100 books like My Sister, the Serial Killer

By Oyinkan Braithwaite,

Here are 100 books that My Sister, the Serial Killer fans have personally recommended if you like My Sister, the Serial Killer. 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 Jane Eyre

Anne Brooke Author Of Where You Hurt The Most

From my list on couples working through a challenging relationship.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’m fascinated by relationships, what makes them work and what might make them fail. And I’ve always been gripped by the power of two people who try to love each other, no matter how different they may be or what obstacles they face. I honestly believe that two people in love are far more than the sum of their parts and can create something magical that wouldn’t have been there without them. So, yes, I’m a romantic at heart but, even in these cynical times, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I hope you love the books on this list as much as I do.

Anne's book list on couples working through a challenging relationship

Anne Brooke Why did Anne love this book?

I love this book because it’s about two people who society would never have expected to fall in love.

Jane and Mr Rochester are so far away from each other on the social scale that at the time it was written it was almost impossible to imagine they could ever get married. I also love that Jane is no beauty and is described as plain, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to love.

I also find it moving that both she and Mr Rochester have to overcome huge emotional challenges in order to be together at all. Finally, I have a soft spot for this book as my own paternal grandmother was a governess who married the ‘lord of the manor’ as Jane does here!

By Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…

Book cover of Mozart's Starling

Tove Danovich Author Of Under the Henfluence: Inside the World of Backyard Chickens and the People Who Love Them

From my list on animals helping us understand ourselves.

Who am I?

I am a freelance journalist who started writing about animals after getting and falling in love with a flock of chickens. Animals are fascinating in their own right but the way we talk about them, and our relationships, shine a fascinating light on humans and what we value. My work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Country Living, and many others. 

Tove's book list on animals helping us understand ourselves

Tove Danovich Why did Tove love this book?

Starlings are everywhere and yet I hadn’t properly seen them until I picked up this book.

The author combines the history of our relationship with the starling, a reviled bird that is nevertheless so much like us, with an up-close view of the species through a pet starling named Carmen. This book will leave you enchanted by the chatty birds. 

By Lyanda Lynn Haupt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mozart's Starling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On May 27th, 1784, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart met a flirtatious little starling who sang (an improved version of!) the theme from his Piano Concerto Number 17 in G to him. Knowing a kindred spirit when he met one, Mozart wrote "That was wonderful" in his journal and took the bird home to be his pet. For three years Mozart and his family enjoyed the uniquely delightful company of the starling until one April morning when the bird passed away.

In 2013, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Crow Planet, rescued her own starling, Carmen, who has become a part of her…

Book cover of H is for Hawk

Lizzie Pickering Author Of When Grief Equals Love: Long-term Perspectives on Living with Loss

From my list on grief books to see you through the 3 Ds: death, diagnosis or divorce.

Who am I?

I am a speaker, grief investigator, filmmaker, and voracious reader! Since the death of my eldest son, Harry, 23 years ago, I have become passionate about changing the landscape for people who have to face life and work when they are living with grief. Books on grief helped me enormously right from the start with Harry’s diagnosis when I was going through ‘living’ or ‘anticipatory grief’ and even more after Harry’s death. They could be fiction or factual; it didn’t matter. They offered me a translation, a guide for what I was going through, and gave me the courage to go forward as these authors were demonstrating. 

Lizzie's book list on grief books to see you through the 3 Ds: death, diagnosis or divorce

Lizzie Pickering Why did Lizzie love this book?

I read this book when it was first published in 2014 and have revisited it many times since. 

My father died in 2012, and this book connected me to how I was feeling over my own loss. Helen’s words comforted me and consoled me, never placating or patronising, but placed so perfectly on the page that they made me feel she was reading me, not the other way round. The feeling of being set apart from others for a while, needing nature and self-nurture before venturing back into life.

I have recommended it to friends and clients, especially those who mourn parents, but really, it’s for anyone who grieves, which, let’s face it, will be all of us one day. 

By Helen Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked H is for Hawk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year

ON MORE THAN 25 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR LISTS: including TIME (#1 Nonfiction Book), NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine (10 Favorite Books), Vogue (Top 10), Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle (Top 10), Miami Herald, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top 10), Library Journal (Top 10), Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Slate, Shelf Awareness, Book Riot, Amazon (Top 20)

The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald's story of adopting and raising one of…

Book cover of The Cloudspotter's Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds

Tom Ireland Author Of The Good Virus: The Amazing Story and Forgotten Promise of the Phage

From my list on science about way more than science.

Who am I?

I am a science journalist and magazine editor. I feel really lucky to be a bioscience specialist – it really is at the forefront of solving some of the great challenges of our time, from making sustainable fuels and materials, to climate change mitigation, age-related disease, pandemics, food security, habitat restoration…plus there’s an incredible diversity of life on our planet still to be discovered. I always try to relate scientific progress to our everyday lives: it’s not just about creating new knowledge, it is about how that knowledge might improve our health, change our outlook, transform society, or protect the planet. 

Tom's book list on science about way more than science

Tom Ireland Why did Tom love this book?

Thanks to this beautiful book, I try to take a moment each day to look up at the sky.

The Cloudspotter’s Guide is so much more than just a guide to the science of how clouds form, or the different types – it’s a reminder to appreciate the unbelievably beautiful and epic natural forms that float above us every day.

Clouds, writes Pretor-Pinney, are ‘the most egalitarian of nature’s displays – we all have a good view of them’. And his guide is as much about how to take pleasure in this daily display as it is about the science of atmospherics, precipitation, and altitude. 

I bought this book so long ago its pages are yellowing and falling out. But when I’m busy and stressed, I still daydream of being able to sit in my garden and do nothing but watch the clouds roll by. When I am aboard a…

By Gavin Pretor-Pinney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Cloudspotter's Guide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in paperback: the runaway British bestseller that has cloudspotters everywhere looking up.

Where do clouds come from? Why do they look the way they do? And why have they captured the imagination of timeless artists, Romantic poets, and every kid who's ever held a crayon? Veteran journalist and lifelong sky watcher Gavin Pretor-Pinney reveals everything there is to know about clouds, from history and science to art and pop culture. Cumulus, nimbostratus, and the dramatic and surfable Morning Glory cloud are just a few of the varieties explored in this smart, witty, and eclectic tour through the skies.


Book cover of Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot

Martha W. Murphy Author Of CRU Oyster Bar Nantucket Cookbook: Savoring Four Seasons of the Good Life

From my list on the eclectic reader of nonfiction.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer interested in a broad range of topics, including but not limited to: food and the people who bring it to us; travel and life in faraway places; human health and the role of medicine; memoir as one person’s story yet illustrative of the human spirit; and the unique and remarkable role dogs play in our lives. I am the same kind of reader: I read across a range of topics, mostly nonfiction. The bookshelves in my house and the record of titles I’ve checked out from my local library show an eclectic taste, as do the books I’m recommending here. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Martha's book list on the eclectic reader of nonfiction

Martha W. Murphy Why did Martha love this book?

I expected a book of insider stories about the hidden world of commercial airline travel from the people who make it possible, but instead I found a beautifully written, lyrical, and awestruck look at what it means to travel high above the Earth’s surface day after day, zooming between cities on opposite sides of the world.

I have never had the physics of flight, gravitational pull, wind, storms, and clouds explained so clearly and compellingly. I frequently reread passages for their beauty and emotion and completely unique fresh perspective. I knew flying was a sophisticated skill, but this book made it clear how truly complex a pilot’s job is.

The author’s love of his hard-won occupation is enthralling, making this a book to share with aspiring aviators in your life.  

By Mark Vanhoenacker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Sunday Times Bestseller**
**Book of the Week on Radio 4**

'One of the most constantly fascinating, but consistently under-appreciated aspects of modern life is the business of flying. Mark Vanhoenacker has written the ideal book on the subject: a description of what it's like to fly by a commercial pilot who is also a master prose stylist and a deeply sensitive human being. This is a man who is at once a technical expert - he flies 747s across continents - and a poet of the skies. This couldn't be more highly recommended.' Alain de Botton

Think back to when…

Book cover of Eileen

Ellen Pall Author Of Must Read Well

From my list on characters you do not want for friends.

Who am I?

Okay, I’m just going to say this: I’m a notoriously likable person. I try to be kind. I try to do good. But in fiction, unlikeable characters fascinate me—their secretiveness, their single-minded energy, their shameless lies and utter selfishness. I’ve written Regency Romances featuring dark antagonists. I’ve written murder mysteries featuring—you know, murderers. (I’ve also written some literary novels about ordinary mortals.) I wouldn’t want to have a villain for a pal. But I sure like the freedom fiction gives me to get to know a few.

Ellen's book list on characters you do not want for friends

Ellen Pall Why did Ellen love this book?

Getting a reader engaged with an unlikeable protagonist is a challenge to any novelist.

Moshfegh succeeds brilliantly here. Eileen is as unlikeable as they come, an angry, friendless young woman who hates herself and everyone else. She works in a reprehensible, small-town prison for juvenile offenders and shares a squalid house with her nasty father.

Suddenly, though, a lovely young woman joins the prison staff. To Eileen’s amazement, she befriends her. Within days, she also involves her in a violent crime. Does this sound grim? Repellant? It’s not.

Granted, Eileen isn’t a book to be read over lunch. But the protagonist is like no woman I’ve ever met in fiction (or, thankfully, anywhere else). Her voice is fresh, her anger invigorating, and the book gripping from top to tail.

By Ottessa Moshfegh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize and chosen by David Sedaris as his recommended book for his Fall 2016 tour.

So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was twenty-four years old then, and had a job that paid fifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes-a prison for boys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terrible landlord I had years later, and so to…

Book cover of Rebecca

Katherine Nichols Author Of The Unreliables: When The Only One You Can Trust Doesn't Exist

From my list on books with gaslighting and manipulation.

Who am I?

Growing up in the South as the daughter of a single mother, I’ve always appreciated strong women, in reality and in fiction. Before I could read, I made up stories featuring me as the super heroine. Later, I devoured all the Nancy Drews I could get my hands on. I credit Ms. Drew for nurturing my fascination with mystery. I especially enjoy suspense with a psychological turn that frequently takes the form of gaslighting or manipulating someone into doubting their perception of reality. As an author of Southern suspense with heart and humor, my female characters fall victim to this device but are strong enough to persevere.  

Katherine's book list on books with gaslighting and manipulation

Katherine Nichols Why did Katherine love this book?

You can’t have a discussion about gaslighting without including this book. 

From the first time the unnamed protagonist speaks, I felt a sense of dread as if I were trapped in Manderley with Rebecca. I suspected all wasn’t what it seemed to be, but the author made it difficult for me to recognize the truth behind the haunting fiction.

I was captivated from the beginning to the shocking but satisfying ending.

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* 'The greatest psychological thriller of all time' ERIN KELLY
* 'One of the most influential novels of the twentieth century' SARAH WATERS
* 'It's the book every writer wishes they'd written' CLARE MACKINTOSH

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .'

Working as a lady's companion, our heroine's outlook is bleak until, on a trip to the south of France, she meets a handsome widower whose proposal takes her by surprise. She accepts but, whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory…

Book cover of Lolita

Charles Salzberg Author Of Man on the Run

From my list on reads for valuable lessons as a crime writer.

Who am I?

I was an English major in college and my dream was to write the Great American Novel. My literary heroes were writers like Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, Jean Rhys, Margaret Drabble, Truman Capote, and Norman Mailer. They “taught” me how to write. About a dozen years ago, I concentrated on writing crime novels, like Swann’s Last Song and Second Story Man, both of which were nominated for Shamus Awards (Second Story Man won the Beverly Hills Book Award.) I'm a magazine journalist and write nonfiction books, screenplays, plays, and book reviews. I teach writing here in New York City, and I’m on the Board of PrisonWrites and the New York Writers Workshop.

Charles' book list on reads for valuable lessons as a crime writer

Charles Salzberg Why did Charles love this book?

Lolita isn’t usually thought of as a crime novel but it is.

Thirty-seven-year-old Humbert Humbert stalks 12-year-old Lolita, then breaks all kinds of laws, moral, ethical, and legal, as he transports her across state lines.

The first time I read Lolita, I was dazzled by Nabokov’s stunning use of language—and remember, English was not his native tongue—word-play, and his ability to create full-blooded characters that leap off the page.

Nabokov pulls off this morally compromised tale with wit and humor, while dealing with the serious topic of pedophilia.

Reading Lolita gave me license to create morally challenged characters like Francis Hoyt, one of the protagonists in my novels.

Nabokov proved you don’t have to like, admire, or even feel a kinship with a character, so long as that character is interesting and compelling enough that readers are fascinated about him or her without being turned off.

By Vladimir Nabokov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of my tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.'

Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, frustrated college professor. In love with his landlady's twelve-year-old daughter Lolita, he'll do anything to possess her. Unable and unwilling to stop himself, he is prepared to commit any crime to get what he wants.

Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? Or is he all…

Book cover of Stories of Your Life and Others

Ai Jiang Author Of I Am AI

From my list on reads for a glimpse at humanity.

Who am I?

I grew up on a diet of dystopian fiction, and when I first began taking craft more seriously and diving into short stories, that was the genre I found myself writing most. I suppose what draws me to the genre is how dystopian fiction has the ability to illuminate society’s faults and injustices and humanity as a whole, the bleak futures that it could create if certain ideologies were allowed to persist, the way individual behaviours and actions can well shape the future and dictate whether it becomes one filled with hope or one that falls into disaster. 

Ai's book list on reads for a glimpse at humanity

Ai Jiang Why did Ai love this book?

What fascinates me most about this novella is its ability to capture such depth and fullness in such a short length.

This book explores the concept of time and language, and how the way humans perceive time vastly differs from the alien species, and the way language ultimately affects time perception and decision-making as well.

By Ted Chiang,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Stories of Your Life and Others as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A science fiction genius . . . Ted Chiang is a superstar.' - Guardian

With Stories of Your Life and Others, his masterful first collection, multiple-award-winning author Ted Chiang deftly blends human emotion and scientific rationalism in eight remarkably diverse stories, all told in his trademark precise and evocative prose.

From a soaring Babylonian tower that connects a flat Earth with the firmament above, to a world where angelic visitations are a wondrous and terrifying part of everyday life; from a neural modification that eliminates the appeal of physical beauty, to an alien language that challenges our very perception of…

Book cover of Sense and Sensibility

Kate Brody Author Of Rabbit Hole

From my list on books that capture the love/hate relationship of sisters.

Who am I?

Rabbit Hole is about Teddy’s obsession with her sister Angie’s cold-case disappearance. When Angie was alive, she was angry and difficult, but Teddy still misses her. While writing the book, I thought a lot about my relationships with my own sisters and how unique that particular bond is. I love books that capture the at-times-uncomfortable closeness of sisterhood and grapple with its power.

Kate's book list on books that capture the love/hate relationship of sisters

Kate Brody Why did Kate love this book?

Austen writes sisters like no one else, and the dynamic between tempestuous Marianne and practical Elinor is the template for so many novels that have followed.

Austen keeps the two sisters from becoming caricatures by making them more alike than different, and the love that anchors their relationship is at the heart of the novel.

I first read this as a freshman in college, and I still think about it every time I’m writing sisters. A classic.

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Sense and Sensibility as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste' Virginia Woolf

Jane Austen's subtle and witty novel of secrets and suppression, lies and seduction, brilliantly portrays a world where rigid social convention clashes with the impulses of the heart. It tells the story of two very different sisters who find themselves thrown into an unkind world when their father dies. Marianne, wild and impulsive, falls dangerously in love, while Elinor suffers her own private heartbreak but conceals her true feelings, even from those closest to her.

Edited with an Introduction by ROS BALLASTER

5 book lists we think you will like!

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