100 books like Homegoing

By Yaa Gyasi,

Here are 100 books that Homegoing fans have personally recommended if you like Homegoing. 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 Olive Kitteridge

Ellen Baker Author Of The Hidden Life of Cecily Larson

From my list on books with quirky, strong women at their heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved reading novels about strong, quirky women since childhood (Nancy Drew, Ramona Quimby, Harriet the Spy, the heroines of Judy Blume novels, just for starting examples!). As I grew into writing my own stories, I also started studying women’s history. I merged these two interests to begin writing historical novels with strong women protagonists. I love the challenge of researching to figure out the details of women’s day-to-day lives–so many unrecorded stories!–and I love to advocate for the idea (fortunately not as revolutionary as it once was) that a woman can be the hero of her own story and that each woman’s story is important to tell.  

Ellen's book list on books with quirky, strong women at their heart

Ellen Baker Why did Ellen love this book?

I found this book absolutely riveting.

Outspoken, cantankerous, deep-hearted Olive Kitteridge is a character unlike any other, and I loved how the interconnected stories let us see her, her family, and her community at various points in time and how their decisions and ways of being affect the arcs of their lives.

I loved the complexity and uniqueness of all the characters, as well as the insights that this book offers about the intricacies, nuances, difficulties, and joys of being human. 

By Elizabeth Strout,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Olive Kitteridge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • The beloved first novel featuring Olive Kitteridge, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah’s Book Club pick Olive, Again
 
“Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You’ll never forget her.”—USA Today
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post Book World • USA Today • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • Seattle Post-Intelligencer • People • Entertainment Weekly • The Christian Science Monitor • The Plain Dealer • The Atlantic • Rocky Mountain News • Library Journal
 
At times stern, at…


Book cover of Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora

Nicholas Radburn Author Of Traders in Men: Merchants and the Transformation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

From my list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the Atlantic slave trade since 2007, when I first studied the business papers of a Liverpool merchant who had enslaved over a hundred thousand people. I was immediately struck by the coldness of the merchant’s accounts. I was also drawn to the ways in which the merchant’s profit-motivated decisions shaped the forced migrations and experiences of their victims. I have subsequently extended my research to examine slave traders across the vastness of the Atlantic World. I'm also interested in the ways that the slave trade’s history continues to shape the modern world, from the making of uneven patterns of global economic development to such diverse areas as the financing of popular music. 

Nicholas' book list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated

Nicholas Radburn Why did Nicholas love this book?

This book really helped me to look beyond slave trading merchants’ papers to think about the lived realities of the slave trade for those merchants’ victims.

Smallwood follows enslaved people from their initial sale on the African coast, aboard the slave ships, and then through their sale and seasoning in the English Americas—a model that brilliantly exposes the multi-staged way that captive Africans were commodified within the slave trade.

Saltwater Slavery also details the experiences of enslaved people within the trade, especially the mental and physical trauma that they suffered aboard the slave ships. 

By Stephanie E. Smallwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This bold, innovative book promises to radically alter our understanding of the Atlantic slave trade, and the depths of its horrors. Stephanie E. Smallwood offers a penetrating look at the process of enslavement from its African origins through the Middle Passage and into the American slave market.

Smallwood's story is animated by deep research and gives us a startlingly graphic experience of the slave trade from the vantage point of the slaves themselves. Ultimately, Saltwater Slavery details how African people were transformed into Atlantic commodities in the process. She begins her narrative on the shores of seventeenth-century Africa, tracing how…


Book cover of Sense and Sensibility

Kate Brody Author Of Rabbit Hole

From my list on books that capture the love/hate relationship of sisters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rabbit Hole is about Teddy’s obsession with her sister Angie’s cold-case disappearance. When Angie was alive, she was angry and difficult, but Teddy still misses her. While writing the book, I thought a lot about my relationships with my own sisters and how unique that particular bond is. I love books that capture the at-times-uncomfortable closeness of sisterhood and grapple with its power.

Kate's book list on books that capture the love/hate relationship of sisters

Kate Brody Why did Kate love this book?

Austen writes sisters like no one else, and the dynamic between tempestuous Marianne and practical Elinor is the template for so many novels that have followed.

Austen keeps the two sisters from becoming caricatures by making them more alike than different, and the love that anchors their relationship is at the heart of the novel.

I first read this as a freshman in college, and I still think about it every time I’m writing sisters. A classic.

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste' Virginia Woolf

Jane Austen's subtle and witty novel of secrets and suppression, lies and seduction, brilliantly portrays a world where rigid social convention clashes with the impulses of the heart. It tells the story of two very different sisters who find themselves thrown into an unkind world when their father dies. Marianne, wild and impulsive, falls dangerously in love, while Elinor suffers her own private heartbreak but conceals her true feelings, even from those closest to her.

Edited with an Introduction by ROS BALLASTER


Book cover of Atonement

Linda Stewart Henley Author Of Kate's War

From my list on young women in WW II in the UK.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two of my three novels have young women protagonists. I find young adulthood a fascinating time in women’s lives and I enjoy creating a character and putting her in a historical setting. The Second World War offers fertile ground for storytelling, and I grew up south of London after the war. My father’s unpublished memoir, in which he describes an event that he experienced in the war, inspired me to write about it, but I told the story through the eyes of the protagonist, Kate. 

Linda's book list on young women in WW II in the UK

Linda Stewart Henley Why did Linda love this book?

I loved the three-part format of this book divided by time periods. The first part, set in 1935, describes an event that took place on a hot summer day in the grounds of the family’s country house garden. It’s seen from the different perspectives of thirteen-year-old Briony and her older sister Cecelia. The story evolves from there in parts two and three in unpredictable and devastating ways.

I appreciated the book’s in-depth exploration of the power of a lie and the devastating consequences of that lie. This psychological study of adult Briony’s guilt and subsequent atonement eloquently depicts how war makes demands of even the most privileged citizens. 

By Ian McEwan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl's imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a…


Book cover of Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate

Debangana Chatterjee Author Of Lives of Circumcised and Veiled Women: A Global-Indian Interplay of Discourses and Narratives

From my list on gender and culture with a unique lens.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my childhood, I understood quite well that "gender" is a troubled water. Women were not allowed access to education, were domesticated, and were not allowed to vote for the longest time in history. Yet I did not quite know how to articulate how it should be! While broadly "gender" still remains a concern, growing as an academic (currently as an Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at National Law School of India University), I started asking how best we can reconcile gender and culture, and even if we do, what does it mean for my country, India and the discipline of International Relations?


Debangana's book list on gender and culture with a unique lens

Debangana Chatterjee Why did Debangana love this book?

We all know that the oppressive structures of patriarchy are all-pervasive. But can we see "oppression" in black and white? Certainly not! 

Unless we put things in context and see through their nuances, the vicious Islamophobic tendency (subtly or not) comes into play, caricaturing Islam as the sole source of gender-based oppression. No doubt, the condemnation of Islam flows from prejudice and half-baked Orientalist assumptions surrounding the religion.

Leila Ahmed, a pioneering figure of Islamic feminism, hits hard at the stereotypes surrounding Islam and challenges them. I learned from her that Islam is anything but monolithic, especially from the perspective of gender. She devotes chapters on Egypt to link the percepts of Islam with colonial modernisation.

For academics like me, this book adds a dynamic perspective and opens the big picture. However, for even those bearing the burden of prejudice, I am sure this book will be educative.

By Leila Ahmed,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Women and Gender in Islam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic, pioneering account of the lives of women in Islamic history, republished for a new generation

This pioneering study of the social and political lives of Muslim women has shaped a whole generation of scholarship. In it, Leila Ahmed explores the historical roots of contemporary debates, ambitiously surveying Islamic discourse on women from Arabia during the period in which Islam was founded to Iraq during the classical age to Egypt during the modern era. The book is now reissued as a Veritas paperback, with a new foreword by Kecia Ali situating the text in its scholarly context and explaining…


Book cover of Little Women

Kinley Bryan Author Of The Lost Women of Mill Street

From my list on American Civil War great female leads.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historical novelist originally from Ohio. In Civil War lessons at school, we learned about battles and generals and read The Red Badge of Courage and other books centering on men’s experiences. With the exception of Florence Nightingale, women were largely absent from the discussions. I want to know about the women. As an adult, I lived in Roswell, Georgia, where I learned of the mill workers, mostly women and children, who, in 1864, were arrested and sent north by Federal forces for making Confederate cloth. Their fates largely remain a mystery, and I wrote my book in order to imagine what we may never know.

Kinley's book list on American Civil War great female leads

Kinley Bryan Why did Kinley love this book?

I can’t leave this book off the list! When I first read it as a teenager, I was so focused on the engrossing story of the four sisters that the fact it took place during the Civil War barely registered.

Upon rereading the novel as an adult, I can appreciate how the war profoundly affects the sisters’ lives through the absence of their father (and, for a time, their mother) and by creating an ever-present sense of uncertainty. I love the characterization and wisdom of this novel.

By Louisa May Alcott,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Little Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Louisa May Alcott shares the innocence of girlhood in this classic coming of age story about four sisters-Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.

In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy are responsible for keeping a home while their father is off to war. At the same time, they must come to terms with their individual personalities-and make the transition from girlhood to womanhood. It can all be quite a challenge. But the March sisters, however different, are nurtured by their wise and beloved Marmee, bound by their love for each other and the feminine…


Book cover of Little, Big

Snowden Wright Author Of American Pop

From my list on multi-generational family saga soap operas.

Why am I passionate about this?

Soap operas may have no actual relation to soap—the term comes from radio dramas that were sponsored by soap companies—but they’re certainly related to opera, full of melodrama and grandiosity. With my second novel, a multi-generational family saga, my goal was to write a literary soap opera. I wanted it to be finely crafted, attuned to language and characterization, but also dishy, riddled with heightened drama, vivid personalities, and theatrical events. Below are five literary soap operas I studied while writing my own.

Snowden's book list on multi-generational family saga soap operas

Snowden Wright Why did Snowden love this book?

The same way hearing “soap opera” used as a pejorative upsets me so much I want to fake my own death, frame my estranged father for murder, and wrest control of his business empire, hearing “fairy tale” used that way makes me want to wave a wand and turn the detractors of science fiction and fantasy into horny toads.

John Crowley’s Little, Big, winner of the World Fantasy Award, is not only a fairy tale with actual fairies, but also one that’s an actual tale. So many novels described as literary forget to tell a story. This is not one of them. In Little, Big, you’ll meet the charismatic Drinkwater family; I would say more, but it’s best if you see for yourself where this tale takes them.

By John Crowley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Edgewood is many houses, all put inside each other, or across each other. It's filled with and surrounded by mystery and enchantment: the further in you go, the bigger it gets.

Smoky Barnable, who has fallen in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, comes to Edgewood, her family home, where he finds himself drawn into a world of magical strangeness.

Crowley's work has a special alchemy - mixing the world we know with an imagined world which seems more true and real. Winner of the WORLD FANTASY AWARD, LITTLE, BIG is eloquent, sensual, funny and unforgettable, a true Fantasy Masterwork.

Winner…


Book cover of The Turn of the Screw

Linda Griffin Author Of Stonebridge

From my list on good old-fashioned haunted house.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maybe because I grew up in San Diego, a city that boasts what ghost hunter Hans Holzer called the most haunted house in America, I’ve always loved ghost stories. I never encountered a ghost when I visited the Whaley House Museum, as Regis Philbin did when he spent the night, but I once took a photograph there that had an unexplained light streak on it. Although I conceived a passion for the printed word with my first Dick and Jane reader and wrote my first story at the age of six, it took me a few decades to fulfill my long-held desire to write a ghost story of my own.

Linda's book list on good old-fashioned haunted house

Linda Griffin Why did Linda love this book?

I’m fond of the subtle, psychologically complex writing of Henry James, and this is his best ghost story.

I like the 19th-century convention of a framing story to add verisimilitude instead of the modern presumption of willing suspension of disbelief. The consequent delay in getting into the story and the old-fashioned literary style and pacing might be challenging to some modern readers, but for me they enhanced the atmosphere and foreshadowing and gave another “turn of the screw” to the suspense, which continues until the last word.

By Henry James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A most wonderful, lurid, poisonous little tale' Oscar Wilde

The Turn of the Screw, James's great masterpiece of haunting atmosphere and unbearable tension, tells of a young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a dark foreboding of menace within the house, she soon comes to believe that something, or someone, malevolent is stalking the children in her care. Is the threat to her young charges really a malign and ghostly presence, or a manifestation of something else entirely?

Edited and with an Introduction and Notes by David Bromwich
Series…


Book cover of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African

Vincent Carretta Author Of Equiano, the African: Biography of a Self-Made Man

From my list on recover early Black Atlantic lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I decided to familiarize myself with eighteenth-century authors of African descent by editing their writings, I didn’t anticipate becoming their biographer. In annotating their writings, I quickly became intrigued and challenged by trying to complete the biographical equivalent of jigsaw puzzles, ones which often lack borders, as well as many pieces. How does one recover, or at least credibly speculate about, what’s missing? Even the pieces one has may be from unreliable sources. But the thrill of the hunt for, and the joy of discovering, as many pieces as possible make the challenge rewarding. My recommendations demonstrate ways others have also met the biographical challenge.

Vincent's book list on recover early Black Atlantic lives

Vincent Carretta Why did Vincent love this book?

Equiano’s autobiography fascinated me when I stumbled upon a paperback edition of it in a local bookstore nearly thirty years ago.

A bestseller during Equiano’s lifetime, his Interesting Narrative is appreciated as a work of enduring historical and literary value. The odyssey he recounts takes him from enslavement as a child in Africa to becoming a leading figure in the struggle to abolish the transatlantic slave trade.

Along the way, he serves in the British Royal Navy, gains his freedom, participates in a scientific expedition to the Arctic, has a religious conversion, observes various kinds of slavery in North and Central America, England, Europe, and the Middle East before agreeing to help administer settling in Africa formerly enslaved poor Blacks who had joined the British forces during the American Revolution.

By Olaudah Equiano,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African, first published in 1789, is the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano. The narrative is argued to be a variety of styles, such as a slavery narrative, travel narrative, and spiritual narrative. The book describes Equiano's time spent in enslavement, and documents his attempts at becoming an independent man through his study of the Bible, and his eventual success in gaining his own freedom and in business thereafter.

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano was one of the first widely read slave narratives. Eight editions…


Book cover of Kindred

Hajar Yazdiha Author Of The Struggle for the People's King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on understanding revisionist history politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied forty years of the political misuses of the memory of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement as a sociologist at USC and the daughter of Iranian immigrants who has always been interested in questions of identity and belonging. My interest in civil rights struggles started early, growing up in Virginia, a state that celebrated the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday alongside Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. I wanted to understand how revisionist histories could become the mainstream account of the past and how they mattered for the future of democracy.

Hajar's book list on understanding revisionist history politics

Hajar Yazdiha Why did Hajar love this book?

I am, to put it lightly, obsessed with the way Octavia Butler revolutionizes the timescape and invites us to speculate about worlds that could be. In this and so many of her books, her vision of Afrofuturism is one that reminds us that our ancestral pasts and our imagined futures are always connected. 

I thought a lot about the future when I wrote my book, and I share Butler’s conviction that there is collective healing and liberation in revisiting and reimagining the past.

I also love that my neighborhood library in Pasadena is the one Octavia Butler used to frequent!

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Parable of the Sower and MacArthur “Genius” Grant, Nebula, and Hugo award winner

The visionary time-travel classic whose Black female hero is pulled through time to face the horrors of American slavery and explores the impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy then and now.

“I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.”

Dana’s torment begins when she suddenly vanishes on her 26th birthday from California, 1976, and is dragged through time to antebellum Maryland to rescue a boy named Rufus, heir to a slaveowner’s plantation. She soon…


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