The main character Esther is not always easy to like. She can be self-centred and destructive. But her journey over the course of this novel is deeply moving.

Esther is grieving for her elder sister Aura who is missing presumed drowned. The story begins a year after her disappearance as Esther returns to her childhood home in coastal Tasmania for Aura’s memorial. There her parents ask her to do something she isn’t sure she can manage.

They want her to travel to Denmark, where Aura spent time before she died, to find out what happened there and why she returned home such a different person.

By Holly Ringland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From international bestselling author of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Holly Ringland, comes a haunting and magical novel about joy, grief, courage, and transformation.


'On the afternoon that Esther Wilding drove homeward along the coast, a year after her sister had walked into the sea and disappeared, the light was painfully golden.'

The last time Esther Wilding's beloved older sister Aura was seen, she was walking along the shore towards the sea. In the wake of Aura's disappearance, Esther's family struggles to live with their loss. To seek the truth about her sister's death, Esther reluctantly travels from Lutruwita,…


Book cover of The Secret World of Connie Starr

Nicky Pellegrino Author Of P.S. Come to Italy

From my list on all the feels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written fourteen novels about family, friendship, food, and love; stories that I hope transport people so completely and utterly, that they almost forget they are reading and instead find themselves walking in the shoes of the characters. That’s what I’m aiming for anyway. As a reader it’s what I want also – to laugh and cry, and feel the characters are people that I know and feel sorry to leave them behind when I turn the last page. 

Nicky's book list on all the feels

Nicky Pellegrino Why did Nicky love this book?

This novel totally swept me away.

Often while I was reading, it felt like I was right there, in the Australian town of Ballarat, a part of a small community as everyone’s lives are being reshaped by a war raging across the world.

Connie Starr is a watchful misfit of a child who lives in a dream world. But this is as much a story about the people who surround Connie – parents and siblings, neighbours and friends – and the way their lives intertwine. We rarely witness any violent acts of war in this novel.

Instead, it is focused mostly on the people left behind at home, on their heartbreak and loneliness, the friendships that sustain them, and the determination that gets them through the toughest times.

By Robbi Neal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret World of Connie Starr as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A stunning evocation of Australian life through the war to the 1950s, this novel is intimate and sweeping, immediate and dreamlike - a magical rendering of darkness and joy, and the beauty inherent in difference. For readers of Sarah Winman's Still Life, Trent Dalton's All Our Shimmering Skies and Rosalie Ham's The Dressmaker.


Connie Starr was always a difficult child. Her mother knew as soon as Connie entered the world that day in Ballarat in 1934 and opened her lungs to scream, there was more chaos in the world than before and it wouldn't leave until Connie did. From the…


Book cover of Shots

Lo Carmen Author Of Lovers Dreamers Fighters

From my list on being in love with music.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a singer/songwriter and I grew up in a rock’n’roll household. My family has always traded great books about music between us, memoirs, biographies, scientific studies, deep dives into subcultures, industry exposes – I love them all and find a good music book impossible to resist. I always get excited when I find books written by other obsessive music-loving kindred spirits––if I can feel the love I’m right in there with them. I especially love the behind-the-scenes stories and insights into the work and fascinations that helped forge an artist’s career.

Lo's book list on being in love with music

Lo Carmen Why did Lo love this book?

Written by the revered god-daddy of Australian songcraft, Shots is a beat peek behind the curtain of what it is to be a young band on the road and on the rise, all lens flare vignettes; dry, brutal, and perfect, as cool as The Don himself. His uncanny way with words lets us bear witness to the country hall dances, Kings Cross streets, and back of the van like a poetic spy cam.

By Don Walker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This remarkable memoir begins with Don Walker's early life in rural Australia and goes up to the late ’80s. In mesmerising prose, Walker evokes childhood and youth, wild times in the ’70s, life on the road and in Kings Cross, music-making and much more. Shots is a stunningly original book, a set of word pictures – shots – that conjure up the lowlife and backroads of Australia.

‘Singular, strong and beguiling’ —The Sydney Morning Herald

‘Better than good. Most of the time it is brilliant.’ —Australian Book Review

‘The book shines with its descriptive sense of place. Shots carries the…


Book cover of Stiff

Paul Burman Author Of Night-night, Sleep Tight

From my list on crime mysteries with an extra twist of character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of three novels, several short stories, and quite a few articles about writing and literature. While I haven't aimed to write for a specific genre—all three of my novels are different in this respectmy plots usually focus on a mystery. I enjoy novels with strong, credible characters, which are based in a recognisable, everyday reality, but where bizarre events can turn the world upside down.

Paul's book list on crime mysteries with an extra twist of character

Paul Burman Why did Paul love this book?

This laugh-out-loud crime mystery has a special place for me because I read it not long after migrating to Australia and, through the lead character, Murray Whelan (a political staffer who spends his time digging himself in and out of holes), I was not only introduced to Australian humour but also to a new way of viewing Melbourne, its politics, establishments, and suburbs. In Stiff, as with Shane Maloney's other books in this series, the city landscape is as much a character as Murray Whelan himself, and this sense of place adds a richness to the story that would be missing if it were merely treated as a backdrop.

By Shane Maloney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Don’t you just hate it when someone tries to kill you and you don’t know why?

Single father Murray Whelan thinks the life of a parent and political operative is complicated enough. His ex is staking out the moral high ground for a custody battle, and rumors of an early election are starting to fly in the upper echelons of Australia’s Labor party. When a Turk is found snap-frozen in a local meat plant, Murray cops the job to head off possible fallout for his boss, Charlene Wills, a member of Parliament and the Minister for Industry. But the meat…


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