100 books like Goodbye Without Leaving

By Laurie Colwin,

Here are 100 books that Goodbye Without Leaving fans have personally recommended if you like Goodbye Without Leaving. 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 Circling the Sun

Leslie Johansen Nack Author Of The Blue Butterfly: A Novel of Marion Davies

From my list on powerful women in the 1920s and 1930.

Why am I passionate about this?

First, I'm a woman and I'm inspired by women from the past who overcame the rules of the day in which they lived. It doesn’t matter where they lived, or what they tried to overcome, but to have bucked the patriarchal system and achieved some measure of success, is phenomenal. Second, I became inspired by silent film star Marion Davies, and I wrote a book about it. I never intended to write historical fiction. My first book was a memoir about sailing to Tahiti at fourteen with my father and two sisters. But life has a funny way of directing us where we need to go. Here I am: inspired by women from the past! 

Leslie's book list on powerful women in the 1920s and 1930

Leslie Johansen Nack Why did Leslie love this book?

Wild Africa is romantic and daring and I loved the danger and inspiration of 1920s Africa, when British born real life woman Beryl Markham becomes one of the first female pilots. It’s a bit of Out of Africa and riveting.

Markham encounters many obstacles and has several disastrous relationships but eventually she overcomes and succeeds. She becomes the first person (not woman) to fly solo from Britain to North America. 

By Paula McLain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller

As a young girl, Beryl Markham was brought to Kenya from Britain by parents dreaming of a new life. For her mother, the dream quickly turned sour, and she returned home; Beryl was brought up by her father, who switched between indulgence and heavy-handed authority, allowing her first to run wild on their farm, then incarcerating her in the classroom. The scourge of governesses and serial absconder from boarding school, by the age of sixteen Beryl had been catapulted into a disastrous marriage - but it was in facing up to this reality that she…


Book cover of The Giver of Stars

Julia Jarman Author Of The Widows' Wine Club

From my list on improbable friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like the widows in The Widows’ Wine Club, I’m getting on. Unlike them, I’ve been a writer for forty years, often hunched over a keyboard, ignoring people. Amazingly, though, I managed to have a happy marriage and make some great friends. Phew! Because I’ve needed friends, especially since my husband died. Looking back, I’m interested to see that I didn’t instantly take to some of my closest buddies. Circumstances threw us together, and we got to know and like and love each other. I explore this in my book. 

Julia's book list on improbable friendships

Julia Jarman Why did Julia love this book?

I love this book because it has everything, believable, engaging characters, a riveting plot, a vivid setting, and a cause. Larger-than-life Margery O’Hare and lady-like Alice are unlikely friends, but friends they become in this great story.

When I first saw photos of those "librarians on horseback," the wonderful women who responded to Eleanor Roosevelt’s call to take books to the rural poor of Kentucky in the depressed 1930s, I longed to know more. Jojo Moyes gives us lots more. There’s an array of well-drawn characters, but it’s Margery and Alice who drive the story forward, defying the odds to achieve their aims and find men who love and appreciate them.

Yes, it’s a love story, too, and a whodunnit? Perfect!

By Jojo Moyes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | A REESE WITHERSPOON X HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK

"A great narrative about personal strength and really captures how books bring communities together." -Reese Witherspoon

From the author of The Last Letter from Your Lover, now a major motion picture on Netflix, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond in Depression-era America


Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve, hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when…


Book cover of Still This Love Goes on

Fanny Britt Author Of Forever Truffle

From my list on music-loving readers in your family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I often (half-) jokingly say that I'm a failed musician. Growing up in Montreal in the eighties, music was my deepest joy. I sang in choirs for years, and even fancied myself the next great baroque singer (I guess I was a nerd.) Nerves, however, got the best of me, and I turned to the next best thing, writing. In my family, music is a meeting place, a shared language; my kids have taught me as much about music as I have taught them. Nothing pleases me more than to see on a playlist of theirs a tune that I listened to before their birth. Music is the golden thread of my life. 

Fanny's book list on music-loving readers in your family

Fanny Britt Why did Fanny love this book?

Indigenous singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is a music legend in Canada. When illustrator Julie Flett decided to turn one of Sainte-Marie's iconic songs, Still This Love Goes On, in a picture album, it was like the song was brought to life in a whole new way. Readers (or the small children the book can be read to) are able to travel through Buffy's poignant lyrics and Julie Flett's moving, evocative illustrations and truly feel what the song is about. Plus, you can listen to the song while you look at the book and hear Buffy's haunting, heart-breaking voice. Seeing music while hearing it? Sounds like a perfect introduction to me. 

By Buffy Sainte-Marie, Julie Flett (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A love letter to family, home, and Indigenous traditions ... This story reminds readers of the joy we experience upon returning to those whom we love and who love us."-Kirkus

From Cree-Metis artist Julie Flett and Academy Award-winning icon Buffy Sainte-Marie comes a celebration of Indigenous community, and the enduring love we hold for the people and places we are far away from.

Based on Sainte-Marie's song of the same name, Still This Love Goes On combines Flett's breathtaking art with vivid lyrics to craft a stunning portrait of a Cree worldview. At the heart of this picture book is…


Book cover of Music Legends: 40 inspiring icons

Fanny Britt Author Of Forever Truffle

From my list on music-loving readers in your family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I often (half-) jokingly say that I'm a failed musician. Growing up in Montreal in the eighties, music was my deepest joy. I sang in choirs for years, and even fancied myself the next great baroque singer (I guess I was a nerd.) Nerves, however, got the best of me, and I turned to the next best thing, writing. In my family, music is a meeting place, a shared language; my kids have taught me as much about music as I have taught them. Nothing pleases me more than to see on a playlist of theirs a tune that I listened to before their birth. Music is the golden thread of my life. 

Fanny's book list on music-loving readers in your family

Fanny Britt Why did Fanny love this book?

The 7-to-10-year-old set will love this one. My own rock-loving son, who inspired the character of Truffle in our book, was addicted to this series of books (which also includes Black Music Greats: 40 inspiring icons), originally published in France. Both informative and filled with fun facts about the 40 artists selected by the authors (readers will learn about Mod culture through The Who, about how ABBA got their name, or how the Wu-Tang Clan influenced hip hop), the book reads like a cheat sheet on pop and rock music, with vivid and colorful illustrations.   

By Hervé Guilleminot, Jérôme Masi (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Music Legends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

The biggest bands…the hugest hits…the 40 most memorable music legends of all time are here! In this fun, fact-packed book from the 40 Inspiring Icons series, learn how these musicians became the voice of their generation. 

Meet the King of Pop, find out about the Fab Four, learn how Bob Dylan led a revolution, discover the different identities of David Bowie, and fall "Crazy in Love" with Beyoncé. From the Doors, whose single "Light My Fire" took them to #1 on the US charts after years in obscurity, to the Wu-Tang Clan, whose debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)…


Book cover of Operatic

Fanny Britt Author Of Forever Truffle

From my list on music-loving readers in your family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I often (half-) jokingly say that I'm a failed musician. Growing up in Montreal in the eighties, music was my deepest joy. I sang in choirs for years, and even fancied myself the next great baroque singer (I guess I was a nerd.) Nerves, however, got the best of me, and I turned to the next best thing, writing. In my family, music is a meeting place, a shared language; my kids have taught me as much about music as I have taught them. Nothing pleases me more than to see on a playlist of theirs a tune that I listened to before their birth. Music is the golden thread of my life. 

Fanny's book list on music-loving readers in your family

Fanny Britt Why did Fanny love this book?

A wonderful graphic novel for and about teens, Operatic follows Charlie, a teen girl who must find "her song" for a school project, and embarks on an emotional journey about the meaning of music, friendship, love, and opera. The book, gutting and uplifting all at once, is also an homage to the great Maria Callas, while peppered with pop and rock references. A perfect book for readers 12 and up, by which I mean: up to 30, up to 45, up to 99 years old, as music ties us powerfully with our life story, no matter our age. 

By Kyo Maclear, Byron Eggenschwiler (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A story of friendship, first crushes, opera and the high drama of middle school told by award-winning Kyo Maclear in her debut graphic novel.

Somewhere in the universe, there is the perfect tune for you.

It's almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. But it's hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can't stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn't been to school in weeks.

Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas. The more she learns about…


Book cover of Stories I Might Regret Telling You

Fanny Britt Author Of Forever Truffle

From my list on music-loving readers in your family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I often (half-) jokingly say that I'm a failed musician. Growing up in Montreal in the eighties, music was my deepest joy. I sang in choirs for years, and even fancied myself the next great baroque singer (I guess I was a nerd.) Nerves, however, got the best of me, and I turned to the next best thing, writing. In my family, music is a meeting place, a shared language; my kids have taught me as much about music as I have taught them. Nothing pleases me more than to see on a playlist of theirs a tune that I listened to before their birth. Music is the golden thread of my life. 

Fanny's book list on music-loving readers in your family

Fanny Britt Why did Fanny love this book?

The McGarrigle Sisters are Montreal legends, and I was raised on a steady diet of their brutally honest folk music. It was only natural that I fall for the music of Kate McGarrigle's daughter, singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright (her father is American songwriter Loudon Wainwright) early on. Her memoir, Stories I Might Regret Telling You, is as compelling, lyrical and candid as her songs and stage presence are. A truly rock-and-roll story filled with adventure and struggle, Martha's journey is also a testament to women's resilience and a plea for leading a creatively fulfilling career without sacrificing family and intimate relationships. Obviously not aimed at teen readers (although I would have devoured it had it fallen into my hands at, say, sixteen), this book will crack any music-loving heart right open.  

By Martha Wainwright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stories I Might Regret Telling You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'With disarming candour and courage, Martha tells us of finding her own voice and peace as a working artist and mother. Her story is made more unique because of the remarkably gifted musical family she was born into.' EMMYLOU HARRIS

This is Martha Wainwright's heartfelt memoir about growing up in a bohemian musical family and her experiences with love, loss, motherhood, divorce, the music industry and more.

Born into music royalty, the daughter of folk legends Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III and sister to the highly-acclaimed singer Rufus Wainwright, Martha grew up in a world filled with such incomparable…


Book cover of Anthropology of an American Girl

JoAnneh Nagler Author Of Stay with Me, Wisconsin

From my list on sensual fiction (that doesn’t leave out the good stuff).

Why am I passionate about this?

I love realm of the sensual. I sometimes call it The Magic Kingdom—the experience that sets us apart from our childhoods and teenage years. Intimacy—not just with people or lovers, but with the stuff we love as adults—is a compelling quest. For me, it lives in writing, cooking, singing, painting, befriending, loving—the things that lift my life out of the ordinary into time-stopping moments. Sharing it my writing, especially in my new fiction (Stay with Me, Wisconsin and my upcoming novel The Seven Mile Bridge) has been an experience of helping us all get our hands and hearts and skin into the things we love and then abide there as long as life allows us.

Joanneh's book list on sensual fiction (that doesn’t leave out the good stuff)

JoAnneh Nagler Why did Joanneh love this book?

Anthropology of an American Girl is the beautiful tale of Eveline, who lives on Long Island with her barely-making it divorced mom in a wealthy Hamptons town in the late 1970s and 1980s.

It’s a coming-of-age story of finding her independence and need, best described in her own musings: she reveals that her parents loved her but were unaware of her need in the world to be shepherded and helped; to be supported.

They needed her to be instantly independent, even as a teenager, but that didn't make it so; because they didn’t have the bandwidth to see she needed direction, didn’t mean she knew where she was going.

Living through her love of a working-class boxer—a true love that she can’t quite put aside, even as he leaves her for a career—then moving in with a man she’s settled for—a hip, rich, self-centered man that she’s let herself fall…

By Hilary Thayer Hamann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anthropology of an American Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is what it’s like to be a high-school-age girl.
To forsake the boyfriend you once adored.
To meet the love of your life, who just happens to be your teacher.
To discover for the first time the power of your body and mind.
 
This is what it’s like to be a college-age woman.
To live through heartbreak.
To suffer the consequences of your choices.
To depend on others for survival but to have no one to trust but yourself.
 
This is Anthropology of an American Girl.
A literary sensation, this extraordinarily candid novel about the experience of growing up…


Book cover of Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley

JoAnneh Nagler Author Of Stay with Me, Wisconsin

From my list on sensual fiction (that doesn’t leave out the good stuff).

Why am I passionate about this?

I love realm of the sensual. I sometimes call it The Magic Kingdom—the experience that sets us apart from our childhoods and teenage years. Intimacy—not just with people or lovers, but with the stuff we love as adults—is a compelling quest. For me, it lives in writing, cooking, singing, painting, befriending, loving—the things that lift my life out of the ordinary into time-stopping moments. Sharing it my writing, especially in my new fiction (Stay with Me, Wisconsin and my upcoming novel The Seven Mile Bridge) has been an experience of helping us all get our hands and hearts and skin into the things we love and then abide there as long as life allows us.

Joanneh's book list on sensual fiction (that doesn’t leave out the good stuff)

JoAnneh Nagler Why did Joanneh love this book?

This book is one of a four-part Pride and Prejudice sequel series that continues the romantic lives of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy into their sex lives and family life.

It is, absolutely, an adult romp, and brilliantly written. Make no mistake, there are tons of sequels to Pride and Prejudice, but most only achieve wispy attempts at vanilla romance. If you love sensuality, these are the books to read.

The reason Jane Austen’s stories are is stellar is this: she knows how to build tension. Just like in love, she starts building a conflict, a distance between two hearts that has obstacle after obstacle to overcome, then teases us with little bits of promise, dashes our hopes, then raises the stakes and takes us to the edge of what we can stand, then lets us have a taste.

It takes the whole book to give us…

By Linda Berdoll,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mr. and Mrs. Darcy have an exceedingly passionate marriage in this continuing saga of one of the most exciting, intriguing couples in the Jane Austen Literature.

As the Darcy's raise their babies, enjoy their conjugal felicity and manage the great estate of Pemberley, the beloved characters from Jane Austen's original are joined by Linda Berdoll's imaginative new creations for a compelling, sexy and epic story guaranteed to keep you turning the pages and gasping with delight.

What people are saying about Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife, the bestselling Pride and Prejudice sequel.

"A breezy, satisfying romance." ―Chicago Tribune


"While there…


Book cover of The Commitments

David Starkey Author Of Poor Ghost

From my list on books about Rock and Roll that really rock.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started singing and playing guitar in garage bands in high school, about the same time that I began thinking of myself as a serious writer, so for me the two endeavors have always gone hand in hand. Over the decades, I’ve continued to write creatively—while teaching thousands of students along the way—and also to play in a number of bands that have specialized in everything from country-folk to raucous punk. Like many writer-musicians, I love reading good stories about the challenges and joys of people joining together, and falling apart, as they attempt to transcend ordinary life through the power of music.

David's book list on books about Rock and Roll that really rock

David Starkey Why did David love this book?

For my money, the film version of this short novel is the greatest rock and roll movie, but the book itself is no slouch either. A bunch of working-class misfits from north Dublin are molded into a white soul band through the efforts of their manager, Jimmy Rabbitte, and their veteran trumpet player, Joey The Lips Fagan.

Told mostly in the hilariously bawdy demotic of the characters, it takes off from the first page and zips through the band’s rise and demise at the speed of, well…sound itself.

By Roddy Doyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1988, THE COMMITMENTS follows a small band of musicians from the Barrytown area of Dublin as they try to make the big time. From the author of THE SNAPPER, THE VAN and PADDY CLARKE HA HA HA.


Book cover of Memphis 68

Ljubinko Zivkovic

From my list on music in the late sixties and seventies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Popular music in all its shapes and forms has permeated my life since my pre-teen years and has remained both an intimate and professional preoccupation of mine throughout my life, even when I was doing other things professionally. Books dealing with all aspects of music, from artist biographies to its cultural and social examinations have been and remain that essential element that both fuel and satisfy that interest and give it that expanded feature it needs. As somebody who has a degree in journalism and had careers as a journalist, diplomat, and a translator, and now as a freelance writer, music and books on music remain that thread that connects them all.

Ljubinko's book list on music in the late sixties and seventies

Ljubinko Zivkovic Why did Ljubinko love this book?

Scottish author Cosgrove wrote probably the ultimate trilogy of books covering the 1967-69 period of soul music, of which the ‘68’ tome dealing with the Memphis sound and southern soul is one. Cosgrove is another author that looks at all the cultural and social aspects of music with an easy and understandable writing style that keeps you turning the pages with ease.

By Stuart Cosgrove,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memphis 68 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PENDERYN MUSIC BOOK PRIZE 2018

In the 1950s and 1960s, Memphis, Tennessee, was the launch pad of musical pioneers such as Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Al Green and Isaac Hayes, and by 1968 was a city synonymous with soul music. It was a deeply segregated city, ill at ease with the modern world and yet to adjust to the era of civil rights and racial integration. Stax Records offered an escape from the turmoil of the real world for many soul and blues musicians, with much of the music created there becoming the soundtrack to…


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