81 books like In West Mills

By De'shawn Charles Winslow,

Here are 81 books that In West Mills fans have personally recommended if you like In West Mills. 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 The Nightingale

Mel Laytner Author Of What They Didn't Burn: Uncovering My Father's Holocaust Secrets

From my list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a foreign correspondent seven time zones from home when my father died of a sudden heart attack. My grief mixed with guilt for never having sat down with him to unravel his vague vignettes about life and loss in the Holocaust. I wondered, how did he survive when so many perished? How much depended on resilience, smarts, or dumb luck? As reporters do, I started digging. I uncovered a Nazi paper trial that tracked his life from home, through ghettos, slave labor, concentration camps, death marches, and more. The tattered documents revealed a man very different from the quiet, quintessential Type-B Dad I knew…or thought I knew. 

Mel's book list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II

Mel Laytner Why did Mel love this book?

This novel left me feeling both teary-eyed and ennobled. Superficially, it is about two French sisters living through the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. At its root, however, Hannah deconstructs the essence of survival.

I loved how her characters frame the book’s cosmic questions: What would you do to survive? What compromises would you make? Is it better to fight back aggressively or resist passively? The sisters are of different temperaments and personalities. Each answers these questions differently, painfully. I found myself haunted by these themes long after I put The Nightingale back on the shelf. You will, too.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

27 authors picked The Nightingale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women.

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women's stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah's…


Book cover of Memoirs of a Geisha

Michael Grothaus Author Of Beautiful Shining People

From my list on reads set in Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan, and my new novel, Beautiful Shining People, is a direct result of two profound experiences I had there. The first was when I was hiking through the hills of Kyoto late one night and turned around to see a glowing creature–some have said they think I saw a kami. The second experience happened when I was in Hiroshima at the Peace Park. I immediately started crying, seeing all the schoolchildren learning about the horrible atrocity committed against their ancestors. I have no idea why it affected me so much, but it was one of the most moving experiences of my life.

Michael's book list on reads set in Japan

Michael Grothaus Why did Michael love this book?

Memoirs of a Geisha is the only book I’ve actually dreamed about while reading – that’s how much it gripped me.

Not only are the characters richly drawn, the cultural details and world of pre-war Japan are so immersive you’ll feel like you are walking the streets of the Kyoto of almost a century ago. This book also fascinates me because it is the only one Arthur Golden ever wrote.

I don’t know why he never wrote again, but how could he top it? It’s the perfect novel.

By Arthur Golden,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Memoirs of a Geisha as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An epic tale and a brutal evocation of a disappearing world' The Times

A young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. Many years later she tells her story from a hotel in New York, opening a window into an extraordinary half-hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation and summoning up a quarter of a century of Japan's dramatic history.

'Intimate and brutal, written in cool, lucid prose it is a novel whose psychological empathy and historical truths are outstanding' Mail on Sunday


Book cover of The Underground Railroad

Ciera Horton McElroy Author Of Atomic Family

From my list on historical fiction featuring strong women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may be only 27, but I’ve spent years researching the Cold War. Mostly because it’s very personal to me…my grandfather was a scientist at a top-secret hydrogen bomb plant in the 1960s. I began researching to understand his work and how it affected my family. I didn’t expect to become so consumed by the sixties. The more I learned about the nuclear arms race and the protests that were led, largely, by women, the more I felt convinced that there was a story here. I’m passionate about the often untold stories of resistance—resilience—endurance. Especially women’s stories. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do! 

Ciera's book list on historical fiction featuring strong women

Ciera Horton McElroy Why did Ciera love this book?

I am including The Underground Railroad as it’s both historical fiction and magical realism—a beautiful surrealist imagining of Civil War history. This inventive novel follows Cora, who is enslaved on a plantation in Georgia. When Cora hears of the underground railroad, she plots her escape—but in this book, the railroad is more than a secret network. It is a real, physical, underground train. Cora must fight for her life and her freedom on a harrowing journey north, evading the slave hunter Ridgeway as he seeks to track her down. Cora’s strength and independence make her a character that will stick with you.

By Colson Whitehead,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Underground Railroad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR TV SERIES BY BARRY JENKINS (COMING MAY 2021)

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017
WINNER OF THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD 2017
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2017
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER 2016

'Whitehead is on a roll: the reviews have been sublime' Guardian

'Luminous, furious, wildly inventive' Observer

'Hands down one of the best, if not the best, book I've read this year' Stylist

'Dazzling' New York Review of Books

Praised by Barack Obama and an Oprah Book Club Pick, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead won the National Book Award 2016 and the…


Book cover of The Secrets We Kept

Ciera Horton McElroy Author Of Atomic Family

From my list on historical fiction featuring strong women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may be only 27, but I’ve spent years researching the Cold War. Mostly because it’s very personal to me…my grandfather was a scientist at a top-secret hydrogen bomb plant in the 1960s. I began researching to understand his work and how it affected my family. I didn’t expect to become so consumed by the sixties. The more I learned about the nuclear arms race and the protests that were led, largely, by women, the more I felt convinced that there was a story here. I’m passionate about the often untold stories of resistance—resilience—endurance. Especially women’s stories. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do! 

Ciera's book list on historical fiction featuring strong women

Ciera Horton McElroy Why did Ciera love this book?

As someone who writes about the Cold War, I loved this thrilling novel of espionage and secrecy. The Secrets We Kept follows women in the CIA who helped smuggle the novel Dr. Zhivago out of the Soviet Union. Not only is a story of resilient female spies (who make me want to don trench coats and sunglasses), but it’s a love story—and it sheds light on an under-represented dark spot in American history known as the “lavender scare.” Haven’t heard of that? Well, this book may be perfect for you.

By Lara Prescott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice—inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago • A HELLO SUNSHINE x REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK

At the height of the Cold War, Irina, a young Russian-American secretary, is plucked from the CIA typing pool and given the assignment of a lifetime. Her mission: to help smuggle Doctor Zhivago into the USSR, where it is…


Book cover of The Moonshiner's Daughter: A Southern Coming-of-Age Saga of Family and Loyalty

Lynda Rees Author Of Gold Lust Conspiracy

From my list on historical fiction with a touch of conspiracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Lynda Rees, The Murder Guru, multi-award-winning author of historical fiction, contemporary mystery, suspense, romance, middle-grade mysteries, and children’s fiction. I love all things historical, especially American history. I am part-Cherokee, a coal miner’s daughter born in the Appalachian Mountains, and I grew up in northern Kentucky when Newport prospered as a gambling, prostitution, and sin mecca under the Cleveland Mob. My fascination with history’s effect on today’s lives works its way into my written pages. Having traveled the world negotiating with heads of industry and foreign governments during a corporate career in marketing and global transportation, this workaholic adventurer has succumbed to my passion for writing.

Lynda's book list on historical fiction with a touch of conspiracy

Lynda Rees Why did Lynda love this book?

I found this coming-of-age story a satisfying tale of evolving self-discovery in an unlikely situation and in a less-traveled setting. Thrilling twists and turns kept me enthralled from page one to the end. The setting was vivid and colorful, and I fell in love with the well-defined, colorful characters. I highly recommend it.

By Donna Everhart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you fell in love with 1960s North Carolina when reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Donna Everhart’s The Moonshiner’s Daughter will transport you right back. Everhart’s sensitive and expert storytelling will capture you in this Southern coming-of-age novel!
 
Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, The Moonshiner’s Daughter evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past . . .
 
Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that…


Book cover of My N.C. from A-Z

Pierce Freelon Author Of Daddy & Me, Side by Side

From my list on children's reads by Black women from North Carolina.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina where I was loved, nurtured, and mentored by several brilliant, creative, and powerful Black women. One of those women was Dr. Maya Angelou, who was close with my Grandmother, Queen Mother Frances Pierce, and was my mom's God-Mother. She and the other authors on this list are all women who I respect professionally and love dearly. I am a picture book author, a Grammy-nominated children's musician, and a father of two. I have read these stories to my children and am so proud to live in the great state of North Carolina with so many talented, genuine, and inspirational Black women.

Pierce's book list on children's reads by Black women from North Carolina

Pierce Freelon Why did Pierce love this book?

Michelle Lanier’s My N.C. from A to Z is illustrated by another awesome North Carolina native, Dare Coulter.

This wonderful book celebrates the great state of North Carolina, highlighting our African American heritage, unveiling historical landmarks, and introducing kids to social justice icons. Spotlights include the Great Dismal Swamp, Ella Baker, Black Wall Street, and Pauli Murray.

By Michelle Lanier, Dare Coulter (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My N.C. from A-Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 1, 2, 3, and 4.

What is this book about?

Children and parents will love learning their very first ideas about North Carolina in My N.C. from A–Z. This colorful, sturdy board book celebrates pride of place, creates connections to North Carolina's rich African American heritage, and teaches children about human equality and social justice. A perfect first baby or toddler book!


Book cover of Blanche on the Lam

Joan L. Kelly Author Of Notions of Murder

From my list on cozy mysteries to snuggle up with now and then.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a person who likes to nibble on poetry and taste history and non-fiction. But I love to devour fiction, especially mysteries. Reading a feel-good adventure with an excellent plot and engaging characters is my way of relaxing. My philosophy is that life can often be difficult, and fiction stories, such as cozy mysteries, are good therapy. When I’m not reading, quilting, or spending time with my grandkids, I’m writing stories. As a former teacher, I try to live up to the saying: Writing is painting pictures with words.

Joan's book list on cozy mysteries to snuggle up with now and then

Joan L. Kelly Why did Joan love this book?

I get a kick out of a story that presents a main character who doesn’t fit the expected norms of a hero or heroine. A feisty, middle-aged African-American housekeeper/cook is not your typical amateur sleuth. When her checks bounce because her rich employer fails to pay her, Blanche goes on the lam. Hiding as a maid for a wealthy family, things look bleak when a murder occurs in the home.  Blanche calls on her savvy and wit to discover the truth. As the story unfolds, the author uses humor and biting sentences to present a glimpse into the foibles of southern society toward domestic help. This is the first of this cozy mystery series featuring a very memorable character, Balance White. An enjoyable read!  

Once you read Blanche on the Lam, I believe you won’t hesitate to search out book two of the series to see what further adventures…

By Barbara Neely,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Blanche on the Lam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning author Barbara Neely presents the first in a series of novels featuring Blanche White, bla ck domestic worker extraordinaire and accidental sleuth. '


Book cover of Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy

Pam Kelley Author Of Money Rock: A Family's Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South

From my list on that explain America’s systemic racism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a mostly white town in Ohio, where, as a White woman, I didn’t have to think much at all about race. During college in North Carolina, I first began to consider racism. As a journalist, I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) that you can’t write in a meaningful way about social justice issues without connecting them to history. The books I’ve recommended provide that connection. Once you make it, you’ll never be able to see the world the same way. 

Pam's book list on that explain America’s systemic racism

Pam Kelley Why did Pam love this book?

Wilmington’s Lie, winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, documents one of the darkest episodes in North Carolina’s history – the violent overthrow of an elected government in the Black-majority city of Wilmington. It was a massacre that left at least 60 Black men dead. I lived in North Carolina for decades before I heard about this history. And I’m hardly alone. Until recently, this coup had been described as a “race riot” and largely omitted from textbooks, while its White supremacist organizers had been revered as great North Carolinians. If you want to understand what people mean when they talk about the “whitewashing” of American history, this book is the ultimate case study.

By David Zucchino,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2021 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION

From Pulitzer Prize-winner David Zucchino comes a searing account of the Wilmington riot and coup of 1898, an extraordinary event unknown to most Americans

By the 1890s, Wilmington was North Carolina’s largest city and a shining example of a mixed-race community. It was a bustling port city with a burgeoning African American middle class and a Fusionist government of Republicans and Populists that included black aldermen, police officers and magistrates. There were successful black-owned businesses and an African American newspaper, The Record. But across the state—and the South—white supremacist Democrats were…


Book cover of Liberalism, Black Power, and the Making of American Politics, 1965-1980

Marcia Chatelain Author Of Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America

From my list on racial capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anytime we imagine ourselves to be smarter or more clever than Madison Avenue or sponsored content on your social media feeds or a well-designed advertisement a nostalgia unlocking tweet will prove you wrong. We are all vulnerable to their manipulations, and it is from this belief that I explore the histories, the conflicts, and the techniques that strengthen capitalism’s hold on our imaginations. And yet, despite the lures of the marketplace, I believe that people can come together and outmaneuver corporations and their enablers. Whether it’s a fast-food restaurant that crashed and burned in the 1980s or the most popular toy of 1973 or failed TV spinoffs, I see these cultural contributions as rich texts to understand race, gender, and American identities.

Marcia's book list on racial capitalism

Marcia Chatelain Why did Marcia love this book?

When I teach students about the Civil Rights Movement, many of them had previously learned that the freedom struggle ended after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. I disabuse them of this notion by highlighting all the political work that was inspired—rather than stymied—by King’s passing. In this book, Fergus provides a provocative idea: What if the radicals of the late 1960s and 1970s were able to influence liberals and conservatives alike? By showing the ways that Black Power actually resonated with the leaders of pre-Reagan America, Fergus recovers the various approaches to capitalism, political participation, and compromise that can’t be easily categorized as Left or Right.

By Devin Fergus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Liberalism, Black Power, and the Making of American Politics, 1965-1980 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book presents a provocative reinterpretation of recent political history. In this pioneering exploration of the interplay between liberalism and black nationalism, Devin Fergus returns to the tumultuous era of Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and Helms and challenges us to see familiar political developments through a new lens. What if the liberal coalition, instead of being torn apart by the demands of Black Power, actually engaged in a productive relationship with radical upstarts, absorbing black separatists into the political mainstream and keeping them from a more violent path? What if the New Right arose not only in response to Great Society…


Book cover of Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom

Marc Dollinger Author Of Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s

From my list on social justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve devoted my academic career and personal life to the limits and possibilities of white liberal approaches to civil rights reform. Trained in U.S. history and published in American Jewish history, I look closely at how ethnic groups and religious minorities interact with their racial and gender status to create a sometimes-surprising perspective on both history and our current day. At times powerful and at other times powerless, Jews (and other white ethnics) navigate a complex course in civil rights advocacy.

Marc's book list on social justice

Marc Dollinger Why did Marc love this book?

By investigating what white liberal Greensboro meant with the word “civility” against what black activists meant by “civil rights,” Chafe dives deep into the limits of white liberalism, undermining the claim that civil rights could be achieved by following a slow, southern, and civil, approach.

By William Henry Chafe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reveals how whites in Greensboro used the traditional Southern concept of civility as a means of keeping Black protest in check and how Black activists continually devised new ways of asserting their quest for freedom.


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