100 books like Mennonite Girl at the Welcome Inn

By Mary Ediger,

Here are 100 books that Mennonite Girl at the Welcome Inn fans have personally recommended if you like Mennonite Girl at the Welcome Inn. 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 The Glass Castle

Robin van Eck Author Of Rough

From my list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream.

Why am I passionate about this?

Someone once said I can’t believe you didn’t end up in a ditch with a needle in your arm. It sounds harsh, but they meant it with love. In spite of my broken home, familial dysfunction, trauma, and bad decisions, I found a way to be okay and share my life experiences through words and stories rather than a bottle. I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization specializing in developing authors who want to publish and use writing for therapy and healing. I live in Calgary, AB, Canada, with my teenage daughter and act as the emotional support human for an anxious dog. 

Robin's book list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream

Robin van Eck Why did Robin love this book?

This is quite possibly my favourite memoir ever written. It made me laugh, cry and scream. Never have I seen such a clearly dysfunctional family that didn’t even realize they were dysfunctional.

I loved them because they embraced life no matter what and hated them because they didn’t see how bad what they were doing to one another was. Full of elements and emotions from my own childhood, this book made me feel deeply and emotionally.  

By Jeannette Walls,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Glass Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.

This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents.

At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane,…


Book cover of Too Close to the Falls

Karen Harmon Author Of Where Is My Happy Ending?: A Journey of No Regrets

From my list on mental health, addiction, and families.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have the expertise for this topic because I was raised in a loving home with a mother who struggled with bipolar disorder. At times my life was hilariously adventurous or heart-wrenchingly sad. Given little direction, I married an alcoholic and then went on to work at a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. I have fallen on hard times, but at the age of thirty-two, as a single mother collecting welfare, I managed to grief, heal and dig myself out, creating a rewarding life. I am optimistic, and I try to find humour in all things, especially after the tears and healing have subsided. My writing has brought me tremendous healing and joy.

Karen's book list on mental health, addiction, and families

Karen Harmon Why did Karen love this book?

Too Close to the Falls is hilarious and moving with a dark side that at first is undetectable. Gildner's memoir is richly absorbing and captures childhood's essence, where each experience is a lesson. In the 1950s, Too Close to the Falls is an exquisite, haunting portrayal of friendships, brushes with death, and how a schoolgirl affects the course of aboriginal politics. Memorable and skillfully told.

By Catherine Gildiner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Too Close to the Falls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the childhood of Catherine McClure Gildiner. It is the mid-1950s in Lewiston, New York, a sleepy town near Niagara Falls. Divorce is unheard of, mothers wear high heels to the beauty salon, and television has only just arrived.

At the tender age of four, Cathy accompanies Roy, the deliveryman at her father's pharmacy, on his routes. She shares some of their memorable deliveries-sleeping pills to Marilyn Monroe (in town filming Niagara), sedatives to Mad Bear, a violent Tuscarora chief, and fungus cream to Warty, the gentle operator of the town dump. As she reaches her teenage years, Cathy's…


Book cover of The Memory Palace

Karen Harmon Author Of Where Is My Happy Ending?: A Journey of No Regrets

From my list on mental health, addiction, and families.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have the expertise for this topic because I was raised in a loving home with a mother who struggled with bipolar disorder. At times my life was hilariously adventurous or heart-wrenchingly sad. Given little direction, I married an alcoholic and then went on to work at a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. I have fallen on hard times, but at the age of thirty-two, as a single mother collecting welfare, I managed to grief, heal and dig myself out, creating a rewarding life. I am optimistic, and I try to find humour in all things, especially after the tears and healing have subsided. My writing has brought me tremendous healing and joy.

Karen's book list on mental health, addiction, and families

Karen Harmon Why did Karen love this book?

A harrowing and beautiful tale of two sisters growing up with a paranoid schizophrenic mother. The author describes a fine line between gentle artistic creativity and debilitating mental illness. The reader will come away with a better understanding of how deeply children are affected growing up in a dysfunctional and traumatic environment. A mother's love and a journey to forgiveness teach us the complex meaning of love.

By Mira Bartok,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, two sisters confront schizophrenia in this New York Times bestselling poignant memoir about family and mental illness. Through stunning prose and original art, The Memory Palace captures the love between mother and daughter, the complex meaning of truth, and one family’s capacity for forgiveness.

*A Washington Post Best Book of the Year *
*The National Book Critics Circle Award Winner for Best Autobiography*

“People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you’ve been through,” Mira Bartók is told at her mother’s memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship…


Book cover of Olive Kitteridge

Ellen Baker Author Of The Hidden Life of Cecily Larson

From my list on books with quirky, strong women at their heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved reading novels about strong, quirky women since childhood (Nancy Drew, Ramona Quimby, Harriet the Spy, the heroines of Judy Blume novels, just for starting examples!). As I grew into writing my own stories, I also started studying women’s history. I merged these two interests to begin writing historical novels with strong women protagonists. I love the challenge of researching to figure out the details of women’s day-to-day lives–so many unrecorded stories!–and I love to advocate for the idea (fortunately not as revolutionary as it once was) that a woman can be the hero of her own story and that each woman’s story is important to tell.  

Ellen's book list on books with quirky, strong women at their heart

Ellen Baker Why did Ellen love this book?

I found this book absolutely riveting.

Outspoken, cantankerous, deep-hearted Olive Kitteridge is a character unlike any other, and I loved how the interconnected stories let us see her, her family, and her community at various points in time and how their decisions and ways of being affect the arcs of their lives.

I loved the complexity and uniqueness of all the characters, as well as the insights that this book offers about the intricacies, nuances, difficulties, and joys of being human. 

By Elizabeth Strout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • The beloved first novel featuring Olive Kitteridge, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah’s Book Club pick Olive, Again
 
“Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You’ll never forget her.”—USA Today
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post Book World • USA Today • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • Seattle Post-Intelligencer • People • Entertainment Weekly • The Christian Science Monitor • The Plain Dealer • The Atlantic • Rocky Mountain News • Library Journal
 
At times stern, at…


Book cover of Menno-Nightcaps: Cocktails Inspired by That Odd Ethno-Religious Group You Keep Mistaking for the Amish, Quakers or Mormons

Janelle Diller Author Of Never Enough Flamingos

From my list on those quirky Mennonites.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Kansas and will forever have a soft spot in my heart for golden wheat fields, sunflower-filled ditches, and sunsets that explode colors on the horizon. I always knew I’d write a book set in Kansas, and I’d explore my long Mennonite linage and its seemingly unrealistic theology. Pacifism is a beautiful concept until you’re faced with protecting the people you love. As I grew older, I became more curious about larger, practical questions. It’s one thing to be a conscientious objector to war. It’s another thing to confront the cosmically dark evil of your neighbor. From that, Never Enough Flamingos was born.

Janelle's book list on those quirky Mennonites

Janelle Diller Why did Janelle love this book?

I love to cook, and given the passion Mennonites have for potlucks, this list wouldn’t be complete without a favorite cookbook recommendation. The trouble is, which one? There are so many classics. I grew up with the worn and scribbled-on pages of The Mennonite Community Cookbook and later the More-with-Less World Community Cookbook, but ultimately decided on Menno-Nightcaps because, well, I warned you this list is eclectic, right? This book is loaded with not just yummy, practical drink recipes, but loads of Mennonite history. My own husband wooed me with stories of his ancestor who supplied George Washington’s troops with whiskey. How could I not love a book like this? Trust me, it’ll be fun and you’ll never view Mennonites in quite the same way.  

By S.L. Klassen, Michael Hepher (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A satirical cocktail book featuring seventy-seven cocktail recipes accompanied by arcane trivia on Mennonite history, faith, and cultural practices.

At last, you think, a book of cocktails that pairs punny drinks with Mennonite history! Yes, cocktail enthusiast and author of the popular Drunken Mennonite blog Sherri Klassen is here to bring some Low German love to your bar cart. Drinks like Brandy Anabaptist, Migratarita, Thrift Store Sour, and Pimm’s Cape Dress are served up with arcane trivia on Mennonite history, faith, and cultural practices.

Arranged by theme, the book opens with drinks inspired by the Anabaptists of sixteenth-century Europe (Bloody…


Book cover of Women Talking

Emma Sloley Author Of Disaster's Children

From my list on women trying to survive cults.

Why am I passionate about this?

Increasingly, the fiction I’m most drawn to occupies the space between literary and speculative. This space fascinates me both as a reader and a writer. I love stories set in worlds shifted ever-so-slightly from the familiar, where characters are forced to navigate new ways of existing or find ways to escape. Perhaps that’s why so many of my favorite stories—and my first two novels!—tend to feature women in cults or other cloistered communities, caught between their desire for belonging and the potential annihilation of the self. Where do you excavate for happiness in a hostile world? My characters spend their lives trying to answer this question. 

Emma's book list on women trying to survive cults

Emma Sloley Why did Emma love this book?

There is subtle genius in the way Miriam Toews pays such close attention to the humanity of her often heartbreaking characters while also being dryly funny. Set in a closed, conservative Mennonite community, the story unfolds as “minutes” taken by a young man as he listens to a group of women from the community who have discovered they were drugged and assaulted while sleeping, by men they know. (Their fathers, sons, husbands, and friends.) The story is based on a real case, and while the details are chillingly horrific, Toews finds a way for the characters to talk about these things that are warm, humorous, and compassionate, as the women become alive for the first time to their own unexamined power. 

By Miriam Toews,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture from writer/director Sarah Polley, starring Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, with Ben Whishaw and Frances McDormand.

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

“This amazing, sad, shocking, but touching novel, based on a real-life event, could be right out of The Handmaid's Tale.” -Margaret Atwood, on Twitter

"Scorching . . . a wry, freewheeling novel of ideas that touches on the nature of evil, questions of free will, collective responsibility, cultural determinism, and, above all, forgiveness." -New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice

One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For…


Book cover of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home

Alvin Schnupp Author Of Goods & Effects

From my list on women artists and activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by women who are artists and activists, such as Ivy Bottini, Käthe Kollwitz and Peggy Guggenheim. (All subjects of plays I wrote). They are convicted, unique, champions of justice, diversity and inclusion.

Alvin's book list on women artists and activists

Alvin Schnupp Why did Alvin love this book?

A fun, insightful, humorous revelation about a celebrated poet who returns to her conservative home and examines the people and ideas that shaped her. I identify with this book because I, too, was raised Mennonite. In addition. The protagonist of my book is a Mennonite.

By Rhoda Janzen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mennonite in a Little Black Dress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"It is rare that I literally laugh out loud while I'm reading, but Janzen's voice―singular, deadpan, sharp-witted and honest―slayed me." ―Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family's home, where she was…


Book cover of Peace Shall Destroy Many

Janelle Diller Author Of Never Enough Flamingos

From my list on those quirky Mennonites.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Kansas and will forever have a soft spot in my heart for golden wheat fields, sunflower-filled ditches, and sunsets that explode colors on the horizon. I always knew I’d write a book set in Kansas, and I’d explore my long Mennonite linage and its seemingly unrealistic theology. Pacifism is a beautiful concept until you’re faced with protecting the people you love. As I grew older, I became more curious about larger, practical questions. It’s one thing to be a conscientious objector to war. It’s another thing to confront the cosmically dark evil of your neighbor. From that, Never Enough Flamingos was born.

Janelle's book list on those quirky Mennonites

Janelle Diller Why did Janelle love this book?

I first read this book about Mennonites in western Canada during WWII while I was in college. Wiebe had the audacity to pull back the curtain and expose the very human inconsistencies between what we Mennonites believe and how we sometimes behave, particularly around pacifism, racism, and money. Mennonites pride (uh oh) ourselves on living our theology, so the book created quite a stir in the Mennonite world because Wiebe took some shine off the denomination. That very act raised important theological questions for me, ones that I’ll always grapple with in one form or another.

I like to think Wiebe would approve that I, too, have pulled back the curtain with Never Enough Flamingos.

By Rudy Wiebe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peace Shall Destroy Many as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Book cover of European Mennonites and the Holocaust

Kevin P. Spicer and Rebecca Carter-Chand Author Of Religion, Ethnonationalism, and Antisemitism in the Era of the Two World Wars

From my list on German Protestantism in Hitler’s Germany.

Why are we passionate about this?

Kevin P. Spicer is a historian of twentieth-century Germany who investigates the relationship between church and state from 1918-1945. I'm fascinated by the choices of Christian leaders as they negotiated the challenges of living and leading under National Socialism. I seek to understand the connections between Christian antisemitism and National Socialist’s racial-based exclusionary ethnonationalism and antisemitism. Rebecca Carter-Chand is a historian of twentieth-century Germany who focuses on Christianity during the Nazi period. I'm particularly interested in the smaller Christian churches on the margins of the German religious landscape, many of which maintained ties with their co-religionists abroad. I seek to understand how religious communities navigate ethical and practical challenges of political upheaval and fascism.

Kevin's book list on German Protestantism in Hitler’s Germany

Kevin P. Spicer and Rebecca Carter-Chand Why did Kevin love this book?

The collective memory of Mennonites during the Holocaust has long been mythologized or has remained unexamined. A recent renewal of interest from both the Mennonite community itself and scholars of the Holocaust has led to a number of conferences and publications. This collection of essays showcases the latest scholarship and paints a complex portrait of Mennonites in both western and eastern Europe during the Holocaust. The book highlights the many roles that Mennonites played, largely due to their proximity to the events of the Holocaust, including as neighbors, killers, enablers, witnesses, and rescuers. The contributors discuss Mennonite identity, theology, agency, and collective memory, all situating their stories in local, national, and European geopolitical contexts. 

By Mark Jantzen (editor), John D. Thiesen (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the Second World War, Mennonites in the Netherlands, Germany, occupied Poland, and Ukraine lived in communities with Jews and close to various Nazi camps and killing sites. As a result of this proximity, Mennonites were neighbours to and witnessed the destruction of European Jews. In some cases they were beneficiaries or even enablers of the Holocaust. Much of this history was forgotten after the war, as Mennonites sought to rebuild or find new homes as refugees. The result was a myth of Mennonite innocence and ignorance that connected their own suffering during the 1930s and 1940s with earlier centuries…


Book cover of Days of Terror

Glen Huser Author Of Firebird

From my list on historical fiction featuring journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was an avid reader and particularly fell in love with historical fiction. My favourite corner for reading was on top of the woodbox by my grandmother’s cookstove. Warm and cozy, I delved into such books as Geoffrey Trease’s Cue for Treason and Jack Schaeffer’s Shane. How wonderful to land for a few hours in the world of Shakespeare’s London or the grasslands of the frontier west. When I worked as a children’s librarian and then began writing books myself, this early love has remained with me—so it factored into the books I chose for schools—and some of the novels I wrote such as The Runaway and Firebird.

Glen's book list on historical fiction featuring journeys

Glen Huser Why did Glen love this book?

I’ve read this book several times and I don’t believe I ever manage to get through it without shedding a few tears. Have tissues handy. A Mennonite family living in Ukraine in the 1920s has their village destroyed by Russian soldiers. The central character, ten-year-old Peter Neufeld, makes a decision to help his older brother Otto escape after he’s participated in counter-attacks, going against the family’s adherence to passive resistance. The Neufelds decide to leave a land of oppression and move to Canada where they will make an effort to assimilate rather than live apart as they have in Ukraine. It’s a journey filled with challenges and heartbreak, but always with the strength of love of family and humanity as a sustaining factor.

By Barbara Claassen Smucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Days of Terror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Chronicles the plight of the Neufelds in 1917, who suffer religious persecution as Mennonites in war torn Russia and who seek a new life in Canada


5 book lists we think you will like!

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