80 books like Leaving Earth

By Helen Humphreys,

Here are 80 books that Leaving Earth fans have personally recommended if you like Leaving Earth. 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 Dear Evelyn

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

The characters in this novel-in-stories are so vivid, you almost flinch at the intimacy and truth of which they speak. There is the sense of a curtain being drawn back to reveal this poignant account of a 70-year marriage that begins during World War Two. Here we have Harry, with the heart of a poet, who is a contrast to Evelyn, tough, and at times acerbic. Though it is Harry that most readers will probably warm to, Evelyn, with her difficult background—an alcoholic father and enabling mother—has had challenges that make her hold herself to a higher standard and therefore makes for a complex character. Inevitably her headstrong nature may be judged more harshly than if these were traits assigned to a man. The writing is lyrical with a precision that marks Kathy Page’s work. Whatever you think about the characters, you will doubtless be affected by their lives as…

By Kathy Page,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A portrait of a turbulent and beautiful seventy-year-long marriage forged during the onset of World War II.

Born in the 1920s on a working-class London street, Harry Miles wins a scholarship and grows into adulthood as a sensitive man, torn between his love for poetry and the immediate demands of the world around him. When he marries the magnetic and demanding Evelyn amongst the outbreak of war, his capacity to love is increasingly tested-up to and beyond when she abandons him on the cusp of death.

An unconventional love story, harrowing and deeply tender, Dear Evelyn studies two people who…


Book cover of Down by the River

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

This is a devastating story but O’Brien is a master wordsmith and I was dazzled by the writing while being distressed by the events, that of a young teen in Ireland who gets pregnant in abominable circumstances, then tries to find a way out of it. The church looms large in the novel, and the helplessness this young girl feels is palpable. That she keeps fighting against the forces against her despite the gaslighting is a testament to her strength. Even her one chance to escape is foiled in the most frustrating manner. I’ve been reading about the history of reproductive rights for my own novel, and the stories are never easy. The expected thing to do would be to acquiesce and accept the circumstances, but she chose otherwise.  A beautifully written and necessary book.

By Edna O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Down by the River is a newly reissued novel from Edna O’Brien, the author of Girl—“one of the most celebrated writers in the English language” (NPR’s Weekend Edition).

Set in the author’s native Ireland, a powerful and passionate novel about a young girl who becomes pregnant by her father—a situation made worse when it becomes fodder for the gossip mill of church, state, and the town square.


Book cover of Girl Runner

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

This novel of Aganetha, a 104-year-old woman who looks back on her years as a runner in the 1928 Olympics is as much a story about aging and the examination of one’s life, as it is about the glory days of her feat. I loved the idea of this woman at such an advanced age reflecting on her past, on what she has seen and experienced, and all the details of the events are beautifully rendered. This is an intimate yet propulsive novel that takes us through issues of gender equality, abortion, and all the obstacles that Aganetha would have faced as a female athlete.  

By Carrie Snyder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'original and moving... with the quirky charm of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' Daily Mail
'a joy to read' Independent on Sunday
Girl Runner, Carrie Snyder's debut novel, is the story of Aganetha Smart, a former Olympic athlete who was famous in the 1920s, but now, at age 104, lives in a nursing home, alone and forgotten by history. For Aganetha, a competitive and ambitious woman, her life remains present and unfinished in her mind.
When her quiet life is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of two young strangers, Aganetha begins to reflect on her childhood in rural Ontario…


Book cover of Undersong

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

Here we are taken into the world of Dorothy Wordsworth, considered to be the creative collaborator of her brother William Wordsworth, in this highly original re-imagining of her life. Although as an adult she lived with her brother, she remained in the shadows while he mined her writing for phrases he might use in his own poetry. Her unconventional life is portrayed here through the eyes of others, including a hired hand, James Dixon, whose reverence for her helps shape the story, and the curious but effective use of an old tree, named Sycamore, who provides insightful meditations on her character. I was taken with how intimately we entered Dorothy’s world who, though frail in body, was strong in mind. The internal workings and close observations are what make the novel fascinating, a historical portrait of both woman and artist. An original and thought-provoking work.

By Kathleen Winter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A stunning, spellbinding, poetic triumph." —Toronto Star
 
From Giller-shortlisted author Kathleen Winter (author of the bestseller Annabel): A stunning novel reimagining the lost years of misunderstood Romantic Era genius Dorothy Wordsworth.

When young James Dixon, a local jack-of-all-trades recently returned from the Battle of Waterloo, meets Dorothy Wordsworth, he quickly realizes he’s never met another woman anything like her. In her early thirties, Dorothy has already lived a wildly unconventional life. And as her famous brother William Wordsworth’s confidante and creative collaborator—considered by some in their circle to be the secret to his success as a poet—she has carved a…


Book cover of Letters Across the Sea

Chris Humphreys Author Of Plague

From my list on historical lives disrupted by extraordinary events.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with historical fiction when I was a child. Adventurous tales—especially if they had swordplay in them! And I was fascinated by young people having to choose whether to stand up for what they believed in or run away. Ordinary folk are forced by circumstances—and villains—to do the extraordinary. I empathized and felt like I could be one of them. So when I came to write, I wanted to tell those kinds of stories. I eventually realized what I wrote was 'the intimate epic'—showing how the minor historical players can have a major effect.

Chris' book list on historical lives disrupted by extraordinary events

Chris Humphreys Why did Chris love this book?

This book takes the lives of very ordinary Canadians and throws them into the maelstrom of war. I love that it carefully sets up a world few know about—Toronto in the 1930s—and shows the ambiguity of the times, how anti-Semitism was at home as well as across the water in Europe.

I so enjoyed the Romeo and Juliet love affair at the novel's heart, and I was moved by the trials love is subjected to—as well as shocked by excellent descriptions of war's brutality.

By Genevieve Graham,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Letters Across the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspired by a little-known chapter of World War II history, a young Protestant girl and her Jewish neighbour are caught up in the terrible wave of hate sweeping the globe on the eve of war in this powerful love story that’s perfect for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

If you’re reading this letter, that means I’m dead. I had obviously hoped to see you again, to explain in person, but fate had other plans.

1933

At eighteen years old, Molly Ryan dreams of becoming a journalist, but instead she spends her days working any job…


Book cover of Looking for X

Mary Jennifer Payne Author Of Enough

From my list on unforgettable protagonists in urban settings.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born the same year as Winona Ryder, Tupac Shakur, and Elon Musk, I’m a Toronto-based writer of novels, short fiction, graphic stories, nonfiction, and scripts for film and television. My YA books include the graphic novella The Lion of Africa, the supernatural, climate change-fuelled Daughters of Light trilogy, and the hard-hitting Since You’ve Been Gone. My writing gives voice to strong, diverse protagonists in urban settings who are dealing with seemingly insurmountable challenges. I’ve been a special education teacher for more than 20 years and my characters are often inspired by the amazing young people I’ve worked with. The cities in my work are living, breathing entities that shape the plot and the protagonist’s character.

Mary's book list on unforgettable protagonists in urban settings

Mary Jennifer Payne Why did Mary love this book?

The majority of my teaching career was in Regent Park, so the setting of Looking for X is particularly meaningful. Eleven-year-old Khyber is smart, savvy, and mature beyond her years. Told from Khyber’s POV, the story centers around the friendship she develops with X, a woman living in the parkette across from Khyber’s apartment building. When Khyber witnesses X being attacked a group of skinheads, the dangers faced by Toronto’s homeless population, especially those living with mental illness, become glaringly clear. The next day, Khyber is wrongly accused of vandalizing her school. X is the only person who can provide an alibi for Khyber, but she is nowhere to be found. In an effort to locate her friend, Khyber embarks on a a journey navigating the urban landscape of Toronto. 

By Deborah Ellis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Looking for X 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 Governor General's Literary Award

In this urban adventure story, Khyber, a smart, bold, eleven-year-old girl from a poor neighborhood, sets out to find her friend X, a mysterious homeless woman who has gone missing.

The desperate search takes Khyber on a long, all-night odyssey that proves to be wilder than any adventure she has ever imagined.


Book cover of Toronto in 1810

Ann Birch Author Of A Daughter Rebels

From my list on brave women who dared to challenge the norms.

Why am I passionate about this?

For a number of years, I was a historical interpreter at two of Toronto’s oldest and finest houses. While looking at the furniture, paintings, and below-stairs bells and open-hearth cooking in these upper-class mansions, I became immersed in the lives of the people who once lived in these places. I have always been interested in history, and I have a post-graduate degree in Canadian literature, but my schooling in history seemed confined to the Tudor period and Greek and Roman times. Working in Toronto’s fine homes led me to a deep understanding of the fascinating history we have right here on our doorstep!

Ann's book list on brave women who dared to challenge the norms

Ann Birch Why did Ann love this book?

When you write historical novels, you have to place your characters in a certain real setting. Hounsom’s book let me step right onto the streets and into the houses of Toronto in 1810. As well as wonderful information on the way people lived at the time, Hounsom includes maps and drawings of Toronto and its important buildings. For example, I actually found a drawing of the house that my novel’s main character lived in.

By Eric Wilfrid Hounsom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Toronto in 1810 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Bad Move

Joan Havelange Author Of Death and Denial

From my list on new and not so new murder mystery and mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write whodunits. I love a good puzzle. And I love humour. I have written five mysteries Wayward Shot, Death and Denial, a travel mystery, The Trouble with Funerals, The Suspects, my protagonists, go on another travel mystery, and Murder Exit Stage Right. I have won BWL INC best-selling author two years in a row. I am now writing another mystery Moving is Murder the publishing date is October 2023. And new to me and a challenge is a historical mystery I’m writing set in the 1900s.

Joan's book list on new and not so new murder mystery and mayhem

Joan Havelange Why did Joan love this book?

This was the first mystery thriller of Linwood’s I read. And it wasn’t the last.

Since then, I’ve read every book he has written and have never been disappointed. Bad Move is a mystery thriller set in the small town of Promise Falls.

You would think moving from the big bad city would be a good move. But no. Hence the name Bad Move. Linwood combines this mystery thriller with humour. Yes, humour in a thriller.

He is a master storyteller. 

By Linwood Barclay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Zack Walker Mystery #1

Zack Walker is a writer with an overactive imagination and two teenage children. After a murder on their street, he uproots his family from the city - insisting it's for their own good - and heads for the security of the suburbs.

However, his peaceful new life is soon shattered when he finds a body while out walking by the creek. Zack recognizes the dead man - and knows who his killer might be.

Things go from bad to worse as Zack follows a trail of deceit that leads right to his front door. To protect…


Book cover of Maddox Files: Down The Rabbit Hole

Céline Perron Author Of The Next Right Thing

From my list on women in fiction taking center stage.

Why am I passionate about this?

I personally love to draw attention to not only books in women’s literature but also to encourage and support my fellow female authors whom I see as the best company a girl can ask for. Knowing that these strong individuals are living out their dreams while also filling page after page of stories varying anywhere from mystery, intrigue, love, loss, grief, etc. fills me with such gratitude and hope for the future. Because their stories are just the beginning. I'm a proud indie author and female author who enjoys writing mysteries and thrillers. I'm forever encouraging my fellow author colleagues to embrace their dreams and unique skillsets as it’s one no one else has. 

Céline's book list on women in fiction taking center stage

Céline Perron Why did Céline love this book?

This series is an edge of your seat page-turner that keeps readers getting till the very end. Written by the ever-talented Rhonda Davies in her first ever series, this author doesn’t hold back. As the series grows the mysteries deepen with countless twists and turns.

By R. J. Davies,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dice is back at it! What other way do you start off the morning with a couple of attempts on your life? Just another normal day for Dice Maddox. Except this time, in her haste to catch the sniper, she chases the shooter in a foot race through the streets of downtown Toronto. Ending with Dice Maddox falling down a rabbit hole and finding herself in another world.

Its’ Toronto but not the Toronto she has known all of her life. Dice Maddox finds herself trap in another universe with a serial killer out to end her life while trying…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Toronto, earth, and gender?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Toronto, earth, and gender.

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