20 books like Gorillas in the Mist

By Dian Fossey,

Here are 20 books that Gorillas in the Mist fans have personally recommended if you like Gorillas in the Mist. 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 Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

John Sunderland Author Of On My Way to Jorvik: a humorous memoir of how a boy with a vision became a radical designer

From my list on books by descriptive popularists with humour.

Who am I?

I’m a storyteller. I studied graphic design, animation, and film and became the title designer of Yorkshire Television’s game show 3*2*1 and directed an art-directed film and animation for British television and cinema. I was the Project Designer of the original Jorvik Viking Centre (1984). By 2008 I designed and built 25 award-winning cultural heritage centres and completed 150 international consultancies, producing and directing my exhibition documentaries. I learned how important writing was to my work. When it came down to it, whatever technique I used in the telling, there was always the story behind it as the way to transport the audience into a mentally immersive experience.

John's book list on books by descriptive popularists with humour

John Sunderland Why did John love this book?

I love Cape Cod and I was fortunate to live on the edge of the sea between 1997-2003. Skillfully written by one of America’s greatest writers of the natural habitat, it transports you to a place. It reminds me of what it felt like to live far out in Cape Cod on the North Atlantic at its furthest reach on the east coast of the United States. Living there for several years and spending time in nature with the sea, beach, dunes, and my bicycle, I learned to love its moods, wildlife, and great sense of mystery. I totally identified with this man’s extraordinary experience and how it was years ago. A wonderfully descriptive book that helps you experience with all your senses what it’s like to live next to the sea alone. 

By Henry Beston,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Outermost House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The seventy-fifth anniversary edition of the classic book about Cape Cod, "written with simplicity, sympathy, and beauty" (New York Herald Tribune)

A chronicle of a solitary year spent on a Cape Cod beach, The Outermost House has long been recognized as a classic of American nature writing. Henry Beston had originally planned to spend just two weeks in his seaside home, but was so possessed by the mysterious beauty of his surroundings that he found he "could not go."

Instead, he sat down to try and capture in words the wonders of the magical landscape he found himself in thrall…


Book cover of Never Cry Wolf

Ketsia Lessard Author Of On Duty

From my list on classic literature that won’t bore you silly.

Who am I?

I was born in Montréal, Québec, Canada. French is my first language, but I learned to master English in my teens. My mother taught me to read early and I became a bookworm in primary school. I began writing personal stories at ten and decided to study literature in the hope of perfecting my craft. Unfortunately, so many of the program’s books felt dull and irrelevant to me. But once in a while, an inspiring work of universal quality would come up, and I began building my collection. The books I recommend here are dear to my heart and motivated me to keep reading and writing. 

Ketsia's book list on classic literature that won’t bore you silly

Ketsia Lessard Why did Ketsia love this book?

Farley Mowat once declared: “I never let facts get in the way of a good story.” I have read Never Cry Wolf as fiction many times, even though its author pretended it was factual. As a writer interested in Canada’s north, Mowat’s universe is an obvious choice for me. The inclusion of Inuit characters is also quite appealing. In this book, a naturalist studies Arctic wolves in a makeshift camp in northern Manitoba and deals with the ridiculous expectations of the bureaucrats who sent him out there to fend for himself. He discovers that contrary to public opinion, wolves are not responsible for the decimation of caribou herds, humans are. Some elements are exaggerated for comic effect, and as one of Canada’s best storytellers, Mowat delivers on laughs. 

By Farley Mowat,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Never Cry Wolf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 11, 12, 13, and 14.

What is this book about?

Maxim Gorky, born Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov in 1868 to the low stratum of Russian society, rose to prominence early in life as a writer and publicist. Gorky, who did not have a formal education, became famous in his country and abroad. Writing could not satisfy the rebellious Gorky who soon became involved in revolutionary movements. After a short period with the populist/narodnik movement, Gorky became disillusioned with the peasant class, and, instead, he chose the nascent class of workers as the vehicle for change. It is as if Gorky and capitalism arrived in Russia together. In his view the intelligentsia…


Book cover of King Solomon's Ring: New Light on Animal Ways

Sy Montgomery Author Of How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals

From my list on studying and writing about the natural world.

Who am I?

To research her 30 books, dozens of scripts, and hundreds of articles, Sy Montgomery has been deftly undressed by an orangutan in Borneo, worked in a pit crawling with 18,000 snakes in Manitoba, and swum with piranhas, electric eels, pink dolphins, great white sharks and octopuses in various rivers and oceans. She writes for both adults and children, for print and broadcast, in North America and abroad, in an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible at a critical time in human history. “Now is an exciting time to be alive,” she says. “We all have an opportunity, at this critical juncture in human history, to be part of the movement to save our sweet green Earth and all the wonderful creatures who bless our world by sharing it with us.”

Sy's book list on studying and writing about the natural world

Sy Montgomery Why did Sy love this book?

This is a classic account of animal behavior by the man who founded the modern field of ethology. His careful and detailed accounts of his time living with graylag geese, crow-like jackdaws, and even cichlid fish are not only scientifically fascinating but filled with wonder and love for each animal as an individual—a creature who loves his or her life as much as we love ours.

By Konrad Lorenz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked King Solomon's Ring as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2020 Reprint of the 1952 Edition.  Exact facsimile of the original edition and not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software.  The book's title refers to the legendary Seal of Solomon, a ring that supposedly gave King Solomon the power to speak to animals.  Lorenz claims that he likewise achieved this feat of communication with several species. He accomplished this by raising them in and around his home and observing their behavior. King Solomon's Ring describes the methods of his investigation, and his resulting findings about animal psychology. Lorenz's findings include the surprisingly refined social system of the common Eurasian jackdaw, the…


Book cover of Of Wolves and Men

Erich Hoyt Author Of Orca: The Whale Called Killer

From my list on studying and living among wild animals.

Who am I?

I’ve spent most of my life since the 1970s working with whales and dolphins. I was lucky to get involved in one of the first field studies for killer whales and since then have led other research in the Russian Far East. I have worked with entomologists in Costa Rican rainforests, blue whale scientists in Québec and Iceland, humpback whale scientists in Hawaii. I’ve searched for rare North Atlantic right whales in the Bay of Fundy, measured Canada’s tallest trees in British Columbia and seen the wild plant ancestors of maize growing in the mountains of Mexico. Field research—studying and living in nature—makes us empathize with Planet Earth.

Erich's book list on studying and living among wild animals

Erich Hoyt Why did Erich love this book?

Lyrical and personal, this breathtaking book leads you on a journey to discover sides of the wolf you might never have expected would exist. The way a deer signals to the wolf that it will give in to the chase, to become the wolf’s prey, and the wolf’s ‘reply.’ Lopez gets into the head of wolves and the social systems of wolf packs. Years ago, travelling through rural Washington State, USA, I met the endangered buffalo timberwolves close-up. I carried Lopez’s thoughts in my head to calm my nerves. After reading this book, I longed to learn as much about killer whales such that we could have this same intimate relationship with them, learning about their ways, understanding their signs. It took time but eventually, we did just that.

By Barry Lopez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......


Book cover of The One and Only Ivan

Julie Buxbaum Author Of The Area 51 Files

From my list on middle grade every grown up should read.

Who am I?

I’ve written books for adults and young adults, but during the pandemic, for the first time in my career, I turned to writing middle grade. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I discovered reading and writing books for children at the time when I felt like I had the least amount of control over the world around me. (Not dissimilar to the powerlessness I often felt as a kid.) Reading middle grade as a grown up turned out to be surprisingly healing. It deals with much of the same terrain we find in adult literature, but often with a huge helping of delight and way better fart jokes. 

Julie's book list on middle grade every grown up should read

Julie Buxbaum Why did Julie love this book?

Do not say I didn’t warn you: this book requires a box of tissues. It’s told from the perspective of a gorilla named Ivan, who is stuck in a glass enclosure in a shopping mall. Stay with me on this; I can feel you doubting me. When Ivan befriends a baby elephant named Ruby, who is taken from the wild, he begins to see his circumstances in a whole new way, and discovers that art might be a ticket to freedom. Okay, I know what you are thinking: I am a grown up. I do not read books told from the perspective of gorillas, nor do I read the book equivalent of cute YouTube videos of weird animal friendships. All I can say is: trust me. It’s brilliant. 

By Katherine Applegate, Patricia Castelao (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The One and Only Ivan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture available on Disney+!

Inspired by a true story, this is the beautifully written tale of how a mighty gorilla wins his freedom. A winning blend of humour and poignancy that will appeal to fans of Michael Morpurgo.

This #1 New York Times bestselling and Newbery Award-winning novel is coming to the big screen this summer, with a star-studded cast including Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, Helen Mirren, Bryan Cranston, and more!

Ivan is an easy-going gorilla who has spent his life performing for the crowds at the Exit 8 shopping mall. He rarely misses…


Book cover of My Ishmael

Sarah Pegrum Author Of Break the Binds of Weight Stigma: Free Yourself from Body Image Struggles Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

From my list on getting perspective about life and be inspired.

Who am I?

I’m a clinical psychologist, which gifts me the experience of being part of people's journey of looking at their lives differently and transforming. Early in my career, throughout my academic studies, I was particularly curious about and drawn to existential perspectives. Sadly, with multiple losses of close loved ones, I was pushed into grappling with existential questions at a more personal level. Yet the pain of loss created shifts in perspective that have helped shape who I am, and the work that I do. I have found that connecting with people, travel, and books are avenues that help me continue to ask questions about life and inspire new directions. 

Sarah's book list on getting perspective about life and be inspired

Sarah Pegrum Why did Sarah love this book?

My Ishmael is a book that got my mind thinking. It raises many questions about how we live and whether that is the best way to live.

I enjoyed how these questions are explored through a relationship between a child and a gorilla as it holds the reader in a place of curiosity, as opposed to judgment. This approach sits well with my values and makes it an easy read. One of my favorite quotes is “The only way you can be insulated from harm is by not existing, and that's no way to live.”

By Daniel Quinn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Daniel Quinn's Ishmael was the winner of the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship, a prize honoring fiction that offers creative and positive solutions to global problems.  This extraordinary novel has become an underground bestseller and a testament for a burgeoning spiritual movement.  Mr. Quinn's new novel is a companion piece--not a story that follows the first but rather a story contemporaneous with the first.  In it, the Ishmael saga takes a startling direction that is in no way prefigured in the original.

The gorilla licked his lips--nervously, it seemed to me.  "I think we can safely say that I'm not prepared to…


Book cover of Ishmael

Arielle Ford Author Of The Love Thief

From my list on growing your soul and opening your heart.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved fairytales, whimsical stories, and mysteries. Plus, I’m passionate about mind-expanding, heart-opening books that offer me new ways to understand myself and the Universe we live in. And I particularly like books that show me ways to have more of what brings me joy and pleasure. When I can get all of this in a novel I’m in heaven.

Arielle's book list on growing your soul and opening your heart

Arielle Ford Why did Arielle love this book?

This is a very original book with deep wisdom delivered through a most unique relationship about a man and the Gorilla who becomes his Guru!

One of the most life-changing concepts I took from the book is that there are two kinds of people in the world: leavers and takers. I recognized that I am essentially a taker, but the book made me realize that to be a better person it was time for me to become a leaver.

By Daniel Quinn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the most beloved and bestselling novels of spiritual adventure ever published, Ishmael has earned a passionate following. This special twenty-fifth anniversary edition features a new foreword and afterword by the author.

“A thoughtful, fearlessly low-key novel about the role of our species on the planet . . . laid out for us with an originality and a clarity that few would deny.”—The New York Times Book Review

Teacher Seeks Pupil.
Must have an earnest desire to save the world.
Apply in person.

It was just a three-line ad in the personals section, but it launched the adventure of…


Book cover of Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer and the African Adventure the Victorian World by Storm

Bonnie J. Fladung Author Of When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer

From my list on obsession with African wildlife and adventure.

Who am I?

I am an author specializing in nature, travel, and adventure writing. I’ve been fortunate to travel to many of the places featured in my books – including Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. I even to travelled to Morocco to study the art of storytelling with the last of the great storytellers. I’ve always been intrigued by stories that tell a personal journey about overcoming obstacles, especially if the story takes the reader to exotic places. So no wonder I jumped at the opportunity to co-author a book with a game ranger and conservationist in Africa that combines historical perspectives, larger-than-life characters, and dangerous experiences with wildlife. 

Bonnie's book list on obsession with African wildlife and adventure

Bonnie J. Fladung Why did Bonnie love this book?

I love nonfiction adventure books that immerse you in the details of an adventure while providing enough background information to understand the historical, cultural, and scientific perspectives of an era. In the mid-19th century, Paul du Chaillu spent years in Western Africa tracking down the njena, the mythical beast. This book makes for interesting reading as the author weaves the true-life adventure story of the discovery of the gorilla with Darwin’s evolutionary debate, and the challenges a Victorian-era scientist faced to prove his credibility. 

By Monte Reel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Between Man and Beast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1856, Paul Du Chaillu ventured into the African jungle in search of a mythic beast, the gorilla. After wild encounters with vicious cannibals, deadly snakes, and tribal kings, Du Chaillu emerged with 20 preserved gorilla skins—two of which were stuffed and brought on tour—and walked smack dab into the biggest scientific debate of the time: Darwin's theory of evolution. Quickly, Du Chaillu's trophies went from objects of wonder to key pieces in an all-out intellectual war. With a wide range of characters, including Abraham Lincoln, Arthur Conan Doyle, P.T Barnum, Thackeray, and of course, Charles Darwin, this is a…


Book cover of The Murderer's Ape

Nadine Wild-Palmer Author Of The Tunnels Below

From my list on to escape reality.

Who am I?

I have always been a very imaginative individual and even now I think of my imagination as a place I can escape to. I build worlds and dimensions in my head and visit them often especially when I'm writing my own books, poems, or drafting characters. I'm a very visual individual and pay attention to detail so these imagined worlds can become quite complex and intricate. That's why I have always loved adventure, it's such a privilege to be given access to other worlds and minds through the medium of books. You get a chance to wander around someone else's imagination – what a way to escape, what an adventure in and of itself!

Nadine's book list on to escape reality

Nadine Wild-Palmer Why did Nadine love this book?

A real tour de force that for me was reminiscent of Phileas Fogg's adventures in Around the World in 80 Days. The story follows the life of an intelligent gorilla who although lacking the power of speech is an extraordinary, loveable protagonist. It is accompanied by black and white illustrations that feel like etchings and that only enhance the wistful and nostalgic window through which we observe this gorilla’s world and life experience. It's a lengthy book and so at first may seem like a big commitment especially as it is aimed at children (it also have some grown-up themes) but once you begin the journey I defy anyone to try and get off as the mystery and magic unfold alongside a powerful story of friendship and love. Another brilliant example of how to escape the reality of the every day and be whisked into a world of mystery,…

By Jakob Wegelius,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Murderer's Ape as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she's an extraordinary individual. In overalls or in a maharaja's turban, this unique gorilla moves among humans without speaking but understanding everything. She and the Chief are devoted comrades who operate a cargo boat. A job they are offered pays big bucks, but the deal ends badly, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder.

For Sally Jones this is the start of a harrowing quest for survival and to clear the Chief's name. Powerful forces are working against her, and they will do anything to protect their secrets.


Book cover of Spider School

Kate Lum Author Of What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story

From my list on kids' stories for bedtime, travel-time, and fireside.

Who am I?

I’m a New Englander by birth, a Canadian by circumstance, and a Nova Scotian by choice. For as long as I can remember, I’ve told stories, first to my little sister—a captive audience—then to my children, then at my book readings, and now on my podcast, Kate and Friends, which I’m lucky enough to record with two professional musicians. For me, the ultimate test of a story is whether it can be told without visual aids. While I love picture books, and the way an artist can deepen a child’s experience of a story, I gravitate to satisfying, stand-alone tales with a good twist. They’re difficult to write, easy to remember, and great fun to tell! 

Kate's book list on kids' stories for bedtime, travel-time, and fireside

Kate Lum Why did Kate love this book?

One of my daughter’s perennial favourites, I read this so often I had it memorized, and found it great to tell even without the hilarious pictures. In this story, Kate is facing her first day of school. So miserable is she at the very idea, she gets out on the wrong side of the bed. So of course, everything goes wrong! Her school is a dungeon, her teacher is a gorilla, and the dinner lady serves spiders, snails, and snakes for lunch. Brave Kate fights back, runs home, and saves her own day when she gets up all over again, on the right side of the bed. This is, underneath, a story about attitude, and reassures kids about the reality of school by comically exaggerating one child’s fears. But it’s also great fun to tell, with silly voices, unexpected developments, and a fine arc of tension till Kate decides to…

By Francesca Simon, Peta Coplans (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spider School as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Every child's worst nightmare is brought to life by Fancesca Simon's enchanting and witty text and by Peta Coplans' bright, bold and quirky illustations. This funny, original book is full of charm and humour - and it has a happy ending!


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gorillas, friendships, and Africa?

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