100 books like Night Train

By A L Snijders, Lydia Davis (translator),

Here are 100 books that Night Train fans have personally recommended if you like Night Train. 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 Madame Bovary

Astrid Carlen-Helmer Author Of The Demon King’s Interpreter

From my list on capturing France's most epic love stories.

Who am I?

I am a French-American writer with a passion for young adult stories and flawed female characters. Born and raised in France in a household without a TV, I spent my entire childhood reading avidly, which in turn led me to study Literature and Film. In fact, most of my life, I have been inspired by novels that offer windows into new worlds that open up possibilities. Some of the novels from the list below feature some of my favorite characters, and provide insights into other worlds and other times. 

Astrid's book list on capturing France's most epic love stories

Astrid Carlen-Helmer Why did Astrid love this book?

Madame Bovary is the story of a woman who endlessly struggles to escape the banalities of her provincial life.

This novel makes you feel like you’re in the head of its main characters: first Charles Bovary, then Emma, his second wife and the novel’s eponymous hero. It is so realistic that upon its release, the author was taken to court for public offense against morality.

Still very modern, Emma’s drama is, to me, the discrepancy between illusions and reality. Her quest for happiness outside of her own condition and her inability to be satisfied with what she has are themes that, I believe, still resonate today.

By Gustave Flaubert, Geoffrey Wall (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A masterpiece' Julian Barnes

Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of a married woman's affair caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. Its heroine, Emma Bovary, is stifled by provincial life as the wife of a doctor. An ardent devourer of sentimental novels, she seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment, and when real life continues to fail to live up to her romantic expectations, the consequences are devastating. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for…


Book cover of Break It Down

Norman Lock Author Of American Follies

From my list on the mind at play.

Who am I?

I have written stage and radio plays, poetry, short story collections, and, beginning in 2013, novels that comprise The American Novels series, published by Bellevue Literary Press. Unlike historical fiction, these works reimagine the American past to account for faults that persist to the present day: the wish to dominate and annex, the will to succeed in every department of life regardless of cost, and the stain of injustice and intolerance. In order to escape the gravity of an authorial self, I address present dangers and follies through the lens of our nineteenth-century literature and in a narrative voice quite different from my own.

Norman's book list on the mind at play

Norman Lock Why did Norman love this book?

It’s time I was reading Lydia Davis’s own stories, I tell myself, which are said to be remarkable, and I find that they are just that. She is nothing new to readers of serious literary fiction, having been writing her curious short stories since the late seventies. Her constructions are precise and elegant. Although plainspoken, her language is stylized and restrained in its effects. She is very much in control of her fictional creations. In some instances, they seem like exercises in logic, however Kafkaesque. Unlike Snijders’ stories, hers are more formal in tone and presentation. They have a satisfying shape and a sense of an ending that is not arbitrary.

Davis’s theater is that of consciousness. Personages in her small dramas of “the mind working” are exceptionally alert, sometimes painfully so; often they have trouble falling asleep. Their dreams have the solidity of objects. Dither and nervousness characterize…

By Lydia Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Published to huge acclaim in the US, Lydia Davis? important debut collection of 34 stories seems to assure us that reality is ordered and reasonable. However, as the characters in the stories prove, misunderstanding and confusion are inherent in everyday life.


Book cover of A Frozen Woman

Norman Lock Author Of American Follies

From my list on the mind at play.

Who am I?

I have written stage and radio plays, poetry, short story collections, and, beginning in 2013, novels that comprise The American Novels series, published by Bellevue Literary Press. Unlike historical fiction, these works reimagine the American past to account for faults that persist to the present day: the wish to dominate and annex, the will to succeed in every department of life regardless of cost, and the stain of injustice and intolerance. In order to escape the gravity of an authorial self, I address present dangers and follies through the lens of our nineteenth-century literature and in a narrative voice quite different from my own.

Norman's book list on the mind at play

Norman Lock Why did Norman love this book?

Why does an intelligent young woman who is ambitious to occupy a place of her own in the world collaborate with men, in this instance, a husband, in constructing a life that is “perfectly organized unto death?” The story, you say, is a familiar one. What makes Ernaux’s different and painful to read is her narrator’s awareness of her gradual surrender (that of Ernaux herself) to patriarchal expectations, regardless of how strenuously she would deny them, delay their satisfaction, struggle to follow her passion (for teaching and writing), and, in ever-increasing panic, remind herself that even Virginia Woolf baked pies. By what deception does she come to accept that her existence is a purposeful one, knowing that it has been arranged by others?

This abnegation to the reductive role of womb and breast is all the stranger in this book (part novel, part memoir, part sociological study) because only in…

By Annie Ernaux, Linda Coverdale (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2022 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE

A Frozen Woman charts Ernaux's teenage awakening, and then the parallel progression of her desire to be desirable and her ambition to fulfill herself in her chosen profession - with the inevitable conflict between the two. And then she is thirty years old, a teacher married to an executive, mother of two infant sons. She looks after their nice apartment, raises her children. And yet, like millions of other women, she has felt her enthusiasm and curiosity, her strength and her happiness, slowly ebb under the weight of her daily routine. The…


Book cover of The Malady of Death

Norman Lock Author Of American Follies

From my list on the mind at play.

Who am I?

I have written stage and radio plays, poetry, short story collections, and, beginning in 2013, novels that comprise The American Novels series, published by Bellevue Literary Press. Unlike historical fiction, these works reimagine the American past to account for faults that persist to the present day: the wish to dominate and annex, the will to succeed in every department of life regardless of cost, and the stain of injustice and intolerance. In order to escape the gravity of an authorial self, I address present dangers and follies through the lens of our nineteenth-century literature and in a narrative voice quite different from my own.

Norman's book list on the mind at play

Norman Lock Why did Norman love this book?

I suspect that I was led to take The Malady of Death from my shelf by a subconscious directive. I admit that I am afraid of this book, its relentless probing, afraid I will never understand it however much I struggle. Confounded by it twenty-five years ago, I put it aside until my consciousness could mature. (Ha!) The fault must be mine, since her style, language, and structure are as limpid as Ernaux’s or Davis’s, although Duras’s prose carries a poetical charge deliberately absent in the other two writers. I begin to think that the trouble lies in my sex, that as a man, an Other to women, I can’t possibly know what Duras’s narrator is being made to gradually reveal not with the leer of a striptease artist but with the solemnity of a priestess presiding over ancient feminine mysteries.

Would feminists accuse me of being obtuse and,…

By Marguerite Duras, Barbara Bray (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A man hires a woman to spend several weeks with him by the sea. The woman is no one in particular, a "she," a warm, moist body with a beating heart-the enigma of Other. Skilled in the mechanics of sex, he desires through her to penetrate a different mystery: he wants to learn love. It isn't a matter of will, she tells him. Still, he wants to learn to try . . .This beautifully wrought erotic novel is an extended haiku on the meaning of love, "perhaps a sudden lapse in the logic of the universe," and of its absence,…


Book cover of Tulip Fever

Lynn Bushell Author Of Painted Ladies

From my list on artists and their muses.

Who am I?

As an art historian and painter, I was inevitably drawn to the theme of artists and their muses when I started writing historical fiction. Female, passive, disempowered, and doomed sums up the fate of most muses. History is littered with their corpses - Rossetti’s model Lizzie Siddal committed suicide, Rodin’s model Camille Claudel went mad, Edie Sedgwick, made famous by Warhol, died of an overdose. The title ‘muse’ might offer immortality, but their lives were often hell on earth.  My books set out to understand what drove these women, some of whom were artists in their own right, to make such huge sacrifices. 

Lynn's book list on artists and their muses

Lynn Bushell Why did Lynn love this book?

The muse occupies a slightly different role in Deborah Moggach's novel in that she spends a large part of the book supposedly already dead. Muses often exerted a posthumous influence on their artists, usually reflecting a legacy of guilt on the artist's part for his mistreatment or neglect. (Rossetti is a case in point. He had all his poems buried with his muse Lizzie Siddal, only to request permission to exhume them years later.) The painter, in this case, Jan van Loos, remains true, spending his life painting portraits of his muse Sophia and their love. Perhaps to be a muse, even a dead one, wasn't all bad.         

By Deborah Moggach,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A gorgeous novel' Mail on Sunday

From the bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel comes a thrilling story of power, lust and deception...

Seventeenth-century Amsterdam - a city in the grip of tulip fever.

Sophia's husband Cornelis is one of the lucky ones grown rich from this exotic new flower. To celebrate, he commissions a talented young artist to paint him with his beautiful bride. But as the portrait grows, so does the passion between Sophia and the painter; and ambitions, desires and dreams breed an intricate deception and a reckless gamble.

Now a major film starring Oscar…


Book cover of Solitary

Dana Christy Author Of A Heart's Salvation

From my list on romance that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Who am I?

A lover of suspense thrillers and all things horror, my first introduction to romance novels was during book club. I love a good Rom-Com but as a reader, I used to shy away from erotica or meet-cute alpha male novels. Now I devour romance novels but they need very specific things. Strong heroines and suspense...and yes, great love scenes. Sparking my passion for the romance-suspense mash-up, I took a personal story and turned it into a suspense-driven romance full of angst. With 2 published novels, I continue to read and write romance thrillers hoping to change the stigma of romance as ‘fluff’ and ‘smut’ and show the strength in love.

Dana's book list on romance that keeps you on the edge of your seat

Dana Christy Why did Dana love this book?

This is the first book I read by Melissa Copeland, and it fits perfectly on my checklist for suspense and strong ladies. Her writing keeps you on the edge of your seat, dying to find out who Paige, the heroine, can trust. The plot twists were on point, and the chemistry between Paige and Sean had me over the moon. The strength she writes through Paige resonated with me and made it easy for me to accept all her choices. I highly recommend this novel as an example of a woman's survival and ability to find love in hard places.

By Melissa Copeland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Everyone has an ex they regret. Mine just happens to be a notorious Dutch arms dealer. I've spent years running and hiding from David, but he's finally grown tired of tormenting me. Now he just wants me dead. With no more friends and family left alive, and no one out there I can trust, it's starting to look like my time has finally run out. Until I meet Noah, a persistent stranger with secrets of his own. My efforts to hide from David are failing. So when Noah offers his help, I'm not exactly in a position to decline. But…


Book cover of Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable Story of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Became Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assassins-And WWII Heroes

Robert Loewen Author Of The Lioness of Leiden

From my list on life under Nazi occupation.

Who am I?

I am Robert Loewen, the author of The Lioness of Leiden. Imagine that you were born between 1910 and 1925, and the war in Europe is raging. You're a university professor in Berlin who holds meetings at your home to resist the oppressive regime that has imprisoned prominent members of the opposition. Or maybe you are a Jewish man who plans to use your linguistic talent to succeed in a Czechoslovakian business venture, but you just received an order to report for transportation to a place called Auschwitz. Perhaps you are a Dutch university student who joins the resistance when the Third Reich invades your country.

Robert's book list on life under Nazi occupation

Robert Loewen Why did Robert love this book?

This is a history about three young women in the Netherlands who resisted the occupiers by murdering enemy soldiers.

The story told in Three Ordinary Girls about young women who assassinated German soldiers had already been told partially in the memoirs of the survivors.

The story of Hannie Schaft, the ring leader and a student at Amsterdam University at the outset of the war, is now part of the history told to students in Dutch schools.

But author Tim Brady does an admirable job of bringing new perspectives to these heroes by weaving a story that reads like a novel even though the facts are documented in his footnotes.

By Tim Brady,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“The book's teenage protagonists and their bravery will enthrall young adults, who may find themselves inspired to take up their own causes.” —Washington Post

An astonishing World War II story of a trio of fearless female resisters whose youth and innocence belied their extraordinary daring in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. It also made them the underground’s most invaluable commodity.

May 10, 1940. The Netherlands was swarming with Third Reich troops. In seven days it’s entirely occupied by Nazi Germany. Joining a small resistance cell in the Dutch city of Haarlem were three teenage girls: Hannie Schaft, and sisters Truus and Freddie…


Book cover of The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age

Geoffrey Parker Author Of Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century

From my list on the 17th Century.

Who am I?

I teach history at The Ohio State University. This project began when I listened in 1976 to a radio broadcast in which Jack Eddy, a solar physicist, speculated that a notable absence of sunspots in the period 1645-1715 contributed to the “Little Ice Age”: the longest and most severe episode of global cooling recorded in the last 12,000 years. The Little Ice Age coincided with a wave of wars and revolution around the Northern Hemisphere, from the overthrow of the Ming dynasty in China to the beheading of Charles I in England. I spent the next 35 years exploring how the connections between natural and human events created a fatal synergy that produced human mortality on a scale seldom seen before – and never since.

Geoffrey's book list on the 17th Century

Geoffrey Parker Why did Geoffrey love this book?

I first met Simon Schama in 1963, when he joined me as an undergraduate reading History at Christ’s College Cambridge. Both of us decided to undertake research on the Low Countries, but in an international context: in my case, Spain and the Netherlands between 1550 and 1650; in Simon’s case, France and the Netherlands between 1770 and 1815, leading to his brilliant first book, Patriots and Liberators (a study of what the expansion of Revolutionary France meant for an occupied country.) This led him to analyse the social and cultural history of the country before occupation, using visual as well as written sources to recreate the mental state of a complex society. The embarrassment of Riches tells of bloody uprisings and beached whales, of the cult of hygiene and the plague of tobacco, of thrifty housewives and profligate tulip-speculators. It shows how the Dutch celebrated themselves and how they were…

By Simon Schama,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the book that made Simon Schama's reputation when first published in 1987. A historical masterpiece, it is an epic account of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age of Rembrandt and van Diemen.

In this brilliant work that moves far beyond the conventions of social or cultural history, Simon Schama investigates the astonishing case of a people's self-invention.

He shows how, in the 17th-century, a modest assortment of farming, fishing and shipping communities, without a shared language, religion or government, transformed themselves into a formidable world empire - the Dutch republic.


Book cover of Miffy's Birthday

Xaviera Plooij Author Of The Wonder Weeks: A Stress-Free Guide to Your Baby's Behavior

From my list on children's books to stimulate development.

Who am I?

I am the co-author and CEO of The Wonder Weeks. I advise various global players in the field of babies and I'm a sought-after speaker at fairs and in daily exchange with mothers and fathers. With all this knowledge I know the needs of parents and their children like no other, with my books and apps I stand for power to the parents! 

Xaviera's book list on children's books to stimulate development

Xaviera Plooij Why did Xaviera love this book?

As a Dutch co-author, I highly recommend the books of Miffy, the very known rabbit in the Netherlands and worldwide, who shares his experiences in colourful, child friendly and short books. This copy is about celebrating birthdays. I love the good colorful illustrations and the imagination of Miffy. For children, this is the perfect combination, as a child loves birthdays, presents and especially from grandparents.

By Dick Bruna,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miffy's Birthday as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hip hip hooray! It's Miffy's birthday and her friends have all bought her lovely presents. Grandpa and Grandma Bunny give her a very special present.

Award-winning UK poet, Tony Mitton, has worked closely with Dick Bruna's Dutch publisher to create new translations for the classic Miffy stories that are true to the books' original voice, and yet have a contemporary feel to the language that makes them appealing to the modern young audience. The translations beautifully convey the warmth and friendliness of the original Dutch whilst maintaining a style that is inimitably Miffy.


Book cover of Against the Odds

Monique Polak Author Of Planet Grief

From my list on to read if you are are obsessed with death like me.

Who am I?

As far as I can remember, I have been obsessed with death! Maybe it’s because my mom, who died four years ago at the age of 86, was a Holocaust survivor. Anyway, what I’ve noticed is that all kids' stories deal with death. Think, for instance, of how Harry Potter is an orphan. Or how so many characters in fairy tales have a parent who is dead. I think dealing with death – talking about it openly --- helps us live our lives in a more meaningful way. For my own novel, Planet Grief, I did a ton of researcher and befriended an amazing grief counselor named Dawn Cruchet. You can look her up on the web and learn about her too. Dawn taught me that there is no one, correct way to grieve, that grief is a life-changing journey.

Monique's book list on to read if you are are obsessed with death like me

Monique Polak Why did Monique love this book?

One of my favourite books of all time! Not only because the author is Dutch (like me!!). The narrator Kiki is a worrier. She worries most of all about her dad who is a doctor who works in dangerous war zones. This book manages to be funny and sad and beautiful at the same time. Read it!

By Marjolijn Hof,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Against the Odds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

'It's about something called the odds,' said my mother. 'For instance, the odds that you'll become a millionaire are very, very small. The odds that you'll find a coin in the street are a lot bigger. And it's the same thing with fathers. The odds of having a father are big, and the odds of not having a father are small. So you don't have to worry too much about not having a father."Can you make the odds of something smaller?' I asked. 'Or bigger?' 'Yes,' my mother said. 'Sometimes.'Kiki's father, a doctor, is always putting himself in danger by…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Netherlands, owls, and modernism?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Netherlands, owls, and modernism.

The Netherlands Explore 75 books about the Netherlands
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Modernism Explore 26 books about modernism