100 books like Motherland

By Elissa Altman,

Here are 100 books that Motherland fans have personally recommended if you like Motherland. 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 Wild Game: My Mother, Her Secret, and Me

Laura Davis Author Of The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story

From my list on the mother-daughter relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

We all have obsessions in life and one of mine has been my mother and the great love and enmity that ricocheted between us for fifty-seven years. Throughout the decades, my mother went from protector to controller to betrayer to ogre to human to an elderly woman in my care. The love and hate, distance and intimacy, estrangement, and reconciliation that we experienced made me a lifelong student of the mother-daughter bond. I‘ve written about my mother for more than 30 years, and love reading mother-daughter stories, not saccharine sweet ones, but complex multi-layered dramas where there’s no villain and no hero—just two humans struggling to love and understand each other.

Laura's book list on the mother-daughter relationship

Laura Davis Why did Laura love this book?

I read Wild Game in a weekend—and that’s unusual for me, but I just couldn’t put the book down. Brodeur brought me into a world of treachery, lies, and mother-daughter entanglement that I found absolutely compelling. The mother in this book, Malabar, is a larger-than-life character whose willingness to sacrifice her daughter’s well-being for her own ends was horrifying and believable. I rooted for the daughter all the way through this beautifully crafted book, but it was the mother I found unforgettable.

By Adrienne Brodeur,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NATIONAL BESTSELLER. A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity.

NAMED A BEST FALL BOOK BY People * Refinery29 * Entertainment Weekly * BuzzFeed * NPR’s On Point * Town & Country * Real Simple * New York Post * Palm Beach Post * Toronto Star * Orange Country Register * Bustle * Bookish * BookPage * Kirkus* BBC Culture* Debutiful

On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set…


Book cover of American Daughter: A Memoir

Julia Amante Author Of Let Us Begin

From my list on parent/child relationship leading to redemption.

Why am I passionate about this?

Women’s fiction is about relationships and issues that women deal with daily. I wish I could write thrillers or fantasy—those are so much fun to read, but I’m most fascinated by people and the life-changing choices they make. Being the daughter of immigrants has made me obsessed with two things, one is identity and the second is success. My books touch on the discovery of self and how that leads to success. And if we're honest, our relationships with our parents have a massive effect on who we become and our beliefs. I’ve explored parent/child relationships in all my novels, but most intimately in Let Us Begin which is based on my father’s life.

Julia's book list on parent/child relationship leading to redemption

Julia Amante Why did Julia love this book?

American Daughter caught my interest because of the title. I was writing a novel based on my father’s search for the American Dream, and we had a contentious relationship. I always felt like the American Daughter of an Argentine dad.

American Daughter, however, didn’t really have anything to do with being American aside from showing the realities or another side of the American Dream, the pain, the struggle, and the brokenness of American families.

I ended up relating to this book much more than I expected. The author’s mother was mentally unstable, selfish, and unable to actually mother. My father, and the character of my novel, was also all three of those things.

I felt a connection with the author because I understood how difficult it must have been for her to ultimately forgive her mother and see her as a damaged human being who did the best she could.…

By Stephanie Thornton Plymale, Elissa Wald,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked American Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The sharp and surprising true story of a woman who finally sets out to understand her past, and the mother she had one day hoped to forget. Full of unexpected twists and unbelievable revelations, American Daughter is an immersive memoir that will have you on the edge of your seat to the very last page.

For years, Stephanie Plymale, successful CEO and interior designer, kept her past a fiercely guarded secret. Only her husband knew that her childhood was fraught with every imaginable hardship: neglect, hunger, poverty, homelessness, truancy, foster homes, a harrowing lack of medical care, and worse. Stephanie,…


Book cover of The Glimpse

Laura Davis Author Of The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story

From my list on the mother-daughter relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

We all have obsessions in life and one of mine has been my mother and the great love and enmity that ricocheted between us for fifty-seven years. Throughout the decades, my mother went from protector to controller to betrayer to ogre to human to an elderly woman in my care. The love and hate, distance and intimacy, estrangement, and reconciliation that we experienced made me a lifelong student of the mother-daughter bond. I‘ve written about my mother for more than 30 years, and love reading mother-daughter stories, not saccharine sweet ones, but complex multi-layered dramas where there’s no villain and no hero—just two humans struggling to love and understand each other.

Laura's book list on the mother-daughter relationship

Laura Davis Why did Laura love this book?

I loved diving into this novel about mother-daughter artists and the devotion, love, and competition that binds them together. Personally, I have no skill or passion for painting or photography—the gifts granted the characters in this book—but as I immersed myself in Bensley’s world, I began seeing the world as visual artists do. That was an unexpected bonus to an already compelling intergenerational story. As I hungrily turned pages, eager to discover what would happen to the characters next, I loved learning about art, the sexism of the art world, and the compelling need to create regardless of external validation.

By Lis Bensley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Liza Baker, a rising star in the burgeoning Abstract Expressionist era, finds herself sidelined when she gets pregnant, and decides to have the child. Yet, against conventional wisdom, she's convinced she can have a successful career and be a good mother to her daughter, Rouge.
She takes a job teaching at a college and comes up against the harsh realities of the male-dominated art world. Unable to build a successful career, she watches as her former lover, whose work resembles hers, skyrocket to fame. Liza develops a drinking problem and often brings home artist lovers she's met in the city.…


The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

By Kathryn Betts Adams,

Book cover of The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

Kathryn Betts Adams Author Of The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I was first a clinical social worker and then a social work professor with research focus on older adults. Over the past few years, as I have been writing my own memoir about caring for my parents, I’ve been drawn to memoirs and first-person stories of aging, illness, and death. The best memoirs on these topics describe the emotional transformation in the writer as they process their loss of control, loss of their own or a loved one’s health, and their fear, pain, and suffering. In sharing these stories, we help others empathize with what we’ve gone through and help others be better prepared for similar events in their own lives.

Kathryn's book list on Memoirs illness aging death moving vivid prose

What is my book about?

The Pianist's Only Daughter is a frank, humorous, and heartbreaking exploration of aging in an aging expert's own family.

Social worker and gerontologist Kathryn Betts Adams spent decades negotiating evolving family dynamics with her colorful and talented parents: her mother, an English scholar and poet, and her father, a pianist and music professor. Their vivid emotional lives, marital instability, and eventual divorce provided the backdrop for her 1960s and ‘70s Midwestern youth.

Nearly thirty years after they divorce, Adams' newly single father flies in to woo his ex-wife, now retired and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Their daughter watches in disbelief…

The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

By Kathryn Betts Adams,

What is this book about?

Grounded in insights about mental health, health and aging, The Pianist’s Only Daughter: A Memoir presents a frank and loving exploration of aging in an aging expert's own family.

Social worker and gerontologist Kathryn Betts Adams spent decades negotiating evolving family dynamics with her colorful and talented parents: her English scholar and poet mother and her pianist father. Their vivid emotional lives, marital instability, and eventual divorce provided the backdrop for her 1960s and ‘70s Midwestern youth.

Nearly thirty years after they divorce, Adams' father finds himself single and flies in to woo his ex-wife, now retired and diagnosed with…


Book cover of Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama

S.W. Leicher Author Of Acts of Assumption

From my list on shattering the image of the word lesbian.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family is a marvelously mixed bunch: lesbian, gay, and straight relatives; Jewish and Latin relatives; relatives along a spectrum of economic situations, abilities, and political views.  The policy work that I do connects me with social justice advocates from across NYC’s multiple ethnic, racial, religious, and LGBTQ communities. The wildly disparate voices that surround me illuminate both the power of communal ties and the dangers of narrow identity labeling.  A central quest behind my work, my reading, and my writing has thus always been to balance and respect everything at once: the cultural structures that sustain us; the individual quirks that challenge and complicate those structures; and the universalities that cross all cultural borders.

S.W.'s book list on shattering the image of the word lesbian

S.W. Leicher Why did S.W. love this book?

Alison Bechdel (best known for Fun Home, a graphic memoir about her bisexual teacher-cum-funeral-parlor-owner father) also wrote this graphic memoir about her actor-writer-teacher mother. It largely takes place in the 1990s, when being boldly “out” was just becoming possible—and Bechdel joyfully and graphically reveals herself as such to her readers. With her mother, however… maybe not so much. When told that Alison is publishing a book of lesbian cartoons, the mother asks: “Isn’t that rather a narrow scope?” before landing the zinger: “You’re not going to use your own name, are you?” Still, the book’s power derives from showing that sexual identity is only a small part of what divides, enrages, and ultimately re-connects this vivid mother-daughter duo. There’s also fierce creative competitiveness. Deeply shared sorrow. And love.           

By Alison Bechdel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An expansive, moving and captivating graphic memoir from the author of Fun Home.

Alison Bechdel's Fun Home was a literary phenomenon. While Fun Home explored Bechdel's relationship with her father, a closeted homosexual, this memoir is about her mother - a voracious reader, a music lover, a passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood... and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter goodnight, for ever, when she was seven.

Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf.

'As absorbing as…


Book cover of Flaneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London

Daniel Brook Author Of A History of Future Cities

From my list on read cities unconventionally.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by cities ever since I was a teenager without a driver’s license on Long Island and my parents let me take the train into Manhattan (“Just be back by midnight!”). In college, I studied architecture and urbanism and learned how cities churned and changed. Today, having written about places like New Orleans, San Francisco, Mumbai and Berlin for publications including Harper’s and The New York Times Magazine, as well as in my books, I know I’ll be walking, riding, and eating my way through cities forever. And reading through them, too!

Daniel's book list on read cities unconventionally

Daniel Brook Why did Daniel love this book?

This book looks at flâneurie, the Gilded Age gentlemen’s pastime of walking through a city purely for curiosity’s sake, through women’s eyes. Of course, a man has opportunities to walk through a city unnoticed and unimpeded in a way that a woman does not.

Walking with Elkin through cities I know well helped me realize how much I take for granted as a man (significant helpings of anonymity and safety) and the particular joys of liberation cities have offered women past, present, and future.

By Lauren Elkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

FINALIST FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAY

A New York Times Notable Book of 2017

The flâneur is the quintessentially masculine figure of privilege and leisure who strides the capitals of the world with abandon. But it is the flâneuse who captures the imagination of the cultural critic Lauren Elkin. In her wonderfully gender-bending new book, the flâneuse is a “determined, resourceful individual keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city and the liberating possibilities of a good walk.” Virginia Woolf called it “street haunting”; Holly Golightly epitomized it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; and Patti…


Book cover of Help! I'm in Love With a Narcissist

Lena Derhally Author Of The Facebook Narcissist: How to Identify and Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Social Media Narcissism

From my list on narcissism and how to deal with narcissists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice and an author. My clinical interests and published books are about narcissism. After being in an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist (which I suspect may have turned physical if I had stayed), I decided to make it my mission to not only never experience having a cold and calculating narcissist in my life again, but to also help other people avoid or leave any type of relationship with a narcissist. To this day, I am passionate about researching, writing, and educating others on the dangers of narcissism.

Lena's book list on narcissism and how to deal with narcissists

Lena Derhally Why did Lena love this book?

When I was in my 20s and ending a relationship with a narcissist, this book was a lifesaver. This book was able to describe exactly what I had been through and made me feel less crazy (being in a relationship with a narcissist can make you feel crazy!). This book also solidified my decision to leave the narcissist once and for all and helped me find a relationship where I was treated well. A must-read for anyone in a relationship with a narcissist or who has been in a relationship with a narcissist.

By Steven Carter, Julia Sokol,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Help! I'm in Love With a Narcissist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Narcissists always make sure that their relationships are organised around their priorities, their agendas, and their problems; they are people who are so self-involved that they can't really relate to their partners' needs. "Help, I'm in Love with a Narcissist" spells out why it's so easy to get romantically involved with narcissists, who are often experts in intensity, passion, and seduction, and also highlights the difficulties of remaining in these relationships. Using detailed anecdotes from narcissism survivors, the authors illustrate the common pitfalls of narcissistic relationships, and help readers come to terms with exactly what they are experiencing. They also…


Book cover of Octavia

Melinda De Ross Author Of Celebrity

From my list on romance, chick-lit, and women’s fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love women’s fiction, romantic comedies, and chick-lit because they are a fun slice of escapism, a guilty pleasure that pushes our problems on the back burner for a bit. A good women’s fiction novel has everything, from romance, to drama, to self-discovery, to a happy ever after. If it’s delivered with a large dose of humor, it’s the recipe for success. That’s what I try to do in my novels, to offer a unique experience and help readers relax, laugh, dream, hope, and most of all, escape reality when they need it. In my opinion, that’s the purpose of a good book, no matter the genre.

Melinda's book list on romance, chick-lit, and women’s fiction

Melinda De Ross Why did Melinda love this book?

Octavia is a self-centered, narcissistic young heiress who thinks she deserves the best of everything. When she meets her friend’s fiancé, Jeremy, she has no compunctions about trying to seduce him. But Jeremy’s best friend, Gareth, has other plans. Brought up in the bad side of town and now a self-made millionaire, he decides to teach Octavia that she can’t play with other people’s lives without suffering the consequences.

This engaging story, full of wit and humor, shows us Octavia’s transformation when she drops from riches to rags, falls in love for the first time in her life, and starts to care about other people than herself. Although the heroine might seem unlikeable at first, the author does a fantastic job in penning her journey, and by the end, most women will identify with Octavia.

By Jilly Cooper,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fall in love with Jilly Cooper, one of Britain's most popular authors, in this up-beat and unmissable rom-com. Octavia is used to having anything (or anyone) she wants - but will she get her just desserts this time? Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Marian Keyes, Dolly Alderton and Jane Fallon.

'Jilly is about bringing joy into your life: daft, silly, boozy joy ... There is no one else like Cooper' -- Guardian
'The Jane Austen of our time' - HARPERS & QUEEN
'Joyful and mischievous' -- Jojo Moyes
'Fun, sexy and unputdownable' -- Marian Keyes
'Outstanding read. If I…


Book cover of Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

Lena Derhally Author Of The Facebook Narcissist: How to Identify and Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Social Media Narcissism

From my list on narcissism and how to deal with narcissists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice and an author. My clinical interests and published books are about narcissism. After being in an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist (which I suspect may have turned physical if I had stayed), I decided to make it my mission to not only never experience having a cold and calculating narcissist in my life again, but to also help other people avoid or leave any type of relationship with a narcissist. To this day, I am passionate about researching, writing, and educating others on the dangers of narcissism.

Lena's book list on narcissism and how to deal with narcissists

Lena Derhally Why did Lena love this book?

This is one of the first books I ever read on narcissism, and the most eye-opening. This book is written by Sam Vaknin, a recovering narcissist who takes you deep into the mind and motivations of the narcissist. It is comprehensive, in-depth, and helps one understand how destructive and dangerous narcissists can be. It helped me identify and move on from a horrible relationship I was in with a narcissist.

By Sam Vaknin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The FULL TEXT of Sam Vaknin's classic, groundbreaking BIBLE of NARCISSISM and NARCISSISTIC ABUSE, now in its 10th edition. Tips and advice as well as the most complete clinical background. Narcissistic Personality Disorder and its effects on the narcissist, the psychopath and their nearest and dearest in a variety of settings: the family, workplace, in Church, the community, law enforcement, and politics. 100 frequently asked questions and two essays - a total of 730 pages! Updated to reflect the NEW criteria in the recent fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

You are not alone! Are YOU Abused?…


Book cover of "Don't You Know Who I Am?" How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility

Lena Derhally Author Of The Facebook Narcissist: How to Identify and Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Social Media Narcissism

From my list on narcissism and how to deal with narcissists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice and an author. My clinical interests and published books are about narcissism. After being in an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist (which I suspect may have turned physical if I had stayed), I decided to make it my mission to not only never experience having a cold and calculating narcissist in my life again, but to also help other people avoid or leave any type of relationship with a narcissist. To this day, I am passionate about researching, writing, and educating others on the dangers of narcissism.

Lena's book list on narcissism and how to deal with narcissists

Lena Derhally Why did Lena love this book?

If you feel like the world has become more narcissistic and entitled, then this book is for you. It examines the root of narcissism and how we can and should remove toxic narcissists from our lives. If you have ever witnessed egregious, inappropriate, and downright nasty behavior from others, you will get a deeper understanding of it and how to disengage from it in your own life.

By Ramani S. Durvasula,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked "Don't You Know Who I Am?" How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's time to take our lives back from a world of narcissism, entitlement, and toxic relationships.

"Don't You Know Who I Am?" has become the mantra of the famous and infamous, the entitled and the insecure. It's the tagline of the modern narcissist.

Health and wellness campaigns preach avoidance of unhealthy foods, sedentary lifestyles, tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, but rarely preach avoidance of unhealthy, difficult or toxic people. Yet the health benefits of removing toxic people from your life may have far greater benefits to both physical and psychological health. We need to learn to be better gatekeepers for our…


Book cover of The Woman Watching

Theresa Griffin Kennedy Author Of Talionic Night in Portland: A Love Story

From my list on to help you discover what makes people tick.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I think of who I am, as a writer and a human being, I remember the words of prolific Portland poet Dan Rapheal, who wrote the foreword to my book of poetry, Blue Reverie in Smoke: “...the reader must look carefully to get a full picture of the poet herself—tender, no nonsense, quietly observing and juggernauting to make things as she thinks they should be.” I’ve never forgotten Dan’s astute appraisal of me, and it surprised me. It seems that's how I’ve always beensomeone who quietly observes, never unmoved by what I see, just trying to make sense of it, sometimes successful in that endeavor, and oftentimes, not successful at all. 

Theresa's book list on to help you discover what makes people tick

Theresa Griffin Kennedy Why did Theresa love this book?

How do we decipher mundane truth from sophisticated deception? Who holds the gaze and who is the protagonist if they’re not readily revealed? Vulpius, a popular actor in a dubious era, develops an obsession with an unknown spectator, who he believes comes only to see him. The reader watches his life slowly unravel because Vulpius can never seem to capture the woman watching. Capriolo draws the reader into the insanity and narcissism of obsession, revealing how it can make perfect sense to the afflicted. I loved this book because of the strangeness of the extreme passive voice, probably because it's translated from Italian to English. Also, there is a complete lack of dialogue. I loved Capriolo’s masterful teasing of the reader, revealing just enough to keep you coming back, wondering just what’s going to happen to Vulpius. Will he survive, or will he destroy himself in the end? 

By Paola Capriolo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What is the nature of the actor's mask? At what point do performer and performance merge? Vulpius, a much admired young actor in a provincial rep company, develops an obssession with an unknown spectator whose gaze seems only for him, at first kindling fresh fervour in his mastery of each role, then leaving him a slave to artistic perfection. With philosophical elegance and black macabre sense of comedy, Paola Capriolo draws the reader deep into obssession, exploring the most compelling recesses of the theatrical experience where ritual and stylisation run rampant. Dark questions emerge about the power of representation and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in narcissism, Manhattan, and New York City?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about narcissism, Manhattan, and New York City.

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