100 books like Fearless Confessions

By Sue William Silverman,

Here are 100 books that Fearless Confessions fans have personally recommended if you like Fearless Confessions. 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 Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative

Kendra Allen Author Of The Collection Plate: Poems

From my list on finding inspiration and motivation.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a person who reads solely for pleasure regardless of research, I make it a mission while writing to read books I actually enjoy on topics I wanna learn more about. I chose the books on this list because I’m also a person who reads multiple books at once in various genres, it keeps me honest; aware of holes and discrepancies in my own work and pushes me towards some semblance of completion. All the writers on this list do multiple things at once and I admire their skill and risk in coupling creativity with clarity.

Kendra's book list on finding inspiration and motivation

Kendra Allen Why did Kendra love this book?

Sometimes I need a book that will inspire me not to continue writing, but to start; kinda like when I binge watch YouTube book talks—that’s the feeling this book brings over me—inspired. It’s a book that helps me write anything because I’m a person who struggles with—yet craves the ability to— strip a piece as bare as possible. Strip a story of its fluff and dissect its roots. I need to know what to save for later, and Gornick expressing the difference between situation and story is something I always go back to in order to help declutter my work. 

By Vivian Gornick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A guide to the art of personal writing, by the author of Fierce Attachments and The End of the Novel of Love

All narrative writing must pull from the raw material of life a tale that will shape experience, transform event, deliver a bit of wisdom. In a story or a novel the "I" who tells this tale can be, and often is, an unreliable narrator but in nonfiction the reader must always be persuaded that the narrator is speaking truth.

How does one pull from one's own boring, agitated self the truth-speaker who will tell the story a personal…


Book cover of A Stranger's Journey: Race, Identity, and Narrative Craft in Writing

Dinty W. Moore Author Of Crafting The Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction

From my list on for essayists and memoirists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dinty W. Moore is the author of the writing guides The Story Cure, Crafting the Personal Essay, and The Mindful Writer, among many other books. He has published essays and stories in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Southern Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere, and has taught master classes and workshops on memoir and essay writing across the United States as well as in Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, and Mexico.

Dinty's book list on for essayists and memoirists

Dinty W. Moore Why did Dinty love this book?

Master teacher David Mura’s A Stranger's Journey addresses long-overlooked issues of race and identity in publishing and in the standard teaching of creative writing and he brilliantly advocates for a more inclusive and expansive definition of writing craft. Though this book is partly aimed at educators, he offers incredibly useful craft lessons as well, primarily through his deft analysis of work done by writers ranging from James Baldwin to Mary Karr to ZZ Packer. In a world that no longer accepts the notion that our greatest authors have to be “dead white men,” Mura offers a necessary window into the intersection of race, literature, and culture.

By David Mura,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Stranger's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Long recognized as a master teacher at writing programs like VONA, the Loft, and the Stonecoast MFA, with A Stranger's Journey, David Mura has written a book on creative writing that addresses our increasingly diverse American literature. Mura argues for a more inclusive and expansive definition of craft, particularly in relationship to race, even as he elucidates timeless rules of narrative construction in fiction and memoir. His essays offer technique-focused readings of writers such as Junot Diaz, ZZ Packer, Maxine Hong Kingston, Mary Karr, and Sherman Alexie, while making compelling connections to Mura's own life and work as a Japanese…


Book cover of You Can't Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction

Dinty W. Moore Author Of Crafting The Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction

From my list on for essayists and memoirists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dinty W. Moore is the author of the writing guides The Story Cure, Crafting the Personal Essay, and The Mindful Writer, among many other books. He has published essays and stories in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Southern Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere, and has taught master classes and workshops on memoir and essay writing across the United States as well as in Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, and Mexico.

Dinty's book list on for essayists and memoirists

Dinty W. Moore Why did Dinty love this book?

Gutkind founded the journal Creative Nonfiction and has been a tireless advocate of the CNF genre for decades, as a writer, teacher, public speaker, and publisher. His nuts and bolts guidebook, You Can't Make This Stuff Up, offers a wide-ranging examination of the craft of writing true stories – dialogue, description, beginnings, endings, intimate detail, reflection, point-of-view, framing – as well as clear and helpful chapters about forming a writing habit and learning to live one’s life as a writer. Gutkind has generously packed decades of wisdom and knowledge into perhaps the most comprehensive nonfiction guide available.

By Lee Gutkind,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Can't Make This Stuff Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From rags-to-riches-to-rags tell-alls to personal health sagas to literary journalism everyone seems to want to try their hand at creative nonfiction. Now, Lee Gutkind, the go-to expert for all things creative nonfiction, taps into one of the fastest-growing genres with this new writing guide. Frank and to-the-point, with depth and clarity, Gutkind describes and illustrates each and every aspect of the genre, from defining a concept and establishing a writing process to the final product. Offering new ways of understanding genre and invaluable tools for writers to learn and experiment with, You Can't Make This Stuff Up allows writers of…


Book cover of The Art of Memoir

Helena de Bres Author Of Artful Truths: The Philosophy of Memoir

From my list on to read if you're thinking of writing a memoir.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a philosophy professor who started writing memoir in her mid-thirties. I love the similarities and the differences between memoir and philosophy (to sum it up: both are ways of making sense of your experience, but memoirists are allowed to tell stories, make jokes and break your heart.) On the trail of my obsession with the two, I’ve written a book on the philosophy of memoir and a memoir about philosophy. My sister calls them “your weird book twins.” Whatever! The whole experience has felt like falling in love, and I now want to encourage everyone to give personal writing a shot. 

Helena's book list on to read if you're thinking of writing a memoir

Helena de Bres Why did Helena love this book?

This book is a blast to read and also packed with insight (the Holy Grail, no?) It’s a collection of short chapters on a wide range of questions that either a baby or seasoned memoirist might ask. How do I find my voice? How do I organize my material? Am I betraying my family? (When Karr asked her own mom if she minded being outed as a knife-wielding alcoholic who set her children’s toys on fire, Mrs. Karr apparently replied: “Oh hell, the whole town knew about that.”) Karr draws on her extensive experience as a best-selling memoirist and teacher of memoir, serving up hard-won wisdom and concrete practical advice. Reading The Art of Memoir is like trapping a celebrity genius in a hotel bar and getting the unvarnished version. You’ll love it.

By Mary Karr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Credited with sparking the current memoir explosion, Mary Karr's The Liars' Club spent more than a year at the top of the New York Times list. She followed with two other smash bestsellers: Cherry and Lit, which were critical hits as well. For thirty years Karr has also taught the form, winning teaching prizes at Syracuse. (The writing program there produced such acclaimed authors as Cheryl Strayed, Keith Gessen, and Koren Zailckas.) In The Art of Memoir, she synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and "black belt sinner," providing a unique window…


Book cover of How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism

Bodhipaksa Author Of This Difficult Thing of Being Human: The Art of Self-Compassion

From my list on finding and building compassion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I went through a particularly hard time several years ago and to get through it I was forced to dig deep into what I’d learned about compassion and self-compassion over three decades of meditating. Because I’m a meditation teacher, I wanted to share with my students everything I learned about being kind and supportive toward myself as I went through the toughest challenges I’d ever faced so that they could benefit as well. That’s why I wrote This Difficult Thing of Being Human. Self-compassion has become the core of everything I’ve taught since then, and one of the wonderful things about it is that once you’ve shown yourself compassion, you automatically find yourself treating others with compassion too.

Bodhipaksa's book list on finding and building compassion

Bodhipaksa Why did Bodhipaksa love this book?

One of my favorite sayings (by G.K. Chesterton) is, “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” With these well-chosen words, Chesterton converted me to “imperfectionism.” It’s not that as imperfectionists we should aim to do things badly, but that we should aim to do necessary things and accept that we’re going to make mistakes on the way. Guise’s writing isn’t always elegant. However, he puts the case strongly that perfectionism is not something to humble-brag about, and is a “disorder of the mind.” More importantly, though, he offers detailed, practical, easy-to-implement steps for developing an imperfectionist mindset where we “lose our crippling fear of not doing [things] well.”

By Stephen Guise,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Be an Imperfectionist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From an early age, kids are taught to color inside the lines, and any color that strays outside the lines is considered to be a mistake that must be avoided. Perfectionism is a naturally limiting mindset. Imperfectionism, however, frees us to live outside the lines, where possibilities are infinite, mistakes are allowed, and self-judgment is minimal.The old way to approach perfectionism was to inspire people to “let go” of their need for perfection and hope they could do it. The new way is to show people how simple but highly strategic "mini actions” can empower them to gradually and effortlessly…


Book cover of The Spider's Thread: Metaphor in Mind, Brain, and Poetry

Paul Thagard Author Of Balance: How It Works and What It Means

From my list on metaphor.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in metaphor and analogy as a graduate student in philosophy of science in the 1970s. Important scientific ideas such as natural selection and the wave theories of sound and light were built from metaphors and made to work by analogical thinking. In the 1980s, I started building computational models of analogy. So when I got interested in balance because of a case of vertigo in 2016, I naturally noticed the abundance of balance metaphors operating in science and everyday life. Once the pandemic hit, I was struck by the prevalence of the powerful metaphor of making public health decisions while balancing lives and livelihoods. 

Paul's book list on metaphor

Paul Thagard Why did Paul love this book?

In the 1980s and 1990s, Keith Holyoak and I collaborated on a series of articles and books about analogy, which is the underpinning of complex metaphors. His new book is a delightfully insightful discussion of metaphors in poetry, drawing not only on his deep knowledge of cognitive psychology but also on his experience as a highly published poet. Through analysis of great poems by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and many others, he illuminates how metaphors contribute to beautiful poems and to creativity in general.  

By Keith J. Holyoak,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An examination of metaphor in poetry as a microcosm of the human imagination—a way to understand the mechanisms of creativity.

In The Spider's Thread, Keith Holyoak looks at metaphor as a microcosm of the creative imagination. Holyoak, a psychologist and poet, draws on the perspectives of thinkers from the humanities—poets, philosophers, and critics—and from the sciences—psychologists, neuroscientists, linguists, and computer scientists. He begins each chapter with a poem—by poets including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Theodore Roethke, Du Fu, William Butler Yeats, and Pablo Neruda—and then widens the discussion to broader notions of metaphor…


Book cover of Metaphor and Thought

Clare Williams Author Of An Economic Sociology of Law Reimagined: Beyond Embeddedness

From my list on how we use metaphor and how metaphor uses us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by (and in love with) language for as long as I can remember; how and why it works, and how slight alterations in phrasing and framing can produce vastly different results in practice. I love looking out for metaphors and phrases that function as tools, directing how we understand and engage with the world. While my research applies these insights to both law and economics, the key takeaways are widely applicable and relevant to all areas of life. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have.

Clare's book list on how we use metaphor and how metaphor uses us

Clare Williams Why did Clare love this book?

This is a recommendation for those who want to go into a bit more depth with metaphor. The book is an edited collection of chapters written by experts who explore how metaphor constructs our reality, looking at metaphor as forms of language, and metaphor as forms of mental representation. Admittedly, there’s a little more jargon in this one, but the chapters are an excellent starting point for reflecting on the applications and implications of the way we talk and why it matters.

By Andrew Ortony (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Metaphor and Thought, first published in 1979, reflects the surge of interest in and research into the nature and function of metaphor in language and thought. In this revised and expanded second edition, the editor has invited the contributors to update their original essays to reflect any changes in their thinking. Reorganised to accommodate the shifts in central theoretical issues, the volume also includes six new chapters that present important and influential fresh ideas about metaphor that have appeared in such fields as the philosophy of language and the philosophy of science, linguistics, cognitive and clinical psychology, education and artificial…


Book cover of Three Times Lucky

Susan Lubner Author Of Lizzy and the Good Luck Girl

From my list on characters in a unexpected living situation.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer my storylines almost always develop out of the characters and settings I first create. As a reader, I enjoy a book as much (sometimes more!) for the characters and setting in it as I do for the plot itself. My favorite reads have always featured a quirky or bigger-than-life character and a setting that in some instances may seem ordinary but the circumstances of how the character ended up there are far from that. I love the middle-grade novels on my list because the main characters are brave and resourceful and each has an unusual and intriguing path that has led them to where their story takes place.

Susan's book list on characters in a unexpected living situation

Susan Lubner Why did Susan love this book?

Sheila Turnage’s brilliant, snappy writing makes this gem of a mystery one of my all-time favorites. There’s a lot going on in Tupelo Landing where Mo LoBeau washed ashore as a baby after a hurricane. Now being raised by the Colonial and Lana who run the best (and only) Café in town, Mo and her BFF Dale try to solve a murder in which her loved ones may be implicated. Loads of funny and fun in this series. Sidenote: I was elated when a School Library Journal reviewer said this about my novel Lizzy and the Good Luck Girl “. . .delightful details create a similar air to recent quirky classics such as Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky.…”.  Swoon!!!!

By Sheila Turnage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Times Lucky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel - a cafe owner with a forgotten past of his own - and Miss Lana, the fabulous cafe hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town…


Book cover of Metaphors We Live By

Marco te Brömmelstroet Author Of Movement: how to take back our streets and transform our lives

From my list on how your language shapes the way you think (and act).

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor in Urban Mobility Futures and, as such, am fascinated by how we think about our mobility present and past and how this limits us in imagining different futures. The problems in our mobility system are so urgent and overwhelming that I like to actively search for alternative ways of seeing and acting and teach others to do the same. Personally, I love to experience the incredible freedom of mind that I find in doing this. Also, see the Shepherd list of recommendations by my co-author, Thalia Verkade.

Marco's book list on how your language shapes the way you think (and act)

Marco te Brömmelstroet Why did Marco love this book?

Did you ever say, "Time is Money?" And do you believe it is true?

This book offers a deep dive into the philosophy of how our language is full of useful and less useful metaphors. Human communication is built on them since it makes it easier to talk about complex topics, such as life, love, and time. But they do not create a mirror of reality, but a lens.

These metaphors make us act in accordance with them. If time is money, we can exchange one for the other. But is it really? Think about it. And that is also the overall tip from this book: think about it!

By George Lakoff, Mark Johnson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Metaphors We Live By as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

People use metaphors every time they speak. Some of those metaphors are literary - devices for making thoughts more vivid or entertaining. But most are much more basic than that - they're "metaphors we live by", metaphors we use without even realizing we're using them. In this book, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson suggest that these basic metaphors not only affect the way we communicate ideas, but actually structure our perceptions and understandings from the beginning. Bringing together the perspectives of linguistics and philosophy, Lakoff and Johnson offer an intriguing and surprising guide to some of the most common metaphors…


Book cover of The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention

John Langdon Author Of The Science of Human Evolution: Getting it Right

From my list on tell us who we are.

Why am I passionate about this?

My sister once remarked that listening to our mother’s stories about living during World War II made it sound like we missed something really exciting. That is what history has always been for me–something I missed out on, for better or worse. What would it really have been like? Could I have survived? Family genealogies bring history to me on a personal level; archaeology and paleontology extend that wonder much deeper into the past. During the time I taught anatomy and human evolution at the University of Indianapolis, I tried to be as interdisciplinary as possible, both in study and teaching. I continue this in my retirement. 

John's book list on tell us who we are

John Langdon Why did John love this book?

I have tried to appreciate linguistics before but never really succeeded until I stumbled across this book. For one thing, it is a difficult field if you haven’t learned a second language. (I tried but not successfully.) For another, when I have delved into language theory, it has been much easier to think about, oh, what I am going to have for dinner tonight, or the fact that my library book is due tomorrow, or almost anything else. Guy Deutscher’s narrative is refreshingly different.

Of the traits that make humans different from all animals on this planet, language is certainly near the top of the list. As an evolutionist, language is important to me for two reasons. The first is that its origin is both important and mysterious. The French Academy of Sciences famously banned discussion of the first question because it was useless speculation and wasted time. That problem…

By Guy Deutscher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Blending the spirit of Eats, Shoots & Leaves with the science of The Language Instinct, an original inquiry into the development of that most essential-and mysterious-of human creations: Language

Language is mankind's greatest invention-except, of course, that it was never invented." So begins linguist Guy Deutscher's enthralling investigation into the genesis and evolution of language. If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of "man throw spear," how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous vocabularies, and intricately nuanced degrees of meaning?

Drawing on recent groundbreaking discoveries in modern linguistics, Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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