100 books like Heating & Cooling

By Beth Ann Fennelly,

Here are 100 books that Heating & Cooling fans have personally recommended if you like Heating & Cooling. 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 Devotion

Jennifer Lang Author Of Places We Left Behind: A Memoir-in-Miniature

From my list on home and why it isn’t obvious for everyone.

Why am I passionate about this?

For my first 18 years, I slept in the same room (opposite my parents) in the same house (116 Monticello Avenue) in the same city (Piedmont) in the same state (CA) in the same country (USA), but soon after leaving for college in Evanston, IL, I pined for elsewhere and ended up peripatetic. That peripateticness plagued me, as a woman/wife/mother. While growing our family, my French husband and I moved: Israel to France to California to New York to Israel to New York to Israel. Finally, in my early fifties, I understood home is more about who you are than where you live. 

Jennifer's book list on home and why it isn’t obvious for everyone

Jennifer Lang Why did Jennifer love this book?

In 102 brief numbered chapters, Dani Shapiro goes on a journey to examine her belief system.

Raised as an only child in a religious Jewish house, she fled to find herself. Decades later—after losing her father, being left alone to deal with her mother, and facing her infant son’s life-threatening illness—she wrestled with existential questions.

Like a spiritual investigator, she searched for answers, jumping from one house of faith and experience to another, from her childhood synagogue to her meditation teacher. In my early 50s, I, too, woke up and wondered if my inherited religion served me.

For my half-century birthday, my husband and I checked into a French Benedictine Monastery in Abu Gosh near Jerusalem, where a nun asked our religious affiliation. Born Jewish, I said, but questioning. 

By Dani Shapiro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Devotion’s biggest triumph is its voice: funny and unpretentious, concrete and earthy—appealing to skeptics and believers alike. This is a gripping, beautiful story.” — Jennifer Egan, author of The Keep

“I was immensely moved by this elegant book.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Dani Shapiro, the acclaimed author of the novel Black and White and the bestselling memoir Slow Motion, is back with Devotion: a searching and timeless new memoir that examines the fundamental questions that wake women in the middle of the night, and grapples with the ways faith, prayer, and devotion affect everyday life. Devotion…


Book cover of The Part That Burns

Jennifer Lang Author Of Places We Left Behind: A Memoir-in-Miniature

From my list on home and why it isn’t obvious for everyone.

Why am I passionate about this?

For my first 18 years, I slept in the same room (opposite my parents) in the same house (116 Monticello Avenue) in the same city (Piedmont) in the same state (CA) in the same country (USA), but soon after leaving for college in Evanston, IL, I pined for elsewhere and ended up peripatetic. That peripateticness plagued me, as a woman/wife/mother. While growing our family, my French husband and I moved: Israel to France to California to New York to Israel to New York to Israel. Finally, in my early fifties, I understood home is more about who you are than where you live. 

Jennifer's book list on home and why it isn’t obvious for everyone

Jennifer Lang Why did Jennifer love this book?

The Part That Burns is not a linear narrative but a memoir in fragments. Each essay or chapter is different, interesting, engaging like scattered pieces of a puzzle that the writer—and reader—are trying to put together.

It's about a childhood wrought with abuse and rejection, about trauma and epigenetics, home and roots. It's about a girl who grows up to become a teenager who becomes a young woman who becomes a wife and a mother and every step of the way, she yearns for what we all yearn for: acceptance and love.

My memoir is as slim and sparse as Ouellette’s and some might consider my chronological story as fragmented because of its tiny chapters and missing connective tissue from one chapter to the next.  

By Jeannine Ouellette,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I love this book and am grateful it is in the world." —Dorothy Allison, New York Times best-selling author of Bastard Out of Carolina and Cavedweller
"Simply beautiful. Precisely imagined, poetically structured, compelling, and vivid." —Joyce Carol Oates
"A textured remembrance of a traumatic childhood that also offers affecting moments of beauty." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

In her fiercely beautiful memoir, Jeannine Ouellette recollects fragments of her life and arranges them elliptically to witness each piece as torn and whole, as something more than itself. Caught between the dramatic landscapes of Lake Superior and Casper Mountain, between her stepfather’s groping…


Book cover of Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories

Ran Walker Author Of The Library of Afro Curiosities: 100-Word Stories

From my list on microfiction for those with limited time to read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of ten collections of microfiction and poetry. I came to microfiction after having written several novels and short story collections. I just felt that I was saying more than I wanted to say. Microfiction has allowed me to completely distill my stories to the essence of what makes them tick. Of the 26 books I have written, the microfiction collections are my favorites because every word and idea is carefully measured. I am presently working on my next collection of microfiction and have no immediate plans to return to writing at longer lengths. Oddly, writing small has freed me up so I can experiment with various genres, structures, and ideas. I honestly feel microfiction has made me a much better writer.

Ran's book list on microfiction for those with limited time to read

Ran Walker Why did Ran love this book?

Prior to reading this book, I was unfamiliar with 100-word stories (or drabbles). Even more, I had never seen a book that consisted entirely of 100-word stories before. Each one was a distinct and thorough world unto itself. It was through this book that I began to understand the possibilities for the 100-word form. If it were not for this book, I might have never really pushed myself to understand, appreciate, and write microfiction.

By Grant Faulkner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Fissures, a collection of one hundred 100-word stories, Grant Faulkner uses the hard borders of the 100-word story form to evocatively capture the drama of the lacunae we live in, whether it's the gulf between a loved one, the natural world, or God.

"I've always thought life is more about what is unsaid than what is said," he says. "We live in odd gaps of silence, irremediable interstices that sometimes last forever. A lingering glance averted. The lover who slams the door and runs away. Unsent letters."

Faulkner, the executive director of National Novel Writing Month and the co-founder…


Book cover of Without a Net

Ran Walker Author Of The Library of Afro Curiosities: 100-Word Stories

From my list on microfiction for those with limited time to read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of ten collections of microfiction and poetry. I came to microfiction after having written several novels and short story collections. I just felt that I was saying more than I wanted to say. Microfiction has allowed me to completely distill my stories to the essence of what makes them tick. Of the 26 books I have written, the microfiction collections are my favorites because every word and idea is carefully measured. I am presently working on my next collection of microfiction and have no immediate plans to return to writing at longer lengths. Oddly, writing small has freed me up so I can experiment with various genres, structures, and ideas. I honestly feel microfiction has made me a much better writer.

Ran's book list on microfiction for those with limited time to read

Ran Walker Why did Ran love this book?

It was hard to settle on a single book by Shua, who is widely considered the “Queen of South American Microfiction,” because her work is just so good. Without a Net is one of her two microfiction collections translated into English. This one deals with characters from circuses and carnivals and is an astonishing collection of microfiction. Each carefully chosen word resonates and illustrates the power of the form. This is a book I would want to have with me if I could only take one book with me on a weeks-long trip.

By Ana Maria Shua,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Without a Net as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fiction. Latino/Latina Studies. Translated from the Spanish by Steven J. Stewart. "Ana María Shua's microfictions reveal oneiric universes, multiform realties, secret worlds with the unlikely coherence of the absurd, the amorphous logic of the imagination. They are characterized by the most unique form of concise language and the omnipresence of humor."—Raúl Brasca


Book cover of Briefs

Ran Walker Author Of The Library of Afro Curiosities: 100-Word Stories

From my list on microfiction for those with limited time to read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of ten collections of microfiction and poetry. I came to microfiction after having written several novels and short story collections. I just felt that I was saying more than I wanted to say. Microfiction has allowed me to completely distill my stories to the essence of what makes them tick. Of the 26 books I have written, the microfiction collections are my favorites because every word and idea is carefully measured. I am presently working on my next collection of microfiction and have no immediate plans to return to writing at longer lengths. Oddly, writing small has freed me up so I can experiment with various genres, structures, and ideas. I honestly feel microfiction has made me a much better writer.

Ran's book list on microfiction for those with limited time to read

Ran Walker Why did Ran love this book?

John Edgar Wideman is the first African-American writer I can clearly point to who took microfiction seriously enough to write an entire collection. His stories are filtered through the lens of Blackness, but that is not the major reason why I like this book. Wideman does things with language that force me to completely step back and rethink things. I find myself reading his words aloud, simply because they feel as though they transcend the page. If it were not for Wideman, I would not feel as comfortable revealing the authenticity of my experience in my work.

By John Edgar Wideman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

BRIEFS is a groundbreaking new collection of "microstories" from celebrated author John Edgar Wideman, previous winner of both the Rea and O. Henry awards saluting mastery of the short story form. Here he has assembled a masterful collage that explodes our assumptions about the genre. Wideman unveils an utterly original voice and structure-hip-hop zen-where each story is a single breath, to be caught, held, shared and savored. A relief worker's Sudan bulletin, a jogger's bullet-dodging daydreams, your neighbor's fears and fantasies, an absent mother's regrets-Wideman's storytellers are eavesdroppers and peeping Toms, diarists and haiku historians. The characters and compass points…


Book cover of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

Ran Walker Author Of The Library of Afro Curiosities: 100-Word Stories

From my list on microfiction for those with limited time to read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of ten collections of microfiction and poetry. I came to microfiction after having written several novels and short story collections. I just felt that I was saying more than I wanted to say. Microfiction has allowed me to completely distill my stories to the essence of what makes them tick. Of the 26 books I have written, the microfiction collections are my favorites because every word and idea is carefully measured. I am presently working on my next collection of microfiction and have no immediate plans to return to writing at longer lengths. Oddly, writing small has freed me up so I can experiment with various genres, structures, and ideas. I honestly feel microfiction has made me a much better writer.

Ran's book list on microfiction for those with limited time to read

Ran Walker Why did Ran love this book?

After wading through and translating the verbosity of Proust, she challenged herself to write very tiny stories. She is a pioneer in contemporary American literature and her work deals largely with the experiences of women, particularly those in domestic situations. Her work is sharp and pointed, often poetic and resonant. Her use of language really makes you interrogate how many words you truthfully need to tell a good story. This collection combines several of her earlier collections.

By Lydia Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis is the complete collection of short fiction from the world-renowned Lydia Davis.

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2013.

'Big rejoicing: Lydia Davis has won the Man Booker International prize. Never did a book award deliver such a true match-winning punch. Best of all, a new audience will read her now and find her wit, her vigour and rigour, her funniness, her thoughtfulness, and the precision of form, which mark Davis out as unique.

Daring, excitingly intelligent and often wildly comic [she] reminds you, in a world that likes to bandy its words…


Book cover of Bright Dead Things: Poems

Ellis Elliott Author Of A Break in the Field

From my list on poetry to feed your distracted self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a dance teacher all of my adult life, and a poetry and word-lover even longer. I love the economy of language, immediacy, and the promise of surprise in poetry. In middle age, I returned to writing just as my body began its slow rebellion, with the added shifts of remarriage and step-parenting a severely disabled son. I went back to grad school and wrote my first book, drawing on the experience of confronting change, just as these recommended poets have done. Each of these poets has a very different story, but what they have in common outweighs their differences, and because of that we are able to see ourselves in their writing.

Ellis' book list on poetry to feed your distracted self

Ellis Elliott Why did Ellis love this book?

I love the gorgeous, lyrical language Limón uses to sort out loss, own her power, and the power of the “huge beating genius machine” of the heart.

Limón uses imagery so visceral I can touch it, and examines the light and dark of womanhood when she declares, “…the largeness of me, the hot/gore of my want and wants, wants to disarm/the fixedness of this”. I like that what she writes is understandable, but never easy. Limón currently serves as our nation’s Poet Laureate.  

By Ada Limon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bright Dead Things examines the chaos that is life, the dangerous thrill of living in a world you know you have to leave one day, and the search to find something that is ultimately "disorderly, and marvelous, and ours." A book of bravado and introspection, of 21st century feminist swagger and harrowing terror and loss, this fourth collection considers how we build our identities out of place and human contact--tracing in intimate detail the various ways the speaker's sense of self both shifts and perseveres as she moves from New York City to rural Kentucky, loses a dear parent, ages…


Book cover of The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: Poems

Ellis Elliott Author Of A Break in the Field

From my list on poetry to feed your distracted self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a dance teacher all of my adult life, and a poetry and word-lover even longer. I love the economy of language, immediacy, and the promise of surprise in poetry. In middle age, I returned to writing just as my body began its slow rebellion, with the added shifts of remarriage and step-parenting a severely disabled son. I went back to grad school and wrote my first book, drawing on the experience of confronting change, just as these recommended poets have done. Each of these poets has a very different story, but what they have in common outweighs their differences, and because of that we are able to see ourselves in their writing.

Ellis' book list on poetry to feed your distracted self

Ellis Elliott Why did Ellis love this book?

I like poetry that teaches me something, and I like how Harjo can teach me about Native American myth and culture (as a member of the Muscogee Nation)in a poem set within the context of something as mundane as an airport.

She expertly threads together the modern with the historical, and the sacred within the ordinary. “Once a woman fell from the sky. The woman who fell from the sky was neither murderer nor saint. She was rather ordinary…”

I am also struck with how Harjo unifies her own unique culture with the shared experiences of all of us, as in: “Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last/ sweet bite”.

By Joy Harjo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Woman Who Fell from the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

She draws from the Native American tradition of praising the land and the spirit, the realities of American culture, and the concept of feminine individuality.


Book cover of Perfect Black

Ellis Elliott Author Of A Break in the Field

From my list on poetry to feed your distracted self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a dance teacher all of my adult life, and a poetry and word-lover even longer. I love the economy of language, immediacy, and the promise of surprise in poetry. In middle age, I returned to writing just as my body began its slow rebellion, with the added shifts of remarriage and step-parenting a severely disabled son. I went back to grad school and wrote my first book, drawing on the experience of confronting change, just as these recommended poets have done. Each of these poets has a very different story, but what they have in common outweighs their differences, and because of that we are able to see ourselves in their writing.

Ellis' book list on poetry to feed your distracted self

Ellis Elliott Why did Ellis love this book?

This collection teaches me as well, by taking me into the experience of growing up in the Black, rural Appalachian South.

The poems are part memoir, as in writing about the experience of her mother visiting her where she lived with her grandparents, “(We) held hands like we thought/mothers & daughters should/but neither of us knew for sure.” 

They are also part love song to home-cooking, “Every morning of my childhood, my grandmother, who stood a little/ under five feet tall, donned an apron and cooked breakfast. Slow. Precise./ Deliberate. She equated food with love, and she cooked with both a fury/ and a quiet joy.” 

And finally, they are part Black feminist manifesto, “My black body is a boulder, a stop sign. Sometimes i think my body is/ graceful, a song of freedom. Sometimes i think it is something that every/ eye casts away. I must concentrate if i…

By Crystal Wilkinson, Ronald W. Davis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the foreword:

"In Perfect Black, Crystal Wilkinson walks us back down the road she first walked as a girl, wanders us through the trees that lined the road where she grew up, where her sensibilities as a woman and a writer were first laid bare. In one of the first poems that opens the collection she is a woman looking back on her life, on the soil and mountains that first stamped the particular sound of her voice and she is deeply inquisitive about how it all fell into place: "The map of me can't be all hills& mountains…


Book cover of Odes

Ellis Elliott Author Of A Break in the Field

From my list on poetry to feed your distracted self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a dance teacher all of my adult life, and a poetry and word-lover even longer. I love the economy of language, immediacy, and the promise of surprise in poetry. In middle age, I returned to writing just as my body began its slow rebellion, with the added shifts of remarriage and step-parenting a severely disabled son. I went back to grad school and wrote my first book, drawing on the experience of confronting change, just as these recommended poets have done. Each of these poets has a very different story, but what they have in common outweighs their differences, and because of that we are able to see ourselves in their writing.

Ellis' book list on poetry to feed your distracted self

Ellis Elliott Why did Ellis love this book?

This book embraces both the conventional and the campy. Odes is unafraid to take an unflinching look at an aging female body, and when I say “unflinching”, I mean poems like, "Ode to the Hymen" or "Blow Job Ode".

She also addresses conventional subjects in her poems, such as her sister, buttermilk, and the wind. Odes definitely pushes boundaries, but does so with consummate skill, so that you feel both highly literary and a little dirty at the same time.

She doesn’t just talk about obvious body parts, either. In "Ode to Wattles", she writes, “…I love to be a little/disgusting, to go as far as I can/into the thrilling unloveliness/of an elder woman’s aging.” 

 

By Sharon Olds,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • An intimate collection of poems that “picks up where Stag’s Leap left off, which is to say that it contains some of the best and most ingenious poems of her career.” —The New York Times

Opening with the powerful and tender “Ode to the Hymen,” Sharon Olds addresses and embodies, in this age-old poetic form, many aspects of love and gender and sexual politics in a collection that is centered on the body and its structures and pleasures. The poems extend parts of her narrative as a daughter, mother, wife, lover, friend, and poet of conscience…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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