100 books like Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through

By Jill Robinson, Stuart Shaw,

Here are 100 books that Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through fans have personally recommended if you like Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through. 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 The Friend

MJ Werthman White Author Of An Invitation to the Party

From my list on aging, family, and relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, our public library in the basement of the Methodist church became my second home. However, I considered any visit a bitter disappointment that didn’t result in one or two dog stories in the stack I signed out. Big Red, Old Yeller, Lassie, Lad a Dog, Call of the Wild, White Fang (the occasional wolf was also okay), I loved them all. That experience has continued to affect the adult I’ve become. As I’ve turned to reading, and writing, stories of family, relationships, and, lately, of aging, it’s become clear to me that I’ve never found a story that wasn’t improved by the appearance of a good dog.

MJ's book list on aging, family, and relationships

MJ Werthman White Why did MJ love this book?

In Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend a terrible event (a dear friend and mentor’s suicide) results in the unnamed narrator’s acceptance, out of a sense of responsibility, of an unwanted burden (the heartbroken Great Dane, Apollo−the narrator admitting she is more of a cat person).

I love that by book’s end, that obligation turns out to be a precious gift that assuages both their griefs, serving to connect them to the departed one they both loved. Along the way we, lucky readers, get to eavesdrop on the literary discourse of an agile mind attempting to parse the unparsable as the narrator, a writer herself, addresses both the lost (her mentor) and the found (the dog).

Does the dog die? Don’t ask and I won’t tell.

By Sigrid Nunez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog.

WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD * A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD

'A true delight: I genuinely fear I won't read a better novel this year' FINANCIAL TIMES

'Loved this. A funny, moving examination of love, grief, and the uniqueness of dogs' GRAHAM NORTON

'Delicious' SUNDAY TIMES 100 BEST SUMMER READS

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has…


Book cover of Oh William!

Joan D. Heiman Author Of Life with an Impossible Person: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Transformation

From my list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom handed me one of those little girl diaries with a lock and key when I was in third grade. I wrote my heart into those diaries until I needed more space and shifted to regular-sized notebooks. Writing is my way to know myself and make sense of my life. The journal I kept in the last months of my husband’s life helped me reassemble the trauma-blurred memories of his dying, and then, it supported my emotional rebirth during the year of intense grieving. It is with surprise and delight that I hear from readers who say I articulate their innermost emotions related to love and loss.

Joan's book list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner

Joan D. Heiman Why did Joan love this book?

Even though the marriage in Oh William! ends in divorce while my marriage ended (without my consent) in my husband’s untimely death, the book brought me back to the unconventional nature of my marriage. Elizabeth Strout’s uncanny ability to say much in a single sentence had me traveling back in time and heart to the many moments that made our marriage. The tendernesses and fears, the deep trust and insecurities that quietly but forcefully bound us together made up the subtle mysteries of our uncommon relationship. What makes people move apart yet remain forever close, as in Lucy Barton and her ex-husband, William, or what holds two people together when there are many factors that might drive them apart, as in my marriage? These questions made reading this book a thought-provoking and enriching experience.

By Elizabeth Strout,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Oh William! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband - and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of…


Book cover of Through the Shadowlands: The Love Story of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman

Maggie Kast Author Of Side by Side but Never Face to Face: A Novella & Stories

From my list on finding or losing love in old age.

Why am I passionate about this?

Widowed at age fifty and now eighty-four, I know first hand the search for love in late life. I have three adult children and can't avoid bringing baggage to any new relationship, whether with humans or the cats I adore. Coming to writing seriously only after my husband’s death, I remain fascinated by questions of craft, how the story is told (as my recommendations show), and I’ve published several essays on aspects of that subject. My first career in dance, my conversion to Catholicism, and my psychoanalytic therapy have been major parts of my life and play significant roles in my memoir, my novel, and my more recent novella and stories.

Maggie's book list on finding or losing love in old age

Maggie Kast Why did Maggie love this book?

As a Catholic convert myself, I have long been interested in the spiritual journeys of these two, a middle-aged, conservative English professor and a young divorcee with two sons. Actually, two unlikely loves play out in this non-fiction biography: first young Lewis with Mrs. Moore, thirty years his senior (who may or may not have been his lover), and much later Joy, a Jewish convert to Christianity and former communist. Her death, just four years after their marriage, is mourned in Lewis’ own book, A Grief Observed, the only book I found comforting after my husband died. 

By Brian Sibley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At first glance, they were an unlikely couple: C. S. Lewis, a distinguished author and Oxford scholar, and Joy Davidman, a Jewish-American divorcée, converted Christian, mother of two, and former Communist Party member. But together they walked through life's challenges, persevering despite having their faith tested in the face of suffering and death. This amazing true story reveals the many events that occurred in the lives of two astounding Christians to bring them together and spark their love for each other. Readers will experience both their tender moments and the darkest hours where faith was tested and shaken to its…


Book cover of Love Medicine

Anna Bliss Author Of Bonfire Night

From my list on historical stories with interfaith love stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

After graduating with a BA in English, I moved to England to pursue a master’s in Literature and Visual Culture. My focus was on women artists working in London during the Blitz and I wrote my dissertation on Lee Miller, who went on to photograph (and doggedly publish) the liberation of German concentration camps. Later I worked in arts administration and marketing, and didn’t start writing my debut novel until I was thirty-five. My work is inspired by my favorite authors from the 1940s: Elizabeth Bowen, Patrick Hamilton, and Penelope Fitzgerald. I’m also drawn to historical fiction about ordinary people in difficult social conditions, especially when there’s a love story involved.

Anna's book list on historical stories with interfaith love stories

Anna Bliss Why did Anna love this book?

I used to moderate a book club for museum members at what is now the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Love Medicine was chosen by one of our exhibition artists. This astonishing debut is a masterwork about family, poverty, and passion.

The book is set where my grandparents came from, Minnesota and the Dakotas, and illustrates how settlers from Europe (my ancestors) continued to disrupt and destroy Native lives well into the 20th century. Ojibwe spiritual beliefs and Catholicism tangle as tightly as the characters that embody them. Spanning from 1934 to 1985, this novel should not be missed by anyone interested in Native American history.

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“The beauty of Love Medicine saves us from being completely devastated by its power.” — Toni Morrison

Set on a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation, Love Medicine—the first novel from master storyteller and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich—is an epic story about the intertwined fates of two families: the Kashpaws and the Lamartines.

With astonishing virtuosity, each chapter of this stunning novel draws on a range of voices to limn its tales. Black humor mingles with magic, injustice bleeds into betrayal, and through it all, bonds of love and family marry the elements into a tightly woven whole that pulses…


Book cover of Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

Carol Weis Author Of Stumbling Home: Life Before and After That Last Drink

From my list on addiction memoirs I wish I had when I got sober.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from a family of “functional” alcoholics, where feelings were never discussed and drinking was the way to solve (or more likely avoid or cause) problems. After 25 years of abusing alcohol (and drugs), I finally got sober. And for the first time ever, I started writing, because all those feelings I pushed down wanted a voice. All that childhood trauma needed more than AA and talk therapy to heal.  So I gifted those feelings with written words, as did the writers I mention in my list. Recovery is something to pass on and telling our stories is another healing way to do it.

Carol's book list on addiction memoirs I wish I had when I got sober

Carol Weis Why did Carol love this book?

This is another memoir that pulled me right in. Like Hepola, I loved the excitement of the whole bar scene, and quite often, drank until I blacked out. Trying to blackout things from my childhood that caused me so much anxiety and pain. And then having to remember and heal from it all when I got sober. 

By Sarah Hepola,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, Blackout is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure -- the sober life she never wanted.

For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was "the gasoline of all adventure." She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman.

But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What…


Book cover of The Slowworm's Song

E.M. Liddick Author Of All the Memories That Remain: War, Alzheimer's, and the Search for a Way Home

From my list on moral injury and the dark night of the soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

Moral injury, post-traumatic stress, and the dark night of the soul are human conditions I understand well. See, over the course of a lengthy military career, I deployed overseas many times, including to Afghanistan. In my last two deployments, I served as the legal advisor to a joint special operations task force. In this role, I advised on more than 500 “strikes”: air attacks intended to kill humans. When I returned from Afghanistan in 2018, I noticed a change in me, and I’ve been living with moral injury and post-traumatic stress since. This list helped me, particularly with the lesser-known “moral injury,” and I sincerely hope it helps you too.

E.M.'s book list on moral injury and the dark night of the soul

E.M. Liddick Why did E.M. love this book?

A beautiful story written beautifully. I was enamored with Miller’s deft use of lyrical prose set within an epistolary framework to tell the story of one man’s struggle against the demons of his past, and the consequences that followed, all in search of redemption.

Though fictional, Miller manages to avoid the usual veteran tropes in creating his character. It’s an intimate account—and one with which I’m intimately familiar—that feels truer than nonfiction. I’ve found few more realistic accounts of living with the moral injury that comes from our errors in judgment, how those errors cause unintended, though no less harmful, secondary effects on those we love, and how life remains yet salvageable.

I found it to be, at once, an inspiring, endearing, and threatening read.

By Andrew Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Slowworm's Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By the Costa Award-winning author of Pure, a profound and tender tale of guilt, a search for atonement and the hard, uncertain work of loving.

'The writing is near perfect. But the novel's excellence goes far beyond this . . . You read [it] . . . with your pulse racing, all your senses awake' Guardian

'A beautiful, lambent, timely novel' Sarah Hall

An ex-soldier and recovering alcoholic living quietly in Somerset, Stephen Rose has just begun to form a bond with the daughter he barely knows when he receives a summons - to an inquiry into an incident during…


Book cover of Love Untold

Kendra Smith Author Of Everything Has Changed

From my list on family drama and romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing about motherhood, family, love, loss, and finding yourself for over fifteen years. I have been a journalist, wife, mother-of-three-boys (yes, that’s one word), aerobics teacher, puppy wrestler, and novelist. Being a novelist is by far the hardest job but it’s the most rewarding. (OK, boys, no – motherhood is really.) I enjoy reading stories about family, love, and relationships in all their guises, good, bad, and messy, just like life – and I’m keen to write stories that readers will remember too. My latest book is about two sisters who, after a car crash, are affected differently, yet both are on a journey for the truth. 

Kendra's book list on family drama and romance

Kendra Smith Why did Kendra love this book?

Ruth Jones is a new author for me but she packs a punch with this family saga and story of four generations and their relationships.

I particularly identified with the matriarch and grandma (not that I am one!) in this, Grace, who is the all- seeing and all-knowing thread that knits the other family members together.

Told in mainly present day, the novel also time-slips back to the 60s to give another angle on the family dynamic – and dysfunction. One of the most outré of all the characters is Alys, a recovering alcoholic but some of the situations Jones has put her in will have you laughing.

I also love the minor character Soozi. Just read it to see what I mean.

By Ruth Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*'Heartfelt, joyful, brave, utterly compelling' RACHEL JOYCE
*'I feel bereft now it's over' CLARE POOLEY
*'Ruth Jones at her very best' SARAH TURNER

The funny, moving and uplifting new novel from Ruth Jones, co-creator of Gavin & Stacey and author of the Sunday Times bestsellers Never Greener and Us Three.

Grace is about to turn ninety. She doesn't want parties or presents or fuss. She just wants to heal the family rift that's been breaking her heart for decades.

But to do that she must find her daughter Alys - the only person who can help to put things right.…


Book cover of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

John Howard Matthews Author Of This Is Where It Gets Interesting

From my list on characters who encounter the extraordinary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a fiction and humor writer whose imagination was initially sparked by superheroes and comic books. The idea of an otherwise average person who could turn themselves into a superbeing was transformative and powerful. As a teenager, these early heroes faded, and I became fascinated by The Twilight Zone’s compact and poignant storytelling that contained moral messages. This eventually led me to the fiction of Stephen King where the idea of average people encountering the supernatural and overcoming obstacles was a recurring theme. In my own work, I have tried to carry forward the idea that our everyday lives are more absurd, complex, and magical than they appear.

John's book list on characters who encounter the extraordinary

John Howard Matthews Why did John love this book?

A master class on “less is more,” the stories in this collection are set in everyday, locations: a suburban front yard, an airport lounge, a kitchen, and are populated by working-class people in the midst of one or more traumas such as alcoholism, divorce, or financial trouble.

Though Carver doesn’t employ fantasy, the tight, accessible writing lures you in and immerses you in a comic-tragic world that is uniquely his own. This collection taught me the power of economical prose and that writing about the kinds of people you encounter at the supermarket can be just as transportive and resonant as stories that involve characters who live in exotic places, or universes.

By Raymond Carver,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What We Talk About When We Talk About Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This powerful collection of stories, set in the mid-West among the lonely men and women who drink, fish and play cards to ease the passing of time, was the first by Raymond Carver to be published in the UK. With its spare, colloquial narration and razor-sharp sense of how people really communicate, the collection was to become one of the most influential literary works of the 1980s.


Book cover of Booth

Leslie K. Simmons Author Of Red Clay, Running Waters

From my list on little known people in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in Philadelphia, History was in the air I breathed. Reading about my surroundings led me to want to understand the times and the ways people lived in the past. The Classics inspired a love for the cadence of language (especially 19th C lit). Visiting local museums and historic places added fuel to my passion for Historical Fiction. I believe we learn best from history and the human experience through empathy and putting ourselves in other’s shoes, which Historical Fiction is able to do by introducing us to a fascinating array of characters, places and times—real and imagined.

Leslie's book list on little known people in history

Leslie K. Simmons Why did Leslie love this book?

As quirky and atmospheric as the family it portrays, Booth is a brilliant ensemble piece about the family of Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

Beautifully and bravely written in omniscient point of view, it weaves the lives of this eccentric family together into a comprehendible whole. If you ever longed for ‘the rest of the story’, this is it. I have my fingers crossed for a sequel – or at least another amazing book from one of my favorite writers.

By Karen Joy Fowler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Best Book of the Year
Real Simple • AARP • USA Today • NPR • Virginia Living

Longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize

From the Man Booker finalist and bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves comes an epic and intimate novel about the family behind one of the most infamous figures in American history: John Wilkes Booth.

In 1822, a secret family moves into a secret cabin some thirty miles northeast of Baltimore, to farm, to hide, and to bear ten children over the course of the next sixteen years. Junius Booth—breadwinner, celebrated Shakespearean actor, and master…


Book cover of The Lost Weekend

Richard Vetere Author Of The Writers Afterlife

From my list on writers and how being a writer changes their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

Richard Vetere’s screenplay Caravaggio won The Golden Palm for the Best Screenplay at the 2021 Beverly Hills Film Festival. He co-wrote The Third Miracle screenplay adaptation of his own novel. The movie was produced by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Ed Harris and Anne Heche and directed by Agnieszka Holland released by Sony Pictures Classics. His teleplay adaptation of his stage play The Marriage Fool starring Walter Matthau and Carol Burnett is the most-viewed CBS movie ever and is currently running on Amazon. He also wrote the cult classic film Vigilante called by BAM as one of the “best indies of the 1980s.”

Richard's book list on writers and how being a writer changes their lives

Richard Vetere Why did Richard love this book?

This book is also a semi-autobiographical and painful exploration of a writer’s addiction to alcohol.  It is the story of a talented writer, Don Birnam. Birnam lives in a rundown neighborhood in Manhattan and is praised for his realism in his writing but he drinks to numb himself to his struggle with his homosexual feelings. The novel follows him on a five-day binge as he uses all kinds of ingenuity to get a bottle of rye to sustain him. He contemplates murdering his selfless, dedicated girlfriend’s maid to get a key to a liquor cabinet. He bangs his head in frustration and winds up in an ‘alcoholic ward.’ Enjoying quoting Shakespeare and confident as a writer, his worst enemy is not a blank page but the need to drink. It was adapted into a brilliant film.

By Charles Jackson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Lost Weekend - directed by Billy Wilder as an all-time classic Oscar and Cannes winning film, starring Ray Milland in his most famous role - is one of the most important books ever written about addiction. No novelist had ever so honestly, and vividly, described the torments, tricks and temptations of an alcoholic. In the character of writer Don Birnam, Charles Jackson both exposed his own struggle with the bottle, and eloquently expressed the demons faced by millions of others, anonymous or known. The book and film have inspired and influenced countless writers, artists, musicians, and the title itself…


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