100 books like Nine Stories

By J.D. Salinger,

Here are 100 books that Nine Stories fans have personally recommended if you like Nine Stories. 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 Things They Carried

Ellen Birkett Morris Author Of Beware the Tall Grass

From my list on a well-rounded look at Americans touched by the Vietnam War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the Vietnam War because my male relatives served and came back changed by the experience. I spent ten years as the editor of The Patton Saber, writing articles about the experience of World War II soldiers, but when I came across an idea for a novel about past life memories, I decided to focus on memories of the Vietnam War. What I love about this list is that it reflects many facets of the war, including soldiers, nurses, veterans, and the family members touched by those affected by war.

Ellen's book list on a well-rounded look at Americans touched by the Vietnam War

Ellen Birkett Morris Why did Ellen love this book?

O’Brien’s depiction of American soldiers in Vietnam was vivid and moving. It gave me a deeper understanding of the soldier’s experience. His artful use of the metaphor of what they carried revealed not only the items on hand but also the psychological baggage each soldier dealt with.

The stories were haunting and made me a full witness to the complexity of war and the many ways it is experienced. It is artfully written, moving, complex, touching and unforgettable.

By Tim O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Things They Carried as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The million-copy bestseller, which is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

'The Things They Carried' is, on its surface, a sequence of award-winning stories about the madness of the Vietnam War; at the same time it has the cumulative power and unity of a novel, with recurring characters and interwoven strands of plot and theme.

But while Vietnam is central to 'The Things They Carried', it is not simply a book about war. It is also a book about the human heart - about the terrible weight of those things we carry through…


Book cover of Beloved

Donna Hemans Author Of The House of Plain Truth

From my list on haunting: how the past lingers with us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a culture that both fears and embraces spirits or outrightly rejects the idea that spirits live on beyond death. I grew up on stories of rolling calves and duppies that caused havoc among the living. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by what haunts us—whether it be our familial spirits that float among the living and continue to play a role in our lives, our memories, or our past actions. I’ve written three books that play with this idea of past actions lingering long into the characters’ lives and returning in unexpected ways.  

Donna's book list on haunting: how the past lingers with us

Donna Hemans Why did Donna love this book?

This book is a longtime favorite of mine. Toni Morrison was a master at blending the personal story and the political, and in this book, she blends the true story of a mother who kills her child to prevent slave catchers from returning the baby to life as a slave.

Morrison’s fictional Sethe is haunted by the ghost of the baby she killed and the memories of her difficult life as a slave. This is one of the novels I return to time after time, both for the beauty of the writing and the portrayal of a mother’s love, guilt, and the lingering impact of slavery.

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Toni Morrison was a giant of her times and ours... Beloved is a heart-breaking testimony to the ongoing ravages of slavery, and should be read by all' Margaret Atwood, New York Times

Discover this beautiful gift edition of Toni Morrison's prize-winning contemporary classic Beloved

It is the mid-1800s and as slavery looks to be coming to an end, Sethe is haunted by the violent trauma it wrought on her former enslaved life at Sweet Home, Kentucky. Her dead baby daughter, whose tombstone bears the single word, Beloved, returns as a spectre to punish her mother, but also to elicit her…


Book cover of Anna Karenina

Judith Lindbergh Author Of Akmaral

From my list on historical fiction with eponymous titles.

Why am I passionate about this?

When we authors name our characters, we gift them with meaning—a single word that somehow encompasses everything they will experience on the page. The name of my heroine, Akmaral, hails from Kazakhstan and means “white deer.” It resounds with the sound of hooves on the ancient Central Asian steppes and the deep connection to the natural world of the nomadic people who once lived there. Names bear unconscious expectations—hopes for strength and wisdom, dreams of triumph, beauty, and love. I hope that someday, hearing “Akmaral” will bring to mind vast, windswept steppes and a strong woman on horseback, head held high, contemplating her journey from warrior to leader.

Judith's book list on historical fiction with eponymous titles

Judith Lindbergh Why did Judith love this book?

Well, perhaps her name isn’t unfamiliar anymore, and it wasn’t historical fiction when it was written. But this luscious, complex, and moving classic is about more than the titular Anna and her ill-fated romance. For me, the best parts were about Levin and his longing for a simpler life.

Maybe I’m projecting, but when compared with Moscow society's social climbing and deep disillusionment, it’s hard not to want to turn away and opt for an admittedly idealized simple life working the soil. Yes, I know it’s long, but it’s well worth reading—or rereading!

By Leo Tolstoy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1872 the mistress of a neighbouring landowner threw herself under a train at a station near Tolstoy's home. This gave Tolstoy the starting point he needed for composing what many believe to be the greatest novel ever written.

In writing Anna Karenina he moved away from the vast historical sweep of War and Peace to tell, with extraordinary understanding, the story of an aristocratic woman who brings ruin on herself. Anna's tragedy is interwoven with not only the courtship and marriage of Kitty and Levin but also the lives of many other characters. Rich in incident, powerful in characterization,…


Book cover of The Great Gatsby

David Nicholson Author Of The Garretts of Columbia: A Black South Carolina Family from Slavery to the Dawn of Integration

From my list on race in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though I was born in the U.S., I didn’t wind up living here full-time till I was almost 10. The result? I have always been curious about what it means to be an American. In one way or another, the books on my list explore that question. More than that, all (well, nearly all) insist that black history is inextricably intertwined with American history and that American culture is a mulatto culture, a fusion of black and white. After years of making my living as a journalist, editor, and book reviewer, I left newspapers to write fiction and non-fiction, exploring these and other questions.

David's book list on race in America

David Nicholson Why did David love this book?

Was the hero of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic African-American?

A couple of academics have advanced that theory. I’m not sure I buy it. The notion (and supporting “evidence”) seems little more than a literary parlor game, not to mention the fact that nothing in Fitzgerald’s work or his letters shows a particular engagement with, or sympathy for, black Americans.

Still, it’s an interesting metaphor and the reason this seminal American novel appears in a list of what’s otherwise non-fiction. Gatsby’s yearning for his lost love could be an African-American yearning for a beloved country that does not always love them in return.

I first read this book in high school. It wasn’t until my second, third, and fourth re-reading that I began to appreciate Fitzgerald’s gift for story-telling and his evocative, poignant language. And to identify with Gatsby, the outsider craving to become an insider.

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Great Gatsby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the summer unfolds, Nick is drawn into Gatsby's world of luxury cars, speedboats and extravagant parties. But the more he hears about Gatsby - even from what Gatsby himself tells him - the less he seems to believe. Did he really go to Oxford University? Was Gatsby a hero in the war? Did he once kill a man? Nick recalls how he comes to know Gatsby and how he also enters the world of his cousin Daisy and her wealthy husband Tom. Does their money make them any happier? Do the stories all connect? Shall we come to know…


Book cover of The Scarlet Letter

Brandon Swarrow Author Of The Thrillplex Theater

From my list on with intelligent, demented characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

The human mind is crazy. Stories that can stir me psychologically and leave a lasting mark morally are my favorite. When I was about 11 years old, I peeped through two pillows at Stanley Kubrick’s masterful production of Stephen King’s It. Since then, psychological thrillers and horror stories have been molding my warped mind. Administration at Trinity High School in Washington, Pennsylvania trusts me enough to teach Dark Fiction like Edgar Allen Poe, or the aforementioned Stephen King on a daily basis.  

Brandon's book list on with intelligent, demented characters

Brandon Swarrow Why did Brandon love this book?

The Scarlet Letter is dripping with diction. Nathaniel Hawthorne chooses his words so carefully during certain descriptions that my language-loving self feels jealous about his precision. This classic explores sin, as well as the dark side of the soul. A vengeful old scholar is an unusual villain, but Roger Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter is so smart and evil. 

By Nathaniel Hawthorne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An "A" for "adultery" marks Hester Prynne as an outcast from the society of colonial Boston. Although forced by the puritanical town fathers to wear a bright red badge of shame, Hester steadfastly resists their efforts to discover the identity of her baby's father. The return of her long-absent spouse brings new pressure on the young mother, as the aggrieved husband undertakes a long-term plot to reveal Hester's partner in adultery and force him to share her disgrace.
Masterful in its symbolism and compelling in its character studies, Nathaniel Hawthorne's tale of punishment and reconciliation examines the concepts of sin,…


Book cover of Haunted

Jason McGathey Author Of The Doom Statues

From my list on horror featuring a cursed location.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a lifelong horror reader, really since first stumbling onto Stephen King in the 9th grade. There’s something about that genre that has held a particular fascination for me through the years, probably because the best works are some combination of suspenseful, well-written, and cathartic, as they really get your mind racing as to what you might do yourself in a given situation. If you’re lucky, they might even have something to say about the human condition as a whole. But given this prolonged interest and exposure to horror, it’s only natural I would eventually progress to giving it a stab myself.

Jason's book list on horror featuring a cursed location

Jason McGathey Why did Jason love this book?

This is a unique entry in that the cursed place is a framing device, for this collection of mostly disturbing tales. For his first-ever collection of short stories, Palahniuk brings his wretched cast of characters to a haunted house, where each in turn offers his or her own demented tale. They don’t all work, but a number of the stories really stick with you, and this spooky old house at the center of it ratchets the intensity up another level—it’s not a static situation they are in, there, so the plot progresses to its own warped conclusion on this front as well. 

By Chuck Palahniuk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Haunted" is a novel made up of stories: twenty-three of them to be precise. Twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you'll ever encounter - sometimes all at once. They are told by the people who have all answered the ad headlined 'Artists Retreat: Abandon your life for three months'. They are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of 'real life' that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them. But 'here' turns out to be a cavernous and ornate old theatre where they are utterly isolated from the…


Book cover of Sharp Objects

Alex Dolan Author Of The Euthanist

From my list on female protagonists who you hate to root for.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m obsessed with the exploration of what it means to be a human being. We’re coming into an era where we see more characters who aren’t good or evil but both—they possess the potential to save someone from jumping off a bridge one day and beating someone the next. We’re all capable of the greatest acts of kindness and the most abominable atrocities imaginable. I believe we need to be reminded of that fact so that when there comes a time when we can decide whether to hurt or to help someone, we become the better version of ourselves and make the right decision.

Alex's book list on female protagonists who you hate to root for

Alex Dolan Why did Alex love this book?

I’ll always read Gillian Flynn, for the simple reason that her writing style is the closest thing to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood written by a modern writer. She’s just that good.

This book is my favorite because of how it explores taboo topics (see the theme here?) and because she creates richly complex characters that showcase the range of what people are capable of—the greatest kindness and the darkest cruelty.

By Gillian Flynn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW AN HBO® LIMITED SERIES STARRING AMY ADAMS, NOMINATED FOR EIGHT EMMY AWARDS, INCLUDING OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds…


Book cover of The House of the Spirits

Kevin Chen Author Of Ghost Town

From my list on family saga books that unravel dark secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have 7 sisters and 1 brother. I was the 9th child in my family. To get a son who would carry on the family heritage, my parents tried 7 times without any success. After 7 unwanted daughters, my brother finally arrived. Then they had me as the second boy in the family. The plot twist was: I am gay. I turned out to be the 8th unwanted daughter because of my sexuality. Coming from this small-town big family full of superstitions and secrets, I am naturally drawn to dramatic family stories with many dark and psychological twists.

Kevin's book list on family saga books that unravel dark secrets

Kevin Chen Why did Kevin love this book?

This novel is a graphic and passionate family saga. I came from a big family and could totally relate to the story of many generations.

I read it in one math class in high school and got punished by the teacher. I clearly remember the teacher’s distorted face when he threw my book out of the window. “Could this crap be more important than math?” I said YES. Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand yeses.

He failed me, which was fine. Allende’s magical realism allowed me to aspire to become a novelist. I did become a writer, and I would still say YES to my math teacher.

By Isabel Allende,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The House of the Spirits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Spectacular...An absorbing and distinguished work...The House of the Spirits with its all-informing, generous, and humane sensibility, is a unique achievement, both personal witness and possible allegory of the past, present, and future of Latin America.” —The New York Times Book Review

Our Shared Shelf, Emma Watson Goodreads Book Club Pick November/December 2020!

The House of the Spirits, the unforgettable first novel that established Isabel Allende as one of the world’s most gifted storytellers, brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political…


Book cover of The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

Christopher Lyke Author Of The Chicago East India Company

From my list on being changed by war.

Why am I passionate about this?

It’s kind of depressing that I’m so fascinated with these big “God and death and war” themes that are always banging around in my head. I think it’s because I like the gravity of even the smallest decisions in heightened crisis situations. It makes things so prominent and visceral. This gravity also makes the beauty in these moments of crisis more beautiful and love that much stronger. Ultimately, I’ve spent the last thirteen years trying to square with my time overseas and chase some version of that heightened meaning in civilian life. The contrast between being a school teacher and soldier really makes all of that clear. 

Christopher's book list on being changed by war

Christopher Lyke Why did Christopher love this book?

For my money, Hemingway is the greatest American short story writer. He is spare and direct until he isn’t. The meter and clipped phrasing and short sentences set up bigger, longer runs that are beautiful and often explain what it’s like to be a human being without being obvious or careless. They never feel false and are edited down to the bone. That’s probably what I learned most from Hemingway, the editing. Just picking a story, “On the Quai at Smyrna,” has such a staccato matter-of-factness that belies just how awful the situation there on the pier must have been. The narrator is hardened and recounts the events so matter-of-factly that you know they’ll come back later, once he is home and has time to reflect on them.  

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The complete, authoritative collection of Ernest Hemingway's short fiction, including classic stories like "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," along with seven previously unpublished stories.

In this definitive collection of the Nobel Prize-winning author’s short stories, readers will delight in Hemingway’s most beloved classics such as "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," "Hills Like White Elephants," and "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," and will discover seven new tales published for the first time in this collection, totaling in sixty stories. This collection demonstrates Hemingway’s ability to write beautiful prose for each distinct story,…


Book cover of Shooting An Elephant

Christopher Lyke Author Of The Chicago East India Company

From my list on being changed by war.

Why am I passionate about this?

It’s kind of depressing that I’m so fascinated with these big “God and death and war” themes that are always banging around in my head. I think it’s because I like the gravity of even the smallest decisions in heightened crisis situations. It makes things so prominent and visceral. This gravity also makes the beauty in these moments of crisis more beautiful and love that much stronger. Ultimately, I’ve spent the last thirteen years trying to square with my time overseas and chase some version of that heightened meaning in civilian life. The contrast between being a school teacher and soldier really makes all of that clear. 

Christopher's book list on being changed by war

Christopher Lyke Why did Christopher love this book?

Orwell captures the dilemma of empire so well that every time I read it, my nerves get raw. It’s a trap. Everyone is dehumanized, the oppressors and the oppressed. The sneering townspeople, the trips on the football pitch, the clear-sighted way the crowd intuits the relationship between themselves and the young policeman all ring true. The villagers can control him because they understand the expectations he has as an official of the crown. They use his strength against him to get what they want. He doesn’t want to kill the elephant, but it’s expected of him, so he gruesomely shoots into the elephant's mouth till, like the British empire, it finally dies. The villagers pillage the carcass for meat. For Orwell, empire itself is brutal suicide. 

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Shooting an Elephant' is Orwell's searing and painfully honest account of his experience as a police officer in imperial Burma; killing an escaped elephant in front of a crowd 'solely to avoid looking a fool'. The other masterly essays in this collection include classics such as 'My Country Right or Left', 'How the Poor Die' and 'Such, Such were the Joys', his memoir of the horrors of public school, as well as discussions of Shakespeare, sleeping rough, boys' weeklies and a spirited defence of English cooking. Opinionated, uncompromising, provocative and hugely entertaining, all show Orwell's unique ability to get to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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