10 books like Do Not Become Alarmed

By Maile Meloy,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Do Not Become Alarmed. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The New Wilderness

By Diane Cook,

Book cover of The New Wilderness

This book changed my mind. 

Bea’s five-year-old daughter is frail and sickly, a victim of rampant air pollution. In an effort to save her, Bea and her family join an experimental program that requires them to live in the wild as nomadic hunters and gatherers. I must admit, I was initially drawn to the idea of trading the rat race for the wilderness. (No more alarm clocks! No more traffic jams!) But by the time I finished the book, that notion had lost its appeal. (No food pantries! No hospitals! Starvation! Death!) Exploring this intriguing but brutal scenario from the comfort of my living room is as close as I care to get!

The New Wilderness

By Diane Cook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'THE ENVIRONMENTAL NOVEL OF OUR TIMES.' Lemn Sissay, Booker Prize judge

From an acclaimed Guardian First Book Award finalist comes a debut novel 'brutal and beautiful in equal measure' (Emily St. John Mandel)

Longlisted for the DUBLIN Literary Award 2022

A Guardian Best Science Fiction Book of the Year

A 'Best Book of the Year 2020' according to BBC Culture * An Irish Times Best Debut Fiction of 2020

Bea's daughter, Agnes, is slowly wasting away, her lungs ravaged by the smog and pollution of the overpopulated metropolis they call home.

The only alternative is to build a life in…


American Dirt

By Jeanine Cummins,

Book cover of American Dirt

This book rocked my world.

Lydia and her young son begin a harrowing journey from Mexico to the United States after being targeted for death by a drug cartel. American Dirt has everything I relish in a story: a riveting plot, top-notch writing, believable characters, and spot-on dialogue. What’s more, it drives home the plight of migrants in a way that news stories can’t. I didn’t just read this book; I lived it. I became that desperate mother. And I too would trek across deserts and leap onto moving trains to save my child.

American Dirt

By Jeanine Cummins,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked American Dirt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*NOW A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK AT BEDTIME*
'Breathtaking... I haven't been so entirely consumed by a book for years' Telegraph
'I'll never stop thinking about it' Ann Patchett

FEAR KEEPS THEM RUNNING. HOPE KEEPS THEM ALIVE.

Vivid, visceral, utterly compelling, AMERICAN DIRT is an unforgettable story of a mother and son's attempt to cross the US-Mexico border. Described as 'impossible to put down' (Saturday Review) and 'essential reading' (Tracy Chevalier), it is a story that will leave you utterly changed.

Yesterday, Lydia had a bookshop.
Yesterday, Lydia was married to a journalist.
Yesterday, she was with everyone she loved…


The Chain

By Adrian McKinty,

Book cover of The Chain

This book made me wonder.

Rachel’s daughter has been kidnapped, and to get her back, Rachel must pay a ransom and abduct another child. The kidnapper is another mother whose child has been kidnapped—by someone else whose child has been kidnapped, by someone else whose... Well. You get the idea. As I tore through this novel, I couldn’t help wondering what I would do in that situation. Could I actually kidnap somebody else’s child? I still don’t have an answer, but watching this ingenious plot unfold was a rollercoaster ride I’ll never forget.

The Chain

By Adrian McKinty,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


When a mother is targeted by a dangerous group of masterminds, she must commit a crime to save her kidnapped daughter—or risk losing her forever—in this "propulsive and original" award-winning thriller (Stephen King).

It's something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it's a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a…

The Darkest Secret

By Alex Marwood,

Book cover of The Darkest Secret

This book kept me guessing. 

A three-year-old disappears during her wealthy father’s fiftieth birthday celebration. Is it a case of stranger abduction, or something more complicated? Don’t ask the police; they’re clueless—literally. The mystery hooked me from the start, and the characters (absolute jerks, most of them) were so real, I could almost smell their boozy breath. I never did guess the shocking “darkest secret,” but that’s for the best. Correctly predicting a plot twist might be satisfying in the moment, but I’m more impressed when an author surprises me.  

The Darkest Secret

By Alex Marwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"If there has been a better mystery-suspense story written in this decade, I can't think of it . . . transcend[s] the genre." -Stephen King

"A cruel and cunning mystery . . . Plot-twisting, mind-altering and monstrously funny." -The New York Times Book Review

The latest gripping psychological thriller from Edgar Award winner Alex Marwood

When a child goes missing at an opulent house party, it makes international news. But what really happened behind those closed doors?

Twelve years ago, Mila Jackson's three-year-old half-sister Coco disappeared during their father's fiftieth birthday celebration, leaving behind her identical twin Ruby as the…

Empire by Invitation

By Michel Gobat,

Book cover of Empire by Invitation: William Walker and Manifest Destiny in Central America

Though he’s hardly a household name, William Walker, the most significant of the American filibusters, has been the subject of a surprising number of biographies. What is special about Michel Gobat’s book is his in-depth look at the actual government Walker set up to rule Nicaragua in the mid-1850s, the people he enlisted to run it, and his government’s ambitions and programs. Gobat suggests, importantly, that prior historians have underestimated Walker’s popular support in Nicaragua and overstated his ties to White southerners’ plans to expand U.S. slavery. 

Empire by Invitation

By Michel Gobat,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Michel Gobat traces the untold story of the rise and fall of the first U.S. overseas empire to William Walker, a believer in the nation's manifest destiny to spread its blessings not only westward but abroad as well.

In the 1850s Walker and a small group of U.S. expansionists migrated to Nicaragua determined to forge a tropical "empire of liberty." His quest to free Central American masses from allegedly despotic elites initially enjoyed strong local support from liberal Nicaraguans who hoped U.S.-style democracy and progress would spread across the land. As Walker's group of "filibusters" proceeded to help Nicaraguans battle…


Whose Heaven, Whose Earth?

By Thomas Melville, Marjorie Melville,

Book cover of Whose Heaven, Whose Earth?

How did a U.S. priest and nun who went to Guatemala to convert the poor to “proper” Catholicism and to fight communism join a revolutionary movement?

The married couple Thomas and Marjorie Melville explain how they shared the anti-communist views of the U.S. government and the Catholic Church but living among the poor led them to question both institutions’ roles in supporting inequality in Guatemala. At the time of the book’s publication, 1970, the two were in jail as part of the Catonsville Nine. They, along with other Catholics, broke into a Maryland draft board and poured homemade napalm on stolen files to protest U.S. imperialism, including in Vietnam, and the Catholic Church’s support for it.

Whose Heaven, Whose Earth?

By Thomas Melville, Marjorie Melville,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Whose Heaven, Whose Earth? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Somos Como Las Nubes / We Are Like the Clouds

By Jorge Argueta, Alfonso Ruano (illustrator),

Book cover of Somos Como Las Nubes / We Are Like the Clouds

This is a powerful book; in beautiful poems the author, Jorge Argueta, describes the journey of children and their families who are looking for better opportunities and big dreams in a new place.

Why are young people leaving their country to walk to the United States to seek a new, safe home? Over 100,000 such children have left Central America. This book of poetry helps us to understand why and what it is like to be them.

Somos Como Las Nubes / We Are Like the Clouds

By Jorge Argueta, Alfonso Ruano (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Somos Como Las Nubes / We Are Like the Clouds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why are young people leaving their country to walk to the United States to seek a new, safe home? Over 100,000 such children have left Central America. This book of poetry helps us to understand why and what it is like to be them.

This powerful book by award-winning Salvadoran poet Jorge Argueta describes the terrible process that leads young people to undertake the extreme hardships and risks involved in the journey to what they hope will be a new life of safety and opportunity. A refugee from El Salvador's war in the eighties, Argueta was born to explain the…

Far Tortuga

By Peter Matthiessen,

Book cover of Far Tortuga

Peter Matthiessen was considered one of America’s great wilderness writers. Yet in an interview, before he died in 2014, Matthiessen identified Far Tortuga as his personal favorite of all the books he had written. In this novel, Matthiessen offers a fictional account of his participation on one of the last turtle hunting voyages in the Caribbean. Drawing on his experience on the said voyage in the 1960s, Matthiessen vividly displays his keen observation skills with his depictions of the Caymanian turtle hunters and the challenges of this last generation of turtlemen. 

Far Tortuga

By Peter Matthiessen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This adventure story is set in the Caribbean and describes the last voyage of the "Lillias Eden", an old wooden schooner employed in the turtle trade. The author's previous books include "The Snow Leopard", "Men's Lives", "The Cloud Forest" and "Under the Mountain Wall".

Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens

By Simon Martin, Nikolai Grube,

Book cover of Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens

Prehistoric people outside of Europe are often assumed to be "people without history," as anthropologist Eric Wolf called them. Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube's book is exciting because it uses the recent decipherment of Maya hieroglyphs to reconstruct the lives of dozens of Maya rulers. At least some of the millions of ancient Maya have now names and a history. Their great art and architecture can be linked to artists who made them and to nobles who commissioned them.

Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens

By Simon Martin, Nikolai Grube,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Deep in the dense rainforests of Central America lie the turbulent stories of the Maya monarchy, stories brought vividly to life in Chronicles of the Maya Kings and Queens, which is newly available in paperback. Describing many of their own discoveries, two of the world's leading experts in Maya hieroglyphs take the reader into a once-hidden history, setting out the latest thinking on the nature of Maya divine kingship, statehood and political authority, and describing all the most recent readings and archaeological finds. Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens combines groundbreaking research with a highly readable history, offering the…

A Book of Common Prayer

By Joan Didion,

Book cover of A Book of Common Prayer

As a military spouse who has lived abroad and is always a bit wary about my surroundings, so much about this uncomfortable novel resonated with me. Two American women become unlikely friends while waiting for an inevitable military coup in an unnamed Central American country. The older woman narrator, Grace, who has married into the ruling family, takes naïve Charlotte under her wing. Both women seem to connect over their background, dislocation, and fractured family life, but nothing is as it seems. The unreliable narrator, the political ugliness, and the encroaching war all make this a thrilling read. The reader never knows what poses the biggest threat to the female protagonists: ex-husbands, runaway children, or firing squads. 

A Book of Common Prayer

By Joan Didion,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Book of Common Prayer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A shimmering novel of innocence and evil: the gripping story of two American women in a failing Central American nation, from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking and Let Me Tell You What I Mean

"[Didion's] most ambitious project in fiction, and her most successful ... glows with a golden aura of well-wrought classical tragedy.”  —Los Angeles Times Book Review

Grace Strasser-Mendana controls much of Boca Grande's wealth and knows virtually all of its secrets; Charlotte Douglas knows far too little. "Immaculate of history, innocent of politics," Charlotte has come to Boca Grande vaguely and vainly…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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