10 books like News of the World

By Paulette Jiles,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like News of the World. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Cold Mountain

By Charles Frazier,

Book cover of Cold Mountain

Frazier’s book, a serious novel rather than a potboiler, set during and after the American Civil War, nevertheless leaped onto the bestseller lists, then went on to win a National Book Award. Why? Reading the book is a profound experience. You are seamlessly taken back to the middle of the 19th century and engaged with characters whose poignant stories penetrate a reader’s heart. It’s both an adventure and a love story about a soldier on a fraught journey home and his lover’s story as she lives her own life close to the earth in a time before modern conveniences and distractions. The novel is a reminder that great fiction awakens our humanity because the author not only has great gifts and technique, but because he believes in the integrity of his own characters and embeds them in a world that matters. Made into an Oscar-winning film that is well…

Cold Mountain

By Charles Frazier,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Cold Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1997, Charles Frazier’s debut novel Cold Mountain made publishing history when it sailed to the top of The New York Times best-seller list for sixty-one weeks, won numerous literary awards, including the National Book Award, and went on to sell over three million copies. Now, the beloved American epic returns, reissued by Grove Press to coincide with the publication of Frazier’s eagerly-anticipated second novel, Thirteen Moons. Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, a Confederate soldier named Inman decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains to Ada, the woman he loves.…

The Kitchen House

By Kathleen Grissom,

Book cover of The Kitchen House

In this bestseller, Grissom offers an intricate view of little-known history. I am intrigued by stories that open a window onto aspects of life in history that, for one reason or another, are unfamiliar. Grissom’s story of an Irish indentured servant struggling to bridge the gap between race and class is just such a revelation. These issues remain timeless and powerful.

The Kitchen House

By Kathleen Grissom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of the highly anticipated Glory Over Everything, established herself as a remarkable new talent with The Kitchen House, now a contemporary classic. In this gripping novel, a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate at a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War.

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook,…

The Invention of Wings

By Sue Monk Kidd,

Book cover of The Invention of Wings

I think of this novel as a prequel of sorts to my own book, because it is inspired by the life of Sarah Grimke, another abolitionist and pioneer of women’s rights who, along with her sister Angelina, was an idol of Lucy Stone’s. The book opens on Sarah’s 11th birthday when she is gifted a slave, "Handful,” a gift she has no interest in keeping. Kidd makes the courageous choice to tell the story from both Handful’s and Sarah’s perspective, giving us very different views of pre-Civil War life in Charleston and what it takes to defy the rules in hopes of escape. At times harrowing and equally uplifting, this is a gorgeous and inspiring story.

The Invention of Wings

By Sue Monk Kidd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees and the forthcoming novel The Book of Longings, a novel about two unforgettable American women.

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

Hetty "Handful" Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke's daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something…


After Alice Fell

By Kim Taylor Blakemore,

Book cover of After Alice Fell

This riveting American Gothic novel, set in 1865, follows a widowed Civil War Army nurse home to New Hampshire after her bloody stint of tending the wounded and sick, only to find that her beloved, but unstable, sister is dead in a fall from the roof of the asylum. The cause is ruled a suicide, but she is not convinced and determines to find the truth at all costs. The period is synchronic with that of The Abolitionist’s Daughter and the depth of research fascinated me. Blakemore’s writing and extensive attention to sensual detail is exceptional. Since I have my own yet-to-be-titled historical mystery due for release in the Spring of 2022, I loved delving into this twisting page-turner with a woman of determination in an equivalent period of history.

After Alice Fell

By Kim Taylor Blakemore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Until she discovers the truth of her sister's death, no one will rest in peace.

New Hampshire, 1865. Marion Abbott is summoned to Brawders House asylum to collect the body of her sister, Alice. She'd been found dead after falling four stories from a steep-pitched roof. Officially: an accident. Confidentially: suicide. But Marion believes a third option: murder.

Returning to her family home to stay with her brother and his second wife, the recently widowed Marion is expected to quiet her feelings of guilt and grief-to let go of the dead and embrace the living. But that's not easy in…

True Grit

By Charles Portis,

Book cover of True Grit

I discovered True Grit in my twenties, three years after my father’s death. I’d been living on my own for a year and was recovering from depression. Life was forcing me to learn resourcefulness, and this book came to me at the right time. I remember reading it with delight, wishing I’d known about it before. Mattie Ross’ pragmatic voice as she describes her father’s murder and her quest to avenge his blood resonated with me, not because we are alike, but because I needed a lesson in toughness. But beyond all this, I needed a good laugh, and True Grit is funny. The characters are colourful, the story suspenseful, and Portis’ research is so thorough you’d swear his book was written in the 19th century. 

True Grit

By Charles Portis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There is no knowing what lies in a man's heart. On a trip to buy ponies, Frank Ross is killed by one of his own workers. Tom Chaney shoots him down in the street for a horse, $150 cash, and two Californian gold pieces. Ross's unusually mature and single-minded fourteen-year-old daughter Mattie travels to claim his body, and finds that the authorities are doing nothing to find Chaney. Then she hears of Rooster - a man, she's told, who has grit - and convinces him to join her in a quest into dark, dangerous Indian territory to hunt Chaney down…

Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry,

Book cover of Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and it is a well-deserved honor. In a genre where most authors pass off gamblers, outlaws, lawmen, gunfighters, and other characters as “cowboys” even though there is seldom a cow in sight, McMurtry’s characters in Lonesome Dove are the real thing. He captures the essence of the historic cattle-drive era in powerful prose, and Gus McRae and Woodrow Call are timeless characters who ride an unforgettable trail. 

Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize winning novel is a powerful, triumphant portrayal of the American West as it really was. From Texas to Montana, it follows cowboys on a grueling cattle drive through the wilderness.

It begins in the office of The Hat Creek Cattle Company of the Rio Grande.
It ends as a journey into the heart of every adventurer who ever lived . . .

More than a love story, more than an adventure, Lonesome Dove is an epic: a monumental novel which embraces the spirit of the last defiant wilderness of America.

Legend and fact, heroes and outlaws,…


Wolf Hall

By Hilary Mantel,

Book cover of Wolf Hall

The ultimate choice for me, even if it is an embellished biographical account of a real person (not my usual preference). It is an exploration of the life and times of a man of “humble birth”, who hasn’t exactly gone down as a glamourous hero and is often regarded as a villain, but who laid many of the foundation stones of modern Britain. It’s written in the third person but through the thoughts and perceptions (but never feelings) of Thomas Cromwell, and its style either fascinates or repels readers. In my case it fascinates, to the point that it was almost like learning to read all over again. A real book for adults. Exciting. 

Wolf Hall

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Wolf Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Man Booker Prize Shortlisted for the the Orange Prize Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award

`Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good' Daily Mail

'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with…


The Red Badge of Courage

By Stephen Crane,

Book cover of The Red Badge of Courage

A stone-cold classic in war writing, I studied this short novel at university and loved it. Crane never actually went to war and yet his depiction of men fighting in the American Civil War felt so real, that it gave me the confidence to write historical fiction, knowing I’d never experienced these things but my research and imagination could be brought to bear and hopefully transport the reader in the same way Crane did. It also began a lifelong obsession for me with the American Civil War. When I first started writing historical novels I knew I wanted to write about other combat arenas than the two C20th world wars, choosing the Boer War and The Seven Years’ War respectively. 

The Red Badge of Courage

By Stephen Crane,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Red Badge of Courage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is Stephen Crane's masterpiece, The Red Badge of Courage, together with four of his most famous short stories. Outstanding in their portrayal of violent emotion and quiet tension, these texts led the way for great American writers such as Ernest Hemingway.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

By Dee Brown,

Book cover of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a broad, well-researched tale of the indigenous people of the American West, chronicling the destruction of their way of life and their relocation to reservations amid the gradual encroachment of western civilization across the continental United States in the 19th Century. Describing the tribes and their leaders, Dee Brown captures the hardships and persecution of Native Americans, evoking an appreciation for their legacy and compassion for their plight. This book ignited my passion for painting the visual diversity and unique differences of various native nations.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

By Dee Brown,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The American West, 1860-1890: years of broken promises, disillusionment, war and massacre.

Beginning with the Long Walk of the Navajos and ending with the massacre of Sioux at Wounded Knee, this extraordinary book tells how the American Indians lost their land, lives and liberty to white settlers pushing westward. Woven into a an engrossing saga of cruelty, treachery and violence are the fascinating stories of such legendary figures as Sitting Bull, Cochise, Crazy Horse and Geronimo.

First published in 1970, Dee Brown's brutal and compelling narrative changed the way people thought about the original inhabitants of America, and focused attention…


In the Distance

By Hernan Diaz,

Book cover of In the Distance

Hernán Díaz’s first novel, In the Distance, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The book is gorgeously written and meticulously researched. The West’s huge, startling landscapes loom on every page. But the real genius here is the novel’s “reverse epic” structure—how Díaz takes a young Swedish immigrant who gets off his ship at the wrong port (San Francisco) and sends him traveling east, against the migrant tides, in search of his brother. The journey doesn’t go as planned. Håkan makes friends and stymies enemies. Stereotypes warp and tumble as Håkan (and the reader) are forever transformed. The descriptions of California gold fields, science expeditions, questing Mormons, and other frontier communities delight and confound. You’ll never cross a Western desert the same way again.

In the Distance

By Hernan Diaz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked In the Distance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young Swedish immigrant finds himself penniless and alone in California. The boy travels East in search of his brother, moving on foot against the great current of emigrants pushing West. Driven back again and again, he meets naturalists, criminals, religious fanatics, swindlers, Indians, and lawmen, and his exploits turn him into a legend. Diaz defies the conventions of historical fiction and genre, offering a probing look at the stereotypes that populate our past and a portrait of radical foreignness.

Hernan Diaz is the author of Borges, Between History and Eternity (Bloomsbury 2012), managing editor of RHM, and associate director…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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