88 books like Otherwise Normal People

By Aurelia C. Scott,

Here are 88 books that Otherwise Normal People fans have personally recommended if you like Otherwise Normal People. 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 Gardener's Year

Ngoc Minh Ngo Author Of In Bloom: Creating and Living With Flowers

From my list on why everyone loves gardening.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a photographer of gardens and botanical still-lifes. I have a passion for plants and flowers and love reading about their historical and cultural significance. I am always curious about the meanings that humankind has ascribed to flowers in different cultures and eras. I have written and photographed three books that revolve around my passion for flowers.

Ngoc's book list on why everyone loves gardening

Ngoc Minh Ngo Why did Ngoc love this book?

This is a very slim volume by the Czech novelist, playwright, and essayist who gave us the word “robot” in a play in 1921. In this book, Capek takes readers through a year, month by month, in his backyard garden in Prague. The writing is full of humor, the tone conversational, with observations that resonate with all gardeners–from the fickleness of the weather to the pleasures of reading plant catalogues in the winter. But the true subject of Capek’s musing is the complexity of human nature. For the writer, the garden is a metaphor for what makes us human. It is ultimately a very hopeful book, and Capek ends it with these words: “The right, the best is in front of us. Each successive year will add growth and beauty. Thank God that again we shall be one year farther on!”  

By Josef Capek, Karel Capek,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Gardener's Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This very entertaining volume with its delightfully humorous pictures should be read by all gardeners." — Nature
"Mr. Čapek writes with sympathy, understanding, and humor." — The New York Times
"Has a mellowness and a charm that give it a high place in the humorous literature of gardening … will delight the amateur gardener, and indeed everyone else." — Saturday Review
The creator of this book is best known internationally as the author of R.U.R., the science-fiction play that introduced the term "robot" to the world. Karel Čapek's satiric gifts take a different turn in this impishly comic book, which…


Book cover of The Orchard: A Memoir

Deirdre Heekin Author Of An Unlikely Vineyard: The Education of a Farmer and Her Quest for Terroir

From my list on wine, love, and landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a winegrower, farmer, writer, photographer, and pop-upeuse. I fell in love with food and wine while living and working in Italy, then returned stateside to create an homage to the people and place that embraced us and taught us so much. That endeavor--the restaurant osteria pane e salute opened with my chef husband Caleb Barber—was where I curated the wine program and became passionate about wines farmed artfully. I began working as a winegrower in 2007, a personal landscape experiment that led me down the rabbit hole of growing and making wine from hybrid varieties focused on regenerative viticulture and low intervention winemaking.

Deirdre's book list on wine, love, and landscape

Deirdre Heekin Why did Deirdre love this book?

The Orchard is a mesmerizing story of one woman’s efforts to save her family farm in Depression-era Massachusetts. It is a glimmering and moving memoir of “Kitty” Robertson’s determination to save the small orchard she inherited from her father, the last thing that linked her family to their history. It is a story of struggle and determination, and she is a heroine who didn’t receive medals or accolades or fortune for accepting the bone-cold physical labor in winters, inherited debt, broken dreams. Somehow she is able to still see the beauty in the grit of farm life in a grim period, spring blossoms in the orchard, the green of summer, the kindness of neighbors as they help each other through challenge after challenge.

In the end, it is a narrative of redemption and victory and reminds me that the life of farming and writing is hard scrapple, but it is…

By Adele Crockett Robertson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Orchard is an exquisitely beautiful and poignant memoir of a young woman's single-handed struggle to save her New England farm in the depths of the Great Depression. Recently discovered by the author's daughter, it tells the story of Adele "Kitty" Robertson, young and energetic, but unprepared by her Radcliffe education for the rigors of apple farming in those bitter times. Alone at the end of a country road, with only a Great Dane for company, plagued by debts, broken machinery, and killing frosts, Kitty revives the old orchard after years of neglect. Every day is a struggle, but every…


Book cover of The Garden of Invention: Luther Burbank and the Business of Breeding Plants

William Alexander Author Of The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for a Perfect Garden

From my list on a gardening life.

Why am I passionate about this?

William Alexander’s best-selling gardening memoir, The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for a Perfect Garden has been praised for its fresh, humorous, and honest take on home gardening. The books he’s selected similarly break the mould for garden books, featuring rabid rose gardeners, an obsessive breeder, and a Czech playwright.

William's book list on a gardening life

William Alexander Why did William love this book?

Gardening, whether in a backyard or a hundred-acre orchard, is an audacious attempt to improve on nature, and Smith’s fascinating hybrid of biography, history, and botany brings to life the most audacious of them all. The only biography on my list, I’ve included it because, in an age where we might be forgiven for thinking it takes millions of corporate dollars and genetic engineers to produce a new plant, The Garden of Invention reminds us how one man’s singular determination, patience, and brilliance can change the world. And produce the perfect potato for McDonald’s French fries.

By Jane S. Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The wide-ranging and delightful history of celebrated plant breeder Luther Burbank and the business of farm and garden in early twentieth- century America

At no other time in history has there been more curiosity or concern about the food we eat-and genetically modified foods, in particular, have become both pervasive and suspect. A century ago, however, Luther Burbank's blight-resistant potatoes, white blackberries, and plumcots-a plum-apricot hybrid-were celebrated as triumphs in the best tradition of American ingenuity and perseverance. In his experimental grounds in Santa Rosa, California, Burbank bred and cross-bred edible and ornamental plants-for both home gardens and commercial farms-until…


Book cover of Second Nature: A Gardener's Education

Jenny Price Author Of Stop Saving the Planet!: An Environmentalist Manifesto

From my list on revolutionize how Americans think about nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer, artist, and historian, and I’ve spent much of my career trying to blow up the powerful American definition of environment as a non-human world “out there”, and to ask how it’s allowed environmentalists, Exxon, and the EPA alike to refuse to take responsibility for how we inhabit environments. Along the way, I’ve written Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America and "Thirteen Ways of Seeing Nature in LA"; co-founded the LA Urban Rangers public art collective; and co-created the “Our Malibu Beaches” phone app. I currently live in St. Louis, where I’m a Research Fellow at the Sam Fox School at Washington University-St. Louis. 

Jenny's book list on revolutionize how Americans think about nature

Jenny Price Why did Jenny love this book?

A self-critical and often hysterically funny account of what happens when you plant a garden to be “one with nature” and nature has other ideas. Still my favorite Pollan book (his first!), which is saying a lot. Favorite bit: his journey from “living in harmony” with a resident groundhog to an albeit ill-considered act of firebombing.

By Michael Pollan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Second Nature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An account of one man's experience in his garden.


Book cover of The Complete Strange Tales From the City of Dust: Omnibus

Tanweer Dar Author Of The Demon

From my list on indie cyberpunk to get your circuits going.

Why am I passionate about this?

Between Blade Runner and The Terminator, I was hooked on Cyberpunk. Throw in some Ghost in the Shell and Black Mirror, and the obsession was complete. With the rise of Synthwave as a musical genre and as a retro-futuristic aesthetic, I had both the soundtrack and the visual cues to which I could write Cyberpunk. I also feel strongly about our increasing reliance on technology and the blurring lines between biology and technology. This is something I explore in my writing.

Tanweer's book list on indie cyberpunk to get your circuits going

Tanweer Dar Why did Tanweer love this book?

Vaz Anzai collects all five episodes from his Strange Tales from The City Of Dust series in this absolutely breathtaking omnibus that also includes bonus short stories, author notes, and exclusive artwork. With great, and varied, characters, fascinating technology, and gritty Cyberpunk settings, Dust: Omnibus is essential reading for all fans of the genre.

By Vaz Anzai,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Strange Tales From the City of Dust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Strange Tales From The City Of Dust is the ultimate Omnibus for the complete Dust storyline.
5 episodic adventures along with 3 short stories and detailed author notes, commissioned artwork, and more!

CLOCKWORK DEUS: Episode 1
Alice, a "Tinkerer" for the Wonderlust brothel has discovered a Prostibot that has become self-aware. Together, they will uncover the secret behind a shadowy organization in Dust's abandoned zone, The Blooming Fields.

THE DARKEST PART: Episode 2
Laila, a mysterious Saudi Arabian woman, has escaped an event known as "The Opaque", a consuming void that destroyed her former city. Now in Dust, she must…


Book cover of A Way to Garden: A Hands-On Primer for Every Season

Mary-Kate Mackey Author Of The Healthy Garden: Simple Steps for a Greener World

From my list on garden books to save the planet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a person who thinks gardening could be one of the most important endeavors anyone can do. I’m a writer, a speaker, and the recipient of eight Garden Communicators International media awards, including a Gold in 2021 for my column, “Rooting for You,” on the Hartley-Botanic Greenhouse website. My byline has appeared in numerous magazines such as Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Sunset, and This Old House. I’m always interested in great ideas for problem-solving in the garden.

Mary-Kate's book list on garden books to save the planet

Mary-Kate Mackey Why did Mary-Kate love this book?

Many garden books are structured in a classic four-seasons pattern, but this one goes beyond, by delineating the gardening year as steps in the essence of all living beings—from conception in January, adulthood in July and August, to death in December. This clever and thoughtful approach celebrates the fact that we are all woven into the fabric of the natural world. Add to that the author’s lifetime of good gardening experience and advice, and this book shows readers in intimate detail how to work with nature, not against her. 

By Margaret Roach,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For Margaret Roach gardening is more than a hobby, it's a calling. Her unique approach, which she refers to as "horticultural how-to and woo-hoo," is a blend of vital information to memorise (like how to plant a bulb) and intuitive steps gardeners must simply feel and surrender to. For more than twenty years Roach has shared her deep garden knowledge with an appreciative audience, first at Martha Stewart Living and now on her popular website and podcast. Now, with A Way to Garden, she explores how she and her way of gardening have changed over the years. Throughout, she shares…


Book cover of Grow: A Family Guide to Plants and How to Grow Them

Mary-Kate Mackey Author Of The Healthy Garden: Simple Steps for a Greener World

From my list on garden books to save the planet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a person who thinks gardening could be one of the most important endeavors anyone can do. I’m a writer, a speaker, and the recipient of eight Garden Communicators International media awards, including a Gold in 2021 for my column, “Rooting for You,” on the Hartley-Botanic Greenhouse website. My byline has appeared in numerous magazines such as Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Sunset, and This Old House. I’m always interested in great ideas for problem-solving in the garden.

Mary-Kate's book list on garden books to save the planet

Mary-Kate Mackey Why did Mary-Kate love this book?

If you want to save the natural world, you have to love it first. And to love it, you have to know it. This gorgeously illustrated picture book is an important introduction. Grow encourages readers to be friends with fifteen common plants—from mint to orchids. Once recognized, and by learning a fascinating bit about them, these plants are no longer strangers, but companions. And that’s the beginning of love. The delightful drawings and fabulous plant factoids call for a read-aloud to younger children, or simply hand the book over to those already reading. This is an act of legacy—we need to bring along that next generation of passionate gardeners who will value our planet.

By Riz Reyes, Sara Boccaccini Meadows (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Discover facts about 15 plants, explore what makes them unique, and learn how to grow them

Grow beauty. Grow friendship. Grow flavor. Grow plants!

Discover 15 plants with incredible powers, then learn how to grow them. Meet each plant’s surprising relations (did you know the tasty tomato is a cousin of deadly nightshade?) and discover their history (bromeliads defended themselves against dinosaurs!). Then, follow the step-by-step instructions to grow and care for each plant, whether you have a big backyard or a sunny windowsill.

This fully illustrated guide to growing is the perfect introduction to plants for families everywhere.


Book cover of The Gardens of the British Working Class

Roderick Floud Author Of England's Magnificent Gardens: How a Billion-Dollar Industry Transformed a Nation, from Charles II to Today

From my list on the history of the gardening industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love visiting other people’s gardens, great and small. There are many thousands throughout England but, as I surveyed the beauty of the lakes and rolling lawns of one of them, I was struck by a question: how much did it cost? I found that none of the huge number of books on gardening and garden history gave an answer, so (drawing on my experience as an economic historian) I had to try for myself. Fifteen years later, after delving in archives, puzzling out the intricacies of lakes and dams, exploring ruined greenhouses, peering into the bothies in which gardening apprentices lived, England’s Magnificent Gardens is my answer.

Roderick's book list on the history of the gardening industry

Roderick Floud Why did Roderick love this book?

Garden history is largely written about the gardens of the rich and famous, kings, queens, and aristocrats, But most of the population, in many countries, have small gardens, balconies, and window-boxes and tend them as lovingly as do the paid gardeners of the rich. Margaret Willes uncovers their history in Britain over five centuries; it is a difficult task because most working-class gardeners left few or no documentary records, but she succeeds triumphantly. Gardening societies, at which they showed off their prize fruit and vegetables, allotments, the garden cities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, all have their place, together with the archetypal cottage garden with roses around the door.  

By Margaret Willes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gardens of the British Working Class as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This magnificently illustrated people's history celebrates the extraordinary feats of cultivation by the working class in Britain, even if the land they toiled, planted, and loved was not their own. Spanning more than four centuries, from the earliest records of the laboring classes in the country to today, Margaret Willes's research unearths lush gardens nurtured outside rough workers' cottages and horticultural miracles performed in blackened yards, and reveals the ingenious, sometimes devious, methods employed by determined, obsessive, and eccentric workers to make their drab surroundings bloom. She also explores the stories of the great philanthropic industrialists who provided gardens for…


Book cover of Botany for Gardeners

Daryl Beyers Author Of The New Gardener's Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Grow a Beautiful and Bountiful Garden

From my list on for new gardeners.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a gardening instructor and designer, I've been recommending these five books for years. They were the core texts of the Fundamentals of Gardening course I've been teaching at the New York Botanical Garden for over a decade. Since the publication of The New Gardener’s Handbook, which covers all these topics in a more abbreviated way, I still recommend these five books to my students if they want to dig deeper. These books are what I call “keeper texts.” I own fewer and fewer actual gardening books these days, but it's a fact that a copy of each of these excellent resources resides on my office bookshelf where I refer to them frequently. 

Daryl's book list on for new gardeners

Daryl Beyers Why did Daryl love this book?

I’ve been recommending Brian Capon’s Botany for Gardeners to my gardening students for years. Unlike your typical botany textbook, it’s written expressly for gardeners, which means it presents all you need to know about botany if you are a gardener, not a scientist or a botany student. The presentation is clear, concise, and conversational, so it feels like learning about botany from a friend…a really smart friend! This book will either take you as far as you need to go in botany, or it will open you up to the world of botany and inspire you to learn more. 

By Brian Capon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For two decades readers around the world have been fascinated by Brian Capon's crystal-clear descriptions of how plants work. What happens inside a seed after it is planted? How do plants use each other - and animals - to survive? How do they reproduce, and how do they transform nutrients into growth? "Botany for Gardeners" is the most complete, compact, and accessible introduction to the world of botany available. The new edition has been expanded with dazzling scanning electron microscope photographs and even more amazing facts about plants. Especially timely are new essays on food plants: what makes plants edible,…


Book cover of A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed

Marta McDowell Author Of Unearthing the Secret Garden: The Plants and Places That Inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett

From my list on the English love of gardening.

Why am I passionate about this?

My husband sums up my biography as “I am, therefore I dig.” I live, garden, read and write in Chatham, New Jersey, and have had a long, open love affair with the gardening style “across the pond.” At the New York Botanical Garden I teach English garden history, and I’m a regular contributor to the British gardening journal, Hortus. In my writing, I follow the relationship between the pen and the trowel, that is authors and their gardens. I’ve written books about children’s authors Beatrix Potter and Frances Hodgson Burnett, and, as you might imagine, the research trips to the UK were a special bonus.

Marta's book list on the English love of gardening

Marta McDowell Why did Marta love this book?

If you love flowers and love to garden, do not miss this book by British poet James Fenton.  Grab your seed catalogs and make a list of the hundred flowers you would grow, then compare your choices to James Fenton’s. I found it the perfect book to read during those gray days of winter, his bright prose radiating like an injection of sunshine. Fenton romps through the world of flower color: the orange of nasturtiums and Mexican sunflower, the lemon yellow evening primroses, and California bluebells “the colour of blue poster paint.” He captures his century of blooms with a poet’s pen. I didn’t want it to end.

By James Fenton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An engaging mix of the serious and the playful, and Fenton writes with a lightness of touch perfectly suited to the subject." --Alexander Urquhart, The Times Literary Supplement

Forget structure. Forget trees, shrubs, and perennials. As James Fenton writes, "This is not a book about huge projects. It is about thinking your way toward the essential flower garden, by the most traditional of routes: planting some seeds and seeing how they grow."

In this light hearted, instructive, original "game of lists," Fenton selects one hundred plants he would choose to grow from seed. Flowers for color, size, and exotic interest;…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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