100 books like I Am Charlotte Simmons

By Tom Wolfe,

Here are 100 books that I Am Charlotte Simmons fans have personally recommended if you like I Am Charlotte Simmons. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

John Foot Author Of Calcio: A History of Italian Football

From my list on how sport and history cannot be separated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and journalist. I lived in Italy for over twenty years, immersing myself in the culture of that country—in every form. I decided to write Calcio after becoming aware of the centrality of football to Italian culture and politics, and around the time of the rise of a football entrepreneur to political power—Silvio Berlusconi. The book took me three years, led me to visit numerous cities, stadiums, and regions, and interview dozens of journalists, experts, and players. It was a love letter and a warning—dedicated to ‘my father who loves football, and my son, who hates it.'

John's book list on how sport and history cannot be separated

John Foot Why did John love this book?

A superb and gripping account of the hold that American Football has over a small town in the USA. In telling the story of a season, Bissinger captures the glory, tragedy, and futility of sport, and its connection to racial politics, ambition, local rivalries, and a passionate fan base. Led to a brilliant TV series. Elegiac and path-breaking.

By H.G. Bissinger,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Friday Night Lights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 25th anniversary edition of the #1 New York Times bestseller and Sports Illustrated 's best football book of all time, with a new afterword by the authorReturn once again to the timeless account of the Permian Panthers of Odessa,the winningest high-school football team in Texas history. Socially and racially divided, Odessa isn't known to be a place big on dreams, but every Friday night from September to December, when the Panthers play football, dreams can come true.With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger unforgettably captures a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the…


Book cover of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Mark A. Salter Author Of Sins of the Tribe

From my list on institutional hypocrisy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like all of us, I was raised on promises, and now I’ve veered off to another perspective. I love football. I played in high school, college, and for a brief time, in the NFL (didn’t make the final roster!) Philosophy has been a life-long pursuit, but I didn’t find what I was looking for: the truth. Except for the existentialists, most of it is a mere history of how mankind thought. But philosophy has taught me how to examine the essence of important issues. That’s why I wrote a book about tribalism, because to me, tribalism is the strongest dynamic in humanity and morality is subordinate to tribalism.

Mark's book list on institutional hypocrisy

Mark A. Salter Why did Mark love this book?

I loved this book because it fearlessly profiles a certain type of hypocrisy in our culture through the experiences of Billy Lynn and his fellow soldiers of the Bravo Squad. They’re reluctant war heroes on an unwanted victory tour stop at a Dallas Cowboys game. I identified with Billy as an everyman with a challenging background. I felt it was a powerful juxtaposition of the price we ask some to pay to support our way of life that is cluttered with banality.

I could feel his pain and grief over the losses he’s experienced, and I wanted him to be cared for with empathy and understanding. Instead, I was repulsed by what our culture has to offer; using Billy and his fellow soldiers as props to celebrate ourselves.

By Ben Fountain,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

His whole nation is celebrating what is the worst day of his life

Nineteen-year-old Billy Lynn is home from Iraq. And he's a hero. Billy and the rest of Bravo Company were filmed defeating Iraqi insurgents in a ferocious firefight. Now Bravo's three minutes of extreme bravery is a YouTube sensation and the Bush Administration has sent them on a nationwide Victory Tour.

During the final hours of the tour Billy will mix with the rich and powerful, endure the politics and praise of his fellow Americans - and fall in love. He'll face hard truths about life and death,…


Book cover of The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football

Mark A. Salter Author Of Sins of the Tribe

From my list on institutional hypocrisy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like all of us, I was raised on promises, and now I’ve veered off to another perspective. I love football. I played in high school, college, and for a brief time, in the NFL (didn’t make the final roster!) Philosophy has been a life-long pursuit, but I didn’t find what I was looking for: the truth. Except for the existentialists, most of it is a mere history of how mankind thought. But philosophy has taught me how to examine the essence of important issues. That’s why I wrote a book about tribalism, because to me, tribalism is the strongest dynamic in humanity and morality is subordinate to tribalism.

Mark's book list on institutional hypocrisy

Mark A. Salter Why did Mark love this book?

I originally read this as research for my own novel and I’m so glad I did. Not all of it is about scandal, in fact my favorite parts highlighted how sports can be used to bring out the best in us. In fact, that’s what sports did for me. I loved that it also sheds light on the machinations we don’t see that are used to drive the sport. And, yes, I was horrified by some of the stories: horrified by the sexual assaults and furthermore by the rationalizations and the coverups. The feeling I had reading The System: we all want to dress ourselves in virtue, but all we really want is to win and for some, there is no price that’s too high.

By Jeff Benedict, Armen Keteyian,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year 

NCAA football is big business. Every Saturday millions of people file into massive stadiums or tune in on television as "athlete-students" give everything they've got to make their team a success. Billions of dollars now flow into the game. But what is the true cost? The players have no share in the oceans of money. And once the lights go down, the glitter doesn't shine so brightly. Filled with mind-blowing details of major NCAA football scandals, with stops at Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Missouri, BYU, LSU, Texas A&M and many more,…


Book cover of Champions Way: Football, Florida, and the Lost Soul of College Sports

Mark A. Salter Author Of Sins of the Tribe

From my list on institutional hypocrisy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like all of us, I was raised on promises, and now I’ve veered off to another perspective. I love football. I played in high school, college, and for a brief time, in the NFL (didn’t make the final roster!) Philosophy has been a life-long pursuit, but I didn’t find what I was looking for: the truth. Except for the existentialists, most of it is a mere history of how mankind thought. But philosophy has taught me how to examine the essence of important issues. That’s why I wrote a book about tribalism, because to me, tribalism is the strongest dynamic in humanity and morality is subordinate to tribalism.

Mark's book list on institutional hypocrisy

Mark A. Salter Why did Mark love this book?

I’m conflicted, two of my three kids went to Florida State and this book holds nothing back about the crimes and sins that have taken place at FSU. I felt like I was witness to a crime scene; the crimes were academic, cultural, and truly criminal. I completely believe that our higher education system is critical to our country, yet what takes place at these schools is an outrage. This is a book written by a talented journalist who took me on an objective tour of the hypocrisy we are willing to allow for our tribe to dominate.

By Mike McIntire,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With little public debate or introspection, our institutions of higher learning have become hostages to the rapacious, smash-mouth entertainment conglomerate known, quaintly, as intercollegiate athletics. In Champions Way, New York Times investigative reporter Mike McIntire chronicles the rise of this growing scandal through the experience of the Florida State Seminoles, one of the most successful teams in NCAA history.

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his Times investigation of college sports, McIntire breaks new ground here, uncovering the workings of a system that enables athletes to violate academic standards and avoid criminal prosecution for actions ranging from shoplifting to…


Book cover of The Boy with a Bird in His Chest

Marisa Crane Author Of I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

From my list on LBGTQ+ speculative books that will break you and then put you back together again.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a queer, nonbinary writer who has always loved reading and writing speculative fiction, whether it be dystopian novels, sci-fi, fantasy, and beyond. I think speculative fiction is such an effective and creative way to hold a mirror up to our society, explore traumatic and heavy themes, and ultimately, show us what it means to be a person, no matter how strange or unfamiliar the world is. Like many millennials, I grew up reading that awful transphobic woman’s magical series but soon realized how limiting that series was, and how there were so many better, smarter, more inclusive books out there, especially those that center queer and trans characters and know how to break my heart ten times over.

Marisa's book list on LBGTQ+ speculative books that will break you and then put you back together again

Marisa Crane Why did Marisa love this book?

This book is utterly un-put-downable. I read it one, feverish sitting. It’s about a boy, Owen, who is literally born with a bird in his chest. She talks to him, and she’s quite funny and sometimes snarky. Owen is known as a Terror, and his mother does everything she can to try to protect him from the Army of Acronyms, aka doctors, nurses, social workers, and anyone who wants to study him and expose him.

Although this speculative premise plays a prominent role in the book, the heart of the book for me is this tender, queer, coming-of-age story about a boy trying to accept himself and let others accept and love him, too. It’s beautiful, smart, and aches in all the right places. 

By Emme Lund,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Boy with a Bird in His Chest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Longlisted for The Center for Fiction 2022 First Novel Prize

"A modern coming-of-age full of love, desperation, heartache, and magic" (Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author) about "the ways in which family, grief, love, queerness, and vulnerability all intersect" (Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author). Perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Thirty Names of Night.

Though Owen Tanner has never met anyone else who has a chatty bird in their chest, medical forums would call him a Terror. From the moment Gail emerged between Owen's ribs, his mother knew that she had to…


Book cover of Normal People

Freddie Gillies Author Of Because All Fades

From my list on love and friendship set in Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

The best fiction explores complex relationships between friends and lovers. I’ve been fascinated by this for as long as I can remember because love and friendship are the cornerstones of human existence. As concepts, they give life meaning yet can also take it away. They bring us together but can also leave us estranged. The sun-soaked cities of Europe have for so long been playgrounds for young lovers and friends, enjoying both the best of life and the most melancholy. I love traveling Europe–the grandeur, the romance, the happy-sad sentiment of it all. It embodies the topic and makes for the most beautiful setting.

Freddie's book list on love and friendship set in Europe

Freddie Gillies Why did Freddie love this book?

I read this book in a few sittings. That’s how hooked it had me. There’s something about the delicacy and complexity of the relationship between the two protagonists that makes this book stand out. I love the book for this. I felt connected to the characters, invested in their future, and even furious at their inability to make things work at times (they were made for each other!). Their insecurities and feelings of inadequacy are so relatable yet so often not talked about.

I loved the way the book explores deeper male emotions and the pressure felt by men in a world where talking about feelings has historically been seen as a weakness. Lastly, I love it because it is lyrical, melancholic, hopeful, and real. All of that is what life is. 

By Sally Rooney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW AN EMMY-NOMINATED HULU ORIGINAL SERIES • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A stunning novel about the transformative power of relationships” (People) from the author of Conversations with Friends, “a master of the literary page-turner” (J. Courtney Sullivan).
 
ONE OF THE TEN BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE—Entertainment Weekly

TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—People, Slate, The New York Public Library, Harvard Crimson

AND BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, O: The Oprah Magazine, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, Vogue, Esquire, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire, Vox, The Paris Review, Good Housekeeping, Town &…


Book cover of The Story of an African Farm

Justin Fox Author Of The Cape Raider

From my list on South Africa’s landscape and beauty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a South African travel writer and novelist with a particular passion for the sublime landscape, wildlife, oceans, and wilderness of our corner of Africa. Growing up in Cape Town, I have spent the last 25 years travelling around the subcontinent writing and photographing for travel and wildlife magazines, and writing books about the landscape and its people. My two latest novels are set in the Cape, and although they are World War II adventure stories, they are also celebrations of our unique coastline, maritime culture, and the oceans that wash our shores. All my writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, ends up being a love letter to the landscape.

Justin's book list on South Africa’s landscape and beauty

Justin Fox Why did Justin love this book?

This South African classic, written in the 19th century, is set on an isolated farm in the Eastern Cape. It masterfully portrays the hardy existence and rugged mountain landscape of the region, but is also a sophisticated (and surprisingly modern) take on issues such as conservation, ecology, racism, and gender equality. Schreiner has a deep love for the fauna and flora of the region, which shines through in her writing.

By Olive Schreiner, Joseph Bristow (editor),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Story of an African Farm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lyndall, Schreiner's articulate young feminist, marks the entry of the controversial New Woman into nineteenth-century fiction. Raised as an orphan amid a makeshift family, she witnesses an intolerable world of colonial exploitation. Desiring a formal education, she leaves the isolated farm for boarding school in her early teens, only to return four years later from an unhappy relationship. Unable to meet the demands of her mysterious lover, Lyndall retires to a
house in Bloemfontein, where, delirious with exhaustion, she is unknowingly tended by an English farmer disguised as her female nurse. This is the devoted Gregory Rose, Schreiner's daring embodiment…


Book cover of After Ever Happy

Emery Darsy Author Of Leaving Home

From my list on love after trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a survivor of childhood and domestic violence who grew up and still lives in South Africa. We don’t talk about abuse much, but it's everywhere. It’s a beautiful place to live, and a hard and heartbreaking place, as well. I wanted to write my books to make sense of my experiences, then also to extend hope and possibility to others dealing with similar things. I admire hard-headed female characters who are making their way on their own terms, and I'm a believer in the power of love. I hope that readers will see themselves in Iris, and even though they might want to shake her at times, they’ll cheer for her through it all!

Emery's book list on love after trauma

Emery Darsy Why did Emery love this book?

After Ever Happy is a poignant and well-written book about family betrayals, and the possibility of healing from those deep wounds. A reader going through some difficulties with her parents will appreciate the strong bond between Hardin and his mother, and will grieve along with him when he learns later in life that his father isn’t really his father, and that bond is broken. Anna Todd’s descriptions of scenes pull you in, letting you live through her characters’ lives right beside them. That’s not always easy, and some truly terrible things happen to Hardin and his mother, but learning how they deal with it all, and with each other, was a powerful experience for me.

By Anna Todd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book Four of the After series-now newly revised and expanded, Anna Todd's After fanfiction racked up 1 billion reads online and captivated readers across the globe. Experience the Internet's most talked-about book for yourself! Tessa and Hardin have defied all the odds, but will their fairy tale ending be turned on its head? After Ever Happy...Life will never be the same. #HESSA It's never been all rainbows and sunshine for Tessa and Hardin, but each new challenge they've faced has only made their passionate bond stronger and stronger. But when a revelation about the past shakes Hardin's inpenetrable facade to…


Book cover of The Art of Fielding

R. Scott Mackey Author Of Courage Matters

From my list on baseball about flawed people trying their best.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve played the game of baseball, rooted for its teams, and even written a book about baseball (and the protagonist in my novels is a baseball nut), so I’m more than a casual observer of the sport. I’ve read more than two hundred baseball books–fiction and non-fiction–in my life. As such it was nearly impossible to come up with my top five books on the sport. I’m recommending these five because they transcend the subject of baseball, exploring universal themes with exemplary writing that evokes deep feelings within the reader. Whether you like baseball or not, if you love fine writing you can’t go wrong with any of these works. 

R. Scott's book list on baseball about flawed people trying their best

R. Scott Mackey Why did R. Scott love this book?

Set on a small college campus, this book explores personal relationships and the human spirit through the story of Henry Skrimshander as he navigates his way from high school ballplayer to college baseball phenom with life throwing him and his friends curveball after curveball along the way. As a former high school and college player, I could very much relate to this book, which evokes the unique ethos of small college life. The story and characters are memorable, but it is Harbach’s creation of a time and place that really moved me. A literary masterpiece.

By Chad Harbach,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Introducing the Collins Modern Classics, a series featuring some of the most significant books of recent times, books that shed light on the human experience - classics which will endure for generations to come.

Henry Skrimshander, newly arrived at college, shy and out of his depth, has a talent for baseball that borders on genius. But sometimes it seems that his only friend is big Mike Schwartz - who champions the talents of others, at the expense of his own. And Owen, Henry's clever, charismatic, gay roommate, who has a secret that could put his brilliant college career in jeopardy.…


Book cover of Fangirl

Isabelle Laflèche Author Of Bonjour Girl

From my list on YA about finding your way through school.

Why am I passionate about this?

A wellness enthusiast and environmental activist, Isabelle began her career as a corporate attorney where she worked in Toronto and New York. She decided to follow her calling as a writer and chose happiness and fulfillment over stress and sleepless nights. She’s published eight books, including the international best-selling novel J’adore New York and the teen series Bonjour Girl. She also recently published two self-help books to help others navigate change and transformation. She’s a life coach, an avid speaker, and is the host and author of the Soulful Couture podcast and blog about eco-fashion.

Isabelle's book list on YA about finding your way through school

Isabelle Laflèche Why did Isabelle love this book?

First of all, any author by the name of Rainbow is already fantastic in my book. The story is engaging and well-written. Cath is the author of a ridiculously popular fanfiction and, on top of that, she’s heading to college. This book is popular for a reason, as the author depicts a strong main character who not only struggles to navigate the choppy waters of college life, but family life too by worrying about her dad. I sure love a main character with a big heart.

By Rainbow Rowell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fangirl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

A love story by Rainbow Rowell, the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park.

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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