100 books like Housekeeping

By Marilynne Robinson,

Here are 100 books that Housekeeping fans have personally recommended if you like Housekeeping. 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 Moby-Dick

Jonathan Howland Author Of Native Air

From my list on books about men in love (who aren’t lovers).

Why am I passionate about this?

During a lonely stretch of primary school, I recall discussing my predicament with my mother. “You only need one friend,” she said by way of encouragement. Some part of me agreed. I’ve been fortunate to have had (and to have) several friends in my life, never more than a few at a time, more men than women, and each has prompted me to be and become more vital and spacious than I was prior to knowing them. The books I’m recommending—and the one I wrote—feature these types of catalyzing, life-changing relationships. Each involves some kind of adventure. Each evokes male friendship that is gravitational, not merely influential, but life-defining.

Jonathan's book list on books about men in love (who aren’t lovers)

Jonathan Howland Why did Jonathan love this book?

It centers on and celebrates becoming—molting from one skin to another. For Ishmael this is a transition from a tired and limiting worldview to something fresh and alive.

The “bosom buddies” at the heart of the novel, Ishmael and Queequeg, seem comprised of opposites, but Ishmael’s etherealizing is grounded by Queequeg’s pragmatic ingenuity in ways that quiet and expand the young pagan-Presbyterian’s buzzing, anxious mind. Theirs is a friendship of succor, probably sex, and survival—all of it shadowed by the delusional obsessions of their mad captain.

By Herman Melville,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Moby-Dick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Melville's tale of the whaling industry, and one captain's obsession with revenge against the Great White Whale that took his leg. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes a biography of Herman Melville and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom or at home to further engage the reader in the work at hand.

Book cover of Jane Eyre

Jawahara Saidullah Author Of We are...Warrior Queens

From my list on transporting you across time and place.

Why am I passionate about this?

Travel and writing are my two great passions. Since I was a child, I escaped reality by escaping into my own mind. I had relied on my stories of the warrior queens ever since I learned about them as a child. It was only a few years ago, when I lived in Geneva, that I had a memory flash at me of the statue of Queen Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi on a rearing horse with a curved sword held in one hand. I knew then that it was time to tell a story—my own story and that of my favorite warrior queens.

Jawahara's book list on transporting you across time and place

Jawahara Saidullah Why did Jawahara love this book?

This is one classic that everyone should read because it’s a pleasure to do so. I read this as a 13-year-old, and it quickly became the yardstick against which I measured every other love story. Yes, it’s a love story, and that is the heart of this book, but it’s not a sappy romantic tale. 

This book explores class structures, mental disorders, and a glimpse into another time. Intense yet leashed emotions form the backbone of the story. As a teen and even now, the brooding, dark quality of this tale really appeals to me.

By Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

33 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…

Book cover of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Jonah Newman Author Of Out of Left Field

From my list on gay coming-of-age graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a gay cartoonist and editor who lives and breathes graphic novels. As an editor at Graphix, Scholastic's graphic novel imprint, I've worked with Dav Pilkey, Jamar Nicholas, Angeli Rafer, Kane Lynch, and many others. As a cartoonist, I'm the author and illustrator of Out of Left Field, which is based on my experiences as a closeted kid on the high school baseball team. So many wonderful books have influenced my journey and career, but these are some of my favorites: groundbreaking graphic novels that helped make Out of Left Field possible.

Jonah's book list on gay coming-of-age graphic novels

Jonah Newman Why did Jonah love this book?

It’s not a “deep cut” by any means, but I had to start this list with this book. It’s the book that made me fall in love with the graphic novel format and remains perhaps my favorite book of all time.

Bechdel weaves together her coming-of-age as a lesbian, her discovery of her father’s homosexuality, and rich literary allusions, all with beautiful, detailed artwork.

When I read this book for the first time as a closeted teenager, I was captivated not only by the queer representation but by the rich storytelling. The way Bechdel’s words and illustrations work together to create a whole that’s greater than the sum of their parts opened my mind to the magic and power of the comic medium. 

By Alison Bechdel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

DISCOVER the BESTSELLING GRAPHIC MEMOIR behind the Olivier Award nominated musical.

'A sapphic graphic treat' The Times

A moving and darkly humorous family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Alison Bechdel's gothic drawings. If you liked Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis you'll love this.

Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high-school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and the family babysitter. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is…

Book cover of My Ántonia

Russell Rowland Author Of In Open Spaces

From my list on by women writers in the west.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have published seven books, all set in the West, including an anthology, West of 98: Living and Writing the New American West, that features writers from every state west of the Mississippi. For four years now, I have been doing a podcast called Breakfast in Montana, where my partner Aaron Parrett and I discuss Montana books. I also published a book in 2016 called 56 Counties, where I traveled to every county in Montana and interviewed people about what it means to live in this state. So I have a good feel for the people of this region and for the books they love. 

Russell's book list on by women writers in the west

Russell Rowland Why did Russell love this book?

Every discussion about the evolution of writing in ‘the West’ has to start with Willa Cather, who was the first writer from the west to be awarded a major literary award when she won the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours, which isn’t even one of her five best novels. Cather wrote openly about alcoholism, domestic violence, and other painful topics, transforming western writing from cardboard cutout characters to real people. My Ántonia has become an American classic, not just in western literature but in all literature. My Ántonia is told from the point of view of a young farm boy who falls in love with the enchanting Ántonia, and it’s beautifully written, taking us into the emotional heart of youth and idealism in the West.

By Willa Cather,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked My Ántonia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in rural Nebraska, Willa Cather's My Antonia is both the intricate story of a powerful friendship and a brilliant portrayal of the lives of rural pioneers in the late-nineteenth century.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library, a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold-foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition has an afterword by Bridget Bennett and original illustrations by W. T. Benda.

Antonia and her family are from Bohemia and they must endure real hardship and loss to establish a new home in America.…

Book cover of Infinite Jest

Norman Farb Author Of Better in Every Sense: How the New Science of Sensation Can Help You Reclaim Your Life

From my list on overcoming stress and getting unstuck in life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto who studies the social neuroscience of the self and human emotion, with a focus on how biases in self-representation shape emotional reactions that determine well-being. I am particularly interested in how cognitive training practices such as mindfulness meditation and yoga foster resilience against stress, reducing vulnerability to disorders such as depression. I’ve always wished we had better ways of communicating fascinating and important discoveries in neuroscience and mental health to a wider audience, so we combined our teaching experience in the fields of mindfulness, yoga, sports, and clinical psychology to write this book.

Norman's book list on overcoming stress and getting unstuck in life

Norman Farb Why did Norman love this book?

This book may seem out of place in a list of psychologically-minded self-help recommendations. And it is long, and hard to read. Don’t even get me started on the use of end-notes in a work of fiction. But it is quite simply one of the best books written in the past 100 years and it is all about people who have gotten stuck, trapped by habit or circumstance, and are yearning for a way to find meaning in life.

To me, this book is a self help book because it is written so powerfully (in a not-so-distance fictional future) that as the characters are inevitably transformed and sometimes freed from their assumed destinies, Wallace somehow illustrates how we too can be transformed in our daily routines and interactions by finding moments of clarity and meaning right where we are, rather than being saved by some outside force that promises liberation…

By David Foster Wallace,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Infinite Jest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A writer of virtuostic talents who can seemingly do anything' New York Times

'Wallace is a superb comedian of culture . . . his exuberance and intellectual impishness are a delight' James Wood, Guardian

'He induces the kind of laughter which, when read in bed with a sleeping partner, wakes said sleeping partner up . . . He's damn good' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

'One of the best books about addiction and recovery to appear in recent memory' Sunday Times

Somewhere in the not-so-distant future the residents of Ennet House, a Boston halfway house for recovering addicts, and students at the…

Book cover of Shuggie Bain

Sherry Chiger Author Of Beyond Billicombe

From my list on families affected by addiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having known families affected by substance abuse, I’ve long been fascinated by the resiliency of addicts’ relatives and close friends. Equally compelling to me, as a one-time wannabe psychologist, was how living with substance abusers shaped people’s characters and lives. But while the search for a recovering addict drives Beyond Billicombes plot, the book is also an ode of sorts to North Devon, the area of England where I spent three of the happiest years of my life. Though I now live outside New York City, I haven’t given up hope on being able to move back there someday. 

Sherry's book list on families affected by addiction

Sherry Chiger Why did Sherry love this book?

Shuggie Bain invades the senses: You smell the sour breath of Shuggie’s mum as she snores, open-mouthed, in a drunken stupor; you feel the stiffness of the rug where endless spilled drinks were left to dry. Just as important, you feel the push-and-pull of love and despair, hope and anger, as Shuggie grows up, the youngest child of an alcoholic who is ultimately abandoned by the rest of their family. The final chapters, as Shuggie moves into adolescence and struggles to break from the burden of becoming caretaker to the woman who should have been taking care of him, are exceptional.

By Douglas Stuart,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Shuggie Bain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A stunning debut novel by a masterful writer telling the heartwrenching story of a young boy and his alcoholic mother, whose love is only matched by her pride.

Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings.

Shuggie’s mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she…

Book cover of The Girl with the Louding Voice

Kimberly Garret Brown Author Of Cora's Kitchen

From my list on celebrate the global resoluteness of Black women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been drawn to stories where I see aspects of myself in the characters since I was an adolescent and found comfort in the pages of Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. As a Black woman, I find validation and encouragement in novels where other Black women navigate life's obstacles to reach the desires of their hearts. It makes my life feel more manageable, knowing that I am not alone in the face of fear, loneliness, and self-doubt or more challenging social issues like racism, sexism, and classism. These stories give me hope and insight as I journey toward living life to its fullest. 

Kimberly's book list on celebrate the global resoluteness of Black women

Kimberly Garret Brown Why did Kimberly love this book?

This story, set in Nigeria, is a commentary on social economics and gender without sounding like one.

Fourteen-year-old Adunni wants an education to actualize her voice and make a difference but is seen as a commodity by her father and sold to be an old man's third wife. When tragedy hits her new household, she is backhandedly sold as a domestic servant.

I immediately fell in love with Adunni, savoring her simple but insightful descriptions. I identified with the grief she felt for her mother. Though heartbreaking at times, her determination was inspirational and encouraging as I continue on my own grief journey. She never loses hope and fights for what she wants for herself.

I felt the urge to applaud when I finished reading this book. 

By Abi Daré,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Girl with the Louding Voice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most uplifting debut of 2020

'Unforgettable' New York Times 'Impressive' Observer 'Remarkable' Independent 'Important' Guardian 'Captivating' Mirror 'Luminous' Daily Mail 'Sparkling' Harper's Bazaar 'Beautiful' Herald


I don't just want to be having any kind voice . . .
I want a louding voice.

At fourteen, Adunni dreams of getting an education and giving her family a more comfortable home in her small Nigerian village. Instead, Adunni's father sells her off to become the third wife of an old man. When tragedy…

Book cover of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Marcia Aldrich Author Of Studio of the Voice

From my list on compelling books about the trouble between mothers and daughters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a woman-centered household, the youngest with two older sisters. I was the only child of my mother’s second marriage, and a space of ten and twelve years separated me from my sisters. My sisters and mother always felt like an intense unit that didn’t include me, and that yearning and outsider status defined my life and made me a lover of books about mothers and daughters and the female world.

Marcia's book list on compelling books about the trouble between mothers and daughters

Marcia Aldrich Why did Marcia love this book?

This is a quirky, hilarious, autobiographical coming-of-age story about a lesbian who grows up in a repressive English Pentecostal community.

Winterson’s creation of the mother is the most unique mother I’ve ever encountered—damaged, oppressive, deeply misunderstanding of her genius daughter. I found lots of commonalities between the conflicts Jeanette had with her difficult mother and my own experience, even though we live countries apart.

Winterson’s gusto and humor are inspiring.

By Jeanette Winterson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Key Features:

Study methods
Introduction to the text
Summaries with critical notes
Themes and techniques
Textual analysis of key passages
Author biography
Historical and literary background
Modern and historical critical approaches
Glossary of literary terms

Book cover of So Long, See You Tomorrow

Ellen Prentiss Campbell Author Of Frieda's Song

From my list on life in a haunted house.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my stories and novels, in my reading, and in my life, I'm inspired and captivated by what I call resonant places, places with deep connections to the past as well as the present moment. I grew up in a mid-century modern house my parents built. Although no other family had lived in it before, our own family—like all families—was haunted by ghosts of our past. My childhood home was bulldozed by the next owners; the house has become a ghost itself. But memories remain long after a family or a home is gone. As a writer, a reader, and a psychotherapist, I believe that memories are the seeds for both remembering and imagining.

Ellen's book list on life in a haunted house

Ellen Prentiss Campbell Why did Ellen love this book?

In So Long, See You Tomorrow, an adult narrator looks back at childhood and the lingering effects of childhood loss and displacement. He recalls his mother’s death, his father’s remarriage, and moving from a beloved home. The author also tells a parallel story of the scandal that befell his friend Cletus: his father shot his mother’s lover, and then drowned himself. For the narrator, his lost boyhood home is recalled like a dream of paradise lost, a mirage of another life: “I dream about it, the proportions are so satisfying to the eye and the rooms so bright, so charming and full of character that I feel I must somehow give up my present life and go live in that house: that nothing else will make me happy.” This novel about haunting memories of a lost place and past will haunt the reader. This was one of my father’s…

By William Maxwell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked So Long, See You Tomorrow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A novel which charts the lives of two former friends until the father of one was responsible for the murder of the father of the other. They do not speak following the tragedy, but the victims son realises fifty years later that he has failed in a fundamental act of friendship.

Book cover of Lullabies for Little Criminals

Robin van Eck Author Of Rough

From my list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream.

Why am I passionate about this?

Someone once said I can’t believe you didn’t end up in a ditch with a needle in your arm. It sounds harsh, but they meant it with love. In spite of my broken home, familial dysfunction, trauma, and bad decisions, I found a way to be okay and share my life experiences through words and stories rather than a bottle. I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization specializing in developing authors who want to publish and use writing for therapy and healing. I live in Calgary, AB, Canada, with my teenage daughter and act as the emotional support human for an anxious dog. 

Robin's book list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream

Robin van Eck Why did Robin love this book?

This is a haunting and sad book that gripped me right from the beginning.

The father-daughter relationship is frustrating, sympathetic, and heartwarming. This book made me feel so many things that are hard to put into words. There is a naivete in the pre-teen protagonist that is sweet yet so deeply broken by her circumstances, which was something I really related to, and the decisions that she makes are inevitable, real, and tragic. 

By Heather O'Neill,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Lullabies for Little Criminals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Baby is twelve years old. Her mother died not long after she was born and she lives in a string of seedy flats in Montreal's red light district with her father Jules, who takes better care of his heroin addiction than he does of his daughter. Jules is an intermittent presence and a constant source of chaos in Baby's life - the turmoil he brings with him and the wreckage he leaves in his wake. Baby finds herself constantly re-adjusting to new situations, new foster homes, new places, new people, all the while longing for stability and a 'normal' life.…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in girls, death, and mothers?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about girls, death, and mothers.

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Death Explore 341 books about death
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