100 books like Persepolis

By Marjane Satrapi,

Here are 100 books that Persepolis fans have personally recommended if you like Persepolis. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

Nazila Fathi Author Of The Lonely War: One Woman's Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran

From my list on the feeling of having your identity taken from you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with historical novels as a kid after I began reading books by French authors Alexandre Dumas, the father and the son. I was the kind of kid who read for days and even nights to finish a story. Books moved me, inspired me, and gave me the strength and wisdom that I have today. I cannot imagine a world without them. 

Nazila's book list on the feeling of having your identity taken from you

Nazila Fathi Why did Nazila love this book?

This was a page-turner and a great introduction to Russian history. Massie described her so vividly that years later, I can still visualize Catherine. The most fascinating aspect of the book for me was how a German child named Sophie reinvents herself to become Catherine the Great, the longest-serving Russian empress. 

By Robert K. Massie,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Catherine the Great as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fascinating true story behind HBO's Catherine the Great starring Dame Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great.

Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For thirty-four years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution.

Robert K. Massie brings an eternally fascinating woman together with her family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers and enemies - vividly and triumphantly to life.

History offers…


Book cover of Men We Reaped: A Memoir

Sarah L. Sanderson Author Of The Place We Make: Breaking the Legacy of Legalized Hate

From my list on memoirs to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I chose to study creative nonfiction during my MFA program so I could learn what makes great memoirs work, but I first fell in love with the genre as a teenager, when I picked up Angela’s Ashes off my mom’s bedside table. I’m grateful for the way memoir gives me a window into the lives of people of other races, religions, abilities, experiences, and even other centuries. While my book The Place We Make isn’t only a memoir—it’s a blend of memoir and historical biography—it was my desire to both understand the view through my research subject’s eyes, and analyze how I was seeing the world myself, that drove me to write it.

Sarah's book list on memoirs to see the world through someone else’s eyes

Sarah L. Sanderson Why did Sarah love this book?

Men We Reaped blew me away.

Not only does Ward provide an incredibly personal and achingly beautiful glimpse of a culture I was unfamiliar with—a rural, impoverished Black community in the Deep South—but she does so with an innovative structure that simply dazzled me.

One strand of the book opens at the beginning of Ward’s life, while the other strand picks up at the end of her tale, with the most recent of five harrowing deaths due to gun violence that she and her community have endured. Each part of the story then alternately proceeds toward the same point, forwards along her childhood and backwards through each death, until both strands wind up in the middle of the story. It’s brilliantly executed. 

By Jesmyn Ward,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Men We Reaped as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_______________ 'A brutal, moving memoir ... Anyone who emerges from America's black working-class youth with words as fine as Ward's deserves a hearing' - Guardian 'Raw, beautiful and dangerous' - New York Times Book Review 'Lavishly endowed with literary craft and hard-earned wisdom' - Time _______________ The beautiful, haunting memoir from Jesmyn Ward, the first woman to win the National Book Award twice 'And then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped' - Harriet Tubman Jesmyn Ward's acclaimed memoir shines…


Book cover of The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Rosalyn Schanzer

From my list on terrifying tales weaved together with magnificent art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a spy aiming to uncover hidden documents, private journals, and secret messages penned in the distant past. I am a detective racing to reveal the world’s most dastardly deeds and daring escapades. I am an adventurer zooming around the planet along with history’s bravest heroes and most despicable villains. I am an artist whose illustrations transform ancient stone-cold statues by turning them into living, breathing human beings that laugh and cry, win and lose, love and hate, and spring vividly to life. And I am a storyteller striving to lure readers of all ages, whether they are children or adults.

Rosalyn's book list on terrifying tales weaved together with magnificent art

Rosalyn Schanzer Why did Rosalyn love this book?

Don’t worry; this gripping 534-page tale of mystery can sweep you through its pages in a single day, especially since its gritty-but-stunning brown and white artwork acts like a movie as it speeds you and a young orphaned boy through an underground train station and across the streets of Paris and up a clock tower in 1931. Why was the boy’s dead father obsessed with repairing a broken clock? And who is the mysterious angry old man anyway?

By Brian Selznick,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Invention of Hugo Cabret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Orphan, clock keeper, thief: Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. Combining elements of picture book, graphic novel, and film, Caldecott Honor artist Selznick breaks open the novel form to create an entirely new reading experience in this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.


Book cover of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Nazila Fathi Author Of The Lonely War: One Woman's Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran

From my list on the feeling of having your identity taken from you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with historical novels as a kid after I began reading books by French authors Alexandre Dumas, the father and the son. I was the kind of kid who read for days and even nights to finish a story. Books moved me, inspired me, and gave me the strength and wisdom that I have today. I cannot imagine a world without them. 

Nazila's book list on the feeling of having your identity taken from you

Nazila Fathi Why did Nazila love this book?

The dark place Dai depicts in this book during the Chines Cultural Revolution is very similar to the 1980s when I grew up in Iran after the revolution. Through banned novels, the characters in the book, just like me, found a way to escape the grim realities of their lives and found the strength they needed to dream and grow. Their identities, like mine, were shaped by the oppressive environments they lived in and their efforts to reinvent themselves under those conditions.

By Dai Sijie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1971: Mao's cultural Revolution is at its peak. Two sons of doctors, sent to 're-education' camps, forced to carry buckets of excrement up and down mountain paths, have only their sense of humour to keep them going. Although the attractive daughter of the local tailor also helps to distract them from the task at hand.

The boys' true re-education starts, however, when they discover a hidden suitcase packed with the great Western novels of the nineteenth century. Their lives are transformed. And not only their lives: after listening to the stories of Balzac, the little seamstress will never be the…


Book cover of The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale

Donald L. Willerton Author Of Teddy's War

From my list on what our fathers never told us about WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father never talked about his experiences during the war. After he died at 67, we found his handwritten itinerary of three years and ten days in the Army Signal Corps. Plotting it on a map sparked a passion that continued for years, taking me twice to sites in Europe and through hundreds of records and books. I am amazed at all he never told us—the Queen Mary troopship, his radar unit’s landing on Omaha Beach (D+26), the Normandy Breakout, Paris after liberation, fleeing Bastogne, and so on. I grew up on WWII films but never grasped till now what my dad may have seen. 

Donald's book list on what our fathers never told us about WWII

Donald L. Willerton Why did Donald love this book?

To learn about the Holocaust, I read personal remembrances, eyewitness accounts, and detailed descriptions of ghettos, camps, and transports, but this graphic novel based on Spiegelman’s father captured me like none of the others. Its words tell its terrible story masterfully and its drawings fill in what words can’t say, both as his father lived it and as his son learns about it. Banning it from U.S. schools would be completely wrongheaded. It should be required reading.

By Art Spiegelman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first and only graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize, MAUS is a brutally moving work of art about a Holocaust survivor -- and the son who survives him

'The first masterpiece in comic book history' The New Yorker

Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father's story. Approaching the unspeakable through the diminutive (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), Vladek's harrowing story of survival is woven into the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father.

Against the backdrop…


Book cover of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir

Sarah L. Sanderson Author Of The Place We Make: Breaking the Legacy of Legalized Hate

From my list on memoirs to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I chose to study creative nonfiction during my MFA program so I could learn what makes great memoirs work, but I first fell in love with the genre as a teenager, when I picked up Angela’s Ashes off my mom’s bedside table. I’m grateful for the way memoir gives me a window into the lives of people of other races, religions, abilities, experiences, and even other centuries. While my book The Place We Make isn’t only a memoir—it’s a blend of memoir and historical biography—it was my desire to both understand the view through my research subject’s eyes, and analyze how I was seeing the world myself, that drove me to write it.

Sarah's book list on memoirs to see the world through someone else’s eyes

Sarah L. Sanderson Why did Sarah love this book?

This whole book is a powerful exploration of alcoholism, homelessness, and the father-son relationship, but it was a single chapter that made me write “WOW” in the margins.

“Same Again” is a four-page chapter composed of nothing but short sentences that contain only euphemisms for alcohol, from “the usual” to “same again.” That sounds like it wouldn’t work, but it does. It’s poetic, gripping, and follows a narrative arc through a single evening at the bar.

Read the whole book, but don’t skip this mesmerizing chapter.  

By Nick Flynn,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Another Bullshit Night in Suck City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nick Flynn met his father when he was working as a caseworker in a homeless shelter in Boston. As a teenager he'd received letters from this stranger father, a self-proclaimed poet and con man doing time in federal prison for bank robbery. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City tells the story of the trajectory that led Nick and his father onto the streets, into that shelter, and finally to each other.


Book cover of The Wreck of the Zephyr

Rosalyn Schanzer

From my list on terrifying tales weaved together with magnificent art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a spy aiming to uncover hidden documents, private journals, and secret messages penned in the distant past. I am a detective racing to reveal the world’s most dastardly deeds and daring escapades. I am an adventurer zooming around the planet along with history’s bravest heroes and most despicable villains. I am an artist whose illustrations transform ancient stone-cold statues by turning them into living, breathing human beings that laugh and cry, win and lose, love and hate, and spring vividly to life. And I am a storyteller striving to lure readers of all ages, whether they are children or adults.

Rosalyn's book list on terrifying tales weaved together with magnificent art

Rosalyn Schanzer Why did Rosalyn love this book?

High atop a cliff overlooking the sea sits the battered remains of a sailboat. But how did it get there? An old man insists that the waves had tossed it all the way up during a storm a very long time ago, although this clearly seems to be impossible. Or is it? In this magical tale of adventure, a young boy had aimed to prove that he was the most brilliant sailor his villagers had ever seen, so he set out to prove it. What happened when he was blown to a brand-new land, and did he survive? I have always enjoyed Chris’s artwork and you may have overlooked this particular book, so pick it up and check it out.

By Chris Van Allsburg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wreck of the Zephyr as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

At the edge of a cliff lies the wreck of a small sailboat. How did it get there? "Waves carried it up in a storm," says an old sailor. But is it possible that waves could ever go that high?

There is another story - the story of a boy and his desire to be the greatest sailor, the story of a storm that carried the boy and his boat to a place where boats glide like gulls high above the water.


Book cover of The Blue Aspic

Rosalyn Schanzer

From my list on terrifying tales weaved together with magnificent art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a spy aiming to uncover hidden documents, private journals, and secret messages penned in the distant past. I am a detective racing to reveal the world’s most dastardly deeds and daring escapades. I am an adventurer zooming around the planet along with history’s bravest heroes and most despicable villains. I am an artist whose illustrations transform ancient stone-cold statues by turning them into living, breathing human beings that laugh and cry, win and lose, love and hate, and spring vividly to life. And I am a storyteller striving to lure readers of all ages, whether they are children or adults.

Rosalyn's book list on terrifying tales weaved together with magnificent art

Rosalyn Schanzer Why did Rosalyn love this book?

Destitute Jasper Ankle will pay any price to attend his beloved opera. But when its most famous diva chokes to death on an admirer’s candied violet, a hitherto unknown beauty named Ortenzia Caviglia takes her place, and as her star rises, everyone who might stand in her way conveniently drops dead. But as her fame and fortune increase, Jasper Ankle becomes more and more impoverished, and if you are familiar with Edward Gorey’s dreadfully terrifying tales and his delicate, elegantly devilish black and white penmanship, perhaps you can imagine what is happening herein. (By the way, Gorey is also dead but you can still get hold of his evil little books.)

By Edward Gorey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ortenzia Caviglia is an undiscovered opera understudy whose lucky break results from the mysterious murder of the reigning diva. Upon hearing her sing, Jasper Ankle becomes her deepest admirer, undaunted by perilous weather and abject poverty in his quest to hear her sing. As Ortenzia's star rises, Jasper sinks further into despair, until performer and fan collide in true Edward Gorey fashion. Exquisitely illustrated with Gorey's signature pen-and-ink crosshatching, The Blue Aspic is a heart-wrenching and oddly hilarious tale of unrequited love and the dangers of celebrity.


Book cover of Girl in the Dark: A Memoir of a Life Without Light

Sarah L. Sanderson Author Of The Place We Make: Breaking the Legacy of Legalized Hate

From my list on memoirs to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I chose to study creative nonfiction during my MFA program so I could learn what makes great memoirs work, but I first fell in love with the genre as a teenager, when I picked up Angela’s Ashes off my mom’s bedside table. I’m grateful for the way memoir gives me a window into the lives of people of other races, religions, abilities, experiences, and even other centuries. While my book The Place We Make isn’t only a memoir—it’s a blend of memoir and historical biography—it was my desire to both understand the view through my research subject’s eyes, and analyze how I was seeing the world myself, that drove me to write it.

Sarah's book list on memoirs to see the world through someone else’s eyes

Sarah L. Sanderson Why did Sarah love this book?

I have been telling people about Girl in the Dark ever since I read it eight years ago. More than that—I feel like part of me has still been in Anna Lyndsey’s blackout-curtained room, with heavy tape sealing out every crack of light, ever since then.

I had never heard of her condition, which causes extremely painful sensitivity to the smallest amount of light. Lyndsey describes her physical symptoms with vivid detail, but it’s her attention to the psychological effects of being forced to withdraw from virtually all human society that makes this such a jaw-dropping read. 

By Anna Lyndsey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Haunting, lyrical, unforgettable, Girl in the Dark is a brave new memoir of a life without light.

     Anna Lyndsey was young and ambitious and worked hard; she had just bought an apartment; she was falling in love. Then what started as a mild intolerance to certain kinds of artificial light developed into a severe sensitivity to all light. 
     Now, at the worst times, Anna is forced to spend months on end in a blacked-out room, where she loses herself in audiobooks and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission, she can venture…


Book cover of A Mountain of Crumbs

Nazila Fathi Author Of The Lonely War: One Woman's Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran

From my list on the feeling of having your identity taken from you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with historical novels as a kid after I began reading books by French authors Alexandre Dumas, the father and the son. I was the kind of kid who read for days and even nights to finish a story. Books moved me, inspired me, and gave me the strength and wisdom that I have today. I cannot imagine a world without them. 

Nazila's book list on the feeling of having your identity taken from you

Nazila Fathi Why did Nazila love this book?

A Mountain of Crumbs is a memoir by Elena Gorokhovoa, a Russian girl, who grew up under the Soviet Union. Even though a religious ideology imposed more restrictions on women in Iran, I found Gorokhova’s vivid descriptions of her life and struggles similar to mine. It reminded me that authoritarian regimes are all similar in nature: controlling and overbearing. They nurture a controlling culture too. People, unknowingly, become a mirror image of the regime, just like Gorokhova’s mother. 

By Elena Gorokhova,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Elena Gorokhova’s A Mountain of Crumbs is the moving story of a Soviet girl who discovers the truths adults are hiding from her and the lies her homeland lives by.

Elena’s country is no longer the majestic Russia of literature or the tsars, but a nation struggling to retain its power and its pride. Born with a desire to explore the world beyond her borders, Elena finds her passion in the complexity of the English language—but in the Soviet Union of the 1960s such a passion verges on the subversive. Elena is controlled by the state the same way she…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in women, Iran, and the Iranian Revolution?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about women, Iran, and the Iranian Revolution.

Women Explore 590 books about women
Iran Explore 118 books about Iran
The Iranian Revolution Explore 21 books about the Iranian Revolution