100 books like Everyday Madness

By Lisa Appignanesi,

Here are 100 books that Everyday Madness fans have personally recommended if you like Everyday Madness. 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 Every Secret Thing: My Family, My Country

Susie Orbach Author Of Bodies

From my list on contemporary memoirs by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Memoirs have crept up on me as favorites. I could list many more. Please let me! As a psychoanalyst, I listen to the pains and struggles of individuals trying to become more at ease with themselves. They engage with their demons and try to make sense of how to manage the way their personal history has created their worldview and how to expand it enough to enter a present. Memoirs are another way of addressing such struggles. They have an elegance and a universality that emerges out of their individual stories. We learn about the other and we learn about ourselves.

Susie's book list on contemporary memoirs by women

Susie Orbach Why did Susie love this book?

Gillian Slovo’s mother was assassinated by the South African Govt. Her father was considered public enemy #1. She reflects on being a child of revolutionaries, leaving her home suddenly and arriving in England on her 12th birthday and seeing snow for the first time. This is a book of making sense, acceptance, confrontation, and truths, Beautifully written, compelling, and gives us a way into a world very few people will experience and yet will want to know about.

By Gillian Slovo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A passionate witness to the colossal upheaval that has transformed her native South Africa, Gillian Slovo has written a memoir that is far more than a story of her own life. For she is the daughter of Joe Slovo and Ruth First, South Africa's pioneering anti-apartheid white activists, a daughter who always had to come second to political commitment. Whilst recalling the extraordinary events which surrounded her family's persecution and exile, and reconstructing the truth of her parents' relationship and her own turbulent childhood, Gillian Slovo has also created an astonishing portrait of a courageous, beautiful mother and a father…


Book cover of Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Polly Hall Author Of Myrrh

From my list on capturing the experience of adoption.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was adopted as a baby, so I have first-hand experience of the emotions and challenges this presents. I am passionate about shining light on this often misunderstood and complex family trauma through my writing. My memoir Blood and Blood, an emotive exploration of the search for my birth relatives, was shortlisted for the Mslexia Prize. My research extends to fiction and non-fiction, where the psychological effects of adoption are referenced or highlighted. I am always keen to chat with fellow care-experienced people. I hope you find the books on this list helpful.

Polly's book list on capturing the experience of adoption

Polly Hall Why did Polly love this book?

One thing about being adopted is you have an in-built radar to seek out others who are too. I read Jeanette Winterson’s first novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit when I was a teenager, and since then, I have been in awe of her as a writer and her ability to eloquently describe her personal experience as an adoptee. 

This book is her autobiography, and there were occasions while reading it that I had to stop and cry. Finally, someone else had written about what I had kept holed up inside me. Her final chapter, "The Wound," speaks so profoundly to me as an adopted adult. It is honest, sharp, and fierce.

By Jeanette Winterson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The shocking, heart-breaking - and often very funny - true story behind Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.

In 1985 Jeanette Winterson's first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, was published. It was Jeanette's version of the story of a terraced house in Accrington, an adopted child, and the thwarted giantess Mrs Winterson. It was a cover story, a painful past written over and repainted. It was a story of survival.

This book is that story's the silent twin. It is full of hurt and humour and a fierce love of life. It is about the pursuit of happiness,…


Book cover of Red Dust Road

Susie Orbach Author Of Bodies

From my list on contemporary memoirs by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Memoirs have crept up on me as favorites. I could list many more. Please let me! As a psychoanalyst, I listen to the pains and struggles of individuals trying to become more at ease with themselves. They engage with their demons and try to make sense of how to manage the way their personal history has created their worldview and how to expand it enough to enter a present. Memoirs are another way of addressing such struggles. They have an elegance and a universality that emerges out of their individual stories. We learn about the other and we learn about ourselves.

Susie's book list on contemporary memoirs by women

Susie Orbach Why did Susie love this book?

Jackie and her brother were adopted by a loving working-class family in Glasgow. They were communists and thoughtful about the adoption process. Jackie becomes a beloved poet and a wonderful public performer. She was recently made the Poet Laureate of Scotland – The Scots Makar. In this book, she traces her childhood and her quest to meet her father in Lagos and to discover her biological parentage and story. It’s a story of belonging and of not belonging. Of finding, fitting, and not fitting. It moves and uplifts us.

By Jackie Kay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Taking the reader from Glasgow to Lagos and beyond, Red Dust Road is a heart-stopping memoir, a story of parents and siblings, friends and strangers, belonging and beliefs, biology and destiny.

With an introduction by the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.

From the moment when, as a little girl, she realizes that her skin is a different colour from that of her beloved mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her birth parents, her Highland mother and Nigerian father, Jackie Kay's journey in Red Dust Road is one of unexpected twists, turns and deep emotions. In a…


Book cover of Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging

Susie Orbach Author Of Bodies

From my list on contemporary memoirs by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Memoirs have crept up on me as favorites. I could list many more. Please let me! As a psychoanalyst, I listen to the pains and struggles of individuals trying to become more at ease with themselves. They engage with their demons and try to make sense of how to manage the way their personal history has created their worldview and how to expand it enough to enter a present. Memoirs are another way of addressing such struggles. They have an elegance and a universality that emerges out of their individual stories. We learn about the other and we learn about ourselves.

Susie's book list on contemporary memoirs by women

Susie Orbach Why did Susie love this book?

Afua’s father is from a Jewish refugee family, her mother is Ghanian. She grows up in an affluent middle-class suburb of London. As she explores her Black and Ghanian identity she looks at what it means to be British; the political heritage, race, and identity from the inside of a loving mix raced family. It is an important commentary on her experience of being in more than one place at the same time.

By Afua Hirsch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brit(ish) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Afua Hirsch - co-presenter of Samuel L. Jackson's major BBC TV series Enslaved - the Sunday Times bestseller that reveals the uncomfortable truth about race and identity in Britain today.

You're British.

Your parents are British.

Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British.

So why do people keep asking where you're from?

We are a nation in denial about our imperial past and the racism that plagues our present. Brit(ish) is Afua Hirsch's personal and provocative exploration of how this came to be - and an urgent call for change.

'The book for our divided…


Book cover of The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise

Day Schildkret Author Of Hello, Goodbye: 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration, and Change

From my list on nature, art, and ritual.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to discover the healing power of art, nature, and ritual while I was grieving the loss of my father a decade ago. I would go to the park and make impermanent and symmetrical art from found twigs, flowers, pine cones, berries, and leaves as a way to ground, heal my broken heart, and make sense of a chaotic time. Since then, I‘ve made over a thousand nature altars, written a book about it (Morning Altars), and have taught tens of thousands of people around the world to make meaning in their lives through a creative collaboration with the natural world. It still amazes me that something so simple and impermanent can bring such wonder and resilience.

Day's book list on nature, art, and ritual

Day Schildkret Why did Day love this book?

Because my art is impermanent, I write and think about that subject a lot. And IMHO, no one speaks as beautifully and powerfully to the subjects of impermanence, life, loss, and beauty better than Prechtel. Prechtel's book is a well of indigenous wisdom on the living relationship between grief and praise. He says, "When you’re grieving for the thing you got, it's called praise. When you're praising for the thing you lost, it's called grief.” If the Earth is speaking her wisdom, this author is delivering it faithfully and beautifully to us.

By Martín Prechtel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Smell of Rain on Dust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspiring hope, solace, and courage in living through our losses, author Martín Prechtel, trained in the Tzutujil Maya shamanic tradition, shares profound insights on the relationship between grief and praise in our culture--how the inability that many of us have to grieve and weep properly for the dead is deeply linked with the inability to give praise for living. In modern society, grief is something that we usually experience in private, alone, and without the support of a community. Yet, as Prechtel says, "Grief expressed out loud for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost,…


Book cover of Welcome to the Grief Club: Because You Don't Have to Go Through It Alone

Colin Campbell Author Of Finding the Words: Working Through Profound Loss with Hope and Purpose

From my list on helping cope with grief and loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve sat in many grief circles and listened to fellow grievers share their pain at being abandoned or misunderstood by their friends and families as they grieve. Often we suffer the secondary loss of community because our culture has not taught us how to grieve or how to be a friend to those in grief. My wife and I found some invaluable tools that helped us communicate our needs to our community, and keep them close on our grief journey. One of those tools is grief books. I’ve read dozens of them, and while everyone responds to grief books differently, I think these five books are the very best.

Colin's book list on helping cope with grief and loss

Colin Campbell Why did Colin love this book?

This book is a wonderful practical guide to grieving that is accompanied by charming illustrations from the author. This might make it sound child-like or cutsie, but it’s not at all.

It’s an honest and fierce guide that doesn’t use any cheesy aphorisms or simplistic clichés about grief. It tells it like it is, but with kindness and hope. It helped me feel not so alone.

By Janine Kwoh,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Welcome to the Grief Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the Grief Club--a place where one human who experienced a terrible loss, Janine Kwoh, is at the door to welcome other humans who are grieving. It is not an instruction manual, or a step-by-step playbook, or a memoir. It is, rather, a fresh, empathetic approach to all of the surprising, confusing, brutal, funny, and downright bizarre parts of grief. Combining her own experiences with grief--the author's partner died when both were in their late 20s--with what she learned from others in her "grief club," Kwoh uses brief writings and observations, hand-drawn illustrations, and diagrams to explore all the…


Book cover of The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss

James Withey Author Of How to Get to Grips with Grief: 40 Ways to Manage the Unmanageable

From my list on to get to grips with grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of the best-selling books How to Tell Depression to Piss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life BackHow to Tell Anxiety to Sod Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life Back, The Recovery Letters, and What I Do to Get Through. My sixth book will be, How to Smash Stress: 40 Ways to Manage the Unmanageable.

James' book list on to get to grips with grief

James Withey Why did James love this book?

He describes the death of his partner from alcoholism and the events leading up to it in an unflinchingly honest and moving way. It's raw and personal but that's what grief is. It's beautiful and respectful and shows how grief is both a shared experience and so completely individual at the same time. 

By Richard Coles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Immensely moving and disarmingly witty' Nigella Lawson
'Such a moving, tough, funny, raw, honest read' Matt Haig
'Beautifully written, moving and gut-wrenching, but also at times very funny' Ian Rankin
'Captures brilliantly, beautifully, bravely the comedy as well as the tragedy of bereavement' The Times
'Will strike a chord with anyone who has grieved' Independent

Whether it is pastoral care for the bereaved, discussions about the afterlife, or being called out to perform the last rites, death is part of the Reverend Richard Coles's life and work. But when his partner the Reverend David Coles died,…


Book cover of Dance Like a Leaf

Nancy Bo Flood Author Of Walking Grandma Home

From my list on loss, grief, and healing.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Bo Flood earned her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology and Child Development at the University of Minnesota and has authored a variety of award-winning booksWalking Grandma Home came from her own experience as a child, as a counselor, and as a daughter. She has lived and taught on the Pacific island of Saipan, where she worked with teachers and parents to create resources and programs for students with disabilities, and for the past twenty years, she has taught in the Navajo Nation. With Native educators, she co-founded an early-literacy nonprofit, Read at Home, which encourages parents to read regularly with their children.

Nancy's book list on loss, grief, and healing

Nancy Bo Flood Why did Nancy love this book?

In the delightful book, a granddaughter enjoys many fun activities with her grandmother, especially dancing like a leaf. Grandmother begins to change in many ways, especially physically and with her memory. And then “Grandmother’s bed is empty.” The child grieves but slowly feels comfort and even joy as she celebrates the many activities she had shared with her grandmother.

By AJ Irving, Claudia Navarro (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dance Like a Leaf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

As her grandmother's health declines, a young girl begins to lovingly take the lead in their cosy shared autumn traditions. Poetic prose paired with evocative illustrations by Mexican illustrator Claudia Navarro make for a beautiful celebration of life and a gentle introduction to the death of a loved one.


Book cover of H is for Hawk

Alexander Kriss, Ph.D. Author Of Borderline: The Biography of a Personality Disorder

From my list on understanding misunderstanding mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before I trained to be a clinical psychologist, I was drawn to questions about how the human mind works and what it means to suffer and to heal. Even now, after having digested countless academic papers and books on these subjects, I continue to gravitate toward fiction, memoir, and popular nonfiction that grapples with the complexities of mental illness and psychotherapy without the jargon and insularity of many professional texts. These are some of my favorites—I hope you find them as illuminating as I did.

Alexander's book list on understanding misunderstanding mental illness

Alexander Kriss, Ph.D. Why did Alexander love this book?

I love this book for a number of reasons, perhaps chiefly because it’s so hard to pin down. What is it? Part memoir, part biography, part meditation on grief, part instructional guide to falconry.

Helen Macdonald interweaves her own story of dealing with her father’s death with a historical account of the tortured life of T. H. White (known best as the author of The Once and Future King). In juxtaposing these stories across time and space, we are able to see the blurred lines between bereavement, madness, and social isolation. I will hold forever in my mind Macdonald’s description of looking into her hawk’s eye and seeing nothing familiar, an alien consciousness—it helped to remind me that for all the complexity and diversity of the human species, our perspective is only one among the countless others with which we cohabitate on this planet.

By Helen Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked H is for Hawk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year

ON MORE THAN 25 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR LISTS: including TIME (#1 Nonfiction Book), NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine (10 Favorite Books), Vogue (Top 10), Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle (Top 10), Miami Herald, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top 10), Library Journal (Top 10), Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Slate, Shelf Awareness, Book Riot, Amazon (Top 20)

The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald's story of adopting and raising one of…


Book cover of Letters to the Lost

Madi Lalor Author Of The Way We Were Before

From my list on warming your romantic heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been in love with the idea of love. I didn’t know what that feeling was like for a long time–not being in love myself–so I grew attached to fictionalised worlds that brought those ideas to life. I’ve always been the person who smiles at a meet-cute or feels that warm, fuzzy feeling inside when the couple you’ve been rooting for the last two hundred pages finally kisses. I want them to know how exciting it can be to feel loved and experience that through the creation of stories. This is why romance is, and likely always will be, a huge thematic influence on all forms of my work. 

Madi's book list on warming your romantic heart

Madi Lalor Why did Madi love this book?

I remember how engrossed I was when I first read this story.

This is yet another inspiration for the plot of my own story. It’s another story that explores how characters faced with grief can come together, connecting through the loss in their lives.

I’ve always been fond of broken characters who help repair each other. In Letters to the Lost, the characters begin writing anonymous letters to each other about recurring issues in their lives. There is something quite heartwarming about the way others can help you heal. I think it’s a beautiful story, something I wish I could say I’d written. 

By Brigid Kemmerer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Letters to the Lost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this romantic novel perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon, New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer will have you wondering . . . can you fall in love with someone you've never met?

Juliet is drowning in grief after her mother's death.

Declan is trying to escape the demons of his past.

Leaving handwritten letters on her mother's grave is the only way Juliet can process her loss. When Declan finds a letter and answers it anonymously, they continue writing back and forth, not knowing who is on the other side. Juliet is instantly intrigued by this stranger who…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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