10 books like Joe

By Larry Brown,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Joe. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Refuge

By Terry Tempest Williams,

Book cover of Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

Finishing out the nonfiction—though I leave thousands undiscussed here—is Terry Tempest Williams’ seminal Refuge: An Unnatural History of Place. Bold and original in its direct comparisons between the personal and the ecological, the memoir chronicles the deterioration of Williams’ beloved mother, Diane Tempest, to ovarian cancer at the same time their shared landscape, the Bear River marshes of the Great Salt Lake where three generations of the Tempest had gloried in birding expeditions, were succumbing to record flooding. The memoir also details the exposure of Williams and her mother—her entire family—to radioactive fallout from the U.S. government’s atomic testing in the 1950s. Passionate, eloquent, fiery, informative, and wise, it’s a must-read.

Refuge

By Terry Tempest Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry's mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation, Refuge transforms…

Grizzly Years

By Doug Peacock,

Book cover of Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness

Doug Peacock’s Grizzly Years is revolutionary on two counts. The tale of a Green Beret medic devastated from his tours trying to sew soldiers and civilians back together in the killing fields of Vietnam, who seeks—and finds—recovery in the American wilderness: Wyoming’s Wind Rivers, the desert Southwest, and, always, the mountains of Montana—particularly Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. That wilderness can save our lives is a beautifully simple and revolutionary concept for many—that it is not a thing to be frightened of, but celebrated, preserved, defended.

In Montana’s backcountry, Peacock was drawn to the grizzlies, observed them at a distance, respectfully, and began filming them. His portraits of them playing show them to be what they are, but what not many had thought—incredibly social, certainly incredibly intelligent, but most of all, incredibly playful sentient beings. What’s revolutionary about this is also so simple: observation, and keen attention to detail, is…

Grizzly Years

By Doug Peacock,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For nearly twenty years, alone and unarmed, author Doug Peacock traversed the rugged mountains of Montana and Wyoming tracking the magnificent grizzly. His thrilling narrative takes us into the bear's habitat, where we observe directly this majestic animal's behavior, from hunting strategies, mating patterns, and denning habits to social hierarchy and methods of communication. As Peacock tracks the bears, his story turns into a thrilling narrative about the breaking down of suspicion between man and beast in the wild.


One of Us

By Barrie Gilbert,

Book cover of One of Us: A Biologist's Walk Among Bears

Dr. Barrie Gilbert’s memoir, One of Us: A Biologist’s Walk Among Bears, is nothing if not a magnificent portrait and case study of humility. A half-century of incisive study and research into the baits, and needs and, perhaps most importantly, social complexity and intense attachments and intelligence of grizzly bears should be the lede here—not a single incident from Gilbert’s youth, when he surprised a mother grizzly with cubs while coming over a ridge into the wind. But so goes storytelling. Imbued with the compassion and generosity of the forgiven, Gilbert’s acute and intimate knowledge of the animal Indigenous cultures referred to as “the Real Bear” is unprecedented and unequaled in the tattered and impoverished remains of contemporary society in which so many have lost—are bereft of—any attachment to the wilderness from which we were birthed.

One of Us

By Barrie Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Barrie Gilbert's fascination with grizzly bears almost got him killed in Yellowstone National Park. He recovered, returned to fieldwork and devoted the next several decades to understanding and protecting these often-maligned giants. He has spent thousands of hours among wild grizzlies in Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks, Alberta, coastal British Columbia, and along Brooks River in Alaska's Katmai National Park, where hundreds of people gather to watch dozens of grizzlies feast on salmon. His research has centered on how bears respond to people and each other, with a focus on how to keep humans and bears safe.

Drawn from his…

All the King's Men

By Robert Penn Warren,

Book cover of All the King's Men

The early ‘30s were marked by the rise of Huey P. Long, Louisiana’s populist governor, senator, and cult leader whom FDR called “the most dangerous man in America.” In All the King’s Men, the character of Willie Stark is based on Long and gives us a richly detailed look into the labyrinthine politics of the times. Fiction, but painfully true, not just to Long and the ways he corrupted decent people but to our own political times, as well. Favorite quote: “Politics is a matter of choices, and a man doesn't set up the choices himself. And there is always a price to make a choice. You know that. You've made a choice, and you know how much it cost you. There is always a price.”

All the King's Men

By Robert Penn Warren,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked All the King's Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Willie Stark's obsession with political power leads to the ultimate corruption of his gubernatorial administration.

What I Want You to See

By Catherine Linka,

Book cover of What I Want You to See

Linka’s art-thriller is smart, compelling, and almost impossible to stop reading. Not only does it tackle being a first-year student in an art school in Los Angeles, it examines a subject that is often glamorized without being scrutinized: living in poverty as a homeless-at-times college student and artist. The myth of the starving artist is torn apart in this contemporary, empathetic, and intriguing story as we follow Sabine Reyes into the world where she thought she belonged, only to find out it’s not as picture-perfect as it seems. There’s some good romance in here, too and Linka’s sharp, penetrating stare at the character’s choices makes us, as readers, question what would we do? Who would we trust? And what happens when we’re wrong?

What I Want You to See

By Catherine Linka,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What I Want You to See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winning a scholarship to California's most prestigious art school seems like a fairy tale ending to Sabine Reye's awful senior year. After losing both her mother and her home, Sabine longs for a place where she belongs. But the cutthroat world of visual arts is nothing like what Sabine had imagined. Colin Krell, the renowned faculty member whom she had hoped would mentor her, seems to take merciless delight in tearing down her best work-and warns her that she'll lose the merit-based award if she doesn't improve.

Desperate and humiliated, Sabine doesn't know where to turn. Then she meets Adam,…


Kyland (Sign of Love)

By Mia Sheridan,

Book cover of Kyland (Sign of Love)

This book made me smile, ugly cry, laugh, feel upset, feel hopeful and it gave me goosebumps. I loved everything that it made me feel. The hero made an enormous sacrifice for the heroine without telling her. Misunderstandings and this secret ultimately placed them on separate paths, but when fate places them in the same place years later, it's magic. It is a story about second chances, about the flame of true love never going out, and about facing one’s biggest fear and facing it daily for the person you love.

Kyland (Sign of Love)

By Mia Sheridan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kyland (Sign of Love) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A full-length, standalone romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Archer's Voice. Dirt poor. Hillbilly. Backwoods hick. Mountain folk. Tenleigh Falyn struggles each day to survive in a small, poverty-stricken, coal mining town where she lives with her sister and mentally ill mother. Her dream of winning the college scholarship given to one student by the local coal company and escaping the harshness of her life, keeps her going. Kyland Barrett lives in the hills, too, and has worked tirelessly—through near starvation, through deep loneliness, against all odds—to win the Tyton Coal Scholarship and leave the town that…

Memoirs of a Breton Peasant

By Jean-Marie Déguignet,

Book cover of Memoirs of a Breton Peasant

Jean-Marie Déguignet is not your typical Breton peasant. He’s small and puny—and these people aren’t built that way. At nine, a bee caused him to fall and hit his head, leaving an ugly wound that oozed for years and left a deep indentation in his skull when it finally healed. The result was a lifetime interest in bees and a lonely life, as no one wanted to be near him.  

A curious and isolated lad, he becomes an auto-diktat, and like many auto-diktats has lots of disparaging things to say about those who are less educated and more successful and powerful than he—especially church and government officials, monarchists, and landlords: ignorant bastards he constantly fought (and lost) who controlled and ruined his life. He’s an anti-cleric in this most Catholic of lands. He’s a Republican in a time and place of monarchists. He understands the world as a scientist, through…

Memoirs of a Breton Peasant

By Jean-Marie Déguignet,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fascinating document of an extraordinary life, Memoirs of A Breton Peasant reads with the liveliness of a novel and bristles with the vigor of an opinionated autodidact from the very lowest level of peasant society. Brittany during the nineteenth century was a place seemingly frozen in the Middle Ages, backwards by most French standards; formal education among rural society was either unavailable or dismissed as unnecessary, while the church and local myth defined most people's reasoning and motivation. Jean-Marie Déguignet is unique not only as a literate Breton peasant, but in his skepticism for the church, his interest in…

Five Little Indians

By Michelle Good,

Book cover of Five Little Indians

This is a story of children torn from their homes and forced to live in the horrific conditions of residential schools. Imprisoned and away from the love and protection of families and communities, many were abused for years by people whose words may have preached God’s love but whose actions demonstrated darker intentions. A few children managed to escape while many others were carelessly released to the unforgiving streets of east Vancouver where some managed to navigate their way through life while others succumbed to the demons that haunted them.

Having personally seen the impact this has had on people in my community, including family members, I feel that the characters may be fiction, but the story is a very real example of a shameful time in Canadian history where the effects continue through generations.

Five Little Indians

By Michelle Good,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER: Canada Reads 2022

WINNER: Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

WINNER: Amazon First Novel Award

WINNER: Kobo Emerging Author Prize 

Finalist: Scotiabank Giller Prize

Finalist: Atwood Gibson Writers Trust Prize

Finalist: BC & Yukon Book Prize

Shortlist: Indigenous Voices Awards

National Bestseller; A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year; A CBC Best Book of the Year; An Apple Best Book of the Year; A Kobo Best Book of the Year; An Indigo Best Book of the Year

Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy,…


Rise of the Red Hand

By Olivia Chadha,

Book cover of Rise of the Red Hand

Oh wow, the world in this book was as amazing as it was scary and realistic. The country is ruined by climate change and ruled by a ruthless, technocratic government that sacrifices the poor to finance a utopia for the rich. So two poor, revolutionary girls from the streets work with a politician’s son (and secret hacker) to change that. I really enjoyed reading about these kick-ass heroines!

Rise of the Red Hand

By Olivia Chadha,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A rare, searing portrayal of the future of climate change in South Asia. A streetrat turned revolutionary and the disillusioned hacker son of a politician try to take down a ruthlessly technocratic government that sacrifices its poorest citizens to build its utopia.

The South Asian Province is split in two. Uplanders lead luxurious lives inside a climate-controlled biodome, dependent on technology and gene therapy to keep them healthy and youthful forever. Outside, the poor and forgotten scrape by with discarded black-market robotics, a society of poverty-stricken cyborgs struggling to survive in slums threatened by rising sea levels, unbreathable air, and…

The Poor Mouth

By Flann O'Brien,

Book cover of The Poor Mouth: A Bad Story about the Hard Life

Flann O’Brien is famous for his ingenious novels, At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman, but I regard his funniest book as this short fictional memoir about life in the far West of Ireland. Originally published in Gaelic in 1941, it is a mock-pastoral farce about the customs of the remotest region in the country, where it rains all the time, but O’Brien is actually satirising the lack of mutual understanding between the local inhabitants and the modern outside world. The narrator’s adventures begin immediately after he is born and include (among many other absurdities) catastrophic pigs and the quest to climb a mountain to find an eternal fountain of whisky.

The Poor Mouth

By Flann O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Poor Mouth relates the story of one Bonaparte O'Coonassa, born in a cabin in a fictitious village called Corkadoragha in western Ireland equally renowned for its beauty and the abject poverty of its residents. Potatoes constitute the basis of his family's daily fare, and they share both bed and board with the sheep and pigs. A scathing satire on the Irish, this work brought down on the author's head the full wrath of those who saw themselves as the custodians of Irish language and tradition when it was first published in Gaelic in 1941.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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