100 books like Infinite Country

By Patricia Engel,

Here are 100 books that Infinite Country fans have personally recommended if you like Infinite Country. 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 Miracle Creek

Roxana Arama Author Of Extreme Vetting

From my list on voices of immigrants.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Romanian American author who arrived in the US with a job in software development. In more than twenty years as an immigrant, I’ve struggled with the same problems these novels explore: how to build a home in a new land, away from my family; how to fit in or make my peace with not belonging; how to be the parent of American-born children whose culture is different from my native one. I’m familiar with the US immigration system from my yearslong citizenship application, and I also interviewed an immigration lawyer extensively for my thriller.

Roxana's book list on voices of immigrants

Roxana Arama Why did Roxana love this book?

In this gripping courtroom drama, an explosion in Miracle Creek, Virginia, destroys the business of South Korean immigrants Pak and Young Yoo and puts their daughter Mary into a monthslong coma. As arguments mount against the woman accused of starting the fire, Young struggles with a question many immigrants must face. Maybe she shouldn’t have brought her child to the US, where Mary struggles as a teenager and where she was almost killed. The tension between the two generations resonated with me as a parent and immigrant. As Young hopes to discover who caused the explosion that killed two other people, she must also help Mary imagine a future in their adoptive country.

By Angie Kim,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Miracle Creek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'That wonderful, brilliant sort of book you want to shove at people as soon as you've finished so they can experience it for themselves' Erin Morgenstern

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng about how far we'll go to protect our families - and our deepest secrets.

In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine - a pressurised oxygen chamber that patients enter for "dives", used as an alternative therapy for conditions including autism and infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two…


Book cover of How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water

Roxana Arama Author Of Extreme Vetting

From my list on voices of immigrants.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Romanian American author who arrived in the US with a job in software development. In more than twenty years as an immigrant, I’ve struggled with the same problems these novels explore: how to build a home in a new land, away from my family; how to fit in or make my peace with not belonging; how to be the parent of American-born children whose culture is different from my native one. I’m familiar with the US immigration system from my yearslong citizenship application, and I also interviewed an immigration lawyer extensively for my thriller.

Roxana's book list on voices of immigrants

Roxana Arama Why did Roxana love this book?

Cara Romero’s unique and vibrant voice stayed with me long after I finished the book. Like all immigrants, she’s caught between two worlds. She’s bound to the parents she left behind in her native Dominican Republic, and she cares for her family and friends in Washington Heights, New York. She’s a flawed character who grows during the story because, as she explains, she doesn’t want to hurt anyone. As a parent, I felt for Cara and her estranged son Fernando, separated by vast cultural differences. This is a heartwarming story, where Cara’s compassionate voice is juxtaposed with the bureaucratic lingo of government forms, emphasizing her humanity and the complex lives of immigrants everywhere.

By Angie Cruz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Write this down: Cara Romero wants to work.

Cara Romero thought she would work at the factory of little lamps for the rest of her life. But when, in her mid-50s, she loses her job in the Great Recession, she is forced back into the job market for the first time in decades. Set up with a job counselor, Cara instead begins to narrate the story of her life. Over the course of twelve sessions, Cara recounts her tempestuous love affairs, her alternately biting and loving relationships with her neighbor Lulu and her sister Angela, her struggles with debt, gentrification…


Book cover of The Other Americans

Roxana Arama Author Of Extreme Vetting

From my list on voices of immigrants.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Romanian American author who arrived in the US with a job in software development. In more than twenty years as an immigrant, I’ve struggled with the same problems these novels explore: how to build a home in a new land, away from my family; how to fit in or make my peace with not belonging; how to be the parent of American-born children whose culture is different from my native one. I’m familiar with the US immigration system from my yearslong citizenship application, and I also interviewed an immigration lawyer extensively for my thriller.

Roxana's book list on voices of immigrants

Roxana Arama Why did Roxana love this book?

This riveting whodunit captures the tension between native and naturalized citizens, something I’m familiar with. A Moroccan American man is killed in a hit-and-run in a small desert town in California. His daughter Nora returns home to the Mojave, determined to find the killer. The story is told through multiple voices, some of them immigrants: Nora’s mom, who still dreams of her old life in Casablanca; an undocumented man who witnessed the incident but is afraid to come forward; and the victim himself in the days before dying, when his future looked bright. The secrets Nora discovers about her family and her town, heartbreaking as they are, help her find love and also a sense of home that immigrants like me spend our entire lives trying to reach.

By Laila Lalami,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Finalist for the National Book Award 2019 An Observer, Literary Review and Time Book of the Year 'One of the most affecting novels I have read. Subtle, wise and full of humanity' The Times Late one spring night, Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant in California, is walking across a darkened intersection when he is killed by a speeding car. The repercussions of his death bring together a diverse cast of characters, deeply divided by race, religion and class. As the characters tell their stories and the mystery unfolds, Driss's family is forced to confront its secrets, a town faces its…


Book cover of Red Thread of Fate

Roxana Arama Author Of Extreme Vetting

From my list on voices of immigrants.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Romanian American author who arrived in the US with a job in software development. In more than twenty years as an immigrant, I’ve struggled with the same problems these novels explore: how to build a home in a new land, away from my family; how to fit in or make my peace with not belonging; how to be the parent of American-born children whose culture is different from my native one. I’m familiar with the US immigration system from my yearslong citizenship application, and I also interviewed an immigration lawyer extensively for my thriller.

Roxana's book list on voices of immigrants

Roxana Arama Why did Roxana love this book?

The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Tam is on the phone with her husband when he is killed in traffic. Their last conversation is about the little boy they were going to adopt from China. Mia, an undocumented Chinese immigrant with an American-born daughter, tells the other half of the story. Reading about Chinese orphanages in the 90s—and now—was heartbreaking. It was also moving because of the way some nannies cared for the abandoned children. In Chinese mythology, the red thread of fate unites through love. Drawing from the author’s Taiwanese culture and her experience adopting her son from China, this is a story about love: between parents and children, friends who help each other, caretakers and orphans—and even unexpected romance.

By Lyn Liao Butler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the wake of a tragedy and fueled by guilt from a secret she's kept for years, a woman discovers how delicate the thread that binds family is in this powerful novel by Lyn Liao Butler.

Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting from China, Tony and his estranged cousin Mia are killed unexpectedly in an accident. A shell-shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia’s five-year-old daughter, Angela. With no other family around, Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she…


Book cover of Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants

Michael Blake Author Of Justice, Migration, and Mercy

From my list on understanding what’s happening at the border.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a political philosopher who lives in Seattle. I teach and write about political ethics, and the ways in which moral concepts change when they get applied to the relationships between states—and to the complicated borders that define where states end. I tend to write about what puzzles me, and many of these puzzles come from my personal life; I’m a migrant myself, and the experience of migrating to the United States led me to write about what sorts of values a country can rightly pursue through migration policyand what sorts of things, more generally, it can and can’t do to migrants themselves.  

Michael's book list on understanding what’s happening at the border

Michael Blake Why did Michael love this book?

This book helped me to understand the reasons people choose to migrateand, in particular, how big structural changes in the policies and law of the United States can lead to changes elsewhere that makes it hard to avoid migrating. It’s easy to focus either on the particular stories of individual people, or on the big picture of global economics; it’s a rare thing to see these two done together, and done in such a skillful way.

By David Bacon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For two decades veteran photojournalist David Bacon has documented the connections between labor, migration, and the global economy. In Illegal People Bacon explores the human side of globalization, exposing the many ways it uproots people in Latin America and Asia, driving them to migrate. At the same time, U.S. immigration policy makes the labor of those displaced people a crime in the United States. Illegal People explains why our national policy produces even more displacement, more migration, more immigration raids, and a more divided, polarized society.

Through interviews and on-the-spot reporting from both impoverished communities abroad and American immigrant workplaces…


Book cover of Beautiful Country: A Memoir

Marita Golden Author Of Migrations of the Heart

From my list on why memoir can be both literature and art.

Why am I passionate about this?

Marita Golden is an award-winning author of over twenty works of fiction and nonfiction. Her books include the novel The Wide Circumference of Love and the memoirs Migrations of the Heart, Saving Our Sons, and Don’t Play in the Sun One Woman’s Journey Through the Color Complex. She is the recipient of many awards including the Writers for Writers Award from Barnes & Noble and Poets and Writers, an award from the Authors Guild, and the Fiction Award for her novel After, from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, been featured as a question on Jeopardy!, and is a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee. 

Marita's book list on why memoir can be both literature and art

Marita Golden Why did Marita love this book?

This memoir informed me of the psychological price of immigration and displacement on young children in ways that were searing and deep because of Wang’s mastery of the child’s perspective.

She lived in New York’s Chinatown with her parents two professionals who immigrated from China and experienced poverty, isolation, fear of deportation, working in a sweatshop. She was saved by her love of books and reading, and her mother’s determination to realize the life she left China to have. Wang creates innocence and trauma with a deft, poetic skill that makes this a classic. 

By Qian Julie Wang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK, OBAMA 2021 BOOK PICK and INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Hunger was a constant, reliable friend in Mei Guo. She came second only to loneliness.'

In China she was the daughter of professors. In Brooklyn her family is 'illegal.'

Qian is just seven when she moves to America, the 'Beautiful Country', where she and her parents find that the roads of New York City are not paved with gold, but crushing fear and scarcity. Unable to speak English at first, Qian and her parents must work wherever they can to survive, all while…


Book cover of Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen

Sarah E. Igo Author Of The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America

From my list on identity documents in the modern world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an American intellectual historian and professor at Vanderbilt University. I’ve long been fascinated by the history and politics of data: the question of how publicly available knowledge shapes societies as well as individual selves. It’s led me to research the effects of popular polls and statistics on mid-century U.S. culture and to write about how ever-advancing techniques for “knowing” citizens shaped modern privacy sensibilities. My current obsession is with official identity documents—how they infiltrate people’s lives in ways that are at once bureaucratic and curiously intimate. The books I’ve selected lay bare the promise and the peril of documentation in wonderfully vivid detail.

Sarah's book list on identity documents in the modern world

Sarah E. Igo Why did Sarah love this book?

Vargas’s memoir begins, “I do not know where I will be when you read this book.”  An undocumented immigrant (and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist) who was brought to the United States from the Philippines as a child, Vargas only learned that he was in the country illegally when he applied for a driver’s license at age 16.  In 2011, after two decades in the shadows, Vargas publicly revealed his legal status. His anxious, tireless quest for a driver’s license, like his quest to belong in the only country he knows as home, raises urgent questions about the power of documents and borders to define people’s life chances. I’ve taught this beautifully written book several times and it never fails to move my students – and me.

By Jose Antonio Vargas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"This riveting, courageous memoir ought to be mandatory reading for every American." -Michelle Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of The New Jim Crow

"l cried reading this book, realizing more fully what my parents endured." -Amy Tan, New York Times bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and Where the Past Begins

"This book couldn't be more timely and more necessary." -Dave Eggers, New York Times bestselling author of What Is the What and The Monk of Mokha

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, called "the most famous undocumented immigrant in America," tackles one of the…


Book cover of Signs Preceding the End of the World

Steven Arntson Author Of The Wikkeling

From my list on short contemporary novels in translation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My writing career has been in middle grade and YA, but as a reader I’m always trying to branch out. When I was a kid, literature opened the door to the whole world, and as an adult, I’m still exploring. When I read work in translation I can feel the literary connection to other writers and thinkers and simultaneously appreciate the differences that arise through geographic and cultural heritage. I hope my selections here might help readers like myself who enjoy reaching out to new voices and places.

Steven's book list on short contemporary novels in translation

Steven Arntson Why did Steven love this book?

Translated from Spanish and 128 pages in length, Herrera’s short novel is a beautiful evocation of one woman's journey from Latin America to the US. Evoked with the brushstrokes of a fairy tale and suffused with a luminous surreality, the book has stuck with me. This is Herrera’s first novel to be published in English, and it has made quite a splash, giving me hope that more will soon follow.

By Yuri Herrera, Lisa Dillman (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Signs Preceding the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the most arresting novels to be published in Spanish in the last ten years. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there's no going back. Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to…


Book cover of Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor and Global Capitalism

Sarah Tosh Author Of The Immigration Law Death Penalty: Aggravated Felonies, Deportation, and Legal Resistance

From my list on challenge the “good immigrant/bad immigrant” binary.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, I was acutely aware of the way my non-white and non-citizen classmates were treated differently by police and other authorities. Studying racial inequality in the War on Drugs as an undergraduate and graduate-level Sociology student, I began to understand the many links between the criminal and immigration systems, and how often the stories of criminalized people are left behind. I became committed to bringing attention to the racially inequalities that shape these systems. In doing so, I aim to uplift resistance to the “good immigrant/bad immigrant” binary that frames non-citizens with criminal records as undeserving and disposable.

Sarah's book list on challenge the “good immigrant/bad immigrant” binary

Sarah Tosh Why did Sarah love this book?

Deported was one of the first books I read that fully explained the links between deportation and inequality, in both readable and evidence-backed ways.

I appreciate it for the way it uses riveting narratives from deportees themselves, to demonstrate how the unequal conditions of global capitalism spur migration in the first place, while inequality in the United States leads to the criminalization and deportation of men of color.

This book stands out to me in its focus on Black and Afro-Latinx immigrants from the Caribbean, a group known to be targeted by the US War on Drugs, who are often left out of the literature on immigration enforcement and deportation.

By Tanya Maria Golash-Boza,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner, 2016 Distinguished Contribution to Research Book Award, given by the American Sociological Association Latino/a Section
The intimate stories of 147 deportees that exposes the racialized and gendered dimensions of mass deportations in the U.S.
The United States currently is deporting more people than ever before: 4 million people have been deported since 1997 -twice as many as all people deported prior to 1996. There is a disturbing pattern in the population deported: 97% of deportees are sent to Latin America or the Caribbean, and 88% are men, many of whom were originally detained through the U.S. criminal justice system.…


Book cover of The Ethics of Immigration

Ilya Somin Author Of Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom

From my list on migration rights and democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ilya Somin is a Professor of Law at George Mason University. He is the author of Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom, Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter, and The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London, and the Limits of Eminent Domain. Somin has also published articles in a variety of popular press outlets, including The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, CNN, The Atlantic, and USA Today. He is a regular contributor to the popular Volokh Conspiracy law and politics blog, affiliated with Reason.

Ilya's book list on migration rights and democracy

Ilya Somin Why did Ilya love this book?

This is the single best book on the political philosophy of immigration. Canadian political philosopher Joseph Carens makes a wide-ranging philosophical defense of  “open borders” migration rights – not just from the standpoint of some one particular political theory, but from that of many. Whether you are a free-market libertarian, an egalitarian liberal, or a moderate, Carens has a case to make to you. He also has compelling responses to a variety of objections. A key strength of the book is that Carens defends his seemingly radical conclusion based on relatively uncontroversial premises of liberty and equality that are widely accepted by supporters of liberal democracy around the world.

By Joseph H. Carens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Ethics of Immigration, Joseph Carens synthesizes a lifetime of work to explore and illuminate one of the most pressing issues of our time. Immigration poses practical problems for western democracies and also challenges the ways in which people in democracies think about citizenship and belonging, about rights and responsibilities, and about freedom and equality.

Carens begins by focusing on current immigration controversies in North America and Europe about access to citizenship, the integration of immigrants, temporary workers, irregular migrants and the admission of family members and refugees. Working within the moral framework provided by liberal democratic values, he…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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