100 books like Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn,

Here are 100 books that Gone Girl fans have personally recommended if you like Gone Girl. 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 Dubliners

David W. Berner Author Of The Islander

From my list on the essence of the Irishman’s melancholic emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dugan was my grandmother’s maiden name. Her family was from County Wexford, Ireland near Rosslare on the island’s east coast. In recent years I have extensively studied my Irish heritage and have discovered much about my family, and about the DNA running through my own Irish blood. The inquiry has revealed much about my love of storytelling, good conversation, and generally about the way I move through the world. As a writer of several books of personal narrative and fiction, I have tried to write books that capture a certain emotion, and now through my own ancestral discoveries, I understand how those emotions and familial ties are so tightly linked. 

David's book list on the essence of the Irishman’s melancholic emotions

David W. Berner Why did David love this book?

What can one say about this classic? It is the quintessential story of old Dublin.

Published in 1914, the collection of fifteen short stories takes the reader on a journey through middle-class Ireland, touching on Irish nationalism and country pride, but also on the forces that were slowing changing Ireland at the time. The stories move chronologically from boyhood to manhood and culminate with what some critics say is the finest short story ever written, “The Dead.”

This story, like many others in Dubliners is both a meditation on everyday urban life and a study of human relationships, including how we live with our memories, our heritage, and how we find ways to manifest our personal emotions.

By James Joyce,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A definitive edition of perhaps the greatest short story collection in the English language

James Joyce's Dubliners is a vivid and unflinching portrait of "dear dirty Dublin" at the turn of the twentieth century. These fifteen stories, including such unforgettable ones as "Araby," "Grace," and "The Dead," delve into the heart of the city of Joyce's birth, capturing the cadences of Dubliners' speech and portraying with an almost brute realism their outer and inner lives. Dubliners is Joyce at his most accessible and most profound, and this edition is the definitive text, authorized by the Joyce estate and collated from…

Book cover of Things Fall Apart

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman Author Of The Far Side of the Desert

From my list on books combining international political intrigue, romance, and family drama.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my career as a journalist, including working as a reporter on an international newspaper. I left full-time journalism to write fiction where I can combine an interest in international affairs with stories of characters and issues of the heart which drive individuals and often shape events. Over the years I’ve worked and traveled with international organizations, serving as Vice President of PEN International, and on the boards and in other roles focusing on human rights, education, and refugees. I’ve been able to travel widely and witness events up close, walking along the edge of worlds and discovering the bonds that keep us from falling off.

Joanne's book list on books combining international political intrigue, romance, and family drama

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman Why did Joanne love this book?

This was one of the first novels I read in the late sixties as I began reading African writers and studying the novel form and possibilities. Chinua Achebe tells the story of Okonkwo, a warrior in the late 1800s as he tries to resist the British political and religious powers encroaching on his home. Okonkwo is in conflict with his community as they allow the intrusion and succumb to the British.

Through his proverbs, rhythmic prose, and poignant storytelling, Chinua Achebe brings to life this story without polemics and the drier narrative of history books but instead through the passion of a man and his world. As I studied how novels could affect this empathetic magic, I looked to books like Things Fall Apart.

By Chinua Achebe,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Things Fall Apart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of International Man Booker Prize 2007.

Book cover of The Road

Why am I passionate about this?

 I’ve always loved a good mystery that doesn’t give you all the details upfront. My favourite stories growing up were those where I had little epiphanies along the way until I got to the end, where everything finally fell into place. But perhaps why I’m most drawn to these types of stories is because they parallel learning about your surroundings in the real world. After living in several different countries, I’ve come to learn many situations piece by piece, where some ended in danger, while others were more humorous events that I can now laugh about. 

Jon's book list on dark horror stories that slowly unravel their mysteries piece by piece, letting you figure out along the way

Jon Vassa Why did Jon love this book?

At the time, when I read this book, I’d just become a father. Naturally, the story about a father trying to protect his son in a harsh dystopian world was captivating for me and still is to this day.

I loved the book's gritty realism and felt as if I were walking beside the characters during the entire journey. I also found McCarthy’s writing style unique and something new from the best-selling paperbacks I’d often read before picking up his book.

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…

Book cover of The Talented Mr. Ripley

Freddie Gillies Author Of Because All Fades

From my list on love and friendship set in Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

The best fiction explores complex relationships between friends and lovers. I’ve been fascinated by this for as long as I can remember because love and friendship are the cornerstones of human existence. As concepts, they give life meaning yet can also take it away. They bring us together but can also leave us estranged. The sun-soaked cities of Europe have for so long been playgrounds for young lovers and friends, enjoying both the best of life and the most melancholy. I love traveling Europe–the grandeur, the romance, the happy-sad sentiment of it all. It embodies the topic and makes for the most beautiful setting.

Freddie's book list on love and friendship set in Europe

Freddie Gillies Why did Freddie love this book?

Tom Ripley’s obsession with Dickie Greenleaf is so fascinating because it’s real but completely disturbing. I love this book because of Tom and Dickie, two characters who are loveable and hateable at the same time. The first half flew by on account of the setting–France, Italy, summer–it made me feel like I was there enjoying a European holiday with our protagonists. The second half turned everything on its head, and I was exhilarated and terrified all at once.

This story details love manifesting into a disturbing obsession, and this is a particularly interesting topic to explore. I loved the pace of the book (high, great plot) and the development of the characters. It is definitely one of my favorite stories about friendship with a beautiful European backdrop. 

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Talented Mr. Ripley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's here, in the first volume of Patricia Highsmith's five-book Ripley series, that we are introduced to the suave Tom Ripley, a young striver seeking to leave behind his past as an orphan bullied for being a "sissy." Newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante, and Ripley begins a deadly game. "Sinister and strangely alluring"…

Book cover of Eileen

Ellen Pall Author Of Must Read Well

From my list on characters you do not want for friends.

Why am I passionate about this?

Okay, I’m just going to say this: I’m a notoriously likable person. I try to be kind. I try to do good. But in fiction, unlikeable characters fascinate me—their secretiveness, their single-minded energy, their shameless lies and utter selfishness. I’ve written Regency Romances featuring dark antagonists. I’ve written murder mysteries featuring—you know, murderers. (I’ve also written some literary novels about ordinary mortals.) I wouldn’t want to have a villain for a pal. But I sure like the freedom fiction gives me to get to know a few.

Ellen's book list on characters you do not want for friends

Ellen Pall Why did Ellen love this book?

Getting a reader engaged with an unlikeable protagonist is a challenge to any novelist.

Moshfegh succeeds brilliantly here. Eileen is as unlikeable as they come, an angry, friendless young woman who hates herself and everyone else. She works in a reprehensible, small-town prison for juvenile offenders and shares a squalid house with her nasty father.

Suddenly, though, a lovely young woman joins the prison staff. To Eileen’s amazement, she befriends her. Within days, she also involves her in a violent crime. Does this sound grim? Repellant? It’s not.

Granted, Eileen isn’t a book to be read over lunch. But the protagonist is like no woman I’ve ever met in fiction (or, thankfully, anywhere else). Her voice is fresh, her anger invigorating, and the book gripping from top to tail.

By Ottessa Moshfegh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize and chosen by David Sedaris as his recommended book for his Fall 2016 tour.

So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was twenty-four years old then, and had a job that paid fifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes-a prison for boys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terrible landlord I had years later, and so to…

Book cover of The Woman in White

Sam Hepburn Author Of The Mistake I Made

From my list on troubled women struggling to hold it together.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up as the child of a damaged, resentful mother certainly took its emotional toll and led me to embark on some pretty destructive early relationships. After a series of painful personal losses I spent time as a single mum, struggling to parent, deal with grief and hold down a job as a TV producer. I tried self-help books, therapy, and nicotine to get by, but it was the support and humour of women who had survived their own ordeals which enabled me to come out the other side. But as a writer and a reader I'm intrigued by troubled women, the traumas that shape them, and the things they do to survive.

Sam's book list on troubled women struggling to hold it together

Sam Hepburn Why did Sam love this book?

My long-held obsession with Victorian sensationalist fiction is probably why I write psychological thrillers.

The Woman in White has always been an inspiration and for me one of its most intriguing characters is Laura Fairlie, whose emotional frailty, like that of so many women, makes her prey to the hideous machinations of abusers who seek to control her. Unlike modern women however, she is not merely at the mercy of people, she is at the mercy of the restrictive laws of the society in which she lives.

And yet, with the help of determined friends, her extraordinary stoicism, and some pretty outlandish coincidences she manages to survive against the odds. Hurrah!

By Wilkie Collins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

HarperCollins is proud to present its range of best-loved, essential classics.

'The woman who first gives life, light, and form to our shadowy conceptions of beauty, fills a void in our spiritual nature that has remained unknown to us till she appeared.'

One of the earliest works of 'detective' fiction with a narrative woven together from multiple characters, Wilkie Collins partly based his infamous novel on a real-life eighteenth century case of abduction and wrongful imprisonment. In 1859, the story caused a sensation with its readers, hooking their attention with the ghostly first scene where the mysterious 'Woman in White'…

Book cover of Rebecca

J. Nicole Jones Author Of Low Country: A Memoir

From my list on voice-driven, suck-you-in narrations: both memoir and fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writers often get labeled as either nonfiction or fiction writers. In grad school, it was very difficult to study across genres, which I found very frustrating: To me, the most important thing about a book has always been the voice. A novel? A memoir? Essays? Stories? Don’t pin me down, just give me something with a voice that propels me forward, that is unique and sparkling and unputdownable. When I find books with voices so singular and propulsive, I return to them over and over. 

J.'s book list on voice-driven, suck-you-in narrations: both memoir and fiction

J. Nicole Jones Why did J. love this book?

This book begins with only the most famous first line of a novel in English literature. (Move over, Jane Austen.)

Wistful, mysterious, and yearning, the unnamed narrator of Rebecca follows her much older husband to his luxe estate in England after a hasty marriage in France. There, she encounters a housekeeper bent on humiliating her (or worse) and the specter of her new husband’s perfect first wife, who died unexpectedly.

Even knowing what will happen, I am sucked in every time. This hits that great spot between outright horror and suspense, and my next book will be heavily influenced by this one. 

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* 'The greatest psychological thriller of all time' ERIN KELLY
* 'One of the most influential novels of the twentieth century' SARAH WATERS
* 'It's the book every writer wishes they'd written' CLARE MACKINTOSH

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .'

Working as a lady's companion, our heroine's outlook is bleak until, on a trip to the south of France, she meets a handsome widower whose proposal takes her by surprise. She accepts but, whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory…

Book cover of Perfume

Theresa Levitt Author Of Elixir: A Parisian Perfume House and the Quest for the Secret of Life

From my list on perfume and scent.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of science who just completed a book on the role of perfume in the quest for the secret of life and vitality. While writing it, I became fascinated with the challenge of translating scent into language. While our nose can recognize a virtually infinite number of odors, there are only a few basic categories of description (“floral,” “woody,” “citrus,” etc.). To fully describe them often requires a poet’s touch – invoking a tapestry of memories, associations, and feelings to create the experience in the reader’s mind. These are some of the best books I’ve encountered for talking about the complex world of scent, and the importance of perfume in human history.

Theresa's book list on perfume and scent

Theresa Levitt Why did Theresa love this book?

A gruesome story of murder and desire that also happens to have the most vivid olfactory descriptions of any genre.

Suskind’s preternatural ability to summon odor from the page makes you feel as if you are there beside him, walking through the flowered hillsides of Provence, or in the back room of a perfume shop on the Pont au Change. His twisted use of classic perfume techniques is as accurate as it is chilling.

By Patrick Suskind,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An erotic masterpiece of twentieth century fiction - a tale of sensual obsession and bloodlust in eighteenth century Paris

'An astonishing tour de force both in concept and execution' Guardian

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today.

It is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts…

Book cover of I Am Legend

C.L. Lauder Author Of The Quelling

From my list on dystopian novels to make you cling to your duvet and worship your walls.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a young adult fantasy author and paranoid survivalist. I have spent years curating items for my end-of-days go-bag, and nothing gives me greater pleasure than hanging out in universes that are about to go bang! 

C.L.'s book list on dystopian novels to make you cling to your duvet and worship your walls

C.L. Lauder Why did C.L. love this book?

Legends are made of powerful stuff, and nothing has greater power than a total flip in perspective. I still recall the gut-punch end to this book, though it’s been decades since I read it. 

Robert Neville is a vampire hunter by day and a tormented man by night. As seemingly the only living human in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, Robert faces depression, isolation, alcoholism, and his undead neighbor, Ben Cortman, who appears outside Robert’s front door each night chanting, "Come out, Neville."

But when Robert is finally captured, and the truth of his situation is revealed, he gets a good look at the world through the eyes of the undead and is forced to ask himself, who am I? What have I become? 

By Richard Matheson,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked I Am Legend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An acclaimed SF novel about vampires. The last man on earth is not alone ...Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth ...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville's blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive like this?

Book cover of Atonement

Linda Stewart Henley Author Of Kate's War

From my list on young women in WW II in the UK.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two of my three novels have young women protagonists. I find young adulthood a fascinating time in women’s lives and I enjoy creating a character and putting her in a historical setting. The Second World War offers fertile ground for storytelling, and I grew up south of London after the war. My father’s unpublished memoir, in which he describes an event that he experienced in the war, inspired me to write about it, but I told the story through the eyes of the protagonist, Kate. 

Linda's book list on young women in WW II in the UK

Linda Stewart Henley Why did Linda love this book?

I loved the three-part format of this book divided by time periods. The first part, set in 1935, describes an event that took place on a hot summer day in the grounds of the family’s country house garden. It’s seen from the different perspectives of thirteen-year-old Briony and her older sister Cecelia. The story evolves from there in parts two and three in unpredictable and devastating ways.

I appreciated the book’s in-depth exploration of the power of a lie and the devastating consequences of that lie. This psychological study of adult Briony’s guilt and subsequent atonement eloquently depicts how war makes demands of even the most privileged citizens. 

By Ian McEwan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl's imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a…

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