100 books like Hidden Valley Road

By Robert Kolker,

Here are 100 books that Hidden Valley Road fans have personally recommended if you like Hidden Valley Road. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity

Joanna Faber and Julie King Author Of How to Talk When Kids Won't Listen: Whining, Fighting, Meltdowns, Defiance, and Other Challenges of Childhood

From my list on to create strong connections in their families.

Who are we?

Joanna Faber is the daughter of Adele Faber, a pioneer of the internationally acclaimed best-selling How To Talk series that has helped millions of parents worldwide. Joanna joined forces with her childhood friend Julie King to provide support for parents and educators of the 21st century. Each draws on her own experiences – Joanna as a bilingual teacher in West Harlem, Julie as a specialist in helping parents of children on the autism spectrum – to lead workshops and speak to parent groups, teachers, doctors, and librarians worldwide, including online sessions to support parents during Covid lockdowns and afterwards. Together, Joanna and Julie have written two best-selling How To Talk books

Joanna and Julie's book list on to create strong connections in their families

Joanna Faber and Julie King Why did Joanna and Julie love this book?

Instead of starting with the question, "How can I change my child's behavior?" Andrew Solomon starts by asking, "How does my child experience the world?"

He tells the stories of parents who have struggled to accept that their children are profoundly different from them and offers a deeply optimistic view of relationships and family. This book takes a fascinating dive into different ways of being human – among them, deafness, dwarfism, transgenderism, autism – and inspires us to look at our children through new eyes.

By Andrew Solomon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Far from the Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, a Books for a Better Life Award, and one of The New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of 2012, this masterpiece by the National Book Award–winning author of The Noonday Demon features stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children, but also find profound meaning in doing so—“a brave, beautiful book that will expand your humanity” (People).

Solomon’s startling proposition in Far from the Tree is that being exceptional is at the core of the human condition—that difference is what unites us. He writes about…


Book cover of No One Cares about Crazy People: My Family and the Heartbreak of Mental Illness in America

JoEllen Notte Author Of In It Together: Navigating Depression with Partners, Friends, and Family

From my list on helping you talk about mental health.

Who am I?

According to my mother, my first words were, “what’s that?” and I believe that’s indicative of the level of curiosity with which I try to approach life. That curiosity led me to write books about how we can better love ourselves and each other when depression is gumming up the works. Talking about mental illness is hard, and I aim to make it easier. I’m not a doctor or therapist. I am best described as a “sex writer with a theatre degree” and I like to say my work focuses on sex, mental health, and how none of us are broken.  

JoEllen's book list on helping you talk about mental health

JoEllen Notte Why did JoEllen love this book?

It can be incredibly frustrating to try to talk about how broken the mental healthcare system is (especially in the United States). Most people have no frame of reference for it.

Similarly the impact mental illness can have on family and loved ones is, for many, uncharted territory. Enter No One Care About Crazy People.

Powers expertly weaves the history of mental healthcare in America together with the story of his family’s battles with schizophrenia. The result is a heartbreaking and beautiful and horrifying and eye-opening book that leaves you better equipped to have those frustrating conversations. 

I’m not going to lie to you, this is a hard one to read. It hurts. That said, it is one of my all-time favorite books.

By Ron Powers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked No One Cares about Crazy People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Extraordinary and courageous . . . No doubt if everyone were to read this book, the world would change."---New York Times Book Review

New York Times-bestselling author Ron Powers' critically acclaimed narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons' battles with schizophrenia.

From the centuries of torture of "lunatiks" at Bedlam Asylum to the infamous eugenics era to the follies of the anti-psychiatry movement to the current landscape in which too many families struggle alone to manage afflicted love ones, Powers limns our fears and myths about mental…


Book cover of Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

Stephen Trimble Author Of The Mike File: A Story of Grief and Hope

From my list on families struggling with mental health.

Who am I?

I’d been writing for forty years before I could write about the biggest story in my life. My 25 non-fiction books about the American West—landscape, Native peoples, conservation—are a joy to research, photograph, and create. But I had unfinished emotional business: my mentally ill brother who left home when I was six, never to return. After everyone in my family was gone, it was finally safe. I began to recreate my brother’s life, reveling in research. I know how to do that. Opening myself emotionally to the heart of my family story took far longer. Empathy is a choice, and I’ve made my choice.

Stephen's book list on families struggling with mental health

Stephen Trimble Why did Stephen love this book?

Robert Whitaker’s books inform my work. Both Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic provided crucial policy background as I searched for my brother's personhood. Whitaker’s deep research and ferocious insistence that we rethink psychiatric care guided me into the world of mental illness, the history of treatment, and the controversy over forcing medication on unwilling people. I sympathize with Whitaker and the people who believe anti-psychotics make things worse. But I also meet many with diagnoses who believe in the mantra, “take your meds.” Best practices cannot be one-size (pill)-fits all. I end my own book by imagining the best possible world for mental health treatment—guided both by Whitaker and his most vehement critic, E. Fuller Torrey.

By Robert Whitaker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Schizophrenics in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world's poorest countries. In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are just old medicine in new bottles, and that we as a society are deeply deluded about their efficacy. The widespread use of lobotomies in the 1920s and 1930s gave way in the 1950s to electroshock and a wave of new drugs. In what is perhaps Whitaker's most damning revelation, Mad in America examines how drug companies in the 1980s and 1990s skewed their studies to prove that…


Book cover of Singermann

Stephen Trimble Author Of The Mike File: A Story of Grief and Hope

From my list on families struggling with mental health.

Who am I?

I’d been writing for forty years before I could write about the biggest story in my life. My 25 non-fiction books about the American West—landscape, Native peoples, conservation—are a joy to research, photograph, and create. But I had unfinished emotional business: my mentally ill brother who left home when I was six, never to return. After everyone in my family was gone, it was finally safe. I began to recreate my brother’s life, reveling in research. I know how to do that. Opening myself emotionally to the heart of my family story took far longer. Empathy is a choice, and I’ve made my choice.

Stephen's book list on families struggling with mental health

Stephen Trimble Why did Stephen love this book?

When I began my book, I wanted to know who my mother was at 22, when she left a brief disaster of a first marriage with an infant—my brother, Mike. Mom grew up in Montana, embedded in immigrant Jewish life. My great-uncle, Myron Brinig, wrote about that life and our family in Singermann, his first book (now, alas, an obscure classic available mostly in libraries). In early drafts of my book, I included far too much family history, with Myron as my guide. I loved the detail; my early readers did not. So my published book stays close to the core emotional story. And yet Singermann opens a window not just on our family but others with complicated immigration stories, dark secrets, and intergenerational mental illness.

By Myron Brinig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

hardback no jacket


Book cover of I Know This Much Is True

Deborah Kasdan Author Of Roll Back the World: A Sister's Memoir

From my list on startling encounters with mental illness.

Who am I?

When my older sister died, I felt a pressing need to tell her story. Rachel was a strong, courageous woman, who endured decades in a psychiatric system that failed her. She was a survivor, but the stigma of severe mental illness made her an outcast from most of society. Even so, her enduring passion for poetry inspired me to write about her. I sought out other people’s stories. I enrolled in workshops and therapy. I devoured books and blogs by survivors, advocates, and family members. Everything I read pointed to a troubling rift between the dominant medical model and more humane, less damaging ones. This list represents a slice of my learning.

Deborah's book list on startling encounters with mental illness

Deborah Kasdan Why did Deborah love this book?

Before my sister became so ill, people used to say we looked alike. But ours was just a resemblance. In this novel, Dominick looks exactly like his brother, who has schizophrenia. Dominick encounters his identical twin every time he looks in a mirror. And he is terrified.

I first read this book 25 years ago and inhaled every one of the intertwined subplots in its 900 + pages. Recently, I re-read the “story within the story,” a memoir by Dominick’s grandfather. I became fascinated by his story about the Sicilian market where one chicken transforms into two whole ones—a bit of magical realism about twinning, schizophrenia, and hope. I too excavated old family documents to understand why my sibling suffered so much.

By Wally Lamb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Know This Much Is True as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller and Oprah Book Club selection

"Thoughtful . . . heart-wrenching . . . . An exercise in soul-baring storytelling—with the soul belonging to 20th-century America itself. It's hard to read and to stop reading, and impossible to forget."  — USA Today

Dominick Birdsey, a forty-year-old housepainter living in Three Rivers, Connecticut, finds his subdued life greatly disturbed when his identical twin brother Thomas, a paranoid schizophrenic, commits a shocking act of self-mutilation. Dominick is forced to care for his brother as well as confront dark secrets and pain he has buried deep within himself—a journey…


Book cover of The Center Cannot Hold

Satya Doyle Byock Author Of Quarterlife: The Search for Self in Early Adulthood

From my list on quarterlife beyond the crisis.

Who am I?

Before becoming a psychotherapist and author focused on the stage of adulthood between adolescence and midlife, I survived those years myself. The stage of development that I now call “Quarterlife” is a complex and rich period of life. Countless fictional heroes and protagonists in novels are in Quarterlife, yet the emphasis on these years within psychology and memoir is lacking. I personally love memoirs about this period of life and think they offer so much to others who are struggling through Quarterlife themselves and the trials of “adulting.”

Satya's book list on quarterlife beyond the crisis

Satya Doyle Byock Why did Satya love this book?

I first read this book in graduate school, and it completely changed the way I think about schizophrenia and the daily experience of living with a mental illness.

This memoir chronicles Saks’ experiences attending Oxford University and then Yale Law School with ever more progressive symptoms of schizophrenia; she details her therapy sessions as she worked closely with a psychoanalyst and then the journey to study psychoanalysis herself. I was captivated by Saks’ experience and her skilled storytelling.

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that most commonly emerges in the Quarterlife years and frequently after people have gone away to college. This book is a gift to understanding this experience more fully or for those who want to feel less alone in the struggle with mental and emotional anguish during this time of life. 

By Elyn R. Saks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Center Cannot Hold 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?

Elyn Saks is Professor of Law and Psychiatry at University of Southern California Law School. She's the author of several books. Happily married. And - a schizophrenic. Saks lifts the veil on schizophrenia with her startling and honest account of how she learned to live with this debilitating disease. With a coolly clear, measured tone she talks about her condition, the stigma attached and the deadening effects of medication. Her controlled narrative is disrupted by interjections from the part of her mind she has learned to suppress. Delusions, hallucinations and threatening voices cut into her reality and Saks, in a…


Book cover of A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash

Ted Anton Author Of Programmable Planet: The Synthetic Biology Revolution

From my list on sizzling science books that simplify.

Who am I?

I have written four books of popular science, and edited a fifth collection of my favorite science writers. I have been a judge for the 2022 Science in Society Book Awards for the National Association of Science Writers. I taught popular science writing for 34 years to undergraduates and graduates alike. Most of all, I love the wonder and awe of understanding the world around us.

Ted's book list on sizzling science books that simplify

Ted Anton Why did Ted love this book?

A stunning biography of a brilliant mathematician, John Forbes Nash, and his descent and resurrection from madness, that became a hit movie.

Nasar makes both the mathematics and the personality of an early, unusual and important game theorist come alive for even the most math-adverse reader. This is an unusual account of recovery, of a mind apprehending the world of human competition, and a poetical love and coming-of-age story.

By Sylvia Nasar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Also an Academy Award–winning film starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly—directed by Ron Howard**

The powerful, dramatic biography of math genius John Nash, who overcame serious mental illness and schizophrenia to win the Nobel Prize.

“How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?” the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the movie-star looks and Olympian manner. “Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did,” came the answer. “So I took them seriously.”

Thus begins the true story of John Nash, the mathematical genius who…


Book cover of The Eden Express

Sherry Marie Gallagher Author Of Boulder Blues: A Tale of the Colorado Counterculture

From my list on reliving the American countercultural experience.

Who am I?

As a degreed socio-linguist and international educator, my novel writing has been immersed in the human experience that began early on as a teen musician immersed naively in a non-mainstream world of creatives and cons, when the word 'counterculture' was perceived more as a renaissance than the drug-laden world of darker gatherings that it later came to be known as. Boulder Blues is a work of fiction drawn from both fantasy and personal exposure. From there I went on to teach in American alternative education and later at university with a focus on rhetoric and forensic writing. My draw to other cultures and their perspectives moved me to go on to teach internationally.

Sherry's book list on reliving the American countercultural experience

Sherry Marie Gallagher Why did Sherry love this book?

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s son, Mark, wrote this semi-fictional exploratory piece in an autobiographical style while exploring the nature of drug-induced madness coupled with undiagnosed schizophrenia while living an alternative lifestyle in a working commune. Through it all, the nature of humanity is questioned in a humorously chaotic way. And yet he pulls it all together to somehow not only make sense of, but also be enlightened by, the madness of this counterculture lifestyle. 

Mark Vonnegut later returns to university and obtains a medical degree while exploring the use of orthomolecular medicine as a treatment to combat schizophrenia. While successfully obtaining his medical degree, he eventually disavows orthomolecular therapy as a plausible treatment.

By Mark Vonnegut,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“One of the best books about going crazy . . . required reading for those who want to understand insanity from the inside.”—The New York Times Book Review

Mark Vonnegut set out in search of Eden with his VW bug, his girlfriend, his dog, and his ideals. But genetic predisposition and “a whole lot of **** going down” made Mark Vonnegut crazy in a culture that told him “mental illness is a myth” and “schizophrenia is a sane response to an insane society.” Here he tells his story with the eyes that see from the inside out: a moving remembrance…


Book cover of When Elephants Fly

Traci L. Jones Author Of Silhouetted by the Blue

From my list on shedding a light on mental illness.

Who am I?

One of the reasons I wanted to write about and explore mental health was because I was always fascinated by how the mind works and how it can turn on you without provocation. How and why some people can power through dark times, while others struggle is a topic that, within the African American community, isn't frequently discussed.  Often the advice given to someone about how to get through depression or anxiety is to pray or just dig deep and power through. It is the idea that because our ancestors suffered so much, those of us living in "easier" times should have nothing to be sad about that seems to prevent us from asking for help or getting therapy. 

Traci's book list on shedding a light on mental illness

Traci L. Jones Why did Traci love this book?

Lily’s mom has schizophrenia and Lily is terrified that she might get it too. Lily gets personally involved in a story at her newspaper internship about an abandoned elephant calf. Feeling a kinship with the elephant, Lily goes through extraordinary lengths to make sure the calf finds a safe home, while at the same time, realizing that she has begun to show signs of mental illness. Fischer combines mental illness, family, friendship, and animal welfare into a riveting, thought-provoking book. I loved how she showed the reader how a character can live with the early stages of schizophrenia without losing her sense of self and purpose. 

By Nancy Richardson Fischer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Elephants Fly 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?

"Nancy Richardson Fischer deserves high praise for her well-researched and endearing novel. Her imagination, craft, and effort has resulted in her writing a piece of fiction that is worthy of winning a prize. This really is an outstanding piece of fiction that cannot be recommended enough.” –New York Journal of Books

A Parade Most Anticipated Book of Fall 2018!
A YA Books Central Buzzworthy Books of Fall 2018!
A Publishers Lunch Fall Buzz Book!

Don’t miss one of the most heartwarming young adult novels of the year. Perfect for fans of Water for Elephants, Wonder and All the Bright Places,…


Book cover of The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays

Kathleen Founds Author Of Bipolar Bear and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Health Insurance: A Fable for Grownups

From my list on your bipolar bookshelf.

Who am I?

I’m a writer and illustrator based in coastal California. I have bipolar disorder, and my writing reflects my preoccupation with the mysteries of mental health. I wrote a novel-in-stories about an idealistic young teacher struggling with bipolar disorder, and my latest book is a graphic novel about a bipolar bear who gets trapped in the labyrinth of health insurance claims. I’m also the creator of a website designed to encourage people who are fighting off depression’s Voice of Doom. 

Kathleen's book list on your bipolar bookshelf

Kathleen Founds Why did Kathleen love this book?

As you probably deduced from the title, this book focuses on schizophrenia, not bipolar disorder. But it is the best mental health memoir I’ve ever read. I keep multiple copies so I can hand them out to my friends. Esmé Weijun Wang is a beautiful writer, and the book contains deep, insightful reflections on the weight of stigma and the nature of a psychiatric diagnosis.

By Esmé Weijun Wang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esme Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the "collected schizophrenias" but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community's own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in mental disorders, schizophrenia, and family?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about mental disorders, schizophrenia, and family.

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