10 books like Our Wives Under the Sea

By Julia Armfield,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Our Wives Under the Sea. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Monster Calls

By Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, Jim Kay (illustrator)

Book cover of A Monster Calls

This dark fantasy book had me sobbing more than once, thanks to some great writing and the personal resonance it had for me at the time of reading. It’s marketed as YA fiction, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s only for young adults—it’s for everyone, especially if they’re struggling with grief. Siobhan Dowd came up with the story while fighting cancer and sadly died before it could be written, but Patrick Ness has created something beautiful, melancholy, and strangely uplifting from her original idea, in which the young Connor befriends a monster who tells him three stories before forcing Connor to tell one of his own. It explores the complexities of grief with honesty and sensitivity. It’s also beautifully illustrated by Jim Kay.

A Monster Calls

By Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, Jim Kay (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked A Monster Calls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling novel and major film about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don't quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there's a visitor at his window. It's ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking…


The Leftovers

By Tom Perrotta,

Book cover of The Leftovers

I came to this one after watching and loving the television version and found the book even more fulfilling (although very different). It focuses on what happens when millions of people suddenly disappear from the world’s population and it looks not only at how people deal with this massive loss but also how they deal with the mystery of it, the not knowing why. People don’t only lose loved ones in this book but also their own sense of how the world should work, leaving them with a lot to deal with. I loved the characters, the tight focus on one community (and mostly one family within that community), and I loved how Perrotta made such a wild possibility seem entirely plausible.

The Leftovers

By Tom Perrotta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With heart, intelligence and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles inherent in ordinary lives, Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers—now adapted into an HBO series—is a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss.

What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?

That's what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out.…


Look Where You Are Going Not Where You Have Been

By Steven J. Dines,

Book cover of Look Where You Are Going Not Where You Have Been

This is one of the best collections I’ve ever read, and I’ve read it a few times now. These are emotionally intimate stories, bleak but beautiful. Dines really knows how to write convincing, troubled characters, people you will care about and suffer with as they struggle with the losses life forces upon them, and while each of the stories stands alone, there are connections between many of them which serves to build on your relationship with these characters. This is a debut collection, but every story has clearly been written by someone who has mastered their craft. Dines knows exactly what he’s doing, and what he’s doing is making you care, making you feel, and making you realise you are not alone. I love this book.

Look Where You Are Going Not Where You Have Been

By Steven J. Dines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Look Where You Are Going Not Where You Have Been as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The past is never far behind. If we do not leave it, if we insist on carrying it with us to the end...that end is a monster.

This stunning debut collection of dark, literary fiction drowns the reader in its themes of grief, regret, love, and hope.

A family is torn apart by tragedy and misadventure, their future creaking under the weight of judgment. Old men play at being ghosts while a young boy sees real ones wherever he turns. A wandering immortal desperately seeks an end to his pain.

Intimate, unflinching, and poignant, these eleven tales of the broken…


Sing Your Sadness Deep

By Laura Mauro,

Book cover of Sing Your Sadness Deep

There’s so much to love about this book. Every story here is brilliant, and while sadness is the thread running through all of them, I’d say they also deal with issues of loss or the pain of losing, and the things we do to cope. I’ve loved Mauro’s writing from day one, and this collection gathers her best into a powerful volume that does indeed sing. It filled and then broke my heart. The book is worth buying for the award-winning story "Looking for Laika" alone, but there really isn’t a single story here that isn’t a masterclass in writing, and not a single one that doesn’t move the reader to feel the sadness and feel it deeply. I can’t wait for whatever Laura Mauro does next.

Sing Your Sadness Deep

By Laura Mauro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sing Your Sadness Deep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

British Fantasy Award-winning author, and Shirley Jackson Award finalist Laura Mauro, a leading voice in contemporary dark fiction, delivers a remarkable debut collection of startling short fiction. Human and humane tales of beauty, strangeness, and transformation told in prose as precise and sparing as a surgeon’s knife. A major new talent!

Featuring "Looking for Laika," winner of the British Fantasy Award, and "Sun Dogs," a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award.

Sun Dogs

Obsidian

Red Rabbit

Letters from Elodie

The Grey Men

Ptichka

When Charlie Sleeps

In the City of Bones

The Looking Glass Girl

In the Marrow

Looking for…


Stone Fruit

By Lee Lai,

Book cover of Stone Fruit

Stone Fruit is such a pleasure to flip through and enjoy for its beautiful drawings and line work. In the story the main character works through reconciling their relationship with their partner and themselves and their identity. The bond that they have with their niece is about ways of connecting, facing reality, and the cathartic potential of our creative minds. As a queer parent I really connected with how the relationship between the characters is about what we gift each other between generations or among peers, transcending the traditional family structures.

Stone Fruit

By Lee Lai,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bron and Ray are a queer couple who enjoy their role as the fun weirdo aunties to Ray’s niece, six-year-old Nessie. Their playdates are little oases of wildness, joy, and ease in all three of their lives, which ping-pong between familial tensions and deep-seeded personal stumbling blocks. As their emotional intimacy erodes, Ray and Bron isolate from each other and attempt to repair their broken family ties ― Ray with her overworked, resentful single-mother sister and Bron with her religious teenage sister who doesn’t fully grasp the complexities of gender identity. Taking a leap of faith, each opens up and…


Elevation

By Stephen King,

Book cover of Elevation

Elevation grabbed me from its starting premise until its last memorable scene. A flabby protagonist reveals to a doctor friend that his weight, as shown on his scale, is steadily dropping despite his unchanged appearance. In effect, he is less and less affected by gravity. Because his muscles have adapted to manage his large size, as his gravitational weight decreases he gains disproportionate agility and stamina, to the extent that he becomes a formidable marathon runner which amazes everyone who sees him. He develops close bonds with two women with whom he previously conflicted and they and his doctor friend help him to deal with his situation which becomes perilous as his weight approaches zero. 

Elevation

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From legendary master storyteller Stephen King, a riveting story about “an ordinary man in an extraordinary condition rising above hatred” (The Washington Post) and bringing the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine together—a “joyful, uplifting” (Entertainment Weekly) tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences, “the sign of a master elevating his own legendary game yet again” (USA TODAY).

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want…


Come With Me

By Ronald Malfi,

Book cover of Come With Me

While Come With Me has less paranormal in its blend, the book’s recipe is chock-full of foreboding suspense, eerie folklore, amateur sleuthing, and contemporary issues. Aaron Decker’s wife is tragically killed in a mass shooting. After five years of marriage, he thinks he knew her. But then he finds her padlocked hope chest. Inside are files about unsolved murders, all women victims. Is a serial killer on the loose? And why or how was his wife involved? Aaron follows the trail she left behind. Goosebumps suggest he’s not alone. Or are they from the dark secrets he unveils? Aaron’s narration is authentic and close—so close that readers eavesdrop on him speaking directly to his dead wife. Incredibly raw. Come With Me is masterful at building atmospheric and emotional tension.

Come With Me

By Ronald Malfi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Aaron Decker's life changes one December morning when his wife Allison is killed. Haunted by her absence-and her ghost-Aaron goes through her belongings, where he finds a receipt for a motel room in another part of the country. Piloted by grief and an increasing sense of curiosity, Aaron embarks on a journey to discover what Allison had been doing in the weeks prior to her death.

Yet Aaron is unprepared to discover the dark secrets Allison kept, the death and horror that make up the tapestry of her hidden life. And with each dark secret revealed, Aaron becomes more and…


Katy Has Two Grampas

By Julie Schanke Lyford, Robert A. Schanke, Mariia Luzina (illustrator)

Book cover of Katy Has Two Grampas

This is the first book to feature gay grandfathers, an overlooked and under-represented population in the literature. It is based on the author’s actual family experience, which allows the reader to experience the real emotions experienced by the characters. The author carefully takes the reader on a journey that will be relatable to anyone with an LGBTQ+ family member. This is a story that needs to be told and Schanke and Schanke do it beautifully.

Katy Has Two Grampas

By Julie Schanke Lyford, Robert A. Schanke, Mariia Luzina (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Katy Has Two Grampas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Katy's world is so much brighter because of her gay grampas! She is SO excited to bring them to school for Grandparent's Day. However, Katy discovers that she has to introduce them to the class.  Katy has a lisp and is terrified everyone will make fun of her, usually choosing to remain silent. Discover how the help of her big sister and support of her grampas gives Katy the confidence to speak in front of the class and introduce the class to two of her favorite people.

Katy Has Two Grampas is based on a true story, featuring dynamic and…


Charity and Sylvia

By Rachel Hope Cleves,

Book cover of Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America

This book tells an incredible story—not just of a same-sex marriage in the early 19th century, which would be remarkable enough, but also of the extent to which this couple was accepted by their community and family. Cleves found a motherlode of diaries and letters that document their lives together, their ability to earn a living during an era when most women relied on male breadwinners, their mutual love of reading and writing poetry, and the ways they sought to reconcile their love with their religious faith. I can’t emphasize enough how many times I paused to marvel at what Cleves had found in her research, and the care with which she reconstructed the lives of these two women who loved one another.

Charity and Sylvia

By Rachel Hope Cleves,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Charity and Sylvia is the intimate history of two ordinary women who lived in an extraordinary same-sex marriage during the early nineteenth century. Based on diaries, letters, and poetry, among other original documents, the research traces the women's lives in sharp detail. Charity Bryant was born in 1777 to a consumptive mother who died a month later. Raised in Massachusetts, Charity developed into a brilliant and strong-willed woman with a passion for her
own sex. After being banished from her family home by her father at age twenty, she traveled throughout Massachusetts, working as a teacher, making intimate female friends,…


Blue Heaven

By Joe Keenan,

Book cover of Blue Heaven

This is the first of a trilogy of which any book in the series is worth reading. In this farce written long before marriage equality, a gay man hatches an outlandish scheme to throw a wedding, just for the expensive gifts. What follows is a comedy that incorporates blackmail and the mafia. You read this novel for pure pleasure, enjoying the clever one-liners while the plot spirals out of control. Flamboyant, camp, and ridiculously funny.

Blue Heaven

By Joe Keenan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in contemporary New York, this book revolves around four characters, all either unemployed or barely employed. The calamities begin when Gilbert, who is gay, and Moira, an arch bitch, devise a seemingly brilliant plan to swindle their respective monied families - by getting married.


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