100 books like Mortification

By Robin Robertson,

Here are 100 books that Mortification fans have personally recommended if you like Mortification. 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 Dissolution

Maurice Holloway Author Of Steal a Diamond

From my list on detective books with the most memorable protagonist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for writing, and whenever I can, I try to help new writers improve their expertise so that one day they’ll complete their first book. My first book, born from a few-hundred-word short story at my writing group, turned into a three-book thriller series called FAVOURS. Since then, I’ve branched out by publishing a rom/com, a humorous ghost story as well as a standalone thriller. Agatha Christie published her first book as the result of a dare, which proves you can do it if you really want to.

Maurice's book list on detective books with the most memorable protagonist

Maurice Holloway Why did Maurice love this book?

CJ Sansom, a renowned historian, released this first fiction novel to huge acclaim. I was fascinated to find the investigator was a London lawyer during the reign of Henry VIII. It ticked all the boxes: history, a juicy murder, crime, and mystery. I was not disappointed. In my own writing, I endeavour to make my characters individual and memorable and, therefore, look for that in books I read.

The protagonist, lawyer Matthew Shardlake, has the brain, persistence, and vision of a Holmes or Poirot in uncovering the clues and is admired by all for his ability to win cases. Despite this, one thing continually erodes his confidence: he is a hunchback. Not restricted by twenty-first-century political correctness, his enemies take delight in reminding him of this. I loved the way the author handled that.

I enjoyed the detective story in an entirely different setting. It is a magnificent first book;…

By C.J. Sansom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger - the highest honor in British crime writing

From the bestselling author of Winter in Madrid and Dominion comes the exciting and elegantly written first novel in the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series

Dissolution is an utterly riveting portrayal of Tudor England. The year is 1537, and the country is divided between those faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to the king and the newly established Church of England. When a royal commissioner is brutally murdered in a monastery on the south coast of England, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's feared vicar general, summons…


Book cover of The Best of Saki

Suzette A. Hill Author Of Shadow Over Southwold

From my list on making one laugh or ponder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Privately and professionally, I've always been addicted to literature and history and stirred by the experiences that these studies reveal. Yet as a novelist (retired from college lecturing) I instinctively assume the comic or satirical mode. Whereas in analysing the poetry of perhaps T.S. Eliot, I'm totally serious, when creating a story I start to giggle. Psychiatrists might label this a defence mechanism – but I suspect it's the result of formative years spent reading social satirists such as Huxley, Greene, Wodehouse, and Waugh. While certainly no imitator, I feel that this type of literature has become insidiously bred in the bone – hence my listed choices being socially directed and often comic or acerbic. 

Suzette's book list on making one laugh or ponder

Suzette A. Hill Why did Suzette love this book?

A wonderful collection of outrageous, yet drily witty, short stories by the mordant satirist Saki (aka H.H. Munro tragically killed in WW1 – a great loss to literature). The milieux may be “cosy”, in that the setting is upper-class England of the early twentieth century, but the style is cuttingly astringent (darker than Wodehouse), yet the situations farcical. To be enjoyed with a generous libation to hand – though a malt whisky rather than a softer gin might be appropriate. A bonus to this edition is the excellent introduction by the late and great Graham Greene.

By Hector Hugh Munro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The best of Saki is a collection of short stories by the famed 20th century writer Hector Hugh Munro. Saki is the pen name that Munro wrote his short stories under.
Saki was a misogynist, anti-semite, and reactionary, who also did not take himself too seriously. His stories, “true enough to be interesting and not true enough to be tiresome”, were considered ideal for reading. Saki was an Edwardian writer of sharply satirical, cynical short stories set in the milieu of well to do upper class Edwardian England. Born in1870, he started writing around the turn of century and died…


Book cover of Miss Mapp

Suzette A. Hill Author Of Shadow Over Southwold

From my list on making one laugh or ponder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Privately and professionally, I've always been addicted to literature and history and stirred by the experiences that these studies reveal. Yet as a novelist (retired from college lecturing) I instinctively assume the comic or satirical mode. Whereas in analysing the poetry of perhaps T.S. Eliot, I'm totally serious, when creating a story I start to giggle. Psychiatrists might label this a defence mechanism – but I suspect it's the result of formative years spent reading social satirists such as Huxley, Greene, Wodehouse, and Waugh. While certainly no imitator, I feel that this type of literature has become insidiously bred in the bone – hence my listed choices being socially directed and often comic or acerbic. 

Suzette's book list on making one laugh or ponder

Suzette A. Hill Why did Suzette love this book?

Part of Benson’s much-loved Lucia series. Gentler than Saki, this comedy of manners (also set in a bygone England) is deliciously entertaining, with its eccentric characters gleefully etched. Miss Mapp herself – prim and genteel but with lethal eyes – is a social snooper par excellence, and whose insidious wiles and steely shafts create havoc among the gossiping residents of sedate Tilling (firmly based on the ancient Sussex town of Rye, once home to Henry James.) As they negotiate the delicate snares of bridge, golf, and “charming” tea parties, cronies and quarries alike are pawns in her ruthless game of one-upmanship. It is a game she plays with relish and practised ease... that is until, elsewhere in the series, she is upstaged by the awesome Lucia. Hilarious.

By E.F. Benson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The acclaimed author of Mapp and Lucia introduces the beloved Miss Elizabeth Mapp, a devious social climber, in this charming British comedy of manners.

In the English seaside village of Tilling, Miss Elizabeth Mapp keeps a thorough notebook about everyone’s business, including her servants. Whatever information she can’t collect through gossip, she discovers with the aid of opera glasses. Looking out from her window over High Street, she pays especially avid attention to her neighbor, Maj. Benjamin Flint, whom she has been planning for years to marry.
 
The second novel in E. F. Benson’s popular Mapp and Lucia series, which…


Book cover of Why I Write

Suzette A. Hill Author Of Shadow Over Southwold

From my list on making one laugh or ponder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Privately and professionally, I've always been addicted to literature and history and stirred by the experiences that these studies reveal. Yet as a novelist (retired from college lecturing) I instinctively assume the comic or satirical mode. Whereas in analysing the poetry of perhaps T.S. Eliot, I'm totally serious, when creating a story I start to giggle. Psychiatrists might label this a defence mechanism – but I suspect it's the result of formative years spent reading social satirists such as Huxley, Greene, Wodehouse, and Waugh. While certainly no imitator, I feel that this type of literature has become insidiously bred in the bone – hence my listed choices being socially directed and often comic or acerbic. 

Suzette's book list on making one laugh or ponder

Suzette A. Hill Why did Suzette love this book?

Other than the odd dry chuckle, no major laughs here – but you certainly ponder. Slim and compact, this selection of four of Orwell’s most compelling essays is a fitting format for the prose within. Typically Orwellian, no word is wasted, none ill-used; statements are incisive, ideas sharply defined, and imagery spare yet vivid. Clarity is the keynote; probing entertainment the effect. The topics – his own literary motivation, the condition of twentieth-century England, a biting attack on sloppy verbiage and on rhetoric for political fudge, the stark yet witty vignette of a public hanging – all are lucid and provocative. His comments are as relevant today as they were in the 1940s. George Orwell and Graham Greene: what masterly writers!

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A selection of George Orwell's politically charged essays on language and writing that give context to his dystopian classic, 1984

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves-and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives-and destroyed them.

Now, Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are. Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers, and…


Book cover of The Day We Danced in Underpants

Linda Whalen Author Of Little Red Rolls Away

From my list on dealing with emotions and change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Often, people don’t understand the emotions of a child. The care and keeping of children have been my life focus as a mother of five, 4-H leader, Kindergarten aide, religious education teacher, and owner of Whalen’s Country Childcare. I hold dear the awe and wonder seen in the eyes of a child and hope to forever be inspired by the sight. Since my new book, Little Red Rolls Away was released, I have presented at schools, libraries, appeared in newspapers, magazines, and been featured on CBS Good Day Sacramento. Endorsements include filmmaker Joey Travolta, Founder and Creative Director, Inclusion Films, a company that aims to teach the art of filmmaking to people with developmental disabilities.

Linda's book list on dealing with emotions and change

Linda Whalen Why did Linda love this book?

Embarrassment is a big emotion that can grab a child with hands of steel. In this beautifully rhyming book, an invitation to picnic with the King calls for new clothes. Told through the eyes of a child the very festive occasion takes a turn when Papa’s pants rip. Papa turned red but one can imagine the embarrassment this child had for her family. Fortunately, the King not only saves the day but makes it better. I think this kind of action is a good example of easing an awkward situation.

By Sarah Wilson, Catherine Stock (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Day We Danced in Underpants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An invitation to picnic with the King of France sends a young boy, his papa, two big dogs, and three wild aunts dancing their way across the French countryside. When the time comes to dine with the royals, Papa's energetic dance moves catch up with him and his worn pants burst at the seams. The stage is set for a wild party that finds even the stuffiest nobles getting down in their unmentionables.

Sarah Wilson's uproarious text makes for a boisterous read-aloud, but it's Catherine Stock's hilarious portrayals of cavorting courtiers and gallant guests that will have kids begging for…


Book cover of Something's Wrong!: A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

Sarah Williamson Author Of Elevator Bird

From my list on teaching kids kindness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Of all the lessons that we should be teaching kids, I think kindness should be at the top of everyone’s list. If people treated every human and sentient being with kindness and compassion the world would be a better place, which is something we all want. The more we can illustrate this for children the better so that they can understand that we are all in this together and that everyone deserves respect.

Sarah's book list on teaching kids kindness

Sarah Williamson Why did Sarah love this book?

Jory John is a hilarious writer and this book is no exception. A bear forgets something but he can’t figure out what (it’s his pants). We see him in his white cotton underwear, but it’s never actually stated so while he mulls over the problem to other animals in the forest, the reader laughs waiting to see what will happen. No one tells him what the problem is. But his good friend, Anders puts on underwear too. He proclaims to the other animals in the forest that it’s cool and the new style. A dose of kindness goes a long way in this funny and surprising tale.

By Jory John, Erin Kraan (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Something's Wrong! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Jeff the bear has definitely forgotten something. He ate his breakfast, he watered his plant, he combed his fur . . . what could it be? Why does he feel so oddly off? So he asks his friend Anders the rabbit what could possibly be wrong. It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that he's wearing underwear . . . over his fur . . . could it? Another read-out-loud, laugh-out-loud picture book from bestselling and beloved author Jory John, paired with rising star illustrator Erin Balzer, about that horrible nagging feeling that it just might not be…


Book cover of The Experiment

Devin Sloane Author Of Live Again

From my list on to take your heart on an emotional rollercoaster.

Why am I passionate about this?

At age five, I was reading under the blankets with a flashlight far past my bedtime. It’s an often told story of how I believed I was getting away with something while my makeshift tent, held up by my head, was lit up like a snowglobe. By age eleven, when I picked up my aunt’s book, I discovered romance novels. I was hooked. I’ve read thousands of romance novels in the almost four decades that have since passed, and I’ve learned that each person who reads a book takes something different from it, and I hope these five books that gave so much to me, might do the same for you.

Devin's book list on to take your heart on an emotional rollercoaster

Devin Sloane Why did Devin love this book?

This story treated my heart like a yo-yo. Jess is hot, Emma is a hot mess. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and more than once I struggled to read with tears streaming down my face. It’s a story about love and loyalty and what happens when it battles fear and betrayal. Though I did empathize with Jess’s situation, it was Emma who slayed me. Her social awkwardness and lack of filter pinned her heart firmly on the outside of her chest. There it sat, vulnerable and unprotected, alongside mine as I hopped on for the ride. It was her innocence, and the moment that was lost, that killed me. When the jolt hit Emma’s heart, it sent shockwaves through my own. But, by the final chapter, I fell in love with both of them, and what better way for a story to end?

By Amy Alves,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I'm an idiot. Everyone knows that in a fake relationship, you keep it platonic. I knew it too, but I kissed her anyway.

From the first moment I met Emma Caldwell, I knew she was going to be trouble. Hot, adorable, complicated trouble.

So when she propositioned me—and not the sexy kind of proposition—I refused. Because the painfully awkward woman next door wanted lessons in love.
I don’t do relationships, and I sure as hell don’t do love—the whole town knows that. But after what happened with my ex-fiancée, they’ve been eager to see me happily settled down.

And that's…


Book cover of The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts

Steven Clark Cunningham Author Of Your Body Sick and Well: How Do You Know?

From my list on the body for children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a doctor, perhaps because there were no doctors in my family, and I did not even realize that I wanted to (or could) go to medical school until I was almost done with college. Once I did realize this, however, it became immediately obvious to me that being a physician (a surgeon) was what I wanted to dedicate my life’s work to, and I have been passionate about it ever since. Probably the topics I am most passionate about after surgery are education, books, reading, poetry, etc., so this book lets both these passions dovetail beautifully!

Steven's book list on the body for children

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven love this book?

I have read this book scores, if not hundreds, of times to my four kids when they were younger. Just like another favorite in this series, Everyone Poops, both the title and the contents remind and reassure us that we are not alone in our digestive functions of passing gas and pooping! Even though these are normal, they can cause anxiety, embarrassment, etc., but this book does a great job of making learning about digestion fun!

By Shinta Cho, Amanda Mayer Stinchecum (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A reassuring and humorous title presents curious readers with a straightforward, relatable look at a natural body function, explaining how and why gas is produced and eliminated. Reprint.


Book cover of The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare

Richard Scholar Author Of Émigrés: French Words That Turned English

From my list on just how much English owes French.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been struck, as a learner of French at school and later a university professor of French, by how much English borrows from French language and culture. Imagine English without naïveté and caprice. You might say it would lose its raison d’être My first book was the history of a single French phrase, the je-ne-sais-quoi, which names a ‘certain something’ in people or things that we struggle to explain. Working on that phrase alerted me to the role that French words, and foreign words more generally, play in English. The books on this list helped me to explore this topic—and more besides—as I was writing Émigrés.

Richard's book list on just how much English owes French

Richard Scholar Why did Richard love this book?

This is a brilliant essay in literary criticism. It traces English ambivalence towards French language and culture in the centuries that followed the Norman Conquest. It does so by delving into major literary texts—by Chaucer and Shakespeare among others—that explore that ambivalence for what it is: the symptom of a fetish. I like the way Williams writes and I find her inspiring in her desire to remain faithful to the complexity of the texts she studies and their attitudes.

By Deanne Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What was the impact of the Norman Conquest on the culture of medieval and early modern England? Deanne Williams answers this question by contending that not only French language and literature, but the idea of Frenchness itself, produced England's literary and cultural identity. Examining a variety of English representations of, and responses to, France and 'the French' in the work of Chaucer, Caxton, Skelton, Shakespeare and others, this book shows how English literature emerged out of a simultaneous engagement with, and resistance to, the pervasive presence of French language and culture in England that was the legacy of the Norman…


Book cover of Love in a Dark Time: And Other Explorations of Gay Lives and Literature

Rachel M. Harper Author Of The Other Mother

From my list on the dazzling lives of queer artists and writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of three books, all featuring characters who feel like outsiders; some are queer, many are artists, most are people of color. I was lucky enough to grow up around artists, in a community where creativity was valued. I wrote poems and invented card games, put on plays in our living room, and made up stories to fall asleep at night. I knew I was an artist before I knew the word queer. When I came out, my outsider status doubled; I wanted to know how other queer artists and writers navigated these dual identities—how they not only survived but thrived. Their stories are my story.

Rachel's book list on the dazzling lives of queer artists and writers

Rachel M. Harper Why did Rachel love this book?

The brilliant, searing insights of this book are hard to oversell.

Tóibín is a writer who defies category, and the book—part mini-biographies, part literary criticism, all heart—is a book for anyone who loves writers (not just writing).

He has an incisive yet tender eye for analysis, of not just literature, but of an author’s—dare I say it—soul, and he taught me more about writers I already knew and loved, like James Baldwin and Elizabeth Bishop, while introducing me to authors I’d only heard of, like Thom Gunn and Thomas Mann.

The sections on Oscar Wilde and Roger Casement blew my mind wide open. This book is a must-read for all queer authors writing today—to appreciate how far we’ve come and to celebrate where we’re going.

By Colm Toibin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love in a Dark Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Colm Tóibín knows the languages of the outsider, the secret keeper, the gay man or woman. He knows the covert and overt language of homosexuality in literature. In Love in a Dark Time, he also describes the solace of finding like-minded companions through reading.

Colm Tóibín examines the life and work of some of the greatest and most influential writers of the past two centuries, figures whose homosexuality remained hidden or oblique for much of their lives, either by choice or necessity. The larger world couldn't know about their sexuality, but in their private lives, and in the spirit of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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