100 books like Life of Pi

By Yann Martel,

Here are 100 books that Life of Pi fans have personally recommended if you like Life of Pi. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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By Herman Melville,

Book cover of Moby-Dick

Kim Brown Seely Author Of Uncharted: A Couple's Epic Empty-Nest Adventure Sailing from One Life to Another

From the list on sailors, sea adventurers, and romantics at heart.

Who am I?

Kim Brown Seely was born and raised in Southern California and graduated from Stanford University. A Lowell Thomas Journalist of the Year, she has worked in publishing on both coasts, including as senior editor at Travel + Leisure magazine, contributing editor at National Geographic Adventure, and travel editor at Microsoft and Amazon. Her memoir Uncharted: A Couple’s Epic Empty-Nest Adventure Sailing from One Life to Another was named one of the best books about retirement by the Wall Street Journal and is also a Nautilus Award Winner. She has traveled to more than thirty countries for Virtuoso magazine, where she's a contributing writer and has won more than a dozen writing awards for her work.  

Kim's book list on sailors, sea adventurers, and romantics at heart

Why did Kim love this book?

Incredibly, I had never read Moby-Dick until spending weeks at sea every summer, so Melville’s Great American Novel, which D.H. Lawrence called “one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world” found me on the boat. 

My book has been dubbed “the Moby-Dick of empty-nest tales” since my husband and I sail off in search of a rare white bear, inspired by Melville’s great white whale. I had no idea how funny and captivating Moby-Dick was – not to mention inspiring for armchair seafarers – until I settled in with its pages that first summer. It’s a brilliant novel. 

By Herman Melville,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Moby-Dick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Melville's tale of the whaling industry, and one captain's obsession with revenge against the Great White Whale that took his leg. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes a biography of Herman Melville and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom or at home to further engage the reader in the work at hand.

Book cover of Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Tui Allen Author Of Ripple: A Dolphin Love Story

From the list on animal stories for love of our planet.

Who am I?

I’m a teacher, sailor, kayaker, and environmental-vegan animal lover. I live by the sea among marine wildlife. I grew up sailing, then sailed the Pacific on the tiny wooden boat that was my first marital home. We had no engine, no modern technology. Like the sea beings, we had a wing in the wind and a fin in the sea so we lived in their world, on their terms. Alone, helming under the stars, I dreamed of dolphin culture and mentally made lists of possible dolphin vocations. This helped me create fiction from the dolphin viewpoint. Input from scientists brought authenticity to my marine environmental fantasies and messages. 

Tui's book list on animal stories for love of our planet

Why did Tui love this book?

This book is about taking the physical path to spiritual freedom, without the need for any religion. It inspired me to cross oceans under sail, to complete ultra-distance multi-disciplinary sports events, and to build my own faith in the divineness of the natural world. Would you believe it helped me win bike races?

And I love that it does all this through the lens of a beautiful feathered sea being. This non-human viewpoint released the author from the prison of human arrogance. Glorious. And it inspired some wonderful music. 

By Richard Bach,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Jonathan Livingston Seagull as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic work is now available for the first time in paperback. Since 1951, when the last of the Witchcraft Acts was repealed, many books have been written about the reappearance of witchcraft and the development of a pagan theology. Churchmen have denounced it. Sociologists have wondered at it. Journalists have penned sensational stories about it. But until the publication of this book, no one had told the real story of it from the inside as frankly as it is told here.

Doreen Valiente, one of witchcraft's most widely known figures, was a close friend of the late Gerald Gardner,…

The Alchemist

By Paulo Coelho,

Book cover of The Alchemist

Heather C. Markham Author Of Rough Waters: From Surviving to Thriving with a Progressive Muscular Dystrophy

From the list on developing your sense of adventure.

Who am I?

A sense of adventure is what gets me out of bed every morning. What will the day hold? I have no idea, but some of it is within my realm of control. Will I let myself get sucked into the Doldrums, or will I courageously reach out to a friend to say that I need help? I believe deeply in the interconnectedness of all things, and that part of my personal destiny is to be a part of that connection for others. Even in the daily struggles that come with using a power wheelchair, I keep working hard and following my vision and see where the adventure takes me.

Heather's book list on developing your sense of adventure

Why did Heather love this book?

Coelho’s book is an allegorical adventure of a young shepherd who dreams of buried treasure in a far-off land. The predominant themes are having a destiny, the idea of a universal plan, the interconnectedness of all things, the value of simplicity, and that fear is an obstacle.

As I read through, I had to decide who I was: the dreaming shepherd, the interpreting gypsy fortune teller, the fearful crystal merchant, the intellectual Englishman, the wise alchemist, or the beautiful Fatima who simply believes the shepherd will return and does not put conditions on him.

At the core of the book is the advice given to our shepherd hero that, "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true.” I choose daily to see life as a grand adventure, to believe the whole universe is conspiring on my behalf, and to have…

By Paulo Coelho,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide. Now this magical fable is beautifully repackaged in an edition that lovers of Paulo Coelho will want to treasure forever.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book - a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life's path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is…


By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Unbroken

Steve Pemberton Author Of The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World

From the list on demonstrating the power of the human spirit.

Who am I?

I’m most drawn to stories of overcoming. My own childhood was about exactly that-overcoming a multi-generational inheritance of family separation and orphaned children. When I wrote my first book about that story, A Chance in the World, an unanticipated magic unfolded: I began to receive stories of strangers from all across the world who wrote to tell me their own story of overcoming. Each and every day I hear from someone and the steady stream of those stories of overcoming affirms something I have to come to learn: we all have a story and none of us look like that story.

Steve's book list on demonstrating the power of the human spirit

Why did Steve love this book?

If it’s possible to have lived multiple lives in a single lifetime, then Louis Zamperini did it.

I am a big fan of The Greatest Generation and Unbroken is the story of that generation, the deep beliefs they held, and the many sacrifices they made, not for themselves but for the generations that would follow them. You can’t miss the examples of selflessness, perseverance, and faith that jump out at you from the very first chapter.

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the bestselling and much-loved Seabiscuit, an unforgettable story of one man's journey into extremity. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood,…

Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson,

Book cover of Life After Life

Rea Nolan Martin Author Of The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright

From the list on contemporary visionary fiction.

Who am I?

I’ve been told I’m a visionary, but labels are of little significance to me. What I know for sure is that I’m a storyteller of the visionary variety, who has won numerous awards in that genre. Dating back to cave dwellers, myth-tellers, and folk minstrels, visionary authors have been consciously or unconsciously laying paths and building bridges between paradigms for eons. Such bridges are constructed of new language, perilous journeys, and transformative visions. My particular stories connect the path of perceived human limitations to true, unlimited potential. My characters are quirky, endearing, and often funny. They are each of us stumbling through an infinite, low-lying thicket for higher purpose. Until one day, we look up.

Rea's book list on contemporary visionary fiction

Why did Rea love this book?

This book began like a narrative poem with a constant, urgent refrain from a soul born and lost in infancy then later in childhood and again in young adulthood.

A soul born and lost, over and over, until finally, she manages to push her way into this world and survive. A soul with a mission from beyond whose urgency is immediate and critical. A mission that simply could not wait for another time, because without it, time itself was at risk.

For me, Life After Life is a book of significant genius. It represents Deus ex Machina—the hand of God—as a legitimate character, punching his way into our world, incarnate, by way of a willing human soul. The Christ story, if you will, with a host of modern updates.

This resonated with me, because I know there are souls in every generation who pepper the earth unrecognized, prepared to…

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…

The Complete Stories

By Flannery O'Connor,

Book cover of The Complete Stories

Audrey Wick Author Of Seeing Us

From the list on classic and contemporary Southern women’s fiction.

Who am I?

As a full-time English professor at Blinn College, I always try to choose stories for the literature classes I teach which will resonate with students. Likewise, as an author myself, I aim for that same approach with fiction writing: I want people to remember and reflect on what they read. Memorable settings can help achieve that, so it’s my pleasure to share some of these in America's South that span both the classic side of the spectrum as well as the contemporary side.

Audrey's book list on classic and contemporary Southern women’s fiction

Why did Audrey love this book?

Georgia-born Flannery O’Connor gifted the world with dozens of stories, which can be read individually or collectively.

Set on farms, in small towns, and off-the-beaten path, she colorfully explores both people and places, inviting readers along to do the same. Some stories are folksy, some are humorous, and some are dark, but one thread is constant: her highly individualized style is built on strong literary conventions.  

By Flannery O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Complete Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the National Book Award

The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O'Connor's monumental contribution to American fiction.

There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do not appear in the only two story collections O'Connor put together in her short lifetime--Everything That Rises Must Converge and A Good Man Is Hard to Find.

O'Connor published her first story, "The Geranium," in 1946, while she was working on her master's degree at the University of Iowa. Arranged chronologically, this collection shows that her last story, "Judgement Day"--sent to her publisher shortly before her death―is a…

The Lovely Bones

By Alice Sebold,

Book cover of The Lovely Bones

Gregg Dunnett Author Of Little Ghosts: My sister's name was Layla. I know who killed her. She told me.

From the list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

Who am I?

I’m not an expert on very much. Certainly not the biggest questions of all, such as are we really here, and if not, what’s this all about? But I’ve always enjoyed books that touch upon these questions and find a way to connect them to our everyday reality (I find them easier than actual philosophy). If I am well placed to curate this list, that’s why. I hope it reminds you how we all grapple with these same universal questions. How we all share our doubts and face the same fears. How we’re all whittled away by the same relentless flow of time. 

Gregg's book list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality

Why did Gregg love this book?

I read this book years ago, but it stuck with me.

The idea that when a loved one dies they watch over us, wishing to end our pain, is a powerful one. And for a novelist it’s a rich seam to mine. And yet The Lovely Bones did it so well, that few have tried to follow where it leads.

Although it moves in a very different direction, my own book clearly owes a debt of inspiration to Alice Seebold and I couldn’t not make it first on my list.

By Alice Sebold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The internationally bestselling novel that inspired the acclaimed film directed by Peter Jackson.

With an introduction by Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles.

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

In heaven, Susie Salmon can have whatever she wishes for - except what she most wants, which is to be back with the people she loved on earth. In the wake of her murder, Susie watches as her happy suburban family is torn apart by grief; as her friends grow up, fall in…

The Call of the Wild

By Jack London,

Book cover of The Call of the Wild

Anthony DeCapite Author Of Fireline

From the list on heart-pounding thrills.

Who am I?

I grew up reading stories of heroes, of adventures in fantastical worlds, and my time in the Marines expanded my sensibilities, adding grit and an understanding of real-world crises and conflicts. Give me compelling characters, unique worlds, and fast pacing, and I’ll be up until the wee hours glued to the page. Those are the kind of books I featured in this list, as well as what I try to write. 

Anthony's book list on heart-pounding thrills

Why did Anthony love this book?

This is one of those books you’re supposed to have read growing up, but I never did. Instead, I read it during the pandemic—and I loved it. While it’s definitely a product of its time, it still holds up a hundred years later. It moves at such a fast clip, and the unsentimental, often brutal tribulations of the sled dog Buck kept me glued to the page. The quality of the writing and richness of the Yukon world adds to the intense ‘how’s he going to get through this’ tension. Plus, as a dog person, it’s always great reading a story about a dog or from a dog’s perspective. This is both.

By Jack London,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics bring together the best-loved stories to a new generation.

In The Call of the Wild life is good for Buck in Santa Clara Valley, where he spends his days eating and sleeping in the golden sunshine. But one day a treacherous act of betrayal leads to his kidnap, and he is forced into a life of toil and danger. Dragged away to be a sledge dog in the harsh and freezing cold Yukon, Buck must fight for his survivial. Can he rise above his enemies and become the master of his realm once again?

Jack London (1876-1916) was…

World War Z

By Max Brooks,

Book cover of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Damon P. Coppola Author Of Introduction to International Disaster Management

From the list on expanding your thinking on disaster risk management.

Who am I?

As a professional emergency and risk management practitioner, I’ve spent my career supporting and shaping emergency management policy and practice in every context from the village to global levels. What I’ve found to be most rewarding are those opportunities where I’ve been able to translate this knowledge and practice into training the next generation of emergency managers. The textbooks I’ve written, which include the first comprehensive book on emergency management (Introduction to Emergency Management, currently in its 7th edition) and the first book on homeland security in the United States (Introduction to Homeland Security, currently in its 6th Edition), are currently in use at hundreds of universities worldwide.

Damon's book list on expanding your thinking on disaster risk management

Why did Damon love this book?

The ‘zombie apocalypse’ scenario has been used for years by risk management professionals to make the examination of possible societal breakdowns more fun and/or interesting.

By focusing on a hazard people know, like hurricanes or wildfires, audiences come to the discussion with pre-existing biases and, in many cases, first-hand experience. This forces the communicator to counter such bias before getting to key messages.

There’s never been an actual zombie apocalypse (nor is there likely to ever be one…), which means the zombie scenario adequately ‘levels the field’. It forces audiences to think beyond their go-to assumptions and introduces levels of uncertainty and unknown that are typical of major disasters.

This book, written without obvious heroes and heroines, in a documentary style, makes a perfect proxy for a disaster exercise scenario. I also believe it does a great job illustrating how different forms of governance result in different response strategies, which…

By Max Brooks,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked World War Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginning of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse.

Faced with a future of mindless man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the ten-year fight against the horde, World War Z brings the finest traditions of journalism to bear on what is…


By George Orwell,

Book cover of 1984

James Bailey Blackshear Author Of The Last Day Before Forever

From the list on technological advances having a double-edged sword.

Who am I?

I have been hooked on fantastic tales since I picked up my first Marvel Comic book. I was in on the beginning of The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and the Hulk. Gamma rays and human angst are a powerful combination, even for an eight-year-old. From there I gobbled up the Doc Savage series before moving on to more popular books like The Exorcist and The Godfather. I have been writing since I was ten. My first publication came decades later. Non-fiction works on the history of the Southwest. Yet recently I returned my to roots, rediscovering Bradbury, Dick, and Herbert. That is when the eight-year-old boy woke up and wrote The Last Day Before Forever. 

James' book list on technological advances having a double-edged sword

Why did James love this book?

I do not recommend 1984 because it is one of the most powerful books ever written. Readers know that. I love this book for its artful prescience.

While Yevgeny Zamyatin’s Me normally gets credit for being the first dystopian novel, Orwell perfected the genre. The novel becomes more important with each passing decade. Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth altering documents for the government.

Catchphrases like “doublethink” and “thought police,” coupled with the pervasive use of surveillance technology highlight why science fiction shines a light on a future our “betters” had just as soon we not see and does so in a spare, literary style that is both eloquent and to the point. 

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

37 authors picked 1984 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair. As he writes the words 'DOWN WITH BIG…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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