100 books like Papillon

By Henri Charriere,

Here are 100 books that Papillon fans have personally recommended if you like Papillon. 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 Pachinko

Betsy Woodman Author Of Jana Bibi's Excellent Fortunes

From my list on taking you all over the world in good company.

Who am I?

I’ve lived in small towns and capital cities and gone to school on four continents, so I love books in which the location is practically a character in the story. When moving, I struggle to put down roots and feel legitimate in my new home. Writing about old homes helps. While living in New England, I wrote my Jana Bibi trilogy, set in India. Now in New York state, I’m setting a new novel in my native New Hampshire. I’ve been a Jill of all Trades: teaching, software, editing, fact-checking, social science research, and, most happily, fiction-writing. I’m also an amateur musician and an avid foreign language buff.

Betsy's book list on taking you all over the world in good company

Betsy Woodman Why did Betsy love this book?

Wow! I felt intimately connected to the family depicted in this turbulent but big-hearted saga. I rooted for them at every turn, from their humble beginnings in Korea through their struggles as immigrants in Japan. The world changes dramatically from 1910 to 1989, but despite tragedy, they hold tight to their values of loyalty, hard work, independence, and honesty. Inspiring.

By Min Jin Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* The million-copy bestseller*
* National Book Award finalist *
* One of the New York Times's 10 Best Books of 2017 *
* Selected for Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf book club *

'This is a captivating book... Min Jin Lee's novel takes us through four generations and each character's search for identity and success. It's a powerful story about resilience and compassion' BARACK OBAMA.

Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja…


Book cover of A Gentleman in Moscow

Karen Samuelson Author Of Weaving Dreams in Oaxaca

From my list on books where the setting is like another character.

Who am I?

I have a passion for novels with complex characters and a memorable sense of place. The setting is key to the overall ambiance of a novel: its colors, smells, architecture, terrain, weather, flora, and fauna. My novel, Weaving Dreams In Oaxaca, takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico. The story is unique to the location because it includes the zocalo, cathedrals, outlying pueblos, food, etc. My family and I moved there for six months in 2006, and I fell in love. I sent my mother audio tapes every two weeks describing our adventures as she had become blind. I later transcribed them into twenty-two pages of detailed description of this magical city which I used in my novel.

Karen's book list on books where the setting is like another character

Karen Samuelson Why did Karen love this book?

In terms of a sense of place, most of this book takes place in the Hotel Metropol where Count Alexander is meant to spend the rest of his days as the communist regime has taken over.

His young friend, Nina has a passkey and their days are spent exploring every nook and cranny and the basement of this regal old hotel. Within these walls and his tiny room, the Count keeps up the culture and soul of his lifestyle through conversation, music, poetry, and relationships. The ballroom and stairwells and restaurant reveal secrets, and like the Count, the hotel keeps its dignity and old-world style through it all.

By Amor Towles,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked A Gentleman in Moscow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The mega-bestseller with more than 2 million readers, soon to be a major television series

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway and Rules of Civility, a beautifully transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and…


Book cover of A Clockwork Orange

AK Nevermore Author Of Grimdarke

From my list on motorcycles, shifters, and mayhem, oh my!.

Who am I?

I’m a huge fan of paranormal and dark romance, and these books definitely check all my boxes. Great world-building, plots that engage, and in most cases, a heavy dollop of smut. They also explore the unexpected and take into account real-world concerns in a fashion where you can absolutely justify the decisions the main characters are making.

AK's book list on motorcycles, shifters, and mayhem, oh my!

AK Nevermore Why did AK love this book?

This book is probably the quintessential book of mayhem, in my opinion.

Yep, it’s super dated, and the dialect can be difficult to get into, but I thought it was worth it, especially if you read the European version, which has an additional chapter the US publisher cut out. Abruptly it goes from a novel of unrepentant chaos to one of redemption.

By Anthony Burgess,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Clockwork Orange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Anthony Burgess's influential nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, a teen who talks in a fantastically inventive slang that evocatively renders his and his friends' intense reaction against their society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess's introduction, "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."


Book cover of Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Paul Wood Author Of How to Escape from Prison

From my list on escaping prison and helping you change your life.

Who am I?

I was imprisoned for murder as an 18-year-old. I was a high school dropout who was addicted to drugs and didn’t have any hope for the future. Each of the books recommended contributed to my own journey of transformation. I read them all while I was in prison. Some of them while I was in maximum security or solitary confinement. Each recommendation helped me escape that life and its horrors. 

Paul's book list on escaping prison and helping you change your life

Paul Wood Why did Paul love this book?

Nelson Mandel’s autobiography from his early life through the 27 years he spent in prison before becoming South Africa's first democratically elected President.

This book taught me about trying to be a better person despite your circumstances and being wronged by others. It also gave me hope that my imprisonment could be just a chapter in my journey and didn’t need to be the defining experience of my life.

By Nelson Mandela,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Long Walk to Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2018 is the centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth

'The authentic voice of Mandela shines through this book . . . humane, dignified and magnificently unembittered' The Times

The riveting memoirs of the outstanding moral and political leader of our time, A Long Walk to Freedom brilliantly re-creates the drama of the experiences that helped shape Nelson Mandela's destiny. Emotive, compelling and uplifting, A Long Walk to Freedom is the exhilarating story of an epic life; a story of hardship, resilience and ultimate triumph told with the clarity and eloquence of a born leader.

'Burns with the luminosity of faith in…


Book cover of Shōgun

Robert Whiting Author Of Tokyo Junkie: 60 Years of Bright Lights and Back Alleys . . . and Baseball

From my list on learning about life.

Who am I?

They are in some sense books of self-discovery and/or discovery of new worlds. They made me want to travel and explore other cultures. And they also inspired me to write. They helped shape me as a person. I'm now a journalist and author of several books on Japan. I've lived in many different places around the world and find Tokyo Japan to be the best capital to live in. My work describes life in Tokyo and the Japanese culture in general, focusing on sports, crime, and politics. I've written best-sellers in both the US and Japan and been nominated for several prizes. Most recently I was selected winner of a 2023 Henry Chadwick Award.

Robert's book list on learning about life

Robert Whiting Why did Robert love this book?

Shōgun is a historical novel set in 17th-century feudal Japan that is based on the life of an English sailor named Will  Adams who is shipwrecked there.

He became a samurai and a confidant of a warlord based on Ieyasu Tokugawa. It is a meticulously researched and richly detailed novel that combines historical events with fictional characters and storylines, dealing with themes of honor and loyalty in a world of samurai and daimyos.

It also explores relationships between Japanese and European traders, highlighting the clash of Western and Eastern values. At over 560,000 words long, it is a spellbinding narrative that offers an encyclopedic exploration of Japanese history, culture, customs, and traditions of Japan. It started a Japan craze in the United States when it was first published.

By James Clavell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Clavell never puts a foot wrong . . . Get it, read it, you'll enjoy it mightily' Daily Mirror

This is James Clavell's tour-de-force; an epic saga of one Pilot-Major John Blackthorne, and his integration into the struggles and strife of feudal Japan. Both entertaining and incisive, SHOGUN is a stunningly dramatic re-creation of a very different world.

Starting with his shipwreck on this most alien of shores, the novel charts Blackthorne's rise from the status of reviled foreigner up to the hights of trusted advisor and eventually, Samurai. All as civil war looms over the fragile country.

'I can't…


Book cover of Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Nancy Crochiere Author Of Graceland

From my list on runaway moms.

Who am I?

As a young working mom, I occasionally longed to follow the example of columnist Erma Bombeck and hide from my family in the car. Instead, I channeled the mayhem of family life into a humor column called “The Mother Load,” which detailed the day-to-day challenges of running a business while caring for two daughters, one husband, two guinea pigs, and a dancing rabbit. When I decided to pursue my life-long dream to write fiction, my debut novel was a humorous story about a mother-daughter-grandmother road trip/chase from Boston to Memphis. Although my writing doesn’t shy away from serious issues, I choose to see the world through a humorous and ultimately hopeful lens.

Nancy's book list on runaway moms

Nancy Crochiere Why did Nancy love this book?

How can you not love a novel about an agoraphobic mother who somehow promises her 15-year-old daughter that she’ll take her to Antarctica?

The mom, Bernadette, knows she can’t handle that kind of trip, but in her desperate attempts to make it work, things get out of hand, and Bernadette disappears. It’s up to 15-year-old Bee to play detective and find her. Set in Seattle, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is a delightful mix of comedy and satire with a wonderful message about the need to face up to the disappointments in one’s past.

By Maria Semple,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Where'd You Go, Bernadette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A misanthropic matriarch leaves her eccentric family in crisis when she mysteriously disappears in this "whip-smart and divinely funny" novel that inspired the movie starring Cate Blanchett (New York Times).

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is her best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette vanishes. It all began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle --…


Book cover of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Catherine McCarthy Author Of The Wolf and the Favour

From my list on a child who has a tough journey through life.

Who am I?

I'm an author of dark fiction from Wales, UK, who, for many years, taught primary school children. In my own writing I often gravitate towards the child’s point of view, and the same can be said of the fiction I choose to read. As a teacher I dealt with children’s issues on a day-to-day basis, and sometimes you wonder how these kids survive, or at least you understand the trauma they carry for the rest of their lives. But what about those who manage to rise above it? Those are the characters whose stories I love to read. The child lurks in all of us, and we must never lose sight of that fact.

Catherine's book list on a child who has a tough journey through life

Catherine McCarthy Why did Catherine love this book?

I taught primary school children for many years, including children with a variety of learning difficulties.

It just so happened that at the time I was reading The Curious Incident I was also teaching a young boy with autistic spectrum disorder. The main character in the novel, Christopher Boone, shared so many character traits with the boy in my class that I pictured him the whole way through.

It’s not easy to write about neurodivergent people, you have to get it right as the last thing you want to do is patronize or stereotype. In my opinion, the author did an incredible job. I laughed and I cried, and I’m sure you will do the same.

By Mark Haddon,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year

'Outstanding...a stunningly good read' Observer

'Mark Haddon's portrayal of an emotionally dissociated mind is a superb achievement... Wise and bleakly funny' Ian McEwan

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the…


Book cover of The Count of Monte Cristo

Paul Wood Author Of How to Escape from Prison

From my list on escaping prison and helping you change your life.

Who am I?

I was imprisoned for murder as an 18-year-old. I was a high school dropout who was addicted to drugs and didn’t have any hope for the future. Each of the books recommended contributed to my own journey of transformation. I read them all while I was in prison. Some of them while I was in maximum security or solitary confinement. Each recommendation helped me escape that life and its horrors. 

Paul's book list on escaping prison and helping you change your life

Paul Wood Why did Paul love this book?

I read this adventure novel when I was feeling vengeful against society. When I still hadn’t managed to get past being labeled as a murderer.

It focuses on the themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy, and forgiveness. It made me think about the future and that the mindset I had at that moment wasn’t helpful to me. Nor was it one I needed to hold on to. It also taught me about the difference between being ignorant and dumb. This gave me hope for my own future and helped motivate me to get educated.

By Alexandre Dumas, Robin Buss (translator),

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Count of Monte Cristo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The epic tale of wrongful imprisonment, adventure and revenge, in its definitive translation

Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to use the treasure to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas' epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized…


Book cover of The Vicar of Christ

Charles Rosenberg Author Of The Day Lincoln Lost

From my list on transporting you to another time and place.

Who am I?

If I hadn’t become a lawyer, I might well have been a history teacher. I’m always reminded that history is just a story that's isn't yet complete. We're constantly uncovering things that alter our knowledge of the past, but we also become aware of just how many things could have gone differently. My first alternative history novel The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington, was inspired by an 18th Century rumor that I stumbled upon: That the British army planned to kidnap George Washington and spirit him back to England to be tried for high treason. Whether that was true or not, it seemed a great plot device for an alternative history novel.

Charles' book list on transporting you to another time and place

Charles Rosenberg Why did Charles love this book?

I am lucky to have lived a few lives – I am a lawyer, was a television consultant and analyst, and am now an author.  But that’s nothing compared to this book’s protagonist, a man who was a medal of honor winner, then a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, then a monk, and finally the Pope. Creatively told and excellently written, this book inspires me to think that anything, any path is possible. 

By Walter F. Murphy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times Bestseller is now available in its 35th Anniversary Edition, featuring an extensive new introduction by Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court. (NOTE: Only the new edition from QUID PRO BOOKS is an all-new printing and includes the new Foreword, even if this description erroneously appears under used copies of old versions.) This book is universally considered to be an unusual, fascinating, and well-written observation of the life of a man who was first a hero and Medal of Honor winner from a brutal war, then Chief Justice of the United States, later a monk…


Book cover of The Day of the Jackal

David Z. Pyke Author Of Rescuing Crockett

From my list on elements of historical adventure fiction.

Who am I?

My passion for historical adventure and Texas history stems from my heritage: I’m a native Texan related to one of the Alamo defenders. My great-great-great-great-great-granduncle, Isaac Millsaps, was one of the Immortal 32, the reinforcements from Gonzales who answered William Barret Travis's call for help, rode to San Antonio, and died in the Alamo on March 6, 1836. My relationship with words began in elementary school, where I read Beowulf and Dracula by the time I was 10 years old (probably explains a lot about me). I began writing for newspapers in 1975 and have been writing professionally ever since.

David's book list on elements of historical adventure fiction

David Z. Pyke Why did David love this book?

I chose this for authenticity. Newsday's review said it was "chillingly real" and "the reader himself seems to be traveling with 'the Jackal.'"

That’s because Forsyth, as a foreign correspondent working in Europe and Africa, knew assassins, mercenaries, and arms dealers, which allowed him to craft fantastic but believable characters, settings, and situations. Forsyth opens the novel with the depiction of a real assassination attempt, employs historical figures, locations, and details, then seamlessly weaves his fictional plot into this authentic world.

Forsyth reveals lives most of us can only imagine, and he shows that wall-to-wall suspense does not require wall-to-wall action, but is built on plausible intrigue, sustained tension, and excellent writing.

By Frederick Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of the struggle to catch a killer before it's too late.

It is 1963 and an anonymous Englishman has been hired by the Operations Chief of the O.A.S. to murder General De Gaulle. A failed attempt in the previous year means the target will be nearly impossible to get to. But this latest plot involves a lethal weapon: an assassin of legendary talent.

Known only as The Jackal, this remorseless and deadly killer must be stopped, but how do you track a man who exists in name alone?


5 book lists we think you will like!

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