100 books like Paradise

By Abdulrazak Gurnah,

Here are 100 books that Paradise fans have personally recommended if you like Paradise. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Cutting for Stone

By Abraham Verghese,

Book cover of Cutting for Stone

Olive Collins Author Of The Tide Between Us

From the list on multi-generational historical fiction.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated with our familial, political, and cultural legacies, particularly events that displaced or forced immigration upon its people. Being Irish, we are dispersed to the four corners of the earth and often, I think about the millions of Irish immigrants who fled our shores to start again in a different country with a different culture and my imagination comes alive at the sights and changes they saw and how they had to adapt. I’ve written four historical fiction novels. One is based solely in Ireland, the others are based between Ireland and Jamaica, New York, and the American West. All of my novels are multigenerational.

Olive's book list on multi-generational historical fiction

Why did Olive love this book?

This sweeping historical novel took me from Addis Ababa to New York. It gave me insight to the missionary medics and the political landscape of Ethiopia. Marion and his conjoined twin brother Shavia are the central characters in this multigenerational saga. After their mother’s death and the father’s disappearance they were orphaned. Marion’s quest is to find the identity of his biological father which takes us to New York where Marion, like his father, is a renowned surgeon. The reason the novel remains one of favorites is that there are many levels to the story, historical and philosophical, it's also emotive and wise with a cast of unforgettable characters. 

By Abraham Verghese,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Cutting for Stone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

My brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954. We took our first breaths in the thick air of Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia. Bound by birth, we were driven apart by bitter betrayal. No surgeon can heal the would that divides two brothers. Where silk and steel fail, story must succeed. To begin at the beginning...


Long Walk to Freedom

By Nelson Mandela,

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

Paul Wood Author Of How to Escape from Prison

From the 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

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…


The Old Drift

By Namwali Serpell,

Book cover of The Old Drift

Eugen Bacon Author Of Mage of Fools

From the list on afro-centric speculative fiction from Africa.

Who am I?

I am an African Australian writer and have a deep passion for black people's stories. I write across genres and forms, and my award-winning works are mostly Afrocentric. I have a master's degree in distributed computer systems, with distinction, a master's degree in creative writing, and a PhD in creative writing. I am especially curious about unique voices in black speculative fiction in transformative stories of culture, diversity, climate change, writing the other, and betwixt. I am an author of several novels and fiction collections, and a finalist in the 2022 World Fantasy Award. I was announced in the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships for ‘doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction’.

Eugen's book list on afro-centric speculative fiction from Africa

Why did Eugen love this book?

Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift is a cross-genre book that addresses matters of colonialism and a future Africa with brashness and philosophy. Its subversive text is far-reaching in poignant fiction imbued with intimacy and cultural convergence. The story pays special attention to mothers and children, the importance of identity, and the intense need we have as humans to belong.  

By Namwali Serpell,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Old Drift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A dazzling debut, establishing Namwali Serpell as a writer on the world stage.”—Salman Rushdie, The New York Times Book Review
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Dwight Garner, The New York Times • The New York Times Book Review • Time • NPR • The Atlantic • BuzzFeed • Tordotcom • Kirkus Reviews • BookPage

WINNER OF: The Arthur C. Clarke Award • The Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award • The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction • The Windham-Campbell Prizes for Fiction

1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the…


The Poisonwood Bible

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Book cover of The Poisonwood Bible

Susan Shapiro Barash Author Of Maribelle's Shadow

From the list on sisters, devout or detached.

Who am I?

I'm an author of fiction and nonfiction books, focusing on how women are positioned in society. Under my real name, Susan Shapiro Barash, I have written thirteen nonfiction titles. As a fiction writer, I've published four novels, written under my pen name, Susannah Marren. For more than twenty years I taught in the Writing Department at Marymount Manhattan College and have guest taught creative nonfiction at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. I served as a literary panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, as a judge for the International Emmys, and as Vice Chair of the Mentoring Committee of the Women’s Leadership Board at the JFK School of Government, Harvard.

Susan's book list on sisters, devout or detached

Why did Susan love this book?

In this novel the mother, Orleanna, and then her four daughters, Rachel, Adah, Leah, and Ruth May, narrate the story of their lives in the Congo, where their father, Nathan Price, is a missionary during the 1960s.

It takes place during the Congo’s fight for independence and the drama is high. We realize each daughter’s ‘journey’ as she grows individually, influenced by their father’s mission and by living in Africa. All four sisters have their own destiny.

This is an unforgettable sister story, one where social influences and a life in Africa have a profound effect on the characters. I admire the distinctive portrayal of Rachel, Adah, Leah, and Ruth May, their goals, and place in the world. The backdrop of history in the Belgian Congo is larger than life. There is an underlying sense of sadness and loss, and how burdened women feel.

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Poisonwood Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**NOW INCLUDING THE FIRST CHAPTER OF DEMON COPPERHEAD: THE NEW BARBARA KINGSOLVER NOVEL**

**DEMON COPPERHEAD IS AVAILABLE NOW FOR PRE-ORDER**

An international bestseller and a modern classic, this suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and their remarkable reconstruction has been read, adored and shared by millions around the world.

'Breathtaking.' Sunday Times
'Exquisite.' The Times
'Beautiful.' Independent
'Powerful.' New York Times

This story is told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.

They carry with them everything they believe they will…


Book cover of In Search of King Solomon's Mines: A Modern Adventurer's Quest for Gold and History in the Land of the Queen of Sheba

Andrew Cairns Author Of The Witch's List

From the list on set in Africa that move, uplift, and inspire.

Who am I?

I am a Scottish writer who enjoys travelling and meeting people of different cultures and beliefs. I have always been a fan of adventure stories, particularly those with a strange or supernatural bent. My travels to The Ivory Coast and North Africa, hearing accounts of various witch stories, and encountering strange events and practices firsthand inspired me to write The Witch’s List Trilogy: the first two books published and the third in progress. 

Andrew's book list on set in Africa that move, uplift, and inspire

Why did Andrew love this book?

If you haven’t discovered Tahir Shah’s work yet, then this is a great place to start. It is about a quest the writer sets himself to discover the lost Solomon’s Mines in Ethiopia after purchasing an old map in a bazaar in Jerusalem. Shah goes off the beaten track venturing to a cliff-face monastery where the monks pull visitors up on a leather rope, to the ruined castles of Gondar, and to the rock-hewn churches at Lalibela. Most striking of all are his descriptions of an illegal gold mine that he visits where the miners dig with their bare hands. The people he meets, the strange circumstances he finds himself in, and the interesting historical and geographical background he provides all contribute to a rich and compelling account.  

By Tahir Shah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Search of King Solomon's Mines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

King Solomon, the Bible’s wisest king, possessed extraordinary wealth. The grand temple he built in Jerusalem was covered in gold from the porch to the inner sanctum, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. Long before H. Rider Haggard’s classic adventure novel King Solomon’s Mines unleashed gold fever more than a century ago, many had sought to find the source of the great king’s wealth. In this new adventure—“a hybrid of Indiana Jones and Herodotus” (Sunday Times, London)—Tahir Shah tries his hand at the quest. 
Intrigued by a map he finds in a shop not far from the site…


A Month and a Day

By Ken Saro-Wiwa,

Book cover of A Month and a Day: A Detention Diary

Andrew Cairns Author Of The Witch's List

From the list on set in Africa that move, uplift, and inspire.

Who am I?

I am a Scottish writer who enjoys travelling and meeting people of different cultures and beliefs. I have always been a fan of adventure stories, particularly those with a strange or supernatural bent. My travels to The Ivory Coast and North Africa, hearing accounts of various witch stories, and encountering strange events and practices firsthand inspired me to write The Witch’s List Trilogy: the first two books published and the third in progress. 

Andrew's book list on set in Africa that move, uplift, and inspire

Why did Andrew love this book?

This is an interesting and moving account by Nigerian writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa, which describes his non-violent struggle against big petroleum companies and the military dictatorship who were involved in human rights and environmental abuses of the Ogoni people. He describes his detention and the events leading up to it in harrowing detail and gives lucid convincing arguments against his accusers. A truly inspirational message, especially given that much of it was written in secret in prison, and knowing that he was unjustly tried and executed in 1995, shortly after the book’s publication. 

By Ken Saro-Wiwa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Month and a Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of What the Day Owes the Night

Andrew Cairns Author Of The Witch's List

From the list on set in Africa that move, uplift, and inspire.

Who am I?

I am a Scottish writer who enjoys travelling and meeting people of different cultures and beliefs. I have always been a fan of adventure stories, particularly those with a strange or supernatural bent. My travels to The Ivory Coast and North Africa, hearing accounts of various witch stories, and encountering strange events and practices firsthand inspired me to write The Witch’s List Trilogy: the first two books published and the third in progress. 

Andrew's book list on set in Africa that move, uplift, and inspire

Why did Andrew love this book?

This is a story of love and friendship set in 1950s Algeria before and during the Algerian War of Independence. The main character, Younes, is an Arabic Algerian but forms friendships with some European boys and falls in love with Emilie a beautiful European girl. Great descriptions of the environment and the characters’ feelings make for an engrossing and moving read as Younes has to make choices about his loyalties towards his friends and family from the two different cultures. 

By Yasmina Khadra,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What the Day Owes the Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Darling, this is Younes. Yesterday he was my nephew, today he is our son'.

Younes' life is changed forever when his poverty-stricken parents surrender him to the care of his more affluent uncle. Re-named Jonas, he grows up in a colourful colonial Algerian town, and forges a unique friendship with a group of boys, an enduring bond that nothing - not even the Algerian Revolt - will shake. He meets Emilie - a beautiful, beguiling girl who captures the hearts of all who see her - and an epic love story is set in motion.

Time and again Jonas is…


Half of a Yellow Sun

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,

Book cover of Half of a Yellow Sun

Sarah Hart Author Of Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature

From the list on mathematician characters.

Who am I?

I’m a mathematician and incurable book-lover. It’s been one of the joys of my life to explore the links between mathematics and literature. The stories we tell ourselves about mathematics and mathematicians are fascinating, and especially the ways in which mathematicians are portrayed in fiction. I’m the first female Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, a role created in 1597. I don’t fit the mathematician stereotype of the dishevelled old man, obsessed only with numbers (well, perhaps I am slightly dishevelled), so I particularly relish books featuring mathematicians who bring more to the party than this. I hope you’ll enjoy my recommended books as much as I did!  

Sarah's book list on mathematician characters

Why did Sarah love this book?

In Odenigbo, the Professor of Statistics at Nsukka University who is a main character in Adichie’s powerful novel, she gives us a mathematician who is both brilliant and flawed, both good and bad.

He is a mass of contradictions, as we all are: a fully-rounded person. Adichie’s parents were caught up in the Biafran-Nigerian civil war – the subject of this book – and her father James Nwoye Adichie was a real-life Nsukka statistician.

There’s a tell-tale gap in his research output: between 1967 and 1974 he published no papers. Call me sentimental, but when Adichie gives to Odenigbo’s lost research articles titles that might fit with her father’s work, I like to think that it’s a tribute to the work he also did not have the chance to complete.

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Half of a Yellow Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE BAILEYS PRIZE BEST OF THE BEST

Winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007, this is a heartbreaking, exquisitely written literary masterpiece

This highly anticipated novel from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is set in Nigeria during the 1960s, at the time of a vicious civil war in which a million people died and thousands were massacred in cold blood.

The three main characters in the novel are swept up in the violence during these turbulent years. One is a young boy from a poor village who is employed at a university lecturer's house. The other is a…


Moja Means One

By Muriel Feelings, Tom Feelings (illustrator),

Book cover of Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book

Kwame Nyong'o Author Of A Tasty Maandazi

From the list on what life is like in Africa for children.

Who am I?

As a Kenyan/American raised in both countries, I noticed growing up that there was very little creative content about Africa. Whilst in Kenya, I experienced much joy and fun in the culture and felt that other people in other parts of the world would also enjoy it. Loving reading, drawing, comics, and movies, I felt it would be useful to create such content about Africa. I was very fortunate to study arts at an undergraduate and graduate level in the US. This formal training, combined with extensive travel around Africa and the diaspora, has informed my sense of book and film creation and appreciation. I hope you enjoy this book list that I’ve curated!

Kwame's book list on what life is like in Africa for children

Why did Kwame love this book?

This well acclaimed and award-winning book by Muriel Feelings is great for anyone interested in learning about culture through language. What I love so much about this book is its simplicity. The book teaches how to count up to ten in Swahili, using East African imagery and culture, and it has pronunciation keys as well. The detailed monochromatic illustrations create a mood of awe and reverie.

By Muriel Feelings, Tom Feelings (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. The Swahili words for the first ten numbers are introduced together with information on East African culture


The Whisper of the Palms

By Harriet E. Michael,

Book cover of The Whisper of the Palms

Joan Deneve Author Of Saving Eric

From the list on the wonders of life and mission work in Africa.

Who am I?

My passion for Africa came from my college days at Tennessee Temple University. Each year, the university would sponsor a missionary conference, and I always found myself drawn to the African exhibits. I am particularly passionate about missionary work in Africa and the challenges that it presents. Africa is a vast and splendid place with cultures as diverse as the climates in which they live. My research has only deepened my great love for this continent and the precious people who live there.

Joan's book list on the wonders of life and mission work in Africa

Why did Joan love this book?

I loved this book! It is an engaging inspirational novel of two people who love God and answer His call to go to Africa as missionaries. The author does a wonderful job of putting the reader right there in the scene. I especially loved the way the characters at times struggled in their faith but always sought God's will. This is a really great book that will help to strengthen the reader's faith and walk with God. Harriet Michael was born in Nigeria, West Africa. The Whisper of the Palms, based on the love story of her parents, offers an authentic insight into a missionary’s life in Africa.

By Harriet E. Michael,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Africa beckoned ... but would she have to go alone?            
Growing up in the foothills of North Carolina, Ali Blackwell dreamed of going places she had only seen in books and magazines. She lived in a small farmhouse that her farmer father had built with his own hands, and the prospects of ever leaving her little town of Union Mills appeared unlikely. Her family barely scraped by on the sale of produce grown by her dad and brothers and the supplemental income they earned working at the nearby textile mill.  
Kyle Edmonds, a few years her elder, lived in a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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