100 books like Girl Runner

By Carrie Snyder,

Here are 100 books that Girl Runner fans have personally recommended if you like Girl Runner. 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 Leaving Earth

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

This is the first novel I read of Helen Humphreys and ever since then I’ve been a huge fan of her work, which often focuses on an overlooked period of history. Written with a strong poetic voice, her writing has a deeply humane undercurrent and frequently contains strong female characters. This one especially came to mind, as it features two women aviators in the 1930s striving to break an endurance record by flying around Toronto for 25 days. Humphreys has a special talent for focusing on the details that draw us into the story, while also establishing characters and relationships that make us care deeply about what they are doing. Smart, complex women doing daring things—what’s not to like!

By Helen Humphreys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Leaving Earth was Helen Humphreys's debut, and it brought the beauty of her poetry into the story of two women's love of flight and dream to excel, even if it took all their courage and strength and even their lives. Novice flyer Willa joins Grace, heroine of the skies, in what becomes an intimate journey of friendship. Yet the clouds that gather above are echoed by lurking dangers below for Maddy, a young fan of Grace's, and her Jewish mother and uncle. Anti-Semitism is spreading. Maddy's mother, a true fortune-teller, is beat up by thugs, and the swirl of events…


Book cover of Dear Evelyn

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

The characters in this novel-in-stories are so vivid, you almost flinch at the intimacy and truth of which they speak. There is the sense of a curtain being drawn back to reveal this poignant account of a 70-year marriage that begins during World War Two. Here we have Harry, with the heart of a poet, who is a contrast to Evelyn, tough, and at times acerbic. Though it is Harry that most readers will probably warm to, Evelyn, with her difficult background—an alcoholic father and enabling mother—has had challenges that make her hold herself to a higher standard and therefore makes for a complex character. Inevitably her headstrong nature may be judged more harshly than if these were traits assigned to a man. The writing is lyrical with a precision that marks Kathy Page’s work. Whatever you think about the characters, you will doubtless be affected by their lives as…

By Kathy Page,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A portrait of a turbulent and beautiful seventy-year-long marriage forged during the onset of World War II.

Born in the 1920s on a working-class London street, Harry Miles wins a scholarship and grows into adulthood as a sensitive man, torn between his love for poetry and the immediate demands of the world around him. When he marries the magnetic and demanding Evelyn amongst the outbreak of war, his capacity to love is increasingly tested-up to and beyond when she abandons him on the cusp of death.

An unconventional love story, harrowing and deeply tender, Dear Evelyn studies two people who…


Book cover of Down by the River

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

This is a devastating story but O’Brien is a master wordsmith and I was dazzled by the writing while being distressed by the events, that of a young teen in Ireland who gets pregnant in abominable circumstances, then tries to find a way out of it. The church looms large in the novel, and the helplessness this young girl feels is palpable. That she keeps fighting against the forces against her despite the gaslighting is a testament to her strength. Even her one chance to escape is foiled in the most frustrating manner. I’ve been reading about the history of reproductive rights for my own novel, and the stories are never easy. The expected thing to do would be to acquiesce and accept the circumstances, but she chose otherwise.  A beautifully written and necessary book.

By Edna O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Down by the River is a newly reissued novel from Edna O’Brien, the author of Girl—“one of the most celebrated writers in the English language” (NPR’s Weekend Edition).

Set in the author’s native Ireland, a powerful and passionate novel about a young girl who becomes pregnant by her father—a situation made worse when it becomes fodder for the gossip mill of church, state, and the town square.


Book cover of Undersong

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

Here we are taken into the world of Dorothy Wordsworth, considered to be the creative collaborator of her brother William Wordsworth, in this highly original re-imagining of her life. Although as an adult she lived with her brother, she remained in the shadows while he mined her writing for phrases he might use in his own poetry. Her unconventional life is portrayed here through the eyes of others, including a hired hand, James Dixon, whose reverence for her helps shape the story, and the curious but effective use of an old tree, named Sycamore, who provides insightful meditations on her character. I was taken with how intimately we entered Dorothy’s world who, though frail in body, was strong in mind. The internal workings and close observations are what make the novel fascinating, a historical portrait of both woman and artist. An original and thought-provoking work.

By Kathleen Winter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A stunning, spellbinding, poetic triumph." —Toronto Star
 
From Giller-shortlisted author Kathleen Winter (author of the bestseller Annabel): A stunning novel reimagining the lost years of misunderstood Romantic Era genius Dorothy Wordsworth.

When young James Dixon, a local jack-of-all-trades recently returned from the Battle of Waterloo, meets Dorothy Wordsworth, he quickly realizes he’s never met another woman anything like her. In her early thirties, Dorothy has already lived a wildly unconventional life. And as her famous brother William Wordsworth’s confidante and creative collaborator—considered by some in their circle to be the secret to his success as a poet—she has carved a…


Book cover of Once a Runner

Nita Sweeney Author Of Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink (Running Can Be the Best Therapy for Depression)

From my list on why people run when not being chased.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a best-selling author featured in the Wall Street Journal, mental health advocate, certified meditation-leader, wife, and dog-mom. And I run. Every runner has heard, "I never run unless I'm being chased." Right. But runners don't run because we have to. We run because we can or, more often, because we must. It's a powerful mental health tool. I also write books: the award-winning running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving TargetYou Should Be Writing, and, available for preorder, Make Every Move a Meditation. I live in central Ohio with my husband and biggest fan, Ed, and our yellow Labrador Retriever, Scarlet.

Nita's book list on why people run when not being chased

Nita Sweeney Why did Nita love this book?

This exquisitely written novel allowed me to imagine that I too could be an Olympian. The author and the main character understand. Long, slow, miles. No. I don’t run as far as Quentin, the main character, but especially while I was training for that first ultramarathon (31 plus miles), the main character’s voice was in my head. And, while reading those passages, I felt as if he was in mine.

By John L. Parker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Once a Runner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally self-published in 1978, Once a Runner captures the essence of competitive running-and of athletic competition in general-and has become one of the most beloved sports novels ever published.

Inspired by the author's experience as a collegiate champion, the story focuses on Quenton Cassidy, a competitive runner at fictional Southeastern University whose lifelong dream is to run a four-minute mile. He is less than a second away when the turmoil of the Vietnam War era intrudes into the staid recesses of his school's athletic department. After he becomes involved in an athletes' protest, Cassidy is suspended from his track team.…


Book cover of Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes: A Cookbook

Dean Karnazes Author Of A Runner's High: My Life in Motion

From my list on running from an ultrarunner.

Why am I passionate about this?

An internationally recognized endurance athlete and New York Times bestselling author, Dean Karnazes has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits. Among his many accomplishments, he has run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. He's run across Death Valley in 120-degree temperatures, and run a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. On ten different occasions, he's run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. His long list of competitive achievements include winning the world's toughest footrace, the Badwater Ultramarathon, running 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley during the middle of summer. His most recent endeavor was running 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days, finishing with the NYC Marathon, which he ran in three hours flat.

Dean's book list on running from an ultrarunner

Dean Karnazes Why did Dean love this book?

Part recipe book, part training plan, and entirely inspirational, Shalane Flanagan is a 4-time Olympian and the winner of the NYC Marathon.

By Shalane Flanagan, Elyse Kopecky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Run Fast. Eat Slow. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From world-class marathoner and three-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan and culinary nutritionist Elyse Kopecky comes a whole foods, flavour-forward cookbook that proves food can be indulgent and nourishing at the same time. Finally here's a cookbook for runners that shows fat is essential for flavour and performance and that counting calories, obsessing over protein, and restrictive dieting does more harm than good. Packed with more than 100 recipes for every part of yourday, nutritional wisdom, and inspiring stories, Run Fast, Eat Slow has all the bases covered. Fitness-minded readers will find delicious meals, satisfying snacks, thirst- quenching drinks, and wholesome treats.…


Book cover of Runners of North America: A Definitive Guide to the Species

Scott F. Parker Author Of The Joy of Running qua Running

From my list on the inner life of running.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been running for a quarter of a century now, ever since I got the irresistible urge in high school to quit the soccer team and make my way over to cross-country practice junior year. In that time, running has been a source of mental clarity and physical expression for me, a source of joy and even of meaning. Naturally, it has become one of the focuses of my writing life, too. I’ve written three books about running and now write the On the Run column for Sport Literate. It is gratifying to write about a sport that has such a rich literature.

Scott's book list on the inner life of running

Scott F. Parker Why did Scott love this book?

For a bit of levity, Mark Remy’s Runners of North America presents a mock classification of twenty-three subspecies of runners, including the Fashion Mag Runner (Lopus lulemonus) and the Dramatic Weight Loss Runner (Lopus saladus). Have fun identifying yourself and your running friends and gaining insight into what makes you all tick differently. A treat from running’s premiere humorist.

By Mark Remy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Runners of North America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If there's one thing that Mark Remy knows, it's running. After 25 marathons and a career of writing for and about runners in Runner's World, he is well equipped to dissect the running world and the odd creatures that make up its population.

The North American Runner has evolved greatly over the years, adapting to changes in environment, including new threats, technologies, food sources, and fashion. These mysterious, brightly clad creatures live side by side with humans, but how many of us truly understand them?

In Runners of North America, a comprehensive guide to the 23 subspecies of runners (ranging…


Book cover of The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion

Scott F. Parker Author Of The Joy of Running qua Running

From my list on the inner life of running.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been running for a quarter of a century now, ever since I got the irresistible urge in high school to quit the soccer team and make my way over to cross-country practice junior year. In that time, running has been a source of mental clarity and physical expression for me, a source of joy and even of meaning. Naturally, it has become one of the focuses of my writing life, too. I’ve written three books about running and now write the On the Run column for Sport Literate. It is gratifying to write about a sport that has such a rich literature.

Scott's book list on the inner life of running

Scott F. Parker Why did Scott love this book?

“Running,” Catriona Menzies-Pike tells us, “has a way of dragging you into the present moment of exertion.” Yes, it sure does. As a group, runners exhibit an uncommon tendency toward rumination for which running often serves as a form of treatment, its mental benefits following directly from its physical nature. In writing so beautifully about such rewards, Menzies-Pike captures the feeling of running for any runner, fast or slow, in a disarmingly real and unromantic voice that rings with truth.

By Catriona Menzies-Pike,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

No one ever expected Catriona Menzies- Pike to run a marathon. She hated running, and was a hopeless athlete. When she was twenty her parents died suddenly - and for a decade she was stuck. She started running on a whim, and finally her grief started to move too. Until very recently, it was frowned upon for women to run long distances. Running was deemed unladylike - and probably dangerous. How did women's running go from being suspect to wildly popular? How does a high school klutz become a marathon runner? This fascinating book combines memoir and cultural history to…


Book cover of Ghost

Jennie Liu Author Of Enly and the Buskin' Blues

From my list on boys for middle graders whose reading is falling off.

Why am I passionate about this?

My boys greedily consumed books until middle school when screens began to pull them away. I still brought home piles of books, especially stories that stirred empathy, hoping they would pick them up (especially during enforced no-screen times). My then-5th grader complained that I brought home too many “sad books about kids having a really hard time,” and that’s when I realized I was choosing titles I liked and wanted them to read. The novels I had written thus far were heavy stories for teens, but after this little episode with my boy, I decided to pay attention to what they really wanted to read. And to write one they might like.  

Jennie's book list on boys for middle graders whose reading is falling off

Jennie Liu Why did Jennie love this book?

Although Ghost is heavy on hardship (angry kid, incarcerated father), and a struggle story for sure, it’s such a tight, fast-paced one with a voice that you can’t help but fall right into the narrative.

Add to that sports (track), bad choices (stealing shoes), and all the intense emotions of a seventh-grader, any kid will have a hard time putting it down. 

By Jason Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Ghost 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?

Running. That's all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons -until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medallist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?

READ THE RUN SERIES:
Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for…


Book cover of Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon

Marsha Diane Arnold Author Of The Pumpkin Runner

From my list on children's stories about running.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a multi-award-winning picture book author of many types of books, from The Pumpkin Runner to Badger’s Perfect Garden. I’ve always been a reader more than an athlete, but throughout my life, I’ve enjoyed running - running down a dusty Kansas backroad, running to the pasture to call in the cows, running to the stream to climb a cottonwood. When I reached my sixties, I finally decided it was time to run a half-marathon. Partway through the race, I broke my foot! But I persevered. When I crossed the finish line, I felt a little like Joshua Summerhayes in The Pumpkin Runner.

Marsha's book list on children's stories about running

Marsha Diane Arnold Why did Marsha love this book?

Running was magic to Kathrine Switzer. But she grew up in a time when most people thought women were too fragile to run a race, especially a 26.2-mile marathon. The illustrations are vibrant and the text well-written, with a “Pat, Pat, Pat” refrain which expands as Kathrine runs faster and faster. The story revolves around how Kathrine entered the Boston Marathon in 1967 when it was a race for men only. She was almost stopped during the race by an angry Race Director, who also believed women should not run a marathon. Kathrine persevered and finished! Since 2008, more than 10,000 women have officially entered to run the Boston Marathon. 

By Kim Chaffee, Ellen Rooney (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Her Fearless Run as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kathrine Switzer changed the world of running. This narrative biography follows Kathrine from running laps as a girl in her backyard to becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with official race numbers in 1967. Her inspirational true story is for anyone willing to challenge the rules.

The compelling collage art adds to the kinetic action of the story. With tension and heart, this biography has the influential power to get readers into running. An excellent choice for sports fans, New Englanders, young dreamers, and competitive girls and boys alike.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in runners, the Spanish flu, and long-distance running?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about runners, the Spanish flu, and long-distance running.

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Long-Distance Running Explore 22 books about long-distance running