100 books like Love Medicine

By Louise Erdrich,

Here are 100 books that Love Medicine fans have personally recommended if you like Love Medicine. 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 Beloved

Donna Hemans Author Of The House of Plain Truth

From my list on haunting: how the past lingers with us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a culture that both fears and embraces spirits or outrightly rejects the idea that spirits live on beyond death. I grew up on stories of rolling calves and duppies that caused havoc among the living. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by what haunts us—whether it be our familial spirits that float among the living and continue to play a role in our lives, our memories, or our past actions. I’ve written three books that play with this idea of past actions lingering long into the characters’ lives and returning in unexpected ways.  

Donna's book list on haunting: how the past lingers with us

Donna Hemans Why did Donna love this book?

This book is a longtime favorite of mine. Toni Morrison was a master at blending the personal story and the political, and in this book, she blends the true story of a mother who kills her child to prevent slave catchers from returning the baby to life as a slave.

Morrison’s fictional Sethe is haunted by the ghost of the baby she killed and the memories of her difficult life as a slave. This is one of the novels I return to time after time, both for the beauty of the writing and the portrayal of a mother’s love, guilt, and the lingering impact of slavery.

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Toni Morrison was a giant of her times and ours... Beloved is a heart-breaking testimony to the ongoing ravages of slavery, and should be read by all' Margaret Atwood, New York Times

Discover this beautiful gift edition of Toni Morrison's prize-winning contemporary classic Beloved

It is the mid-1800s and as slavery looks to be coming to an end, Sethe is haunted by the violent trauma it wrought on her former enslaved life at Sweet Home, Kentucky. Her dead baby daughter, whose tombstone bears the single word, Beloved, returns as a spectre to punish her mother, but also to elicit her…


Book cover of The Red Tent

Jessica Disciacca Author Of Witches of Triora: The Vessel

From my list on taking you on a magical journey through time and space.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing for years and reading forever. Fantasy books have always been my number one go-to as far as genres. I loved how they would teleport me to a new world, allowing me to leave behind reality. The characters became my friends. The worlds became my home. I couldn’t get enough and still can’t. As I got older, my imagination never stopped. I was constantly creating dreamworld and character plots in my head. Eventually, I started writing, needing the characters to stop talking. The only way to do that was to get them on paper. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop.

Jessica's book list on taking you on a magical journey through time and space

Jessica Disciacca Why did Jessica love this book?

I read this for a women’s study class and LOVED it. The telling of a story back in the biblical times from a woman’s perspective… sign me up.

This one took me through an emotional journey, blending fact with fiction to the point where I didn’t know where one ended and the other began. My heart was put through the ringer. I cried. I laughed. I fell in love. I felt the bond between mother and daughter and the rage of the oppression the FMC went through. It made me take a look at these biblical stories in a whole new light. 

By Anita Diamant,

Why should I read it?

9 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 -…


Book cover of The Friend

MJ Werthman White Author Of An Invitation to the Party

From my list on aging, family, and relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, our public library in the basement of the Methodist church became my second home. However, I considered any visit a bitter disappointment that didn’t result in one or two dog stories in the stack I signed out. Big Red, Old Yeller, Lassie, Lad a Dog, Call of the Wild, White Fang (the occasional wolf was also okay), I loved them all. That experience has continued to affect the adult I’ve become. As I’ve turned to reading, and writing, stories of family, relationships, and, lately, of aging, it’s become clear to me that I’ve never found a story that wasn’t improved by the appearance of a good dog.

MJ's book list on aging, family, and relationships

MJ Werthman White Why did MJ love this book?

In Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend a terrible event (a dear friend and mentor’s suicide) results in the unnamed narrator’s acceptance, out of a sense of responsibility, of an unwanted burden (the heartbroken Great Dane, Apollo−the narrator admitting she is more of a cat person).

I love that by book’s end, that obligation turns out to be a precious gift that assuages both their griefs, serving to connect them to the departed one they both loved. Along the way we, lucky readers, get to eavesdrop on the literary discourse of an agile mind attempting to parse the unparsable as the narrator, a writer herself, addresses both the lost (her mentor) and the found (the dog).

Does the dog die? Don’t ask and I won’t tell.

By Sigrid Nunez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog.

WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD * A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD

'A true delight: I genuinely fear I won't read a better novel this year' FINANCIAL TIMES

'Loved this. A funny, moving examination of love, grief, and the uniqueness of dogs' GRAHAM NORTON

'Delicious' SUNDAY TIMES 100 BEST SUMMER READS

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has…


A Diary in the Age of Water

By Nina Munteanu,

Book cover of A Diary in the Age of Water

Nina Munteanu Author Of Darwin's Paradox

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Ecologist Mother Teacher Explorer

Nina's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This climate fiction novel follows four generations of women and their battles against a global giant that controls and manipulates Earth’s water. Told mostly through a diary and drawing on scientific observation and personal reflection, Lynna’s story unfolds incrementally, like climate change itself. Her gritty memoir describes a near-future Toronto in the grips of severe water scarcity.

Single mother and limnologist Lynna witnesses disturbing events as she works for the powerful international utility CanadaCorp. Fearing for the welfare of her rebellious teenage daughter, Lynna sets in motion a series of events that tumble out of her control with calamitous consequence. The novel explores identity, relationship, and our concept of what is “normal”—as a nation and an individual—in a world that is rapidly and incomprehensibly changing.

A Diary in the Age of Water

By Nina Munteanu,

What is this book about?

Centuries from now, in a post-climate change dying boreal forest of what used to be northern Canada, Kyo, a young acolyte called to service in the Exodus, discovers a diary that may provide her with the answers to her yearning for Earth’s past—to the Age of Water, when the “Water Twins” destroyed humanity in hatred—events that have plagued her nightly in dreams. Looking for answers to this holocaust—and disturbed by her macabre longing for connection to the Water Twins—Kyo is led to the diary of a limnologist from the time just prior to the destruction. This gritty memoir describes a…


Book cover of Letters Across the Sea

Anna Bliss Author Of Bonfire Night

From my list on historical stories with interfaith love stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

I’d recommend this book to fans of The Notebook and serious history buffs alike.

Molly and Max are childhood friends who grew up across the street from one other in Toronto. They know and trust each other implicitly, so when an attraction develops between them as young adults, Molly and Max quickly tumble into love. What’s the issue? She’s Protestant, he’s Jewish, and Depression-era Canada is boiling with antisemitism.

Structurally, Letters Across the Sea is a classic World War II novel; Graham makes it stand out with loads of fascinating Canadian history and an unflinching look at the brutal conditions of the Pacific Front. 

By Genevieve Graham,

Why should I read it?

2 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 Oh William!

Joan D. Heiman Author Of Life with an Impossible Person: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Transformation

From my list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom handed me one of those little girl diaries with a lock and key when I was in third grade. I wrote my heart into those diaries until I needed more space and shifted to regular-sized notebooks. Writing is my way to know myself and make sense of my life. The journal I kept in the last months of my husband’s life helped me reassemble the trauma-blurred memories of his dying, and then, it supported my emotional rebirth during the year of intense grieving. It is with surprise and delight that I hear from readers who say I articulate their innermost emotions related to love and loss.

Joan's book list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner

Joan D. Heiman Why did Joan love this book?

Even though the marriage in Oh William! ends in divorce while my marriage ended (without my consent) in my husband’s untimely death, the book brought me back to the unconventional nature of my marriage. Elizabeth Strout’s uncanny ability to say much in a single sentence had me traveling back in time and heart to the many moments that made our marriage. The tendernesses and fears, the deep trust and insecurities that quietly but forcefully bound us together made up the subtle mysteries of our uncommon relationship. What makes people move apart yet remain forever close, as in Lucy Barton and her ex-husband, William, or what holds two people together when there are many factors that might drive them apart, as in my marriage? These questions made reading this book a thought-provoking and enriching experience.

By Elizabeth Strout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband - and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of…


Book cover of Through the Shadowlands: The Love Story of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman

Maggie Kast Author Of Side by Side but Never Face to Face: A Novella & Stories

From my list on finding or losing love in old age.

Why am I passionate about this?

Widowed at age fifty and now eighty-four, I know first hand the search for love in late life. I have three adult children and can't avoid bringing baggage to any new relationship, whether with humans or the cats I adore. Coming to writing seriously only after my husband’s death, I remain fascinated by questions of craft, how the story is told (as my recommendations show), and I’ve published several essays on aspects of that subject. My first career in dance, my conversion to Catholicism, and my psychoanalytic therapy have been major parts of my life and play significant roles in my memoir, my novel, and my more recent novella and stories.

Maggie's book list on finding or losing love in old age

Maggie Kast Why did Maggie love this book?

As a Catholic convert myself, I have long been interested in the spiritual journeys of these two, a middle-aged, conservative English professor and a young divorcee with two sons. Actually, two unlikely loves play out in this non-fiction biography: first young Lewis with Mrs. Moore, thirty years his senior (who may or may not have been his lover), and much later Joy, a Jewish convert to Christianity and former communist. Her death, just four years after their marriage, is mourned in Lewis’ own book, A Grief Observed, the only book I found comforting after my husband died. 

By Brian Sibley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At first glance, they were an unlikely couple: C. S. Lewis, a distinguished author and Oxford scholar, and Joy Davidman, a Jewish-American divorcée, converted Christian, mother of two, and former Communist Party member. But together they walked through life's challenges, persevering despite having their faith tested in the face of suffering and death. This amazing true story reveals the many events that occurred in the lives of two astounding Christians to bring them together and spark their love for each other. Readers will experience both their tender moments and the darkest hours where faith was tested and shaken to its…


Book cover of Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through: A Love Story

Maggie Kast Author Of Side by Side but Never Face to Face: A Novella & Stories

From my list on finding or losing love in old age.

Why am I passionate about this?

Widowed at age fifty and now eighty-four, I know first hand the search for love in late life. I have three adult children and can't avoid bringing baggage to any new relationship, whether with humans or the cats I adore. Coming to writing seriously only after my husband’s death, I remain fascinated by questions of craft, how the story is told (as my recommendations show), and I’ve published several essays on aspects of that subject. My first career in dance, my conversion to Catholicism, and my psychoanalytic therapy have been major parts of my life and play significant roles in my memoir, my novel, and my more recent novella and stories.

Maggie's book list on finding or losing love in old age

Maggie Kast Why did Maggie love this book?

This true story of love and lasting marriage in later life is told by the husband and wife in alternating first-person voices. Ingrained habits of social and personal life and relationships with both parents and children all create stumbling blocks as the two lovers strive to create a unified way of life. I admire this book for its frank and vivid presentation of the pitfalls that can threaten a union of two individuals who meet in late middle age, already well set on their paths. In its presentation of problems and solutions, this book offers the most “self-help” of these five recommendations.

By Jill Robinson, Stuart Shaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jill Robinson, the author of Bed/Time/Story and Past Forgetting, and her husband, Stuart Shaw, share their true story about finding love when they both had lost faith in romance.

When Stuart and Jill first met, neither felt ready for love. Stuart was recovering from the alcoholism that had wrecked his marriage and ravaged his career. Jill was recovering from a second failed marriage and believed she was done with love forever.

But then, in a crowded Connecticut diner, Jill caught Stuart's eye and shot him a look that she knew would draw him in. What follows is a sexy journey…


Book cover of The House of Breath

Reginald Gibbons Author Of Sweetbitter

From my list on characters’ life of feeling and cultural context.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nothing about the art of writing is more interesting to me—as both reader and writer—than the power of language to open, or to enhance, or to teach, our perceptions about life and about living in the richest emotional and thoughtful ways possible. My own Sweetbitter is my major effort at imagining in language or with language as a kind of perception. Our intuitions are immensely valuable, when we can catch hold of them; for the writer, the process of imagining and articulating is a kind of method of deepening our perceptiveness and our intuitions. My books of poems, also, are a necessary—for me—practice of the art of writing.

Reginald's book list on characters’ life of feeling and cultural context

Reginald Gibbons Why did Reginald love this book?

William Goyen’s The House of Breath—a relatively short, lyric, novel—is a unique creation.

Set in the early 20th century in small-town Texas, it portrays a family of misfits and an almost supernatural world in which a deep well and a river narrate two of the chapters, while other chapters are told in a different voice.

In the family, each of its four wayward grown children is a remarkably distinct character. They differ in their sexuality, and one of the main dramas they have in common is their feeling of wanting to leave the small town in which they were born and go out into the larger, while at the same time longing, in the larger world, for the small town again, and the original house of the family.

The narrative is told in different voices. The house, too, seems a character. I learned from this book (and from Goyen’s…

By William Goyen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Readers can now rediscover one of William Goyen's most important works in this restoration of the original text. The House of Breath eschews traditional conventions of plot and character presentation. The book is written as an ethereal address to the people and places the narrator remembers from his childhood in a small Texas town. More than a story, it is a meditation on the nature of identity, origins, and memory.


Book cover of The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield

Reginald Gibbons Author Of Sweetbitter

From my list on characters’ life of feeling and cultural context.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nothing about the art of writing is more interesting to me—as both reader and writer—than the power of language to open, or to enhance, or to teach, our perceptions about life and about living in the richest emotional and thoughtful ways possible. My own Sweetbitter is my major effort at imagining in language or with language as a kind of perception. Our intuitions are immensely valuable, when we can catch hold of them; for the writer, the process of imagining and articulating is a kind of method of deepening our perceptiveness and our intuitions. My books of poems, also, are a necessary—for me—practice of the art of writing.

Reginald's book list on characters’ life of feeling and cultural context

Reginald Gibbons Why did Reginald love this book?

I *adore* Katherine Mansfield’s work. She wrote short stories, not novels.

She was still rather young when she died of tuberculosis. Her portrayals of love, family, and especially of children, are for me gloriously wonderful with insight and perceptiveness about relationships. From the New Zealand settings of many of her stories (where she was born and grew up), she emigrated to London, then to France (where she received medical treatment for TB), and Switzerland (also for treatment for TB—unsuccessful).

She seems to me a lonely genius—perceiving deeply not only other persons (of many sorts) on whom she modeled her short stories but also herself. Her seemingly idyllic childhood in NZ is perhaps the core source of her accomplishment—especially the novellas At the Bay and Prelude. But her adult life was difficult and she seems to have been uncertain about her writing, even though to me she seems a genius…

By Katherine Mansfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an Introduction and Notes by Professor Stephen Arkin, San Francisco State University.

Katherine Mansfield is widely regarded as a writer who helped create the modern short story. Born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1888, she came to London in 1903 to attend Queen's College and returned permanently in 1908. her first book of stories, In a German Pension, appeared in 1911, and she went on to write and publish an extraordinary body of work. This edition of The Collected Stories brings together all of the stories that Mansfield had written up until her death in January of 1923.

With…


Book cover of Riders in the Chariot

Reginald Gibbons Author Of Sweetbitter

From my list on characters’ life of feeling and cultural context.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nothing about the art of writing is more interesting to me—as both reader and writer—than the power of language to open, or to enhance, or to teach, our perceptions about life and about living in the richest emotional and thoughtful ways possible. My own Sweetbitter is my major effort at imagining in language or with language as a kind of perception. Our intuitions are immensely valuable, when we can catch hold of them; for the writer, the process of imagining and articulating is a kind of method of deepening our perceptiveness and our intuitions. My books of poems, also, are a necessary—for me—practice of the art of writing.

Reginald's book list on characters’ life of feeling and cultural context

Reginald Gibbons Why did Reginald love this book?

This massive novel consists of several novellas in which some of the same characters appear.

Each major character is given a novella, and the characters interact among each other in different ways. But the great thing about this novel—which was the first of White’s books that I read (and then I read all the others!)—is that White has an unusual, a surprising, a somehow oblique angle, on human beings and their actions and feelings and fates, that is brought so vividly to life by his stylistic genius.

Some of his long sentences are almost like compositions that could stand alone. He sees so much in people, he delves so deeply into what they themselves don’t even realize they are thinking or feeling or deciding to do. I feel, when reading White, that I am standing behind him and he’s showing me how to understand other human beings. How to perceive…

By Patrick White,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Riders in the Chariot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY DAVID MALOUF

Through the crumbling ruins of the once splendid Xanadu, Miss Hare wanders, half-mad. In the wilderness she stumbles upon an Aborigine artist and a Jewish refugee. They place themselves in the care of a local washerwoman. In a world of pervasive evil, all four have been independently damaged and discarded. Now in one shared vision they find themselves bound together, understanding the possibility of redemption.


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