100 books like Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Here are 100 books that Never Let Me Go fans have personally recommended if you like Never Let Me Go. 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

Who am I?

My life and work have been profoundly affected by the central circumstance of my existence: I was born into a very large military Catholic family in the United States of America. As a child surrounded by many others in the 60s, I wrote, performed, and directed family plays with my numerous brothers and sisters. Although I fell in love with a Canadian and moved to Canada, my family of origin still exerts considerable personal influence. My central struggle, coming from that place of chaos, order, and conformity, is to have the courage to live an authentic life based on my own experience of connectedness and individuality, to speak and be heard. 

Caitlin's book list on coming-of-age books that explore belonging, identity, family, and beat with an emotional and/or humorous pulse

Caitlin Hicks Why did Caitlin love this book?

The fact that this book is a memoir makes it more amazing than a work of fiction.

The writer, Jeannette Walls, has so much more at stake in this story because it’s about her family, her childhood, and her parents. Her life. I raced through the book, from the first page, with my mouth open in almost disbelief because the level of neglect that Jeannette’s parents floated around in was astounding.

The story of childhood should not be so suspenseful, but Jeannette tells her realities so casually; her experience was truly like a frog in a pot of warming water, so familiar to the narrator as to be almost unremarkable but so dangerous. The appalling nature of the stories and fables told to her by her parents, in relief, made me question my own family narrative. And then there’s the question of the choices her parents deliberately made.


By Jeannette Walls,

Why should I read it?

20 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 Life After Life

Tessa Harris Author Of The Paris Notebook

From my list on WW2 novels featuring loners we love.

Who am I?

I’ve been a journalist for much of my life and have been passionate about history since I was a child. Ever since I visited a castle at age five, I’ve loved imagining the past and naturally ended up doing a History degree at Oxford. I love fact-based stories and am always meticulous in my research so that I can bring my readers with me on a journey of discovery. But what always brings history to life for me is focusing on the characters, real or imagined, who’ve made history themselves.

Tessa's book list on WW2 novels featuring loners we love

Tessa Harris Why did Tessa love this book?

Kate Atkinson is one of my favourite authors, with a voice that really resonates with me.

This is a ‘what if’ novel that really sets you thinking. It’s witty and stylish, and yet it also tugs at your heartstrings. A roller-coaster ride that had me on the edge of my seat.

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…

Book cover of The Road

C.L. Lauder Author Of The Quelling

From my list on dystopian novels to make you cling to your duvet and worship your walls.

Who am I?

I am a young adult fantasy author and paranoid survivalist. I have spent years curating items for my end-of-days go-bag, and nothing gives me greater pleasure than hanging out in universes that are about to go bang! 

C.L.'s book list on dystopian novels to make you cling to your duvet and worship your walls

C.L. Lauder Why did C.L. love this book?

This father and son duo set up residence in my heart.

I recall some scenes with such clarity that I still see them that way, even after subsequently watching the movie. Imagine having the sum of your possessions piled up in a shopping cart, and you’re on the road, excruciatingly aware that at any point, everything you have could be taken from you, including your loved ones.

If that thought doesn’t inspire a bout of enthusiastic wall-worshipping, then maybe you should read the book.  

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked The Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…

The Fornax Assassin

By J.C. Gemmell,

Book cover of The Fornax Assassin

J.C. Gemmell Author Of The Fornax Assassin

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Inclusive What-if worrier Eco-warrior Mountain trekker Ten-mile runner

J.C.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

In 2038 a devastating pandemic sweeps across the world. Two decades later, Britain remains the epicenter for the Fornax variant, annexed by a terrified global community.

David Malik is as careful as any man to avoid contact with the virus. But when his sister tests positive as an asymptomatic carrier, she must relocate to Fornax Island to join the isolated population of contagious untreatables. Fortunately, the British prime minister’s latest manifesto includes reintegrating the islanders with the nation. Yet, he does not survive a visit to Fornax Island to unveil his new policies.

The military suspects one of its junior officers is responsible for his death. Malik seizes his chance to represent the possible assassin, allowing him to protect his sister. Yet within days of taking on the case, he finds himself accused of masterminding the assassination. 

The Fornax Assassin

By J.C. Gemmell,

What is this book about?

2038: a devastating pandemic sweeps across the world. Two decades later, Britain remains the epicentre for the fornax variant, annexed by a terrified global community.

David Malik is as careful as any man to avoid contact with the virus. But when his sister tests positive as an asymptomatic carrier, she must relocate to Fornax Island to join the isolated population of contagious-untreatables.

Fortunately, the British prime minister’s latest manifesto includes reintegrating the islanders with the nation. Yet, he does not survive a visit to Fornax Island to unveil his new policies.

The military suspects one of its junior officers is…

Book cover of A Clockwork Orange

AK Nevermore Author Of Grimdarke

From my list on motorcycles, shifters, and mayhem, oh my!.

Who am I?

I’m a huge fan of paranormal and dark romance, and these books definitely check all my boxes. Great world-building, plots that engage, and in most cases, a heavy dollop of smut. They also explore the unexpected and take into account real-world concerns in a fashion where you can absolutely justify the decisions the main characters are making.

AK's book list on motorcycles, shifters, and mayhem, oh my!

AK Nevermore Why did AK love this book?

This book is probably the quintessential book of mayhem, in my opinion.

Yep, it’s super dated, and the dialect can be difficult to get into, but I thought it was worth it, especially if you read the European version, which has an additional chapter the US publisher cut out. Abruptly it goes from a novel of unrepentant chaos to one of redemption.

By Anthony Burgess,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Clockwork Orange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Anthony Burgess's influential nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, a teen who talks in a fantastically inventive slang that evocatively renders his and his friends' intense reaction against their society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess's introduction, "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

Rae Giana Rashad Author Of The Blueprint

From my list on reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy.

Who am I?

I’m drawn to stories of women whose journeys shed light on human nature. These women are often found in cautionary tales within dystopian and historical fiction. Their stories not only remind us of the past but also hint at possibilities—different versions of the future. To capture this truth, I wrote a novel that delicately blends the past with the near future.

Rae's book list on reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy

Rae Giana Rashad Why did Rae love this book?

Since reading this story in high school, I’ve revisited it dozens of times. It never loses its impact.

This classic dystopian novel envisions a society where women are subjugated and treated as property, primarily for reproduction. It's a powerful exploration of women's loss of agency in a patriarchal regime.

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Handmaid's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Go back to where it all began with the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it' Guardian

I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford -…

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 A Christmas Carol

Andi Brooks Author Of Ghost Stories For Christmas Volume One

From my list on ghostly Christmas stories.

Who am I?

I am an Anglo Irish writer who is as filled with a wide-eyed wonder of the magic of Christmas in my middle age as I was as a small child. Alongside my lifelong love of Christmas and its traditions, I have enjoyed an equally long love of ghost stories. Combining these two passions, I am the editor of the Ghost Stories For Christmas anthologies of classic Christmas ghost stories, the first of which was published in 2022. I am also the writer of Ghostly Tales of Japan, a collection of original stories set throughout Japanese history.

Andi's book list on ghostly Christmas stories

Andi Brooks Why did Andi love this book?

Out of all of the books I have read, I have read A Christmas Carol more times than any other. An instant phenomenon when it was first published in 1843, it has never been out of print. It is the embodiment of not just a Christmas ghost story, but of a story that encapsulates the very essence of the spirit of Christmas in the popular imagination in a way that no other story ever has. Although I had always loved watching the 1951 classic film Scrooge with the wonderful Alastar Sim in the title role, I didn’t read the book until I was in my teens, when I came across a lovely copy of a 1950 edition in a charity shop. Since then, I have read, and shed a tear over, A Christmas Carol every Christmas – I won't embarrass myself by revealing exactly how many times that is, but…

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked A Christmas Carol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Tom Baker reads Charles Dickens' timeless seasonal story.

Charles Dickens' story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by the three ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, has become one of the timeless classics of English literature. First published in 1843, it introduces us not only to Scrooge himself, but also to the memorable characters of underpaid desk clerk Bob Cratchit and his poor family, the poorest amongst whom is the ailing and crippled Tiny Tim.

In this captivating recording, Tom Baker delivers a tour-de-force performance as he narrates the story. The listener…

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 1984

Dan Savery Raz Author Of The Qwerty Man

From my list on dystopian books that could actually happen.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer and drawn to books that look through a window into the "other world." These novels, often dubbed dystopian, are reflections or exaggerations of our own world, and this always appealed to me. Like the question, "What if?”. The premise of “What if we lived in a world where you had to pay for words?” inspired my first novel, The Qwerty Man. Although I love fiction, I’m more of a nonfiction reader these days and interested in Buddhism (as an education, not religion), geography, and history. I’ve also written travel guidebooks for Lonely Planet and a children’s travel poetry book called Rhyme Travels.

Dan's book list on dystopian books that could actually happen

Dan Savery Raz Why did Dan love this book?

Ok, so I’m probably not the first author to cite 1984 as a major influence, but I do recall reading this–the ultimate dystopian novel–while I was commuting to and from work on the London Underground (The Tube). And reading about Doublespeak and Big Brother seemed all too familiar to me as a young man living in London.

At the time, I recall saying to friends the book should have been called 2004, not 1984, because in 2004, there were more CCTV cameras in London than in any other city, the free newspapers were obsessed with the War on Terror, WMDs and the escapism of drunk celebs.

Basically I felt like I was living in Orwell’s 1984 while reading it, which made it a strange, often eye-opening account.   

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

41 authors picked 1984 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair. As he writes the words 'DOWN WITH BIG…

Book cover of Brave New World

Paul E. Hardisty Author Of The Forcing

From my list on dystopian worlds of our own making.

Who am I?

After half a lifetime working all over the world as an environmental scientist, I am now a full-time writer of fiction and non-fiction. I’ve studied the effects of oil industry waste in Yemen, monitored groundwater contaminated with radioactive tritium from bomb-making sites in Europe, and remediated oil pits in the South American jungle. I ran Australia’s national climate adaptation program and was CEO of Australia’s national marine science agency, which does much of the research on the Great Barrier Reef. And everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve seen how environmental destruction hurts people, societies, and, inevitably, our future. Each of my six novels and my non-fiction examines this issue in different ways.

Paul's book list on dystopian worlds of our own making

Paul E. Hardisty Why did Paul love this book?

The world Huxley describes in his 1932 novel is neither brave nor new. People are classified according to their intelligence, and fed into a system governed by a strict hierarchy. Sound familiar?

Not as bleak as some books set in dystopian worlds, but just as chilling for the brutish, sterile existence even the most favoured enjoy within the World State. Written as totalitarian movements were gaining strength around the world, this story of the struggle for individuality and the value of freedom is perhaps even more relevant today.

By Aldous Huxley,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Brave New World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**One of the BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World**

EVERYONE BELONGS TO EVERYONE ELSE. Read the dystopian classic that inspired the hit Sky TV series.

'A masterpiece of speculation... As vibrant, fresh, and somehow shocking as it was when I first read it' Margaret Atwood, bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale.

Welcome to New London. Everybody is happy here. Our perfect society achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family and history itself. Now everyone belongs.

You can be happy too. All you need to do is take your Soma pills.

Discover the brave new…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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