100 books like Greenwood

By Michael Christie,

Here are 100 books that Greenwood fans have personally recommended if you like Greenwood. 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 Migrations

D.J. Green Author Of No More Empty Spaces

From my list on fiction books where science plays a main character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an avid reader of fiction and kind of a nerd, too, so I love books with science in them. I’m a scientist myself, now retired from a career in environmental and engineering geology. I am fascinated by the Earth and the geologic processes that shape it, from the seemingly mundane (like erosion) to the remarkable (like earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions). As a writer, I try to translate that wonder for non-scientist readers, all wrapped up in a compelling story. Each book on this list sure does that, weaving science into the fabric of a gripping narrative. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

D.J.'s book list on fiction books where science plays a main character

D.J. Green Why did D.J. love this book?

I have tended to shy away from novels involving climate crises, but this book was different. I turned page after page, staying up way past my bedtime, to find out why Franny, the protagonist, was so driven to follow the Arctic terns on their epic migration. Turns out Franny, and some of her fellow travelers were on epic journeys of their own.

Though a geologist by education and profession, I’m an avid bird watcher too (as a little kid, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d reply, “I’m going to get a Ph.D. in ornithology”). I loved the ornithology and climate science that was so skillfully woven into this story of loss and love.

By Charlotte McConaghy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'An extraordinary novel... as beautiful and as wrenching as anything I've ever read' Emily St. John Mandel

A dark past. An impossible journey. The will to survive.

Franny Stone is determined to go to the end of the earth, following the last of the Arctic terns on what may be their final migration to Antarctica.

As animal populations plummet, Franny talks her way onto one of the few remaining boats heading south. But as she and the eccentric crew travel further from shore and safety, the dark secrets of Franny's life begin to unspool.

Haunted by love and violence, Franny…


Book cover of The Milagro Beanfield War

Eva Silverfine Author Of How to Bury Your Dog

From my list on our connections with the natural environment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I grew up in New York City, from a young age I was drawn to the natural world, particularly through gardening and camping trips. Eventually I studied biology in college and earned a Master’s researching stream ecology. I also always imagined myself a writer. For years my writing was solely in letters and journals, but during my Master’s I started a novel featuring an immature mayfly in the stream (it was somewhat autobiographical). Ecology is all about the connection of organisms to their environment and to one another, and I think this perspective of connectedness has embedded itself deeply in my writing and my life.

Eva's book list on our connections with the natural environment

Eva Silverfine Why did Eva love this book?

First of all, this sprawling novel is funny and entertaining, and those qualities would be reason enough that I would recommend it. Yet beyond those qualities, it created a strong sense of place and a real social and political conflict without ever becoming preachy or heavy handed—not an easy feat as I have learned.

The storyline, a conflict over land use and water rights, is repeated again and again throughout the West and Southwest in particular—in this case pitting real estate developers against impoverished locals. But the story is also about a conflict of cultures and how those cultures perceive and connect to the land. Exposing such conflicts is a boon of literature.

By John Nichols,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Milagro Beanfield War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Milagro Beanfield War is the first book in John Nichols's New Mexico Trilogy (“Gentle, funny, transcendent.” ―The New York Times Book Review)

Joe Mondragon, a feisty hustler with a talent for trouble, slammed his battered pickup to a stop, tugged on his gumboots, and marched into the arid patch of ground. Carefully (and also illegally), he tapped into the main irrigation channel. And so began-though few knew it at the time-the Milagro beanfield war. But like everything else in the dirt-poor town of Milagro, it would be a patchwork war, fought more by tactical retreats than by battlefield victories.…


Book cover of Prodigal Summer

D.J. Green Author Of No More Empty Spaces

From my list on fiction books where science plays a main character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an avid reader of fiction and kind of a nerd, too, so I love books with science in them. I’m a scientist myself, now retired from a career in environmental and engineering geology. I am fascinated by the Earth and the geologic processes that shape it, from the seemingly mundane (like erosion) to the remarkable (like earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions). As a writer, I try to translate that wonder for non-scientist readers, all wrapped up in a compelling story. Each book on this list sure does that, weaving science into the fabric of a gripping narrative. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

D.J.'s book list on fiction books where science plays a main character

D.J. Green Why did D.J. love this book?

This is my favorite of Kingsolver’s books. I fell in love with so many of the characters, even some of the crustier sort. I also fell in love with the Appalachian mountains and valleys where they worked, studied, and sometimes struggled.

This is a poignant book about families and landscapes, and how we must find our own place in each.

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is summer in the Appalachian mountains and love, desire and attraction are in the air. Nature, too, it seems, is not immune. From her outpost in an isolated mountain cabin, Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. She is caught off guard by a young hunter who invades her most private spaces and interrupts her self-assured, solitary life. On a farm several miles down the mountain, Lusa Maluf Landowski, a bookish city girl turned farmer's wife, finds herself marooned in a strange place where she must declare or…


Book cover of To the Bright Edge of the World

Peggy O'Donnell Heffington Author Of Without Children: The Long History of Not Being a Mother

From my list on women without kids (that aren’t sad).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who knows women have long lived not-sad lives without children. I’ve spent years researching the full and vibrant lives women without children lived throughout history—lives that often were only possible because they didn’t have the responsibilities of motherhood. I’m also a woman living a decidedly not-sad life without kids. And yet, in popular imagination, a woman without kids must be longing to be a mother or grieving the fact that she isn’t. I know firsthand that it can be isolating not to have kids. But in writing about the sheer variety of lives non-mothers lived in the past, I’m trying to show that we’re not alone.

Peggy's book list on women without kids (that aren’t sad)

Peggy O'Donnell Heffington Why did Peggy love this book?

Unlike Ivey’s other book The Snow Child, which grapples with the grief of infertility (a book I also love!), this book considers the opportunities a life without children allows for.

It opens with Lieutenant Colonel Allan Forrester as he prepares to lead an expedition into Alaska in 1885. His wife, Sophie, is an explorer in her own right and plans to accompany him—until they realize she’s pregnant and decide she has to stay behind.

Spoiler: Sophie miscarries and learns she will likely never be able to carry a baby to term. But this isn’t an endpoint for Sophie: instead, it sets her on a path toward professional and creative success, as well as love and happiness in her marriage.

We’re used to reading about how motherhood gives life meaning—I loved Ivey’s portrait of how not having kids can do the same.

By Eowyn Ivey,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked To the Bright Edge of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDWARD STANFORD TRAVEL WRITING AWARDS 2016.

Set in the Alaskan landscape that she brought to stunningly vivid life in THE SNOW CHILD (a Sunday Times bestseller, Richard and Judy pick and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Eowyn Ivey's TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD is a breathtaking story of discovery set at the end of the nineteenth century, sure to appeal to fans of A PLACE CALLED WINTER.

'A clever, ambitious novel' The Sunday Times

'Persuasive and vivid... what could be a better beach read than an Arctic adventure?' Guardian


'Stunning and intriguing... the reader finishes…


Book cover of Ravensong - A Novel

Peggy Herring Author Of Anna, Like Thunder

From my list on pacific northwest history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a transplant to the west coast of North America, I’m always on the lookout for books that capture aspects of the history of this region and help me understand my new home. For me, the books on this list have shed light on different communities, worldviews, and a complicated past. Besides, I am a pushover for epic stories that span generations and geographies and teach me new ways of thinking and looking at the world.

Peggy's book list on pacific northwest history

Peggy Herring Why did Peggy love this book?

Coupled with Celia’s Song which extends this family saga, this story painted a picture for me about Indigenous history and the interconnected issues on the coast such as the environment, colonization, justice, and transformation. Maracle’s prose reads like poetry, and yet what I found most remarkable was the storytelling. She effortlessly twines together past and present, human and non-human worlds, breaking many rules of Western narrative tradition. Rarely do you run across a book where equal attention is paid to both form and theme. This one does, and it encouraged me to reflect on literary conventions deeply embedded into my subconscious and then ask myself why and, most importantly, how we tell stories.

By Lee Maracle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ravensong - A Novel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set along the Pacific Northwest Coast in the 1950s, Ravensong tells the story of an urban Native community devastated by an influenza epidemic. Stacey, a 17-year-old Native girl, struggles with the clash between white society's values and her family's traditional ways, knowing that her future lies somewhere in between. Celia, her sister, has visions from the past, while Raven warns of an impending catastrophe before there is any reconciliation between the two cultures. In this passionate story about a young woman's quest for answers, author Lee Maracle speaks unflinchingly of the gulf between two cultures: a gulf that Raven says…


Book cover of The Reckoning of Boston Jim

Peggy Herring Author Of Anna, Like Thunder

From my list on pacific northwest history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a transplant to the west coast of North America, I’m always on the lookout for books that capture aspects of the history of this region and help me understand my new home. For me, the books on this list have shed light on different communities, worldviews, and a complicated past. Besides, I am a pushover for epic stories that span generations and geographies and teach me new ways of thinking and looking at the world.

Peggy's book list on pacific northwest history

Peggy Herring Why did Peggy love this book?

Packed with detail about Victoria, Vancouver Island, and the Gold Rush days in British Columbia, I thought this book was engaging, epic, funny (wait until the camels appear—and the wake!), and a real page-turner. I swooned over the descriptions of the landscape and would go so far as to say the land and sea, so alive in this book, should be considered a character. I was so profoundly invested in the fates of Jim, Dora, and Eugene, that I almost missed how cunningly the novel took on gender, class, and race, illuminating so many of the contemporary issues dogging us here on the coast.  

Book cover of Kolea

Peggy Herring Author Of Anna, Like Thunder

From my list on pacific northwest history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a transplant to the west coast of North America, I’m always on the lookout for books that capture aspects of the history of this region and help me understand my new home. For me, the books on this list have shed light on different communities, worldviews, and a complicated past. Besides, I am a pushover for epic stories that span generations and geographies and teach me new ways of thinking and looking at the world.

Peggy's book list on pacific northwest history

Peggy Herring Why did Peggy love this book?

This novel is like a wild ride on the ocean. I loved how it took me into the Indigenous communities in the Hawai’ian Islands prior to contact with Europeans and revealed their longstanding links to the Pacific coast of North America. There’s an epic story, and it’s chock full of marvelous detail about culture, food, clothing, migration, and worldview, and even explores the nature of time. However, what most struck me was considering what it would be like to orient my thinking to the sea and its rhythms instead of the land. It shifted the way I see the place I live.   

By Russell Cahill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To paradise they sailed—

There once was a world where hula dancers were experts at spear fighting, where a blind warrior taught his students healing arts...

where adventure ruled—

...as well as savage fighting. And where young people could build and sail a canoe on voyages to unknown lands.

where danger waited...

That world was Hawai’i.

The illegitimate child of Maui’s King, Kolea, is spirited away to Molokai and raised in seclusion by a mysterious Hula Dancer and a blind warrior. Trained as a warrior, he is pursued by his evil half-brother.

A daring escape in a voyaging canoe leads…


Book cover of Astra: A Novel

Buffy Cram Author Of Once Upon an Effing Time

From my list on living that 60s cult/commune life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up living in a housing co-op on Vancouver Island, BC. While not technically a commune, it did have some of the hallmarks. There were gangs of partially clothed kids roaming wild. There were a bunch of idealistic adults who had dreams of shared land stewardship and, well, shared everything. The housing project succeeded in many ways (it still exists today) and, it failed in other ways (over the years there were many fractures in the community). I’ve always been fascinated by attempts at communal living. I suppose my obsession with cult life is just an extension of this. It is my life imagined one step further.

Buffy's book list on living that 60s cult/commune life

Buffy Cram Why did Buffy love this book?

This novel tells the story of one person, Astrid, who grows up in a dysfunctional failed utopian commune in British Columbia, Canada.

The story of Astrid is told from multiple points of view. Each character paints a different picture of this child-who-becomes-a-woman, at different stages in her life. But what I like most about this book is its exploration of the aftermath of growing up in a failed utopian commune.

How does a person carry this ejected-from-Eden baggage with them over a lifespan? Is it possible to overcome it and fit into “normal” society again? The answers to these questions might surprise you.

Book cover of Little Fortress

Karen Hofmann Author Of What Is Going to Happen Next

From my list on families and growing up in rural British Columbia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a rural community and have lived most of my adult life in a small city in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. I’m fascinated with West Coast culture, particularly the Canadian version of it, which is connected to the environment and outdoors, shaped by more recent immigration and its sense of distance and disconnect from the country’s capital and economic and social centres, and informed by a more gentle climate. Rural west coast culture is especially rich in iconoclasts, those who live outside the norm, and I’ve explored these sorts of characters in all four of my novels and my short story collection.

Karen's book list on families and growing up in rural British Columbia

Karen Hofmann Why did Karen love this book?

Laisha Rosnau is a prize-winning poet, and her literary skills shine in this novel about a noble Italian family, the Caetanis, who immigrate from Italy to Vernon, BC to escape the rise of fascism. Based on a true story, this intricate novel explores the bonds of family and friendship, the contrasts in class and changing times, and the hardships and beauties of life in a rural area through the lives of three women. I was captivated by the characters and the gorgeous, insightful writing. Ofelia and Sveva Caetani and their personal secretary, Miss Juul, will stay with you forever as women creating home and family in the face of exile, loss, and sweeping change.

By Laisha Rosnau,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Based on the true story of the Caetanis, Italian nobility driven into exile by the rise of fascism, the long-awaited second novel by award-winning author Laisha Rosnau follows this once glittering family to British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. When Ofelia Caetani takes her daughter, Sveva, into seclusion after the death of the duke, they are cared for by their personal secretary, Miss Jüül, who brings her own secrets to their twenty-five-year retreat from the world. As the stories of these three remarkable women unfurl in unexpected and often tragic ways, Little Fortress is revealed as a graceful and intricate tale of…


Book cover of The Tree Whisperer: Writing Poetry by Living in the World

Karen Hofmann Author Of What Is Going to Happen Next

From my list on families and growing up in rural British Columbia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a rural community and have lived most of my adult life in a small city in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. I’m fascinated with West Coast culture, particularly the Canadian version of it, which is connected to the environment and outdoors, shaped by more recent immigration and its sense of distance and disconnect from the country’s capital and economic and social centres, and informed by a more gentle climate. Rural west coast culture is especially rich in iconoclasts, those who live outside the norm, and I’ve explored these sorts of characters in all four of my novels and my short story collection.

Karen's book list on families and growing up in rural British Columbia

Karen Hofmann Why did Karen love this book?

I loved this book for the beauty of the prose and for Harold Rhenisch’s inimitable voice, his language, his wit, his eye for detail. Rhenisch has published many books of poetry and non-fiction about the BC Interior, and it’s difficult to choose just one. I liked this, a study of the apple and the rose, of pruning trees, of BC Interior orcharding, of a unique lifestyle and culture, and of life and living. Rhenisch is one of the best Canadian writers and should be more well-known.  

By Harold Rhenisch,

Why should I read it?

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


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