41 books like How Should a Person Be?

By Sheila Heti,

Here are 41 books that How Should a Person Be? fans have personally recommended if you like How Should a Person Be?. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of I Love Dick

Laura Catherine Brown Author Of Made by Mary

From my list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books are funny/sad. In my own writing, I aspire for balance between satire and sympathy, going to dark places and shining a light of hilarity on them. I’m compelled by the psychological complexities of desire, particularly in female characters—flawed, average women, struggling for empowerment. For me, desire is inextricably bound with loss. I’m inspired by loss both superficial and profound, from misplaced keys to dying fathers. Many voices clamor in my head, vying for my attention. I’m interested in ambitious misfits, enraged neurotics, pagans, shamans, healers, dealers, grifters, and spiritual seekers who are forced to adapt, construct, reinvent and contort themselves as reality shifts around them.

Laura's book list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women

Laura Catherine Brown Why did Laura love this book?

I love I Love Dick! This is a hilarious, shocking, keenly intelligent interrogative adventure into the art world and ideas about stalking a muse and being female. The book was published in 1997 but I didn’t discover it until a decade later, so I was late to the game. In her forward, Eileen Myles describes Chris Kraus as “marching boldly into self-abasement and self-advertisement,” which is a perfect way of putting it. Shredding the veil between reality and fiction, in her relentless pursuit of Dick (a real person), Chris Kraus embraces the world, no holds barred. If you’re curious about being female, being an artist, being a failure (whatever that means), chasing your desires, and fighting your way out of limitations both within and without, this riveting, lacerating, revealing, surprising book is for you.

By Chris Kraus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy.

Blurring the lines of fiction, essay and memoir, Chris Kraus's novel was a literary sensation when it was first published in 1997. Widely considered to be the most important feminist novel of the past two decades, I Love Dick is…


Book cover of Everything is Flammable

Laura Catherine Brown Author Of Made by Mary

From my list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books are funny/sad. In my own writing, I aspire for balance between satire and sympathy, going to dark places and shining a light of hilarity on them. I’m compelled by the psychological complexities of desire, particularly in female characters—flawed, average women, struggling for empowerment. For me, desire is inextricably bound with loss. I’m inspired by loss both superficial and profound, from misplaced keys to dying fathers. Many voices clamor in my head, vying for my attention. I’m interested in ambitious misfits, enraged neurotics, pagans, shamans, healers, dealers, grifters, and spiritual seekers who are forced to adapt, construct, reinvent and contort themselves as reality shifts around them.

Laura's book list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women

Laura Catherine Brown Why did Laura love this book?

This book is brilliant and heartbreaking. I’ve read everything by Gabrielle Bell. I marvel at her artistry, her linework, her drawing and composition and incisive visual storytelling. If I sound like a fangirl it’s because I am. Everything is Flammable is a dark, funny, brutal, honest story, full of heart and originality. When Gabrielle’s mother loses everything in a fire, Gabrielle uproots her east coast life and heads west to rural California to help. But she has her own issues, and the trip pulls her back to her semi-feral childhood as she and her mother try to build a new home on top of the ashes. It’s a searing examination of a mother-daughter love, with illuminating artwork, immediate and poignant visuals, and mordant observations.  

By Gabrielle Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Bell's pen becomes a kind of laser, first illuminating the surface distractions of the world, then scorching them away to reveal a deeper reality that is almost too painful and too beautiful to bear."-- Alison Bechdel, Fun Home, Are You My Mother In Gabrielle Bell's much anticipated graphic memoir, she returns from New York to her childhood town in rural Northern California after her mother's home is destroyed by a fire. Acknowledging her issues with anxiety, financial hardships, memories of a semi-feral childhood, and a tenuous relationship with her mother, Bell helps her mother put together a new home on…


Book cover of Over Easy

Laura Catherine Brown Author Of Made by Mary

From my list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books are funny/sad. In my own writing, I aspire for balance between satire and sympathy, going to dark places and shining a light of hilarity on them. I’m compelled by the psychological complexities of desire, particularly in female characters—flawed, average women, struggling for empowerment. For me, desire is inextricably bound with loss. I’m inspired by loss both superficial and profound, from misplaced keys to dying fathers. Many voices clamor in my head, vying for my attention. I’m interested in ambitious misfits, enraged neurotics, pagans, shamans, healers, dealers, grifters, and spiritual seekers who are forced to adapt, construct, reinvent and contort themselves as reality shifts around them.

Laura's book list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women

Laura Catherine Brown Why did Laura love this book?

Over Easy is the first part of Madge’s story, followed by The Customer is Always Wrong. They can be read separately as each stands on its own, but are best absorbed one after the other. These books are visually inventive and full of unforgettable characters who leap off the page and lodge in your imagination. The story follows Madge, an open-hearted artist who finds refuge and adventure in the wise-cracking, fast-talking, drug-taking world of the Imperial Café where she gets a job as a waitress after being denied financial aid to cover her last year in art school. Full of wit and pathos, Mimi Pond captures the perfect balance of hilarious and heartbreaking, all with fantastic drawings. She makes it look easy!

By Mimi Pond,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Over Easy is a brilliant portrayal of a familiar coming-of-age story. After being denied financial aid to cover her last year of art school, Margaret finds salvation from the straight-laced world of college and the earnestness of both hippies and punks in the wisecracking, fast-talking, drug-taking group she encounters at the Imperial Cafe, where she makes the transformation from Margaret to Madge. At first she mimics these new and exotic grown-up friends, trying on the guise of adulthood with some awkward but funny stumbles. Gradually she realizes that the adults she looks up to are a mess of contradictions, misplaced…


Book cover of The Story of My Tits

Laura Catherine Brown Author Of Made by Mary

From my list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books are funny/sad. In my own writing, I aspire for balance between satire and sympathy, going to dark places and shining a light of hilarity on them. I’m compelled by the psychological complexities of desire, particularly in female characters—flawed, average women, struggling for empowerment. For me, desire is inextricably bound with loss. I’m inspired by loss both superficial and profound, from misplaced keys to dying fathers. Many voices clamor in my head, vying for my attention. I’m interested in ambitious misfits, enraged neurotics, pagans, shamans, healers, dealers, grifters, and spiritual seekers who are forced to adapt, construct, reinvent and contort themselves as reality shifts around them.

Laura's book list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women

Laura Catherine Brown Why did Laura love this book?

I started this book because I liked the drawing style. Within the first 3 pages, I couldn’t put the book down. It’s not just Jennifer Hayden’s illustration skills or the freshness of her lines and patterns and mark-making and the way each panel is a masterpiece in itself, it’s the story that pulled me in. This is a book about life and love and family, told with humor, insight, and intelligence. In Jennifer Hayden’s words, the book is “a dramatic comedy sewn together from real events and real emotions,” but that doesn’t begin to convey the richness and depth of this narrative journey and the quirky sarcastic honest way it tells it like it is. The story still resonates long after I finished reading it.

By Jennifer Hayden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Jennifer Hayden was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43, she realized that her tits told a story. Across a lifetime, they'd held so many meanings: hope and fear, pride and embarrassment, life and death. And then they were gone. Now, their story has become a way of understanding her story. Growing up flat-chested and highly aware of her inadequacies... heading off to college, where she "bloomed" in more ways than one... navigating adulthood between her mother's mastectomy, her father's mistress, and her musician boyfriend's problems of his ownnot to mention his sprawling family. Then the kids…


Book cover of On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects: And the Good Effects of Intercrossing

Telmo Pievani Author Of Imperfection: A Natural History

From my list on the fact that evolution didn't predict us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Telmo Pievani is Full Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Padua, where he covers the first Italian chair of Philosophy of Biological Sciences. A leading science communicator and columnist for Il corriere della sera, he is the author of The Unexpected Life, Creation without God, Serendipity, and other books.

Telmo's book list on the fact that evolution didn't predict us

Telmo Pievani Why did Telmo love this book?

I think that minor books could be real treasures. I love what Darwin wrote here: the secret of evolution is tinkering.

The creativity of life lies in ingeniously reusing already existing or useless structures, assigning them to new functions. Life is contrivances. Our DNA, our bodies, our brains are no exceptions.

By Charles Darwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this investigation of orchids, first published in 1862, Darwin expands on a point made in On the Origin of Species that he felt required further explanation, namely that he believes it to be 'a universal law of nature that organic beings require an occasional cross with another individual'. Darwin explains the method by which orchids are fertilised by insects, and argues that the intricate structure of their flowers evolved to favour cross pollination because of its advantages to the species. The book is written in Darwin's usual precise and elegant style, accessible despite its intricate detail. It includes a…


Book cover of From Seed to Plant

Kate Coombs Author Of Little Naturalists: The Adventures of John Muir

From my list on children’s books about gardening.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love nature and feature it in many of my books, including a poetry collection about the ocean and a board book series about famous naturalists. As a gardener, I have trouble with outside plants thanks to the deer that live in the canyon out back. However, I have 50 houseplants and an herb garden in pots on the balcony. Our house is surrounded by trees, and one of my favorite places in the world is Sequoia National Park, with its green meadows and giant sequoia trees. We spent several summers there when I was a child.

Kate's book list on children’s books about gardening

Kate Coombs Why did Kate love this book?

This author is well known for her nonfiction picture books that clearly explain science topics, in this case, the growth of plants. Step by step, Gibbons walks young readers through pollination, the growth of seeds, and how seeds are distributed, such as by squirrels and birds. Then she goes on to talk about how plants grow. The whole process is reader-friendly, and the illustrations are clean and attractive. A great introduction for kindergarten through third graders.

By Gail Gibbons,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Seed to Plant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Flowers, trees, fruits—plants are all around us, but where do they come from?
 
With simple language and bright illustrations, non-fiction master Gail Gibbons introduces young readers to the processes of pollination, seed formation, and germination.  Important vocabulary is reinforced with accessible explanation and colorful, clear diagrams showing the parts of plants, the wide variety of seeds, and how they grow. 
 
The book includes instructions for a seed-growing project, and a page of interesting facts about plants, seeds, and flowers.   A nonfiction classic, and a perfect companion for early science lessons and curious young gardeners.
 
According to The Washington Post, Gail…


Book cover of Planting for Honeybees: The Grower's Guide to Creating a Buzz

Luke Dixon Author Of BEES and HONEY myth, folklore and traditions

From my list on bees and beekeeping.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been enthralled with the natural world since childhood, but it was not until I had enjoyed a career as a theatre director, that my life changed course and I became a professional beekeeper. My new job took be across the rooftops of London, managing bees and hives for The Bank of England, Kensington Palace, The London College of Fashion, Heathrow Airport, Bloomberg, and many others. Now I run a small environmental charity, The Bee Friendly Trust, helping to make the world a little more hospitable to honeybees and some of the many other pollinators that make human life possible.

Luke's book list on bees and beekeeping

Luke Dixon Why did Luke love this book?

You don’t have to have a beehive to help keep bees.

The honeybee, along with the thousands of other bees and insects that live alongside us, are vital to keeping us alive. At least a third of all we humans eat and drink is the direct result of bee pollination. So we owe it to the bees and to ourselves, to do all we can to create an environment to support them.

If you want to give over your garden to a wildflower meadow, or just plant up a window box, Sarah’s book will give you lots of easy ideas. And her illustrations are a rare treat.

By Sarah Wyndham Lewis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Of the 25,000 known species of bee worldwide, only seven species are honeybees.

Bees and plants have a sophisticated and delicate symbiosis. In recent years, the shrinking of green spaces has endangered the honeybee. Now Planting for Honeybees shows you how you can help these delightful pollinators to flourish by creating a garden as a habitat for them.

No matter how small or large your space - from a window ledge in the city to a country garden - Sarah Wyndham Lewis offers practical advice on which plants to grow, and when and where to plant them.

Charmingly illustrated with…


Book cover of That's Paris: An Anthology of Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light

Janna Graber Author Of A Pink Suitcase: 22 Tales of Women's Travel

From my list on travel for women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Travel teaches and molds us. It certainly changed my own life. At age 19, I picked up my backpack and schoolbooks and moved from America to Austria. That experience opened my eyes to the world, and I’ve never looked back. Today, I’m a travel journalist, author, and editor at Go World Travel Magazine. I’m always on the lookout for fascinating tales of travel, but I especially appreciate learning from other female adventurers. They continue to inspire me. I hope these books will inspire you, too.

Janna's book list on travel for women

Janna Graber Why did Janna love this book?

This book is for those who love Paris or even just the dream of Paris. In this collection of fiction and non-fiction tales, a diverse group of writers take the reader to unexpected sides of the City of Lights, with a diverse array of experiences, from a romantic encounter to a heartbreaking mishap. In this enjoyable collection of tales, you can travel to Paris, if only for an evening.

By Vicki Lesage, Adria J. Cimino, Marie Vareille , Didier Quemener , Jennie Goutet , April Lily Heise , Lisa Webb , E.M. Stone , David Whitehouse

Why should I read it?

1 author picked That's Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

That's Paris, a #1 Hot New Release in Essays & Travelogues, offers "a deep understanding of the enormous and beautiful complexity of Paris." - Global Living Magazine

If you've ever traveled to Paris or dreamed of setting foot on its cobblestone streets, you'll enjoy escaping into this collection of short fiction and nonfiction stories about France's famed capital. From culinary treats (and catastrophes) to swoon-worthy romantic encounters (and heartbreaking mishaps), this anthology takes you on a journey through one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Visit this cosmopolitan metropolis through the eyes of Parisians, Francophiles and travelers who…


Book cover of North of South

Riccardo Orizio Author Of Lost White Tribes, Journeys Among the Forgotten

From my list on post colonial life in Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about unusual places, unusual people, and unusual stories. Places, people, and stories that are rough, different, authentic, often forgotten, full of troubled history and a magical present. 

Riccardo's book list on post colonial life in Africa

Riccardo Orizio Why did Riccardo love this book?

The “other Naipaul”, the younger brother who died too young to compete with VS, managed to leave behind some extraordinary examples of his talent. North of South discovers what 'liberation', 'revolution,' and 'socialism' meant to the ordinary people of Africa and it is the book of a contrarian who, brutally honest to the point of being dismissive, travels across a continent on a brink of change, but instead of adopting the easy line of praising it explains why he is not impressed. If you like irony that verges into sarcasm, you can’t miss it.

By Shiva Naipaul,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the 1970s Shiva Naipaul travelled to Africa, visiting Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia for several months. Through his experiences, the places he visited and his various encounters, he aimed to discover what 'liberation', 'revolution' and 'socialism' meant to the ordinary people. His journey of discovery is brilliantly documented in this intimate, comic and controversial portrayal of a continent on the brink of change.


Book cover of Darkfever

Everlyn C Thompson Author Of Grave-Reaping Hermit

From my list on urban fantasy with unapologetic, flawed heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised on the beautiful Canadian prairies and prefer to spend my time outdoors with my family, kayaking, skating, fishing, and hunting. I love to read and write about vampires, witches, fae, and zombies that get to find their own version of happily ever after.

Everlyn's book list on urban fantasy with unapologetic, flawed heroines

Everlyn C Thompson Why did Everlyn love this book?

A fantasy world steeped in mystery, history, and folklore. The slow burn between Mac and Barrons is reason enough to pickup the next book in the series. I love that Mac is an independent woman who doesn’t need someone to rescue her like most urban fantasy novels would have you believe.

By Karen Marie Moning,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The action-packed paranormal series that is filled to the brim with attitude, determination and and one kick-ass heroine.

'My philosophy is pretty simple: any day nobody's
trying to kill me is a good day in my book.
I haven't had many good days lately.'

MacKayla Lane's life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that only breaks down every other week or so. In other words, she's your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.

Or so she thinks ... until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death - a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in William Shakespeare, pollinators, and World War 1?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about William Shakespeare, pollinators, and World War 1.

William Shakespeare Explore 177 books about William Shakespeare
Pollinators Explore 9 books about pollinators
World War 1 Explore 872 books about World War 1