100 books like Illumination in the Flatwoods

By Joe Hutto,

Here are 100 books that Illumination in the Flatwoods fans have personally recommended if you like Illumination in the Flatwoods. 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 Talking with Bears: Conversations with Charlie Russell

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Author Of The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals

From my list on animal emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was once a psychoanalyst, but I found that it was almost impossible to understand another human being. Animals were easier: they could not be hypocritical, they could not lie, they could not deceive. Whoever heard of an animal with an unconscious anger problem? If they were angry they showed it, if they loved they showed it. After I got fired from the Freud Archives (that’s a whole other story) I decided I wanted to read ten good books about animal emotions. This was in 1981. But it turns out there were no books on this topic I could read, except Darwin, 1872! So I decided to write my own. 

Jeffrey's book list on animal emotions

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Russell, who died far too young, talks, in particular, about a bear in a remote mountain area of Russia (the Kamtchatka Peninsula) who had young by her side when she came upon Charlie. Convinced he was going to die (who is more protective of their young than a mother bear?), he was surprised, shocked, then delighted when she left her two cubs in his care while she foraged for food nearby. Explanation: She had observed him taking care of orphaned cubs and releasing them in the wild and realized he would make a good babysitter.

This book changed the way people think about bears. It also created a whole new genre: authors who had not been to university, who had no academic credentials, could yet write compelling books about animals because they had first-hand experience with them. Revolutionary. You will come away with a whole new understanding of the…

By G.A. Bradshaw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A highly literary and reflective portrait of Charlie Russell’s beautiful and unparalleled relationship with some of our planet’s most majestic giants.

Charlie Russell is a legend, not only in his home territory of Alberta but in all of Canada and around the world. An author of several books, including Walking with Giants: The Grizzlies of Siberia, The Spirit Bear: Encounters with the White Bear of the Western Rainforest, and Grizzly Heart: Living Without Fear Among the Brown Bears of Kamchatka, he has been the subject of numerous interviews, documentaries, and articles showcasing him and the bears he loved.

Talking with…


Book cover of Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Author Of The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals

From my list on animal emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was once a psychoanalyst, but I found that it was almost impossible to understand another human being. Animals were easier: they could not be hypocritical, they could not lie, they could not deceive. Whoever heard of an animal with an unconscious anger problem? If they were angry they showed it, if they loved they showed it. After I got fired from the Freud Archives (that’s a whole other story) I decided I wanted to read ten good books about animal emotions. This was in 1981. But it turns out there were no books on this topic I could read, except Darwin, 1872! So I decided to write my own. 

Jeffrey's book list on animal emotions

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Why did Jeffrey love this book?

The renowned primatologist sums up his views, which I share, about how similar to us are the great apes. The book begins with a story that nobody who reads it will ever forget. I will not spoil it for you, but read the first few pages and see if you come away with dry eyes.

Frans de Waal is rightly considered the world expert on primates. And reading this book will show you why and what he has learned. Actually, it’s not that hard to summarize: they are very similar to us. But if that is so, what are the implications? Here I think the author could have gone further. Because one thing I believe is undeniable: if they really are like us, what gives us the right to put them in zoos, or really in any kind of confinement, no matter how much we learn from doing so? I…

By Frans de Waal,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mama's Last Hug as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mama's Last Hug is a fascinating exploration of the rich emotional lives of animals, beginning with Mama, a chimpanzee matriarch who formed a deep bond with biologist Jan van Hooff. Her story and others like it-from dogs "adopting" the injuries of their companions, to rats helping fellow rats in distress, to elephants revisiting the bones of their loved ones-show that humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, fear, shame, guilt, joy, disgust, and empathy. Frans de Waal opens our hearts and minds to the many ways in which humans and other animals are connected.


Book cover of Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Author Of The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals

From my list on animal emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was once a psychoanalyst, but I found that it was almost impossible to understand another human being. Animals were easier: they could not be hypocritical, they could not lie, they could not deceive. Whoever heard of an animal with an unconscious anger problem? If they were angry they showed it, if they loved they showed it. After I got fired from the Freud Archives (that’s a whole other story) I decided I wanted to read ten good books about animal emotions. This was in 1981. But it turns out there were no books on this topic I could read, except Darwin, 1872! So I decided to write my own. 

Jeffrey's book list on animal emotions

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Why did Jeffrey love this book?

This was one of the first of many thousands of books extolling the power of the dog (Note: Nothing to do with Jane Campion's film of the same title). It also happens to be the best, or at least one of the best, and nobody can come away from reading it without recognizing that we are living with the friendliest aliens in the universe, and they, for mysterious reasons, love us!

There are so many good books about dogs that it is hard to pick just one. Pack of Two is another terrific book. But note that it is fairly recently that we have come to believe that we humans have an enormous amount to learn about our own species by observing dogs. I pass dogs every day on my walks here in Bondi Beach, and each time I think: No human has half the joie de vivre of every…

By Ted Kerasote,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A moving, insightful love story about the vast possiblities of the relationship between humans and dogs.

While on a camping trip, Ted Kerasote meets a Labrador mix living on his own in the wild. They become attached to each other, and Kerasote decides to bring the dog, who he names Merle, home. There, after realizing that Merle's native intelligence would be diminished by living exclusively in the human world, he installs a dog door in his house, allowing Merle to live both outside and in.

Merle shows Kerasote how dogs might live if they were allowed to make more of…


Book cover of Enter the Animal: Cross-species Perspectives on Grief and Spirituality

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Author Of The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals

From my list on animal emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was once a psychoanalyst, but I found that it was almost impossible to understand another human being. Animals were easier: they could not be hypocritical, they could not lie, they could not deceive. Whoever heard of an animal with an unconscious anger problem? If they were angry they showed it, if they loved they showed it. After I got fired from the Freud Archives (that’s a whole other story) I decided I wanted to read ten good books about animal emotions. This was in 1981. But it turns out there were no books on this topic I could read, except Darwin, 1872! So I decided to write my own. 

Jeffrey's book list on animal emotions

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Normally the word "spirituality" in a book title would have me running for the door. Dr. Pribac is so smart, so insightful, and so different in her way of approaching everything, that I was struck with wonder. Warning: A full-throated endorsement of veganism (to my delight).

Normally I do not like academic books about animals. But this book is an exception. The author is different than ordinary academics. For one thing, she really adores her subject. For another, she writes with heart. She is also whip-smart, so just about every sentence is worth reading twice or even three times. I truly believe she will revolutionize the field with her next books. Anyone interested in animals should keep an eye on for this author.  

By Teya Brooks Pribac,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Enter the Animal, Teya Brooks Pribac examines academic and popular discourse on animals' experiences of grief and spirituality, which are rooted in our intrinsic capacity and propensity for connections and relations, and highlights important ethical implications of humans' treatment of other species.Praise for Enter the Animal'This path-breaking book engages a surprising range of sources to shed extraordinary clarity on aspects of animal subjectivity that make other species every bit our equal. I could not stop reading.'- Cynthia Willett, author of Interspecies Ethics'Enter the Animal is a fascinating journey into the hearts and minds of nonhuman animals and our shared…


Book cover of A Bird Will Soar

Kate McCarroll Moore Author Of Elinormal

From my list on navigating middle school years with honesty & empathy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former middle school teacher and librarian, I know first-hand the power of story to motivate and teach. Over the years, I have also been lucky enough to facilitate several mother-daughter book groups and have found that books that show characters wrestling with decisions about doing the right thing, and recovering from bad choices, help to show children that there is always hope. Middle school is a time of such challenge and change, and stories that show authentically drawn characters navigating this tough terrain can act as guideposts. Becoming independent, finding your voice, growing empathy, and cherishing family and friends are necessary steps to becoming confident and healthy humans.

Kate's book list on navigating middle school years with honesty & empathy

Kate McCarroll Moore Why did Kate love this book?

I honestly picked this book up because I love birds and the cover is gorgeous. And then I fell in love with Axel, the main character, and I didn’t want the book to ever end.

The writing is so lyrical and poetic, the characters are so fully rendered, and the plight of the rescued eagle and all the forces at play make this a most compelling read. This is a book with heart and compassion and it will leave you rooting for Axel as he navigates his challenging family situation and learns to soar.

By Alison Green Myers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Bird Will Soar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE SCHNEIDER FAMILY BOOK AWARD

A heartfelt and hopeful debut about a bird-loving autistic child whose family's special nest is in danger of falling apart.

Axel loves everything about birds, especially eagles. No one worries that an eagle will fly too far and not come home-a fact Axel wishes his mother understood. Deep down, Axel knows that his mother is like an osprey-the best of all bird mothers-but it's hard to remember that when she worries and keeps secrets about important things. His dad is more like a wild turkey, coming and going as he pleases. His dad's…


Book cover of Of Plymouth Plantation: 1620-1645, Modernized & Abridged, Mayflower Quadricentennial Edition

Melanie Kirkpatrick Author Of Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience

From my list on making your Thanksgiving more meaningful.

Why am I passionate about this?

My idea for a book about Thanksgiving was born in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I was in downtown Manhattan that awful morning on my way to my office at the Wall Street Journal, directly across from the World Trade Center. I stood on the street and watched the towers fall. Two months later, as Thanksgiving approached, I found myself reading William Bradford’s first-person account of the First Thanksgiving. I wanted to learn more about this little kernel of history and how it grew into a cherished national holiday. I wrote several articles for the Journal about the holiday. Writing a book was the logical next step. 

Melanie's book list on making your Thanksgiving more meaningful

Melanie Kirkpatrick Why did Melanie love this book?

Of Plymouth Plantation is Governor William Bradford’s first-person account of the Pilgrims’ journey to America and the adventures, trials, and tribulations they encountered there. It’s a monumental story, and Bradford’s telling of it is thrilling. Only 53 Pilgrims survived their first winter in the New World, half the number of men, women, and children who had sailed on the Mayflower. But now, Bradford writes, everyone was “well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty.” That included “a great store of wild turkeys” and much more. Does that sound familiar? Happy Thanksgiving. 

By William Bradford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In honor of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's landing at Plymouth in 1620, a new edition of William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation -- a first person narrative account of the pilgrims' adventures, challenges, and triumphs during their early years in America. This edition is derived from the 1890 abridged version published by Effingham, Maynard & Co., which has been further lightly edited to make it more accessible to students and the modern reader. This edition also includes a brief account of the life of William Bradford from that edition.

William Bradford (1590 – 1657) originally hailed from Yorkshire in…


Book cover of Vulture View

Maria Gianferrari Author Of Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story

From my list on read aloud bird books for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may not be an expert ornithologist, but I am an avid “birdologist” to borrow a term from Sy Montgomery—one who is awed and fascinated by all things bird. Bird-watching is meditative—it helps me to be present and to feel joyful. I love reading, learning, and writing about birds too! I am the author of these bird books: Hawk Rising, illustrated by Brian Floca, Whoo-Ku Haiku, illustrated by Jonathan Voss, and the forthcoming You and the Bowerbird, illustrated by Maris Wicks. I love writing about the natural world and its inhabitants as well as dogs—another love of mine!

Maria's book list on read aloud bird books for kids

Maria Gianferrari Why did Maria love this book?

In mostly rhyming couplets, Sayre’s book celebrates the lowly turkey vulture, an unsung and underappreciated creature that plays a very vital role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem—scavengers are nature’s clean-up crew! View vultures as they circle, soar, and glide on thermals, up, UP! Watch them sniff, search, seek and eat things that reek, the more rotten the better. Vultures feast, then clean and preen. At night, they roost and rest in trees like families. Jenkins’ cut paper collages complete this homage to the venerable turkey vulture. Explore more turkey vulture facts in the concluding pages.

By April Pulley Sayre, Steve Jenkins (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vulture View 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?

Turkey vultures soar on the balmy air, looking for their next stinky feast. These birds don't hunt―they like their food to be already dead, and their eating habits serve a very important ecological role. Vultures are part of nature's clean-up crew.

In her signature poetic, energetic style, acclaimed nature writer April Pulley Sayre introduces young readers to the world of the turkey vulture. The gorgeous illustrations by Caldecott Honor–winning artist Steve Jenkins capture these birds in all their surprising majesty.

Vulture View is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


Book cover of Twice a Stranger: The Mass Expulsions That Forged Modern Greece and Turkey

Roger Crowley Author Of Empires of the Sea: The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580

From my list on the Mediterranean world.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Mediterranean is in my family’s history. My dad was a naval officer who worked in the sea in peace and war and took us to Malta when I was nine. I was entranced by the island’s history, by an evocative sensory world of sunlight, brilliant seas, and antiquity. I’ve been travelling in this sea ever since, including a spell living in Turkey, and delved deep into its past, its empires, and its maritime activity. I’m the author of three books on the subject: Constantinople: the Last Great Siege, Empires of the Sea, and Venice: City of Fortune.

Roger's book list on the Mediterranean world

Roger Crowley Why did Roger love this book?

We are reminded on almost a daily basis of the plight of refugees in fragile boats that this sea can be cruel as well as kind. The present diaspora has its forerunners – in this book the great population exchange of 1923 that saw the displacement of two million people across the Mediterranean: Greeks living in the Ottoman Empire, Turks living in Greece. Bruce Clarke both explains the chain of events in the aftermath of the First World War and records the personal stories of those who were uprooted from the places they called home. They have a familiar resonance, the repeating patterns of memory and loss: ‘I remember the day they went away,’ recorded a Greek woman of her Muslim neighbours. ‘Some kissed the earth, some took bowls of soil with them. They were decent types; their menfolk used to attend our funerals, and we would exchange presents of…

By Bruce Clarke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire following World War I, nearly two million citizens in Turkey and Greece were expelled from homelands. The Lausanne treaty resulted in the deportation of Orthodox Christians from Turkey to Greece and of Muslims from Greece to Turkey. The transfer was hailed as a solution to the problem of minorities who could not coexist. Both governments saw the exchange as a chance to create societies of a single culture. The opinions and feelings of those uprooted from their native soil were never solicited.

In an evocative book, Bruce Clark draws on new archival research…


Book cover of Dinner of Herbs: Village Life in 1960s Turkey

Lisa Morrow Author Of Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries

From my list on the heart & soul of Turkey and its people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Sydney, Australia born sociologist and writer and back in 1990 I hitchhiked through the UK, travelled in Europe and arrived in Turkey just as the Gulf War was starting. After three months in the country I was hooked. I now live in Istanbul and write about the people, culture, and history. Using my less than perfect Turkish language skills I uncover the everyday extraordinary of life in modern Istanbul and throughout the country, even though it means I’ve accidentally asked a random stranger to give me a hug and left a butcher convinced I think Turkish sheep are born with their heads on upside down.

Lisa's book list on the heart & soul of Turkey and its people

Lisa Morrow Why did Lisa love this book?

Reading Carla Grissman’s memoir of the year she lived in a small farming village 249 kilometres east of Ankara took me back to my first long stay in Turkey in 1990. I was in Göreme, Cappadocia for almost three months. It was still a small village then so Grissman’s account of her experiences thirty years earlier in a similar place, resonated with me. She found a generous people, strong communal spirit, and much happiness, and aptly named the book for Proverbs 15:17 which reads, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than feasting on a fattened ox where hatred also dwells”. Village life was basic but Grissman expressed no judgements or desire to change things. Instead, she engaged and observed, resulting in a revealing look at a way of life that still continues in parts of Anatolia today.

By Carla Grissman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Carla Grissman spent the better part of a year in the '60s living in a farming hamlet in remote Anatolia, some 250 km east of Ankara. The hospitality, the friendship and the way in which the inhabitants of Uzak Koy accepted her into their community left a deep impression, and were remembered and treasured in a private memoir. Not for some forty years was it published, and yet it is one of the most honest, clear-sighted and affectionate portraits of rural Turkey, testimony to Proverbs 15:17, 'Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than feasting on a fattened…


Book cover of Turkish Awakening: A Personal Discovery of Modern Turkey

Lisa Morrow Author Of Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries

From my list on the heart & soul of Turkey and its people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Sydney, Australia born sociologist and writer and back in 1990 I hitchhiked through the UK, travelled in Europe and arrived in Turkey just as the Gulf War was starting. After three months in the country I was hooked. I now live in Istanbul and write about the people, culture, and history. Using my less than perfect Turkish language skills I uncover the everyday extraordinary of life in modern Istanbul and throughout the country, even though it means I’ve accidentally asked a random stranger to give me a hug and left a butcher convinced I think Turkish sheep are born with their heads on upside down.

Lisa's book list on the heart & soul of Turkey and its people

Lisa Morrow Why did Lisa love this book?

Turkish Awakening is the result of Alev Scott’s desire to discover the land of her mother’s birth and explore contemporary Turkish life and politics. Scott combines personal insights with an objective gaze to focus on a confusing and often contradictory culture, to try to unravel the complex relationships between modernity and religion unfolding in Turkey today. She chats with taxi drivers, examines how sex work and transgender inhabitants coexist, sometimes uneasily, next door to conservative Muslims recently relocated from the country, and explores the impact of popular soap operas featuring the newly rich on the aspirations of ordinary Turks and international tourism. The rise of the ruling Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP – Party for Justice and Progress) is covered as well as Turkey’s changing relationship with the EU. The book ends with Scott’s observations about the protests that sprang to life in Gezi Park in Istanbul and then spread…

By Alev Scott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Born in London to a Turkish mother and British father, Alev Scott moved to Istanbul to discover what it means to be Turkish in a country going through rapid political and social change, with an extraordinary past still linked to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and an ever more surprising present under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

From the European buzz of modern-day Constantinople to the Arabic-speaking towns of the south-east, Turkish Awakening investigates mass migration, urbanisation and economics in a country moving swiftly towards a new position on the world stage.

This is the story of discovering a complex country…


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