100 books like Everything That Rises Must Converge

By Flannery O'Connor,

Here are 100 books that Everything That Rises Must Converge fans have personally recommended if you like Everything That Rises Must Converge. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Life and Death in Shanghai

Noel Anenberg Author Of The Karma Kaper

From my list on majestic stories that lift our spirits.

Who am I?

I enjoyed writing The Karma Kaper. Just as there's tragedy and comedy in every aspect of our lives there's humor in crime. It's fun bringing that humor to my audience. I also believe in justice for all. Sadly, as American courts are currently more concerned with criminals' rights than victims' rights there are no guarantees victims will receive the justice they deserve. No one can predict if a jury of 12 will find a defendant who has committed a crime guilty. Then, there's the highest court of appeal - fiction! Between the covers of a novel, a crafty writer can ensure just verdicts and devise macabre punishments for the bad guys! It doesn't get any better! 

Noel's book list on majestic stories that lift our spirits

Noel Anenberg Why did Noel love this book?

In elegant prose, Nien Cheng, a Shell Oil Company in 1966, recounts her life in Shanghai in 1966, when Chairman Mao launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Mao’s Red Guards ransacked Cheng and her husband’s bourgeois home and then delivered her to No. 1 Detention House in Shanghai where she was held in solitary confinement of 7 years until her rehabilitation and release after several struggle trials.

Her work is prescient as the United States in under attack by a radical woke ideology. Many Americans have been cancelled or have been made to attend struggle sessions.  

Nein Chen is a heroic woman, a brilliant writer, and an example of how one courageous woman can stand up to a totalitarian regime. 

By Cheng Nien,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Life and Death in Shanghai as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A first-hand account of China's cultural revolution.

Nien Cheng, an anglophile and fluent English-speaker who worked for Shell in Shanghai under Mao, was put under house arrest by Red Guards in 1966 and subsequently jailed. All attempts to make her confess to the charges of being a British spy failed; all efforts to indoctrinate her were met by a steadfast and fearless refusal to accept the terms offered by her interrogators. When she was released from prison she was told that her daughter had committed suicide. In fact Meiping had been beaten to death by Maoist revolutionaries.


Book cover of American Gothic Tales (William Abrahams)

Paula Uruburu Author Of American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the "it" Girl and the Crime of the Century

From my list on the American suburban gothic.

Who am I?

As someone who grew up a child of the sixties amidst suburban conformity but with a decidedly nonconformist gothic sensibility, I have wanted to find a way to combine these contradictory forces. Happily, as a professor of literature and film studies at Hofstra University, I was able to achieve my goal last year when I taught "(Un)Dead Girls and (Un)Safe Spaces: The Suburban Gothic in Film" and "Suburban Horrors" (a literature class). Unaware however that a global pandemic would mean teaching these courses via Zoom, my students and I found ourselves trapped within the confines of our own boxes in a suburban nightmare while discussing fictional and film narratives about sinister neighbors, monsters in closets, murderous family members, conspiratorial racists, and uncanny house hauntings. Oh, the horrible irony.

Paula's book list on the American suburban gothic

Paula Uruburu Why did Paula love this book?

As the best introduction to the American Gothic chosen by one of the most prolific modern masters of the genre, this anthology spans two centuries. It offers insightful context and an engaging historical road map to the current site of the genre, the weird and wounded world of the suburbs.

Joyce Carol Oates, who has written some of the most chilling contemporary examples of American Gothic fiction, dissects the shadowy heritage of our national preoccupation with the macabre themes that haunt the American Dream. From Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville through James and Wharton to Anne Rice, Raymond Carver, Stephen King, and several lesser-known writers, Oates provides readers with a provocative selection that probes beneath superficial normality to reach the dangerous psychological abnormalities of our national identity.

By Joyce Carol Oates (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Gothic Tales (William Abrahams) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This remarkable anthology of gothic fiction, spanning two centuries of American writing, gives us an intriguing and entertaining look at how the gothic imagination makes for great literature in the works of forty-six exceptional writers.

Joyce Carol Oates has a special perspective on the "gothic" in American short fiction, at least partially because her own horror yarns rank on the spine-tingling chart with the masters. She is able to see the unbroken link of the macabre that ties Edgar Allan Poe to Anne Rice and to recognize the dark psychological bonds between Henry James and Stephen King.

In showing us…


Book cover of The Virgin Suicides

Nash Jenkins Author Of Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos

From my list on teenage sentimentality.

Who am I?

I do not remember a time when I wasn’t captivated by stories about adolescence. This was the case when I myself was a teenager—when I sought in these overwrought sagas the sort of sentimental melodrama that eluded the banality of my own life—but curiously it’s no less true at thirty, for reasons that are fundamentally the same but somehow more urgent. Becoming an adult is an exercise in hardening; to grow up is to forget what it’s like to be beholden to one’s own autobiographical romance. The following titles offer a respite from the cynicism that is adulthood; as a writer and a human, I'm forever in their debt.

Nash's book list on teenage sentimentality

Nash Jenkins Why did Nash love this book?

I’d normally abstain from the pompous sin of quoting one’s own fiction, but I’m doing it here only to contextualize this recommendation.

“Adolescence is an exercise in coveting what exists just beyond our grasp,” my book’s narrator tells us in his preamble to his telling of Foster’s story. “It is this inaccessibility that sustains its magic.” To be fifteen is to be a voyeur looking wistfully in on the poignancy of others’ lives: this is the idea I tried to operationalize through the narrator’s project, with full knowledge that I’d never do it as lyrically as The Virgin Suicides. 

Nominally, the main characters of Eugenides’ debut are the five titular Lisbon sisters, who successively take their own lives, but we encounter them chiefly as figments of a collective imagination: in the captivated minds of a faceless group of teenage boys who witness the tragedies from afar.

As a sort of…

By Jeffrey Eugenides,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Virgin Suicides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introducing the Collins Modern Classics, a series featuring some of the most significant books of recent times, books that shed light on the human experience - classics which will endure for generations to come.

That girl didn't want to die. She just wanted out of that house. She wanted out of that decorating scheme.

The five Lisbon sisters - beautiful, eccentric and, now, gone - had always been a point of obsession for the entire neighbourhood.

Although the boys that once loved them from afar have grown up, they remain determined to understand a tragedy that has defied explanation. The…


Book cover of Dark Tales

Paula Uruburu Author Of American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the "it" Girl and the Crime of the Century

From my list on the American suburban gothic.

Who am I?

As someone who grew up a child of the sixties amidst suburban conformity but with a decidedly nonconformist gothic sensibility, I have wanted to find a way to combine these contradictory forces. Happily, as a professor of literature and film studies at Hofstra University, I was able to achieve my goal last year when I taught "(Un)Dead Girls and (Un)Safe Spaces: The Suburban Gothic in Film" and "Suburban Horrors" (a literature class). Unaware however that a global pandemic would mean teaching these courses via Zoom, my students and I found ourselves trapped within the confines of our own boxes in a suburban nightmare while discussing fictional and film narratives about sinister neighbors, monsters in closets, murderous family members, conspiratorial racists, and uncanny house hauntings. Oh, the horrible irony.

Paula's book list on the American suburban gothic

Paula Uruburu Why did Paula love this book?

The possibility of evil. Not only is this the title of the first selection in this collection of classic and newly printed stories by the queen of suburban gothic – it is the essence of her uncanny literary witchcraft, where subtle twists and sudden turns force readers to confront a creeping unease in post-WWII America. No hideous monsters or grotesque horrors here. Instead, sinister insinuation and irrational fears invade the “safe” suburban spaces. A man believes someone is stalking him on his way home from work.  Anonymous poison pen letters threaten a community. A runaway teenager reappears several years later … and seems to be someone else.

The deconstruction of so-called normality is what makes these stories so unsettling. Who knows what evil lurks behind the white picket fences? Shirley Jackson does.

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The perfect read for Hallowe'en, this new hardback volume of Jackson's finest stories reveals the queen of American gothic at her unsettling, mesmerising best

There's something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer. In the haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the country manor, and from the small-town apartment to the dark, dark woods...


Book cover of Ghost World

Priya Huq Author Of Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin's Hijab

From my list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller.

Who am I?

Environmental storytelling in comics is something that I’ve always admired and want to be better at. As a cartoonist I’m always thinking of better ways to tell visual stories, because it’s fun.

Priya's book list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller

Priya Huq Why did Priya love this book?

I don’t think I like Ghost World, but it belongs on this list. When I think of Clowes’ work I think of caricature, but the environments in Ghost World pull most of the storytelling weight. You can hear the hum of the fluorescents in the grocery store and the wind between buildings on an empty street.

By Daniel Clowes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

1998 Ignatz Award Winner, Outstanding Graphic Novel: The inspiration for the feature film and one of the most acclaimed graphic novels ever.

Ghost World has become a cultural and generational touchstone, and continues to enthrall and inspire readers over a decade after its original release as a graphic novel. Originally serialized in the pages of the seminal comic book Eightball throughout the mid-1990s, this quasi-autobiographical story (the name of one of the protagonists is famously an anagram of the author's name) follows the adventures of two teenage girls, Enid and Becky, two best friends facing the prospect of growing up,…


Book cover of The Count of Monte Cristo

Paul Wood Author Of How to Escape from Prison

From my list on escaping prison and helping you change your life.

Who am I?

I was imprisoned for murder as an 18-year-old. I was a high school dropout who was addicted to drugs and didn’t have any hope for the future. Each of the books recommended contributed to my own journey of transformation. I read them all while I was in prison. Some of them while I was in maximum security or solitary confinement. Each recommendation helped me escape that life and its horrors. 

Paul's book list on escaping prison and helping you change your life

Paul Wood Why did Paul love this book?

I read this adventure novel when I was feeling vengeful against society. When I still hadn’t managed to get past being labeled as a murderer.

It focuses on the themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy, and forgiveness. It made me think about the future and that the mindset I had at that moment wasn’t helpful to me. Nor was it one I needed to hold on to. It also taught me about the difference between being ignorant and dumb. This gave me hope for my own future and helped motivate me to get educated.

By Alexandre Dumas, Robin Buss (translator),

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Count of Monte Cristo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The epic tale of wrongful imprisonment, adventure and revenge, in its definitive translation

Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to use the treasure to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas' epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized…


Book cover of The Pickwick Papers

Noel Anenberg Author Of The Karma Kaper

From my list on majestic stories that lift our spirits.

Who am I?

I enjoyed writing The Karma Kaper. Just as there's tragedy and comedy in every aspect of our lives there's humor in crime. It's fun bringing that humor to my audience. I also believe in justice for all. Sadly, as American courts are currently more concerned with criminals' rights than victims' rights there are no guarantees victims will receive the justice they deserve. No one can predict if a jury of 12 will find a defendant who has committed a crime guilty. Then, there's the highest court of appeal - fiction! Between the covers of a novel, a crafty writer can ensure just verdicts and devise macabre punishments for the bad guys! It doesn't get any better! 

Noel's book list on majestic stories that lift our spirits

Noel Anenberg Why did Noel love this book?

Samuel Pickwick Esq., G.C.M.P.C., is just one of Charles Dicken's delightful retinue of characters.

He was a portly little man shaped like a bowling pin with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge who was nominated to lead three bumbling Pickwickians (members of Pickwick's eponymous Pickwick Club in London) on a tour of the English countryside to learn about life outside of London then report back to a full meeting of the Club post haste.

Through their ineptitude, Pickwick and his retinue manage to tumble into a series of unimaginable yet hilarious intrigues.

No matter their travails, Dickens through his alter-ego Samuel Pickwick always sides with what is just and fair. If you believe in Providence you'll find all of Dickens' novels a joy to read. 

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Pickwick Papers we are introduced not just to one of the greatest writers in the English language, but to some of fiction's most endearing and memorable characters, starting with the 'illustrious, immortal and colossal-minded' Samuel Pickwick himself. It is a rollicking tour de force through an England on the brink of the Victorian era. Reform of government, justice and commercial life are imminent, as are rail travel, social convulsion and the death of deference, but Pickwick sails through on a tide of delirious adventure, fortifying us for the future - whatever it might throw at us.

This Macmillan…


Book cover of Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath

Noel Anenberg Author Of The Karma Kaper

From my list on majestic stories that lift our spirits.

Who am I?

I enjoyed writing The Karma Kaper. Just as there's tragedy and comedy in every aspect of our lives there's humor in crime. It's fun bringing that humor to my audience. I also believe in justice for all. Sadly, as American courts are currently more concerned with criminals' rights than victims' rights there are no guarantees victims will receive the justice they deserve. No one can predict if a jury of 12 will find a defendant who has committed a crime guilty. Then, there's the highest court of appeal - fiction! Between the covers of a novel, a crafty writer can ensure just verdicts and devise macabre punishments for the bad guys! It doesn't get any better! 

Noel's book list on majestic stories that lift our spirits

Noel Anenberg Why did Noel love this book?

John Steinbeck wrote the Working Days... journals while writing The Grapes of Wrath.

The intent of the journal was to establish a schedule, including a completion date for the novel. What he reveals about his self-doubt is tonic for any writer who is haunted by the same malaise.

Here is the entry for June 18, "…I am assailed with my own ignorance and inability. Honesty. If I can keep an honesty to it… If I can do that it will be all my lack of genius can produce. For no one else knows my lack of ability the way I do. I am pushing against it all the time."

Sometimes, I seem to do a good little piece of work, but when it is done it slides into mediocrity…John Steinbeck’s honesty and humility remind me that self-doubt is a part of the creative process.

I sometimes read entries from…

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath during an astonishing burst of activity between June and October of 1938. Throughout the time he was creating his greatest work, Steinbeck faithfully kept a journal revealing his arduous journey toward its completion.

The journal, like the novel it chronicles, tells a tale of dramatic proportions—of dogged determination and inspiration, yet also of paranoia, self-doubt, and obstacles. It records in intimate detail the conception and genesis of The Grapes of Wrath and its huge though controversial success. It is a unique and penetrating portrait of an emblematic American writer creating an essential American…


Book cover of The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South

Timothy N. Thurber Author Of Republicans and Race: The GOP's Frayed Relationship with African Americans, 1945-1974

From my list on Republicans and Democrats in the 1960s.

Who am I?

I developed a strong interest in current events, especially politics, in high school. What the government does, or does not do, struck me as a vital piece of the puzzle in trying to explain why things are the way they are. That soon led, however, to seeing how the past continues to influence the present. No decade is more important than the 1960s for understanding our current political climate.

Timothy's book list on Republicans and Democrats in the 1960s

Timothy N. Thurber Why did Timothy love this book?

Lassiter presents a nuanced examination of how social and political conflicts in Richmond, Atlanta, and Charlotte during enabled Richard Nixon and other Republicans to resurrect the GOP from its 1964 electoral disaster through reliance, not on a “southern strategy,” as many pundits have long claimed, but rather on a suburban strategy that involved the complex interplay of race, class, and other factors. 

The messages that enabled the GOP to gain traction in the suburban South, Lassiter emphasizes, worked across the nation. The South was not as different as many observers have long claimed. Lassiter also chronicles how these conflicts reshaped the Democratic Party in the South, as by the early 1970s more moderate figures such Jimmy Carter had supplanted the staunch segregationists of decades past.

By Matthew D. Lassiter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Suburban sprawl transformed the political culture of the American South as much as the civil rights movement did during the second half of the twentieth century. The Silent Majority provides the first regionwide account of the suburbanization of the South from the perspective of corporate leaders, political activists, and especially of the ordinary families who lived in booming Sunbelt metropolises such as Atlanta, Charlotte, and Richmond. Matthew Lassiter examines crucial battles over racial integration, court-ordered busing, and housing segregation to explain how the South moved from the era of Jim Crow fully into the mainstream of national currents. During the…


Book cover of Lee Considered: General Robert E. Lee and Civil War History

John Reeves Author Of A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee

From my list on understanding Robert E. Lee.

Who am I?

I am the author of The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee and A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. I’ve been a teacher, editor, and writer for over twenty-five years. The Civil War, in particular, has been my passion since I first read Bruce Catton’s The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War as an elementary school student in the 1960s. My articles on Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant have been featured in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and on the History News Network.

John's book list on understanding Robert E. Lee

John Reeves Why did John love this book?

Alan Nolan became one of the first to challenge the Lee myth that had been created in the decades after the general’s death in 1870. He starts with the premise that Lee was a good man whose actions have been distorted beyond all recognition. He then subjects the historical record to a withering cross-examination. Nolan asks: Why did Lee commit treason? Did he really oppose slavery? Did his stubborn persistence harm his beloved state of Virginia? What did he do to unite the nation after the war? Nolan even challenges to the traditional belief that Lee was magnanimous to his enemies, writing, “The historical record shows that Lee constructed a demonic image of the Federals.” This book takes no quarter and may infuriate Lee’s supporters.

By Alan T. Nolan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a careful re-examination of the historical evidence, Alan Nolan explodes many long-standing myths about Robert E. Lee and the American Civil War. The book may change readers' perceptions of the South's premier icon, as Nolan separates the Lee of reality from the Lee of mythology. The book should be of interest to general readers as well as Civil War buffs.


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