100 books like Oh William!

By Elizabeth Strout,

Here are 100 books that Oh William! fans have personally recommended if you like Oh William!. 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 Friend

MJ Werthman White Author Of An Invitation to the Party

From my list on aging, family, and relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, our public library in the basement of the Methodist church became my second home. However, I considered any visit a bitter disappointment that didn’t result in one or two dog stories in the stack I signed out. Big Red, Old Yeller, Lassie, Lad a Dog, Call of the Wild, White Fang (the occasional wolf was also okay), I loved them all. That experience has continued to affect the adult I’ve become. As I’ve turned to reading, and writing, stories of family, relationships, and, lately, of aging, it’s become clear to me that I’ve never found a story that wasn’t improved by the appearance of a good dog.

MJ's book list on aging, family, and relationships

MJ Werthman White Why did MJ love this book?

In Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend a terrible event (a dear friend and mentor’s suicide) results in the unnamed narrator’s acceptance, out of a sense of responsibility, of an unwanted burden (the heartbroken Great Dane, Apollo−the narrator admitting she is more of a cat person).

I love that by book’s end, that obligation turns out to be a precious gift that assuages both their griefs, serving to connect them to the departed one they both loved. Along the way we, lucky readers, get to eavesdrop on the literary discourse of an agile mind attempting to parse the unparsable as the narrator, a writer herself, addresses both the lost (her mentor) and the found (the dog).

Does the dog die? Don’t ask and I won’t tell.

By Sigrid Nunez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog.

WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD * A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD

'A true delight: I genuinely fear I won't read a better novel this year' FINANCIAL TIMES

'Loved this. A funny, moving examination of love, grief, and the uniqueness of dogs' GRAHAM NORTON

'Delicious' SUNDAY TIMES 100 BEST SUMMER READS

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has…


Book cover of Through the Shadowlands: The Love Story of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman

Maggie Kast Author Of Side by Side but Never Face to Face: A Novella & Stories

From my list on finding or losing love in old age.

Why am I passionate about this?

Widowed at age fifty and now eighty-four, I know first hand the search for love in late life. I have three adult children and can't avoid bringing baggage to any new relationship, whether with humans or the cats I adore. Coming to writing seriously only after my husband’s death, I remain fascinated by questions of craft, how the story is told (as my recommendations show), and I’ve published several essays on aspects of that subject. My first career in dance, my conversion to Catholicism, and my psychoanalytic therapy have been major parts of my life and play significant roles in my memoir, my novel, and my more recent novella and stories.

Maggie's book list on finding or losing love in old age

Maggie Kast Why did Maggie love this book?

As a Catholic convert myself, I have long been interested in the spiritual journeys of these two, a middle-aged, conservative English professor and a young divorcee with two sons. Actually, two unlikely loves play out in this non-fiction biography: first young Lewis with Mrs. Moore, thirty years his senior (who may or may not have been his lover), and much later Joy, a Jewish convert to Christianity and former communist. Her death, just four years after their marriage, is mourned in Lewis’ own book, A Grief Observed, the only book I found comforting after my husband died. 

By Brian Sibley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At first glance, they were an unlikely couple: C. S. Lewis, a distinguished author and Oxford scholar, and Joy Davidman, a Jewish-American divorcée, converted Christian, mother of two, and former Communist Party member. But together they walked through life's challenges, persevering despite having their faith tested in the face of suffering and death. This amazing true story reveals the many events that occurred in the lives of two astounding Christians to bring them together and spark their love for each other. Readers will experience both their tender moments and the darkest hours where faith was tested and shaken to its…


Book cover of Love Medicine

Anna Bliss Author Of Bonfire Night

From my list on historical stories with interfaith love stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

After graduating with a BA in English, I moved to England to pursue a master’s in Literature and Visual Culture. My focus was on women artists working in London during the Blitz and I wrote my dissertation on Lee Miller, who went on to photograph (and doggedly publish) the liberation of German concentration camps. Later I worked in arts administration and marketing, and didn’t start writing my debut novel until I was thirty-five. My work is inspired by my favorite authors from the 1940s: Elizabeth Bowen, Patrick Hamilton, and Penelope Fitzgerald. I’m also drawn to historical fiction about ordinary people in difficult social conditions, especially when there’s a love story involved.

Anna's book list on historical stories with interfaith love stories

Anna Bliss Why did Anna love this book?

I used to moderate a book club for museum members at what is now the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Love Medicine was chosen by one of our exhibition artists. This astonishing debut is a masterwork about family, poverty, and passion.

The book is set where my grandparents came from, Minnesota and the Dakotas, and illustrates how settlers from Europe (my ancestors) continued to disrupt and destroy Native lives well into the 20th century. Ojibwe spiritual beliefs and Catholicism tangle as tightly as the characters that embody them. Spanning from 1934 to 1985, this novel should not be missed by anyone interested in Native American history.

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“The beauty of Love Medicine saves us from being completely devastated by its power.” — Toni Morrison

Set on a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation, Love Medicine—the first novel from master storyteller and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich—is an epic story about the intertwined fates of two families: the Kashpaws and the Lamartines.

With astonishing virtuosity, each chapter of this stunning novel draws on a range of voices to limn its tales. Black humor mingles with magic, injustice bleeds into betrayal, and through it all, bonds of love and family marry the elements into a tightly woven whole that pulses…


Beautiful and Terrible Things

By S. M. Stevens,

Book cover of Beautiful and Terrible Things

S. M. Stevens

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Charley Byrne isn’t really living. She hunkers down in her apartment above the bookstore she manages, until quirky activist Xander Wallace lures her out of social exile with the prospect of friendship and romance. Charley joins Xander’s circle of diverse friends and thrives, even leaving her comfort zone to join protests in a city struggling with social justice ills.

But the new friendships bring back-to-back betrayals that threaten the bookstore—Charley’s haven—and propel her into a dangerous depression, in a stark reminder that friendship has the power to destroy as well as save lives. Can her friends save the store? And Charley?

Beautiful and Terrible Things

By S. M. Stevens,

What is this book about?

"A beautifully crafted story of friendship and self-discovery set amidst the harsh realities of today's world. Superb!" -Eileen O'Finlan, author of Erin's Children

Charley Byrne isn't really living. At age 29, she hunkers down in her apartment above the bookstore she manages, afraid of a 7-year curse. Then quirky activist Xander Wallace lures her out of social exile with the prospect of friendship and romance. Charley joins Xander's circle of friends diverse in their heritage, race, gender and sexual orientation. She thrives, even leaving her comfort zone to join protests in a city struggling with social justice ills.

But the…


Book cover of Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through: A Love Story

Maggie Kast Author Of Side by Side but Never Face to Face: A Novella & Stories

From my list on finding or losing love in old age.

Why am I passionate about this?

Widowed at age fifty and now eighty-four, I know first hand the search for love in late life. I have three adult children and can't avoid bringing baggage to any new relationship, whether with humans or the cats I adore. Coming to writing seriously only after my husband’s death, I remain fascinated by questions of craft, how the story is told (as my recommendations show), and I’ve published several essays on aspects of that subject. My first career in dance, my conversion to Catholicism, and my psychoanalytic therapy have been major parts of my life and play significant roles in my memoir, my novel, and my more recent novella and stories.

Maggie's book list on finding or losing love in old age

Maggie Kast Why did Maggie love this book?

This true story of love and lasting marriage in later life is told by the husband and wife in alternating first-person voices. Ingrained habits of social and personal life and relationships with both parents and children all create stumbling blocks as the two lovers strive to create a unified way of life. I admire this book for its frank and vivid presentation of the pitfalls that can threaten a union of two individuals who meet in late middle age, already well set on their paths. In its presentation of problems and solutions, this book offers the most “self-help” of these five recommendations.

By Jill Robinson, Stuart Shaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jill Robinson, the author of Bed/Time/Story and Past Forgetting, and her husband, Stuart Shaw, share their true story about finding love when they both had lost faith in romance.

When Stuart and Jill first met, neither felt ready for love. Stuart was recovering from the alcoholism that had wrecked his marriage and ravaged his career. Jill was recovering from a second failed marriage and believed she was done with love forever.

But then, in a crowded Connecticut diner, Jill caught Stuart's eye and shot him a look that she knew would draw him in. What follows is a sexy journey…


Book cover of The Salt Path: A Memoir

Jessica Hepburn Author Of Save Me from the Waves: An adventure from sea to summit

From my list on females adventure and change their life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author and adventure activist who believes passionately in the power of big and small adventures to change your life for the better when you’ve been through dark and difficult times. I have written three books, all of which I describe as ‘alternative adventure stories’ because they don’t look like the usual ‘Boy’s Own’ tales of danger and derring-do (although they do include some of that, too!). I’m drawn to the words of wonderful women warriors who give me strength in times of sadness. These books have inspired me to live big and bravely in what is often a challenging but (mainly) wonderful world.

Jessica's book list on females adventure and change their life

Jessica Hepburn Why did Jessica love this book?

I loved this book for the wallop of its beginning, which details that the narrator, Raynor (and her husband, Moth), were driven to walk England’s 630-mile South West Coast Path because they became homeless.

This is an extraordinarily powerful example of how when life gives you lemons, an adventure can make you lemonade.

By Raynor Winn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Polished, poignant... an inspiring story of true love."-Entertainment Weekly

A BEST BOOK OF 2019, NPR's Book Concierge
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BOOK AWARD
OVER 400,000 COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE

The true story of a couple who lost everything and embarked on a transformative journey walking the South West Coast Path in England

Just days after Raynor Winn learns that Moth, her husband of thirty-two years, is terminally ill, their house and farm are taken away, along with their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South…


Book cover of Guesswork: A Reckoning with Loss

Joan D. Heiman Author Of Life with an Impossible Person: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Transformation

From my list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom handed me one of those little girl diaries with a lock and key when I was in third grade. I wrote my heart into those diaries until I needed more space and shifted to regular-sized notebooks. Writing is my way to know myself and make sense of my life. The journal I kept in the last months of my husband’s life helped me reassemble the trauma-blurred memories of his dying, and then, it supported my emotional rebirth during the year of intense grieving. It is with surprise and delight that I hear from readers who say I articulate their innermost emotions related to love and loss.

Joan's book list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner

Joan D. Heiman Why did Joan love this book?

As I entered the strange new territory of grief and a solitary life after 37 years of an unconventional marriage, I found myself looking for solace from authors who could show me the way forward. Martha Cooley’s retreat to a small, medieval Italian village brought the first tentative smiles to my early months of grieving. My husband and I shared a love of Europe and stayed in our own medieval village in Tuscany just a few years before he died. Cooley used her retreat to deal consciously but gently with the many deaths she’d faced over a traumatic ten years, as well as the impending death of her mother. Her reflections related to mortality and carrying on after the loss of loved ones were a comfort as I began to confront the uncomfortable challenge of stepping into a new life without my husband and best friend. 

By Martha Cooley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"[A] splendid and subtle memoir in essays" —The New York Times Book Review

Having lost eight friends in ten years, Cooley retreats to a tiny medieval village in Italy with her husband. There, in a rural paradise where bumblebees nest in the ancient cemetery and stray cats curl up on her bed, she examines a question both easily evaded and unavoidable: mortality. How do we grieve? How do we go on drinking our morning coffee, loving our life partners, stumbling through a world of such confusing, exquisite beauty?

Linking the essays is Cooley’s escalating understanding of another loss on the…


Book cover of What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir

Terry A. Repak Author Of Circling Home: What I Learned by Living Elsewhere

From my list on writers struggling to find their place in the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

My memoir, Circling Home: What I Learned by Living Elsewhere, details my own trajectory in trying to find my voice and métier as a writer. I’ve kept a journal since I was a teenager, trained to be a journalist in college, and worked as an investigative reporter on a newspaper column and a news show in my twenties. When my husband and I moved abroad, I got a book contract for my PhD thesis and also published my research in academic journals. I wrote travel articles and profiles of people I met while living in East and West Africa. Working with a writing group of friends, I finished two novels before embarking on my memoir.

Terry's book list on writers struggling to find their place in the world

Terry A. Repak Why did Terry love this book?

Thomas is a writer who got a late start before blazing trails with her memoirs, written in spare and evocative prose.

Stephen King calls her the “Emily Dickinson of memoirists” and noted that “so much of this book’s wisdom is written between the lines and in the white spaces.” She writes about troubled friendships, the gems she finds each day in the mundane, and the unavoidable pains of growing old. Her understated style is searing and inimitable.

This book and her earlier memoir Safekeeping made me hopeful that my writing style can keep improving even in my sixties and beyond.

By Abigail Thomas,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What Comes Next and How to Like It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller from the beloved author of A Three Dog Life-an exhilarating, superbly written memoir on friendship, family, creativity, tragedy, and the richness of life: "If you only read one book this year, make it this one" (Ann Patchett).

In her bestselling memoir A Three Dog Life, Abigail Thomas wrote about the devastating loss of her husband. In What Comes Next and How to Like It, "a keenly observed memoir...Thomas writes of the changes aging brings us all and of coping through love: of family, dogs, a well-turned phrase. She is superb company" (People).

Thomas was startled…


Book cover of Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman

Joan D. Heiman Author Of Life with an Impossible Person: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Transformation

From my list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom handed me one of those little girl diaries with a lock and key when I was in third grade. I wrote my heart into those diaries until I needed more space and shifted to regular-sized notebooks. Writing is my way to know myself and make sense of my life. The journal I kept in the last months of my husband’s life helped me reassemble the trauma-blurred memories of his dying, and then, it supported my emotional rebirth during the year of intense grieving. It is with surprise and delight that I hear from readers who say I articulate their innermost emotions related to love and loss.

Joan's book list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner

Joan D. Heiman Why did Joan love this book?

Without Reservations gave me hope following the death of my beloved husband of 37 years. Living with his unique and nontraditional worldview, I’d grown into and inhabited a wider, less conventional way of being than my suburban middle-class upbringing had prepared me for. But once he was gone, what and who was I going to be? Steinbach’s travelogue goes to many of the places my husband and I traveled in England and Europe, and that brought reminiscences of great pleasure. But it was her inner journeying in search of her soul that gave me the courage to embark on the inner travels toward self-discovery and the independence I faced in a newly widowed existence.

By Alice Steinbach,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Without Reservations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

American journalist Alice Steinbach took a year off to live in four cities - Paris, Venice, London and Oxford - when she realized she had entered a new phase of life. Her sons had graduated from college; she had been divorced for a long time; she was a successful journalist. While there was nothing really wrong with her life, she felt restless. Could she live independently of her family, her friends, her career?
Steinbach searches for the answer to this provocative question firstly in Paris, where she finds a soul mate in a Japanese man; in Milan, where she befriends…


Book cover of Home Fire

Chika Unigwe Author Of The Middle Daughter

From my list on re-imaginings of history, classics and myths.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love reading adaptations of classics which complicate the original texts in interesting ways, I have just written one myself, The Middle Daughter. Transcultural adaptations, particularly remind us that we are all members of one human family, dealing with the same kind of problems across time and space and cultures. In these times of deepening polarization, it's important to see that there's more that unites us than not.

Chika's book list on re-imaginings of history, classics and myths

Chika Unigwe Why did Chika love this book?

This is a retelling of Antigone by Sophocles, set in contemporary UK.

Shamsie’s characters are well developed, the story deeply moving and insightful, and the writing delightful.

This is an important novel for the themes it addresses: radicalism, Islamophobia, family, identity and belonging. This is very much a book for these times. 

By Kamila Shamsie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

_______________ WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION WINNER OF THE LONDON HELLENIC PRIZE A BOOK OF THE YEAR IN THE GUARDIAN, OBSERVER, TELEGRAPH, NEW STATESMAN, EVENING STANDAND AND NEW YORK TIMES _______________ 'The book for our times' - Judges of the Women's Prize 'Elegant and evocative ... A powerful exploration of the clash between society, family and faith in the modern world' - Guardian 'Builds to one of the most memorable final scenes I've read in a novel this century' - New York Times _______________ Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of…


Book cover of The Inn at Ocean's Edge

Tayler Marie Brooks Author Of Tangled Suspects

From my list on keeping you up or to let your imagination roam.

Why am I passionate about this?

Unlike most authors, who only write one genre, I write mystery/suspense, thriller, fantasy, and dystopian. I love plotting and naming stories. I studied Criminal Justice & Legal Studies in college and absolutely loved it. I've also been reading these genres since I was little. I certainly never thought I’d be a writer, but the ideas kept coming so I guess the writing chose me. As a self-published writer, I get to make every decision concerning my books and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write my books, design the covers, make the trailers, market the books, and everything else. I enjoy using my writing to point to the things I believe are important.

Tayler's book list on keeping you up or to let your imagination roam

Tayler Marie Brooks Why did Tayler love this book?

This is one of my all-time favorite books because I love a good mystery and I love the beach.

Colleen Coble never fails to deliver an edge-of-your-seat story with unbeatable scenery. Her books always have amazing plot twists. In The Inn at Ocean’s Edge was one of her finest stories yet. Claire Delamare just discovered that perhaps her picture-perfect life isn’t what she thought it was.

She apparently went missing for an entire year and has no recollection of that time. Not only that but she keeps having panic attacks now that she’s returned to the hotel she disappeared from. The ending was probably the most exceptional I’ve seen.

By Colleen Coble,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Inn at Ocean's Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this USA TODAY bestselling romantic suspense, Claire's visit to a luxury hotel in Maine awakens repressed memories that undermine all she holds dear.

In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year-and until now, Claire didn't even know she had ever been missing.

But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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