100 books like Extinctions

By Josephine Wilson,

Here are 100 books that Extinctions fans have personally recommended if you like Extinctions. 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 Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague

Ana Veciana-Suarez Author Of Dulcinea

From my list on bringing to life the forgotten Baroque Age.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with 16th-century and 17th-century Europe after reading Don Quixote many years ago. Since then, every novel or nonfiction book about that era has felt both ancient and contemporary. I’m always struck by how much our environment has changed—transportation, communication, housing, government—but also how little we as people have changed when it comes to ambition, love, grief, and greed. I doubled down my reading on that time period when I researched my novel, Dulcinea. Many people read in the eras of the Renaissance, World War II, or ancient Greece, so I’m hoping to introduce them to the Baroque Age. 

Ana's book list on bringing to life the forgotten Baroque Age

Ana Veciana-Suarez Why did Ana love this book?

I was introduced to Brooks’ writing by a fellow journalist because I very much wanted to read a novel by a reporter turned fiction writer.

The writing and the plot of the 1666 plague in this book didn’t disappoint. It was like sinking into a time and place so different from my own, but at the same time so familiar because Brooks is what I call a surround-sound writer. She is able to totally immerse you in a foreign world.

By Geraldine Brooks,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Year of Wonders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'March' and 'People of the Book'.

A young woman's struggle to save her family and her soul during the extraordinary year of 1666, when plague suddenly struck a small Derbyshire village.

In 1666, plague swept through London, driving the King and his court to Oxford, and Samuel Pepys to Greenwich, in an attempt to escape contagion. The north of England remained untouched until, in a small community of leadminers and hill farmers, a bolt of cloth arrived from the capital. The tailor who cut the cloth had no way of knowing that the damp…

Book cover of Grief

Jeffrey Richards Author Of We Are Only Ghosts

From my list on LGBT+ novels that haunt me (in a good way).

Why am I passionate about this?

I came of age in Oklahoma as a gay youth in the late 1970s and early 1980s, keeping myself hidden out of safety and shame. Once I was old enough to leave my small-minded town and be myself, I crashed headlong into the oncoming AIDS epidemic. It set me on a path to understanding the world and my place in it as a homosexual. I turned to reading about the lives and histories of those who came before me, to learn about their deaths and survivals in what could be an ugly, brutal world. These works continue to draw me, haunt me, and inspire me to share my story through my writing. 

Jeffrey's book list on LGBT+ novels that haunt me (in a good way)

Jeffrey Richards Why did Jeffrey love this book?

The quiet endurance of grief. I love this small, meditative novella that captures the essence of grief as it continues to linger in the body, the mind, and the heart long past the comfortability of those around you.

While the story focuses on the main character, an aging, gay professor who has come to Washington, DC, for a visiting professorship after losing his mother to a long illness, each person encountered is grieving something in their own way (I truly love that Holleran mirrors the main character’s grief with that of Mary Todd Lincoln’s after losing her husband to an assassin but also still grieving the death of her son via a biography he’s reading).

What I find so beautiful about this book is that Holleran doesn’t go for the theatrics of grief. He keeps the story and the emotions calm, methodic, and persistent with such great care to craft…

By Andrew Holleran,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Michael Cunningham's The Hours, a beautiful novel destined to become a classic

Reeling from the recent death of his invalid mother, a worn, jaded professor comes to our nation's capital to recuperate from his loss. What he finds there--in his repressed, lonely landlord, in the city's mood and architecture, and in the letters and journals of Mary Todd Lincoln--shows him new, poignant truths about America, yearning, loneliness, and mourning itself.

Since Andrew Holleran first burst onto the scene with 1978's groundbreaking Dancer from the Dance, which has been continuously in print, he has been dazzling readers…

Book cover of The Unmade World

Julia Glass Author Of Three Junes

From my list on surviving inconsolable heartbreak.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a woodsy Massachusetts town, then spent the first decade of my adult life striving to succeed as a painter in New York--while reading fiction as if inhaling another form of oxygen. In my thirties I traded paintbrush for pencil, persevering until I published my first novel at 46. I've now written six novels and a story collection about the volatile bonds of modern families, through marriages, births, betrayals, illnesses, deaths, and shifting loyalties. I love to tell a single story from multiple perspectives, ages, and genders; to inhabit a different vocation in each new character: bookseller, biologist, pastry chef, teacher. Like actors, fiction writers love slipping into countless other lives.

Julia's book list on surviving inconsolable heartbreak

Julia Glass Why did Julia love this book?

Like Three Junes, this richly peopled and plotted novel takes place over ten years and in far-flung locales (Poland, California's Central Valley, and upstate New York among them), told through the eyes of two very different men involved in a terrible accident. Richard, a journalist visiting Poland, survives a car crash in which his wife and daughter die; Bogdan, a small-time thief responsible for the collision, flees the scene. As Richard, haunted by the face of the man who fled, tries to find solace in his work, and as Bogdan's life and marriage collapse, we travel with them through numerous twists of fate on both sides of the Atlantic, including a murder-suicide case that Richard must help solve.

What astonished me most was how deeply I grew to care for both the "good guy" and the "bad guy"--and how much suspense I felt as I followed them over so…

By Steve Yarbrough,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set against a backdrop of the current political and cultural upheaval in the US and Eastern Europe, The Unmade World is a thoughtful, scope-y literary novel with a dose of suspense that moves from Poland to California to the Hudson Valley and back to Poland. It covers a decade in the lives of an American journalist and a Polish small businessman turned petty criminal and the wrenching aftermath of an accidental, tragic encounter between these two on a snowy night in 2006 on the outskirts of Krakow. The accident costs the lives of the American journalist Richard Brennan's wife and…

Book cover of Dear Edward

Judy Lipson Author Of Celebration of Sisters: It Is Never Too Late To Grieve

From my list on sibling loss, love, and hope.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been asked for decades to share my story. Who would want to hear my story? When we established the fund in memory of beloved sisters Margie and Jane, the doctor connected to the fund told me to write about my sisters so others would know them. After thirty years of suppressing my grief, writing became a venue to let the walls down and let my feelings out and be compassionate to myself and others in their grief no matter the time. Grief is a difficult subject and I hope in telling my story another individual will not be alone in their grief.

Judy's book list on sibling loss, love, and hope

Judy Lipson Why did Judy love this book?

I am recommending this work of fiction selected by The Compassionate Friends Sibling Grief Book Club. Ann, with grace, handles not only the sibling loss of a brother, a boy the sole survivor of a plane crash, but the depth and breadth of grief from the aunt and uncle Edward lives with. Edward’s aunt grieving the loss of an unborn child and her sister, says to Edward, “You’re not okay. We are not okay. This is not okay.” I’m certain other bereaved siblings can relate, “he mourns what his brother has lost.” I related to how in a family we handle grief differently and often are unable to communicate how we are feeling. 

By Ann Napolitano,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Dear Edward as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A transcendent coming-of-age story about the ways a broken heart learns to love again.

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles: there are 192 people aboard. When the plane suddenly crashes, twelve-year-old Edward Adler is the sole survivor.

In the aftermath, Edward struggles to make sense of his grief, sudden fame and find his place in a world without his family. But then Edward and his neighbour Shay make a startling discovery; hidden in his uncle's garage are letters from the relatives of other passengers - all addressed him.…

Book cover of The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules

Brenna Bailey Author Of A Tale of Two Florists

From my list on cozy stories about characters older than fifty.

Why am I passionate about this?

Older people have always been present and significant in my life. I read widely, and—perhaps because of my role models—I noticed there’s a lack of representation of older characters in books. I started to seek out stories with protagonists over the age of fifty, and the more I read, the more I felt like the collection was lacking. Even though I’m younger, I want to use my position as a romance editor and author to remind people that aging doesn’t have to be a bad thing and life is still complex and enjoyable when you’re older. Adventure and romance can continue in your golden years.

Brenna's book list on cozy stories about characters older than fifty

Brenna Bailey Why did Brenna love this book?

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules is a riot in the best possible way.

Martha Anderson is upset with the conditions of her care home, and she’s determined to escape and rob a bank. With the help of her four friends—known as the League of Pensioners—Martha rebels against the care home staff and stages a heist.

This story has a fantastic cast and a laugh-out-loud plot. When I finished this book, I wanted to hug it.

By Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, Rod Bradbury (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 International Bestseller

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel meets The Italian Job in internationally-bestselling author Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg’s witty and insightful comedy of errors about a group of delinquent seniors whose desire for a better quality of life leads them to rob and ransom priceless artwork.

Martha Andersson may be seventy-nine-years-old and live in a retirement home, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to stop enjoying life. So when the new management of Diamond House starts cutting corners to save money, Martha and her four closest friends—Brains, The Rake, Christina and Anna-Gretta (a.k.a. The League of Pensioners)—won’t stand for it. Fed…

Book cover of The Thursday Murder Club

Why am I passionate about this?

During a time of turmoil in my life, I discovered the soul-calming world of the cozy when I happened upon the Thrush Green series by Miss Read (Doris Saint). A former fan of thrillers, my time spent in these rural British villages was a revelation. Who knew how peaceful the mundane could be when seasoned with a pinch of humor and common sense? I expanded my reading to include cozy mysteries like the ones I’ve recommended. Having reached the age of many of the ladies in these books, I appreciate even more their determination to continue to make a difference by using their unique experiences and skills.

J.B.'s book list on mature amateur sleuths who use their years of experience and wisdom to help solve crimes with aplomb

J.B. Hawker Why did J.B. love this book?

As a confirmed Anglophile, I became aware of Richard Osman’s wit and unique humor from watching British game shows where he appears as either a panelist or presenter. When I learned he had authored a book, I couldn’t wait to read it and had high expectations. The Thursday Murder Club did not disappoint.

The eclectic group of characters, from the Old Age Pensioners of the retirement village to the detectives they encounter (and frustrate), are engaging and richly developed. Even the evil-doers are written with more than the usual depth.

The plot is rich, with unexpected twists. I love a good, clean mystery that respects both the characters and the readers. Richard Osman has created a delightful series. I can’t wait for his next installment. 

By Richard Osman,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked The Thursday Murder Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller | Soon to be a major motion picture from Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment

"Witty, endearing and greatly entertaining." -Wall Street Journal

"Don't trust anyone, including the four septuagenarian sleuths in Osman's own laugh-out-loud whodunit." -Parade

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
Welcome to...

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club.

When a local developer is found dead…

Book cover of The Bullet That Missed

Liz Foster Author Of The Good Woman's Guide to Making Better Choices

From my list on make you laugh and leave you smiling.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved reading and its ability to take you far away to a distant time and place and lift you up. As a kid, I never left the house without a book, and the ones that made me laugh were my go-to's. I believe the ability to make people laugh is a truly special talent, especially while making the text relatable, so the reader’s always asking, wow, what would I do in that situation? My readers often tell me that my writing sounds just like me, which is wonderful because there’s no need to pretend. You will always know what you’ll get with me!

Liz's book list on make you laugh and leave you smiling

Liz Foster Why did Liz love this book?

This is my favourite in the popular Thursday Murder Club series, as it cleverly creates scenes of high tension and drama which are still somehow comical.

I love the four main characters, who all live in a retirement village and are all as different as chalk and cheese. But retirement is a great leveler, and the ex-MI6 operative is just as useful at solving crime as the former nurse.

It’s like Agatha Christie meets James Bond.

By Richard Osman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Brought to you by Penguin.

A new mystery is afoot in the third book in the Thursday Murder Club series from record-breaking, bestselling author Richard Osman.

It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.

Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.

Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill. . . or be killed.

As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience…

Book cover of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

Bobby Palmer Author Of Small Hours

From my list on talking animals for grown ups.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British author who has always had a fascination with magical realism and novels that blend the serious with the strange. For that reason, though I write literary fiction for adults, I take so much of my inspiration from children’s literature. There’s something so simple about how kids’ books stitch the extraordinary into the every day without having to overexplain things. I now live not far from the forest that inspired A. A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood, and my latest novel is set in and inspired by this part of rural England–with all the mystery and magic that a trip into the woods entails.

Bobby's book list on talking animals for grown ups

Bobby Palmer Why did Bobby love this book?

In this claustrophobic modern classic, a grieving father and Ted Hughes scholar finds himself haunted by an oily, unnerving, anthropomorphic crow.

I’m a fan of anything Porter writes, but his debut is deserving of the indelible mark it’s made upon the modern literary landscape. The crow is a character like no other, and Porter’s poetry brings this strange and beautiful bird to life.

By Max Porter,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Grief Is the Thing with Feathers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Winner of the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize and the Sunday Times/Peter, Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year award and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Goldsmiths Prize.

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family…

Book cover of The Reading List

Heather Hepler Author Of We Were Beautiful

From my list on when you’re feeling your worst.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have bad days. At times there have been a lot of bad days. I’m alone, caring for someone, working, scooping the cat box, and mopping the floors. Sometimes it can all feel a little sad and hopeless, like I am alone in the world. Stories are where I go when I’m happy. When I want adventure, mystery, or romance. But they are mostly where I go when I want to feel like I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes. I can see that it’s not just me. I’m not alone.

Heather's book list on when you’re feeling your worst

Heather Hepler Why did Heather love this book?

I’ve always believed that reading can change the world, or at least my part of it. This book proved this to me as it wove seemingly unconnected lives together. Grief, anger, sadness, and loneliness all fall away when they begin reading and talking about the stories.

This book reminded me of sitting on the floor at the back of my town’s library. It reminded me of what it’s like to travel across time and around the world with just a book spread out on my lap. 

By Sara Nisha Adams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*A finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards for Fiction, discover this year's most uplifting and heart-warming debut*

'Absolutely gorgeous' RUTH WARE
'The most heartfelt read of the summer' SHONDALAND
'A joyful, uplifting read!' GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
'A captivating debut' HEIDI SWAIN


A faded list.
Nine favourite stories.
For two strangers, friendship is only a page away . . .

When Mukesh Patel pops to the local library, forgoing his routine of grocery shopping and David Attenborough documentaries, he has no idea his life's about to change.

He meets Aleisha, a reluctant librarian and the keeper of a curious reading list…

Book cover of The Fisherman

Brandon R. Grafius Author Of Lurking Under the Surface: Horror, Religion, and the Questions that Haunt Us

From my list on horror and religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fan of horror since I got sucked into Scooby-Doo as a three-year-old. When I started my academic career, I kind of kept that passion tucked inside as something to be embarrassed about – after all, I wanted to do serious work, and horror movies aren’t serious, right? Graduate school made me rethink that assumption, and pushed me towards seriously considering the engagement of horror and religion. I wrote my dissertation on a chapter of the Book of Numbers as a slasher narrative, and I haven’t looked back since.

Brandon's book list on horror and religion

Brandon R. Grafius Why did Brandon love this book?

Langan’s novel is gripping from the start, and weaves a beautifully tangled web of stories-within-stories.

But it’s in the novel’s conclusion, where the whole universe breaks open, that it becomes truly jaw-dropping. After I finished reading it, I was thinking not only about the book I had just read – but about what it implied about the universe, and my place in it.

By John Langan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman's Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing, and of something more, a possibility too fantastic to be true. When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other's company and a shared passion for fishing, hear rumors of the Creek, and what might be found there, the remedy to both their losses, they dismiss it as just another fish story. Soon, though, the men find themselves drawn into a tale as deep and old as the Reservoir. It's…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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