100 books like Marking Time

By Heinz Dietrich Suppan,

Here are 100 books that Marking Time fans have personally recommended if you like Marking Time. 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 The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

Hannah Wunsch Author Of The Autumn Ghost: How the Battle Against a Polio Epidemic Revolutionized Modern Medical Care

From my list on medical history that reads like fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a critical care doctor, I love pausing when taking care of patients in a modern ICU to reflect on how far we’ve come in the care we can provide. I want to be entertained while learning about the past, and so I seek out books on medical history that find the wonder and the beauty (and the bizarre and chilling) and make it come alive. I get excited when medical history can be shared in a way that isn’t dry, or academic. These books all do that for me and capture some part of that crazy journey through time. 

Hannah's book list on medical history that reads like fiction

Hannah Wunsch Why did Hannah love this book?

Kate Moore sucked me into the world of the radium girls, who literally glowed from the radium dust that covered them at work, and that they ultimately ingested, sickening them in horrific ways.

The book made me want to scream in anger at their treatment and cheer for those who were determined to defend them and deliver justice. The story is a huge eye-opener about the importance of industry oversight and occupational health regulations. 

By Kate Moore,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Radium Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf book club choice
New York Times bestseller

'Fascinating.' Sunday Times
'Thrilling.' Mail on Sunday

All they wanted was the chance to shine.

Be careful what you wish for...

'The first thing we asked was, "Does this stuff hurt you?" And they said, "No." The company said that it wasn't dangerous, that we didn't need to be afraid.'

As the First World War spread across the world, young American women flocked to work in factories, painting clocks, watches and military dials with a special luminous substance made from radium. It was a fun job, lucrative and…


Book cover of Radium Girls: Women and Industrial Health Reform, 1910-1935

Samantha Wilcoxson Author Of Luminous: The Story of a Radium Girl

From my list on Radium Girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I decided to write about Catherine Donohue, I searched for everything I could find about her, which was surprisingly little. I traveled to Ottawa, Illinois to read her letters held at a local historical society, and I connected with the son of her attorney, who has kindly uploaded his father’s old newspaper clippings onto the internet. The story of America’s Radium Girls is a tragic warning about where greed and corruption can lead, but it is also a story about courage, faith, and perseverance. It is a privilege to be a part of increasing awareness of their fate. After all, HERstory is history, too.

Samantha's book list on Radium Girls

Samantha Wilcoxson Why did Samantha love this book?

Once I decided to write about America’s Radium Girls, this book provided the scientific background and legal progression of the radium industry. It helped me understand how the tragedy began innocently with scientists believing radium improved health. Yet, when they realized the ill effects, it was difficult to convince big businesses to let go of the profits they were earning. This is a more academic read but is very informative for those who want to dig deeper.

By Claudia Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the early twentieth century, a group of women workers hired to apply luminous paint to watch faces and instrument dials found themselves among the first victims of radium poisoning. Claudia Clark's book tells the compelling story of these women, who at first had no idea that the tedious task of dialpainting was any different from the other factory jobs available to them. But after repeated exposure to the radium-laced paint, they began to develop mysterious, often fatal illnesses that they traced to conditions in the workplace. Their fight to have their symptoms recognized as an industrial disease represents an…


Book cover of Deadly Glow: The Radium Dial Worker Tragedy

Samantha Wilcoxson Author Of Luminous: The Story of a Radium Girl

From my list on Radium Girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I decided to write about Catherine Donohue, I searched for everything I could find about her, which was surprisingly little. I traveled to Ottawa, Illinois to read her letters held at a local historical society, and I connected with the son of her attorney, who has kindly uploaded his father’s old newspaper clippings onto the internet. The story of America’s Radium Girls is a tragic warning about where greed and corruption can lead, but it is also a story about courage, faith, and perseverance. It is a privilege to be a part of increasing awareness of their fate. After all, HERstory is history, too.

Samantha's book list on Radium Girls

Samantha Wilcoxson Why did Samantha love this book?

This book also digs deeper into the science behind radium, the realization that radium poisoning was occurring, and how it impacted the scientific community. Radium poisoning was difficult to discover and diagnose for many reasons, beginning with the initial belief that radium improved one’s health. Once symptoms began to occur in women using radium on a daily basis, their health problems were varied and inconsistent. This book also discusses how the study of radium improved health standards for handling other radioactive substances.

By Ross Mullner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Deadly Glow is the important story of a public health tragedy. It chronicles the lives of young women who worked in radium application plants in the early 1900s painting numerals on instrument and watch dials. From their experience, the harmful effects of radium deposited in the body became known.

The victims suffered from skin ulcerations, tumors and other severe medical symptoms. Physicians were baffled and misdiagnosed their conditions as heart disease and even syphilis. Solving the intriguing mystery of the workers' disabling, yet unknown, disease would be a complex and difficult task requiring brilliant detective work of several investigators. In…


Book cover of Glow

Samantha Wilcoxson Author Of Luminous: The Story of a Radium Girl

From my list on Radium Girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I decided to write about Catherine Donohue, I searched for everything I could find about her, which was surprisingly little. I traveled to Ottawa, Illinois to read her letters held at a local historical society, and I connected with the son of her attorney, who has kindly uploaded his father’s old newspaper clippings onto the internet. The story of America’s Radium Girls is a tragic warning about where greed and corruption can lead, but it is also a story about courage, faith, and perseverance. It is a privilege to be a part of increasing awareness of their fate. After all, HERstory is history, too.

Samantha's book list on Radium Girls

Samantha Wilcoxson Why did Samantha love this book?

When I decided I wanted to read more and write about the Radium Girls, this was the only novel I could find featuring them. It is an accessible, young adult novel with a dual timeline. A contemporary young woman discovers a painting at a thrift shop that reveals glow-in-the-dark elements. The story of a fictional early dial painter is told alongside the struggle of the main protagonist in today’s world.

By Megan E. Bryant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Glow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 11, 12, 13, and 14.

What is this book about?

Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017 Selection

Lydia is thrilled to join the working girls in the factory, where they paint luminous watch dials for the soldiers fighting in World War I. In the future, these girls will be known as the tragic Radium Girls: factory workers not only poisoned by the glowing paint, but who also had to fight against men who knew of the paint's deadly effect. One hundred years later, Julie, whose life is on hold after high school, becomes intrigued by a series of mysterious antique paintings she finds in a thrift store. When she discovers…


Book cover of Radiant: The Dancer, the Scientist, and a Friendship Forged in Light

Lucy Jane Santos Author Of Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium

From my list on jobs for women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer interested in the odd areas where science and consumerism touch – particularly where this intersects with women workers. My debut book Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium tells the history of radioactivity through the eyes of the people who made, bought, and sold products laced with radium in the 20th century. The follow-up title will explore the deadly element Uranium.

Lucy's book list on jobs for women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Lucy Jane Santos Why did Lucy love this book?

This fantastic creative non fiction book tells the story of two unlikely friends – the dancer Loïe Fuller and the scientist Marie Curie. Through my research for Half Lives I have read a lot about both of these women – Marie Curie isolated the element and Loïe Fuller developed a fascination with it as she wanted to incorporate its glow in the dark properties into her stage costumes. Heinecke does an amazing job of bringing the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries alive with this book and shines a light on two fascinating women pioneers.

By Liz Heinecke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Part hidden history, part love letter to creative innovation, this is the "imaginative and immersive" (The Star Tribune) true story of an unlikely friendship between a dancer, Loie Fuller, and a scientist, Marie Curie, brought together by an illuminating discovery.
 

At the turn of the century, Paris was a hotbed of creativity. Technology boomed, delivering to the world electric light, the automobile, and new ways to treat disease, while imagination blossomed, creating Art Nouveau, motion pictures, and modernist literature. A pivotal figure during this time, yet largely forgotten today, Loie Fuller was an American performance artist who became a living…


Book cover of Secret Denver: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure

Lisa J. Shultz Author Of Essential Denver: Discovery and Exploration Guide

From my list on to explore Denver for newcomers or locals.

Why am I passionate about this?

A few years ago, I began rediscovering my hometown of Denver as I walked neighborhoods and revisited landmarks of the city that I had not seen since I was a kid. Essential Denver highlights the fabulous things the city offers from my perspective as a Denver native. I encourage readers to explore Denver, plan outings, and become involved in the community. I hope this Denver book list sparks more interest in landmarks, treasures, and the history of Denver to ensure the city’s future is strong and vital. 

Lisa's book list on to explore Denver for newcomers or locals

Lisa J. Shultz Why did Lisa love this book?

After reading a lot of Denver history and guidebooks, I found Secret Denver a fun addition to my collection. Sometimes I enjoy going off the beaten path of traditional guidebooks, and Secret Denver has ideas of what to explore and obscure facts that are interesting. Not all entries are in Denver proper, so one can also go outside the city limits for a few outings if desired. 

By Eric Peterson, David Lewis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Where do the tunnels under the Colorado State Capitol go and why were they dug there in the first place? What is the backstory behind Tom’s Baby, the largest piece of gold ever unearthed in Colorado? Denver may be known worldwide as the Mile High City, but its elevation is just one item on a long list of anomalies. In Secret Denver: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure you’ll find many more quirks and mysteries to explore. Learn why Lakeside is one of the most historic amusement parks in the nation. Discover cemeteries repurposed as parks, streets once…


Book cover of How to Be a Renaissance Woman: The Untold History of Beauty and Female Creativity

Meredith K. Ray Author Of Twenty-Five Women Who Shaped the Italian Renaissance

From my list on women’s lives in the Renaissance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the lives of women in the Renaissance for as long as I can remember – growing up I devoured biographies of Lucrezia Borgia, Mary Stuart, and Elizabeth Tudor. Now, as a professor, author, and researcher, I feel lucky to have turned my passion into my profession! Along with writing about Renaissance women, I edit a series dedicated to women’s global history. I love books that explore the richness and complexity of the female experience, and which help us to understand how women in other historical eras dealt with questions of autonomy, power and gender inequality – issues that are still with us today. 

Meredith's book list on women’s lives in the Renaissance

Meredith K. Ray Why did Meredith love this book?

I always appreciate a book that connects Renaissance history to present-day issues – like the never-ending pressure for women to fit a particular standard of beauty. Like us, Renaissance women obsessed over how they looked, how they smelled, their weight, their hair, their makeup (which somehow makes them seem like people we might have been friends with 500 years ago!).

Burke looks at Renaissance beauty culture through the lens of a historian, using sixteenth-century how-to manuals, poems, letters, diaries, and art to think about the impact of Renaissance ideas about beauty and the enduring connection between cosmetics and gender, misogyny, and power.

It’s an entertaining read that’s backed by serious research.

By Jill Burke,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Be a Renaissance Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*As heard on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour*
*A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, October 2023*

'A total eye-opener, I loved it' Nuala McGovern

'Lively and intriguing ... You'll never look at Renaissance portraits in the same way' Maggie O'Farrell

'Terrific ... that rare thing, a serious history that is both accessible and entertaining' Literary Review

Plunge into the intimate history of cosmetics, and discover how, for centuries, women have turned to make up as a rich source of creativity, community and resistance

The Renaissance was an era obsessed with appearances. And beauty culture from the time has…


Book cover of Speak for the Dead

Katie Tallo Author Of Dark August

From my list on Canadian thrillers about haunted messy characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ten-year-old me once looked in the bathroom mirror wondering who I would become. I tried to memorize the patterns in the tiles to hold on to that moment and carry it with me. My fascination with memory and the past permeates my novels. I love a good cold case—and my August Monet thriller trilogy is all about how the past weaves through the present—informing it, haunting it, transporting secrets. Maybe it’s our long, dark winters, but I see this same fascination in the novels of my fellow Canadian thriller writers. Many have created messy characters haunted by their messy pasts. Here’s a list of my favourites.

Katie's book list on Canadian thrillers about haunted messy characters

Katie Tallo Why did Katie love this book?

I picked up Tector’s novel because it’s set in my hometown of Ottawa, and I kept reading because she’s crafted a wonderfully flawed character who just won’t quit.

Cate Spencer is a coroner who relies on two things: her instincts and too much scotch to numb her painful past. When a woman is found hanging in the vaults of an archives building, Cate arrives on the scene.

It looks like suicide, but Cate can’t bring herself to rule the death accidental. Not yet. Something’s not right. The more she digs, the more menace stalks her, and the more the past threatens to derail her world completely.

Was the death a murder and if so, why? Dripping with long-buried secrets, this thriller kept me reading long into the night.

By Amy Tector,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A literary joyride.” —Louise Penny, New York Times bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Gamache novels

More than ten years after The Foulest Things, murder and mayhem return to Ottawa in the highly-anticipated next installment of Amy Tector’s acclaimed Dominion Archives Mystery series.

It’s a stormy summer day when Ottawa coroner Dr. Cate Spencer is called to the scene of an alleged suicide. Inside a narrow vault in the Dominion Archives’ nitrate film storage facility—kept separate from the rest of the collection due to its dangerous combustibility—officers pressure Cate to rule the death a suicide. When parts of the scene…


Book cover of Bright Shining Moment

Sylvia McNicoll Author Of Revenge on the Fly

From my list on friendly, feel good historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was invited to write a historical fiction that appealed to male readers, I wanted to showcase the struggles and dramas in peacetime rather than in war. Scientists vilifying the fly in order to demonstrate the connection between microbes and disease—and enlisting children to kill the flynow that was a battle I could get behind. Revenge on the Fly, in all the forty books I’ve written, is my only foray into historical fiction. However, like most writers, I read across the genres voraciously. What I most love to read and write about are strong characters who demonstrate unwavering resilience.

Sylvia's book list on friendly, feel good historical fiction

Sylvia McNicoll Why did Sylvia love this book?

Set in Ottawa 1942, the depiction of old-timey poverty is both authentic and poignant. Twelve-year-old Aline Sauriol (refreshingly French Canadian) is embarrassed that she can’t even collect old chewing gum to help the nuns stick work to the bulletin board. What is so inspiring about this story is the resilience this family demonstrates as they share out their home in order to make ends meet. Love of family over material goods triumphs giving readers a bright shining revelation.

By Deb Loughead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bright Shining Moment 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?

Aline hides under the hay when her father takes her to school in their horse-drawn sled. She’s embarrassed that her mother raises chickens in their yard, and doesn’t want her school friends to find out that their family has taken in boarders for the extra money. When she learns that her sworn enemy, Jeanine, can buy chewing gum, Aline is furious at the unfairness. She knows that Jeanine’s family is even poorer than her own. When Aline’s mother can’t spare any money for a charity drive at school, Aline decides to steal a coin from her purse. She quickly feels…


Book cover of Moonheart

Thoraiya Dyer Author Of Crossroads of Canopy

From my list on fantasy novels about forests.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a fantasy addict, I work with wild animals for return to native ecosystems, and my favourite place to be is in a forest! People mock all the hiking in Lord of the Rings. But how better to tune into an unfamiliar landscape than to turn over that mossy stone, to uncover that buried gem, to find mushrooms? I enjoy fairy rings on three levels. First, by knowing they’re a food source for malleefowl and bush turkeys. Second, by understanding that their structure stems from the radius travelled by the hyphae underground. Third, by imagining where I might be whisked off to if I only dared set foot inside.

Thoraiya's book list on fantasy novels about forests

Thoraiya Dyer Why did Thoraiya love this book?

I can’t resist the combination of magic, music, and forests. Plus my mother grew up in Canada, and I’ve meandered along those berry- and bear-rich pebbly beaches. In this book, magic, fey-inhabited Wales crashes into modern Ottawa. De Lint’s setting and style seized my soul as a young adult reader. That yearning youngster is not only still part of me, but part of everyone, I hope.

By Charles de Lint,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sara Kendall and Kieran Foy become trapped in the midst of the eternal battle between good and evil, in a tale of magic and romance that moves from ancient Wales to modern Canada.


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