100 books like Lessons in Chemistry

By Bonnie Garmus,

Here are 100 books that Lessons in Chemistry fans have personally recommended if you like Lessons in Chemistry. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Contact

Andrew Fraknoi

From my list on science fiction books that use good astronomy.

Who am I?

I am an astronomer and college professor who loves science fiction. For many years, I have kept a webpage recommending science fiction stories and novels that are based on good astronomy. I love explaining astronomy to non-scientists, and I am the lead author of OpenStax Astronomya free online textbook for beginners, which is now the most frequently used textbook for astronomy classes in the U.S. I actually learned English at age 11 by reading science fiction comics and then books for kids,  After many decades as a fan, I have recently realized a long-held dream and become a published SF author myself.

Andrew's book list on science fiction books that use good astronomy

Andrew Fraknoi Why did Andrew love this book?

I especially enjoyed this book because it was written by an astronomer (with some help from his wife, who was a science writer) and because the main character was based on a colleague of mine, Dr. Jill Tarter.

In the book, Carl Sagan tells the story of how a SETI (search for extra-terrestrial intelligence) project might actually go about finding a signal from a civilization around another star. (The book was made into a movie, where Jodie Foster played the main scientist who made the discovery. She actually came out to the SETI Institute, where Jill Tarter worked, and spent some time with Jill, learning how to portray a scientist in this field.) 

I also liked that the alien civilization we find is more advanced than we are, which is likely, given how long the stars in our Galaxy have been around, and how recently we humans evolved.

By Carl Sagan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In December 1999 a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who - or what - is out there?

Book cover of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Shohini Ghose Author Of Her Space, Her Time: How Trailblazing Women Scientists Decoded the Hidden Universe

From my list on amazing women scientists who will inspire you.

Who am I?

I am a curious optimist, which means I want to know how the universe works and use that knowledge to imagine and build a better future. That’s why I chose a career as a physicist. Along the way, I learned about the marvelous laws that govern our universe, but I also discovered the many unsung women who played a huge role in uncovering those laws. I love to share the inspiring stories of women scientists who persisted in the face of many challenges in fields dominated by men. I think they too were curious optimists.

Shohini's book list on amazing women scientists who will inspire you

Shohini Ghose Why did Shohini love this book?

As a physicist and a woman of color, Hidden Figures was absolutely unforgettable for me because it was the first book I read that celebrated women scientists of color.

This wonderful account of the remarkable African-American women who broke through societal and racial barriers and played critical roles at NASA during the space race, transformed the way I thought about the history of science. Interlacing history with personal narratives, Shetterly powerfully brings these women to life.

Not only does the book draw these long-forgotten women out of the shadows, but it also shines a light on the biases and challenges they faced which still persist today. This is a must-read for anyone interested in science, history, and achievement in the face of adversity.

By Margot Lee Shetterly,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Hidden Figures 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 starring Golden Globe-winner Taraji P. Henson and Academy Award-winners Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA's African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America's space program-and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now. Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as "Human Computers," calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American…

Book cover of Anxious People

Lauri Robinson Author Of An Unlikely Match for the Governess

From my list on that create great discussions for book club.

Who am I?

As a kid, I read by flashlight under the covers and loved family vacations because long car rides meant hours of reading time (they still do!). I love belonging to book clubs because of the variety. Stories I might not have chosen, but end up loving. For years I devoured romance novels, especially historical and westerns. When my husband said, “You should write a book, you’ve read so many.” I decided to try and now have over 70 published romance novels, 50+ with Harlequin, Mills & Boon, and one young adult book that I co-wrote with two of my granddaughters. I hope my recommendations provides your book club with lively discussions!     

Lauri's book list on that create great discussions for book club

Lauri Robinson Why did Lauri love this book?

This is a book where the author’s ability to draw you into a story without telling you all you need to know about the main character until the very end makes for lively discussions. A failed bank robber and prospective buyers at an open house for an apartment are brought together in such a way, it truly seems believable. Even the end! 

The quirky characters are real to life, and the journey they take together reveals true human nature, hope, and the bond of friendships, old and new, but ultimately, it’s the unique storytelling that makes this such a fun book to discuss.

Have snacks ready because this is one that will make book club meetings run late! Mine did!

By Fredrik Backman,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Anxious People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The funny, touching and unpredictable No. 1 New York Times bestseller, now a major Netflix TV series

'A brilliant and comforting read' MATT HAIG
'Funny, compassionate and wise. An absolute joy' A.J. PEARCE
'A surefooted insight into the absurdity, beauty and ache of life' GUARDIAN
'I laughed, I sobbed, I recommended it to literally everyone I know' BUZZFEED
'Captures the messy essence of being human' WASHINGTON POST

From the 18 million copy internationally bestselling author of A Man Called Ove

It's New Year's Eve and House Tricks estate agents are hosting an open viewing in an up-market apartment when…

Those People Behind Us

By Mary Camarillo,

Book cover of Those People Behind Us

Mary Camarillo Author Of Those People Behind Us

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Novelist Music Lover Reader Traveler Cat servant

Mary's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Those People Behind Us is set in the summer of 2017, post-Trump election and pre-pandemic. The story takes place in the fictional city of Wellington Beach, California, a suburban coastal town increasingly divided by politics, protests, and escalating housing prices. These divisions change the lives of five neighbors--a real estate agent, an ex-con, a Vietnam vet, a teenage boy, and an aerobics teacher.

These characters care for elderly parents and rebellious teens and struggle with loss, loneliness, grief, and financial worries. They are also all searching for community in a neighborhood where no one can agree on who belongs. In the end, each neighbor discovers that, despite their differences, they are more connected than any of them would have imagined.

Those People Behind Us

By Mary Camarillo,

What is this book about?

It's the summer of 2017 in Wellington Beach, California, a suburban coastal town increasingly divided by politics, protests, and escalating housing prices-divisions that change the lives of five neighbors.

Longtime resident and real estate agent Lisa Kensington juggles her job, her shopaholic husband, a mother-in-law who knows how to push her buttons, and teenage children with ideas of their own, all while trying to hold on to her own dreams. Her neighbor Ray Gorman is a haunted Vietnam vet who is also caring for his aging mother. Keith Nelson, an ex-con, lives in his car, parked around the corner from…

Book cover of Anne of Green Gables

Who am I?

I’m a romance writer who moved around often as a child. Whenever I started a new school, I’d bring a book with me. Even now, I always run errands with a print book and my Kindle as I’m a writer, wife, and mother of four. Two of my children have medical conditions, and I’ve spent time in various doctor and hospital waiting rooms. I’ve taken books into MRI booths where I’d read while my daughter underwent an MRI. I gravitate toward emotional romances that keep me entertained while possessing a thread of humor or something unique about them so I can lose myself in their world anytime, anywhere. 

Tanya's book list on books to read anywhere, anytime (especially while waiting for your child, your parent, the person ahead of you in line)

Tanya Agler Why did Tanya love this book?

If you are a kindred spirit, you know immediately why I’m recommending this book! I first picked this book up without knowing anything about it when I was a teenager. I immediately fell in love with Anne, Gilbert, Marilla, Matthew, and everyone in Avonlea. I can read this book anywhere and at any time. 

Anne Shirley is an orphan who winds up at Green Gables and is given a trial basis to prove to Marilla Cuthbert why she should keep Anne, who is not a boy. Imaginative, romantic, and funny, this book (and its sequels) kept me laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time. Most of all, it reminds me that every morning is the start of a new day with no mistakes in it. 

By L.M. Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Anne of Green Gables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anne of Green Gables is the classic children's book by L M Montgomery, the inspiration for the Netflix Original series Anne with an E. Watch it now!

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are in for a big surprise. They are waiting for an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables - but a skinny, red-haired girl turns up instead. Feisty and full of spirit, Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts' affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter. It's not long before Anne finds herself in trouble, but soon it becomes impossible for the Cuthberts to…

Book cover of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Jo Boaler Author Of Math-ish: Finding Creativity, Diversity, and Meaning in Mathematics

From my list on women rocking math and science.

Who am I?

I'm a British writer, (though I now live and work in California) and a Stanford professor who is passionate about helping everyone know they have endless potential and that math is a subject of creativity, connections, and beautiful ideas. I spend time battling against math elitism, systemic racism, and the other barriers that have stopped women and people of color from going forward in STEM. I am the cofounder of youcubed, a site that inspires millions of educators and their students, with creative mathematics and mindset messages. I've also made a math app, designed to help students feel good about struggling, called Struggly.com. I love to write books that help people develop their mathematical superpowers!

Jo's book list on women rocking math and science

Jo Boaler Why did Jo love this book?

In this eye-opening book Caroline Criado Perez considers what happens when we exclude half of humanity from the production of knowledge.

She shares a number of compelling cases, from the design of roads to the crocheting of hyperbolic space, showing the transformative power that comes about when we combine what is traditionally feminine with what is traditionally masculine.

It turns out that when we include women’s ideas and experiences in the design and creation of knowledge, we produce solutions that are more effective, as well as more equitable.

By Caroline Criado Perez,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Invisible Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2019 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
Winner of the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize

Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives.

Celebrated feminist advocate…

Book cover of A Gentleman in Moscow

Karen Samuelson Author Of Weaving Dreams in Oaxaca

From my list on books where the setting is like another character.

Who am I?

I have a passion for novels with complex characters and a memorable sense of place. The setting is key to the overall ambiance of a novel: its colors, smells, architecture, terrain, weather, flora, and fauna. My novel, Weaving Dreams In Oaxaca, takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico. The story is unique to the location because it includes the zocalo, cathedrals, outlying pueblos, food, etc. My family and I moved there for six months in 2006, and I fell in love. I sent my mother audio tapes every two weeks describing our adventures as she had become blind. I later transcribed them into twenty-two pages of detailed description of this magical city which I used in my novel.

Karen's book list on books where the setting is like another character

Karen Samuelson Why did Karen love this book?

In terms of a sense of place, most of this book takes place in the Hotel Metropol where Count Alexander is meant to spend the rest of his days as the communist regime has taken over.

His young friend, Nina has a passkey and their days are spent exploring every nook and cranny and the basement of this regal old hotel. Within these walls and his tiny room, the Count keeps up the culture and soul of his lifestyle through conversation, music, poetry, and relationships. The ballroom and stairwells and restaurant reveal secrets, and like the Count, the hotel keeps its dignity and old-world style through it all.

By Amor Towles,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked A Gentleman in Moscow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The mega-bestseller with more than 2 million readers, soon to be a major television series

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway and Rules of Civility, a beautifully transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and…

Book cover of The Vanishing Half

Faith Knight Author Of As Grey As Black and White

From my list on exploring biracial identity in the 20th century.

Who am I?

I am the product of biracial parents, and the idea of passing or not has always fascinated me as well as disgusted me. The reasons one would want to pass in this era are much different than the survival aspect my ancestors who passed had to consider in the 19th century. In writing my YA historical novels, being biracial always enters in, no matter the topic, because it is who I am and, in the end, always rears its head for consideration.

Faith's book list on exploring biracial identity in the 20th century

Faith Knight Why did Faith love this book?

The biracial Vigne twins in this book struggle with the choices before them as to which race they will embrace. I loved the book for its poignancy and honest exploration of the sensitivity involved in having a choice to make, no matter the generation.

This book is similar to the movie Imitation of Life but on a grander scale. The stories moved me and hurt me at the same time. 

By Brit Bennett,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Vanishing Half as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



'An utterly mesmerising novel..I absolutely loved this book' Bernardine Evaristo, winner of the Booker Prize 2019

'Epic' Kiley Reid, O, The Oprah Magazine

'Favourite book [of the] year' Issa Rae

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years…

Book cover of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Kevin Davies Author Of Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing

From my list on CRISPR and genome editing.

Who am I?

I’m a British science editor and author of a string of books on the scientific, medical, and social implications of advances in genetics research. I trained as a geneticist but found more personal satisfaction wielding a pen rather than a pipette. I’m especially drawn to science stories that have medical implications for the public and a strong narrative thread. Prior to writing Editing Humanity, I covered the race for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene (Breakthrough), the Human Genome Project (Cracking the Genome), and the rise of personal genomics (The $1,000 Genome). I’m currently writing a biography of sickle cell disease, arguably the most famous genetic mutation in human history.

Kevin's book list on CRISPR and genome editing

Kevin Davies Why did Kevin love this book?

I have seldom read a book with as much zeal as The Code Breaker, written by the famous biographer and historian, Walter Isaacson, whom I’d met on the CRISPR conference circuit.

Isaacson focuses on Doudna’s life and science, but also introduces the reader to a large cast of characters, including Doudna’s former colleague and fellow Nobelist, Emmanuelle Charpentier. He even has a crack at running a CRISPR experiment himself.

The success of this book has likely done more than anything to educate the public on the transformative promise of CRISPR.

By Walter Isaacson,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Code Breaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best-selling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns.

In 2012, Nobel Prize winning scientist Jennifer Doudna hit upon an invention that will transform the future of the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA.

Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. It has already been deployed to cure deadly diseases, fight the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, and make inheritable changes in the genes of babies.

But what does that mean for humanity? Should we be hacking our own DNA to make us less susceptible to disease? Should…

Book cover of Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot

Leslie Lehr Author Of A Boob's Life: How America's Obsession Shaped Me--And You

From my list on put the fun in feminism.

Who am I?

From Lehr’s prize-winning fiction to her viral New York Times Modern Love essay, exploring the challenges facing contemporary women has been Lehr’s life-long passion. A Boob’s Life, her first project since breast cancer treatment, continues this mission, taking all who will join her on a wildly informative, deeply personal, and utterly relatable journey.  And that’s exactly the kind of books she likes to read – the ones that make her laugh, nod in recognition, and understand a little more about life. She recommends these five books to everyone who asks.

Leslie's book list on put the fun in feminism

Leslie Lehr Why did Leslie love this book?

As much as I like to poke fun to express the angst of fighting for equal rights with men, we can’t overlook the fact that so many women aren’t equal to other women. The title of this book refers to the fight for women of color to get basic necessities of access to food and shelter. Kendall combines her own personal struggle for health care with challenges of generations born into “the hood” where the struggle has always been real. In researching A Boob’s Life, I already knew that the suffragettes fought for civil rights long before they got the vote and when they did, women of color were left behind. But Hood Feminism brings us right up to the present, as voting patterns continue to undermine progress. It proves the importance of inclusive feminism, the need to work together for the good of all. Only then can any…

By Mikki Kendall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


"One of the most important books of the current moment."-Time

"A rousing call to action... It should be required reading for everyone."-Gabrielle Union, author of We're Going to Need More Wine

"A brutally candid and unobstructed portrait of mainstream white feminism." -Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist

A potent and electrifying critique of today's feminist movement announcing a fresh new voice in black feminism

Today's feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki…

Book cover of The Red Tent

Anna Bliss Author Of Bonfire Night

From my list on historical stories with interfaith love stories.

Who am I?

After graduating with a BA in English, I moved to England to pursue a master’s in Literature and Visual Culture. My focus was on women artists working in London during the Blitz and I wrote my dissertation on Lee Miller, who went on to photograph (and doggedly publish) the liberation of German concentration camps. Later I worked in arts administration and marketing, and didn’t start writing my debut novel until I was thirty-five. My work is inspired by my favorite authors from the 1940s: Elizabeth Bowen, Patrick Hamilton, and Penelope Fitzgerald. I’m also drawn to historical fiction about ordinary people in difficult social conditions, especially when there’s a love story involved.

Anna's book list on historical stories with interfaith love stories

Anna Bliss Why did Anna love this book?

The Red Tent is about sisterhood and the ways aunties and mothers and daughters support each other.

It’s stunning visually; I read this book almost twenty years ago and can still conjure up the rangy desert and the dusky interior of the eponymous tent. Diamant offers a unique perspective on what was arguably the first Jewish/Gentile love affair, between the Bible’s Dinah, the only named daughter of the patriarch Jacob, and the Prince of Shechem.

It was the first Jewish historical fiction book I ever read and will always have special a place in my heart.

By Anita Diamant,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Red Tent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Red Tent Anita Diamant brings the fascinating biblical character of Dinah to vivid life.

'Intensely moving . . . feminist . . . a riveting tale of love' - Observer

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her fate is merely hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the verses of the Book of Genesis that recount the life of Jacob and his infamous dozen sons. Anita Diamant's The Red Tent is an extraordinary and engrossing tale of ancient womanhood and family honour. Told in Dinah's voice, it opens with the story of her mothers -…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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