100 books like Pygmalion

By George Bernard Shaw,

Here are 100 books that Pygmalion fans have personally recommended if you like Pygmalion. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Life and Legacy of Annie Oakley

Cinda Gault Author Of This Godforsaken Place

From my list on tenacious women who won't be denied their adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

Just because you’re told something is true doesn’t make it the case. I have never accepted received ideas before subjecting them first to my own personal sniff test. Non-fiction is a wonderful way of acquiring knowledge, and stories open a door to the human soul to make possible living through someone else’s sensibility. Life becomes more vibrant and meaningful. My Ph.D. in English taught me to analyze the ways writers tell their stories. Add in my own life experience, and something magical happens during the creative process. Whether writing historical, literary, or popular fiction, I can’t help but reshape limitation into independence and personal freedom.

Cinda's book list on tenacious women who won't be denied their adventures

Cinda Gault Why did Cinda love this book?

While researching Annie Oakley as a character in my novel, I was amazed by what an exceptional icon she was. This non-fiction book gives sumptuous detail about a singular woman and the life she led. Oakley met Frank at a shooting competition, where she beat him by only one shot. Rather than becoming defensive, he married her and became her agent. Clearly, she didn't need his help to do what she did better than anyone else in the world, but he helped showcase her skills for adoring crowds in a rough and tumble business. My protagonist Abigail was inspired by her, and frankly so am I.

By Glenda Riley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With a widowed mother and six siblings, Annie Oakley first became a trapper, hunter, and sharpshooter simply to put food on the table. Yet her genius with the gun eventually led to her stardom in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show during the latter half of the nineteenth century. The archetypal western woman, Annie Oakley urged women to take up shooting to procure food, protect themselves, and enjoy healthy exercise, yet she was also the proper Victorian lady, demurely dressed and skeptical about the value of women's suffrage. Glenda Riley presents the first interpretive biography of the complex woman who was…

Book cover of Atlas Shrugged

Mark Burgess Author Of Slogans: The end of sympathy

From my list on a vision of a near future society in trouble.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scientist and technologist, trained in theoretical quantum physics, who became an Emeritus Professor of Network Technology from Oslo’s metropolitan university. I’ve strenuously tried to communicate the wonder of science to students and industry throughout my career. I’m also a long-standing fan of science fiction who grew up with heroes in both fact and fiction. The idea of future society has haunted me my whole life. I’m an optimist, who looks to the darker tales as warnings of futures we hope to avoid. Read these tales with a determination for us all to do better.

Mark's book list on a vision of a near future society in trouble

Mark Burgess Why did Mark love this book?

This book was a forerunner and inspiration to the big society science fiction of the John Brunner era, and (like much of her writing) should properly be understood as an alternative reality science fiction, imitated by many writers including Brunner and Robert Silverberg.

Rand became a controversial figure because of the cult that grew up around her, promoting elitist ideas, and driven mainly by her husband. Yet Rand herself was a brilliant writer and thinker who wanted to be a philosopher. The writing is not only deeply intellectual, it was deeply character driven.

As a non-native English speaker, her writing style is rich and could be the envy of native writers. Perhaps too long, this book is nevertheless a must read for any science fiction fan. 

By Ayn Rand,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Atlas Shrugged as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand's greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy through an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics, and sex. Set in a near-future U.S.A. whose economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life-from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy...to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction...to the philosopher who becomes a pirate...to the woman who…

Book cover of The Stone Angel

Lynne Bowen Author Of Whoever Gives Us Bread: The Story of Italians in British Columbia

From my list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young person I loved to read history novels, but each book had to be about either British monarchs or American generals. Then I watched the movie Bye Bye Blues, a Canadian prairie story by Anne Wheeler, and realized for the first time that the story was about me, about us. It was such a heady feeling that I decided to study Western Canadian history at university. Three weeks after I got my M.A. from the University of Victoria I was offered the chance to write about Vancouver Island coal miners and the rest, as they say, is quite literally history.

Lynne's book list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada

Lynne Bowen Why did Lynne love this book?

Who would have thought that a novel about a ninety-year-old woman determined to avoid being put into a nursing home would become required reading for high school and university students? And yet this novel has been listed by several sources as one of the greatest Canadian novels ever written. Laurence’s writing style inspired me and gave me the assurance to write about Western Canadian history. It demonstrates one of the reasons why Laurence was named posthumously as “A Person of National Historic Significance” by the Canadian government in 2018.

By Margaret Laurence,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Stone Angel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Above the town, on the hill brow, the stone angel used to stand. I wonder if she stands there yet...

Hagar Shipley - an irascible, independent nonagenarian - has lived a quiet life full of rage. As she approaches her death, she retreats from the squabbling of her son and his wife to reflect on her past - her ill-advised marriage, her two sons, the harshness of farm life on the prairie, her own failures and the betrayals and failures of others.

Book cover of Lives of Girls and Women

William Illsey Atkinson Author Of Sun's Strong Immortality

From my list on well-written slam-bang adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had a rotten childhood. Stuck in bed with asthma, I couldn’t do sports; but I could roam space and time with books, especially science fiction. Yet when I tried to re-read my beloved sci-fi titles as an adult, I got a shock. The books with sound science had terrible writing; the well-written books were full of scientific schlock. I realized that if I wanted sci-fi that was both technically astute and rewarding to read, I’d have to write it myself. And so I did.

William's book list on well-written slam-bang adventures

William Illsey Atkinson Why did William love this book?

Great adventure doesn’t always mean jungles, star-wastes, or derring-do. The human heart – what one poet called "the wilderness behind the eyes" – can be as electrifying as any firefight. In this tradition, Alice Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. Lives of Girls and Women is her second novel, and like all great adventure stories will tell you more about yourself than you ever suspected. As Sir Walter Scott said of Jane Austen: "That young lady has a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life."

By Alice Munro,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lives of Girls and Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through the women and men she encounters, Del becomes aware of her own potential and the excitement of an unknown independence. Alice Munro's previous books include "Dance of the Happy Shades" and "The Beggar Maid", which was nominated for the 1980 Booker Prize.

Book cover of Missing Class

James M. Jasper Author Of The Emotions of Protest

From my list on what drives protestors.

Why am I passionate about this?

James M. Jasper has written a number of books and articles on politics and social movements since the 1980s, trying to get inside them to see what participants feel and think. In recent years he has examined the many emotions, good and bad, involved in political engagement. He summarizes what he has learned in this short book, The Emotions of Protest, taking the reader step by step through the emotions that generate actions, to those that link us to groups, down to the emotional and moral impacts of social movements. The book is hopeful and inspiring but at the same time also clear-eyed about the limitations of protest politics.

James' book list on what drives protestors

James M. Jasper Why did James love this book?

Meetings are one of the main activities of social movements, and plenty of misunderstandings occur based on the way people talk due to different backgrounds. This amusing book focuses on the effects of social class, which both activists and scholars have tended to forget about in recent years. If nothing else, it will give you something to think about during your next meeting.

By Betsy Leondar-Wright,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Many activists worry about the same few problems in their groups: low turnout, inactive members, conflicting views on racism, overtalking, and offensive violations of group norms. But in searching for solutions to these predictable and intractable troubles, progressive social movement groups overlook class culture differences. Missing Class looks through a class lens and discovers that members with different class life experiences tend to approach these problems differently. Using this class lens enables readers to envision new solutions, solutions that draw on the strengths of all class cultures to form the basis of stronger cross-class and multiracial movements.

In Missing Class,…

Book cover of Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath

Alice Robinson Author Of If You Go

From my list on women in the chaos of midlife.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always tried to find books that explain and explore my life stage. When I was a young mother of little babies, I read many books about early motherhood. When I was studying and travelling and working as a waitress, those topics were represented in my reading too. Now that I’m a woman writer in midlife, with growing children and an art practice, I’m keen to read books by and about women writers who evoke the joys and struggles of this period: aging, the tensions between freedom and responsibility, marriage and separation, ambition and desire. 

Alice's book list on women in the chaos of midlife

Alice Robinson Why did Alice love this book?

I was absolutely riveted by this huge doorstop of a biography exploring the life of Sylvia Plath. I’m not a diehard Plath fan per se, but I am always drawn to books about writers’ lives.

The intersection of Plath’s death with her experiences of motherhood, her writing life, and the failure of her marriage also brings this story firmly into my wheelhouse. (While Plath might not technically have been in midlife, I would argue that she was already precociously facing many of its common pitfalls when she died.)

This book is meticulously researched and includes new archival evidence. I loved it so much that after I finished its 600-something pages, I wanted to start over immediately.

By Heather Clark,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Red Comet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first biography of this great and tragic poet that takes advantage of a wealth of new material, this is an unusually balanced, comprehensive and definitive life of Sylvia Plath.

'Surely the final, the definitive, biography of Sylvia Plath' Ali Smith


Drawing on a wealth of new material, Heather Clark brings to life the great and tragic poet, Sylvia Plath. Refusing to read Plath's work as if her every act was a harbinger…

Book cover of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

A.E. Walnofer Author Of A Girl Called Foote

From my list on servants fake and otherwise.

Why am I passionate about this?

None of us had any choice about where or when we were born, nor under what circumstances. Marie Antoinette could have just as easily been born the illegitimate daughter of a scullery maid as the archduchess of Austria that she was. That’s why the whole servant-employer dynamic has always intrigued me. Servants are, in fact, real people, always have been. Though they’re often treated as little more than sticks of furniture, servants have been overhearing, observing, revealing, and plotting a lot of fascinating things throughout all time.

A.E.'s book list on servants fake and otherwise

A.E. Walnofer Why did A.E. love this book?

Wellborn Margaret Macy is not used to hard work, so when she falls on hard times and disguises herself as a maid in a gentleman’s palatial home, she’s going to have difficulties. However, it’s not just a matter of getting the silver shiny as she also has to remain undetected by her employer…who tried to court her not so very long ago.

By Julie Klassen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Regency Romance and Mystery from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen

Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant…

Book cover of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Melinda Lewis Author Of Social Policy for Effective Practice: A Strengths Approach

From my list on igniting students’ passions about policy change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a policy advocate, grassroots activist, university professor, and author committed to social change—at scale—to advance social work values of racial, economic, environmental, and social justice. Recognizing that most social workers are drawn to our profession because they want to make a difference in the lives of their clients, one by one, I invest my energies and skills to making policy study and practice accessible, relevant, and urgent. My students quickly get used to noting the book recommendations I sprinkle throughout class discussions and in assignment feedback, because when you see the world through a social policy frame, everything has a policy implication! 

Melinda's book list on igniting students’ passions about policy change

Melinda Lewis Why did Melinda love this book?

Wilkerson’s scholarship on race and injustice is certainly not a secret, but I still find some colleagues who have not yet read this book.

To convince people to pick it up, I promise that its language is poetic and imminently accessible, and I share the two pieces that have remained top of mind for years: first, Wilkerson’s research about the lessons Nazi Germany took from the racial caste system of Jim Crow United States, and second, the way she crafts an analogy of a crumbling house to make the case for reparations for racist harm, which—like cracks in the foundation of a house you just bought—may not be your fault but are still your problem.

I am forever grateful to Wilkerson for gifting us her insights and rhetorical tools, conveyed so skillfully in this tremendous contribution.

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


"Powerful and timely ... I cannot recommend it strongly enough" - Barack Obama

From one of America's most celebrated and insightful writers, the moving, eye-opening bestseller about what lies hidden under the surface of ordinary lives

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human…

Book cover of Classes and Cultures: England 1918-1951

Robert Colls Author Of George Orwell: English Rebel

From my list on George Orwell.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was first introduced to George Orwell on 30 October 1969 when I bought the Penguin Road to Wigan Pier at Sussex University bookshop. The light blue sticker on the inside verifies time and place. The price shows that I was willing to fork out as much as 4 shillings, (or two days worth of cigarettes) for one of the most enduring friendships of my life.

Robert's book list on George Orwell

Robert Colls Why did Robert love this book?

If you are going to read Orwell you need to know something about what Mckibbin calls the “fundamental mentalities and structures” of English social and political life. This is the best, covering Orwell’s life-span. These were the years when England first began to see itself as ‘democratic’, and yet, “the great mass of the English people was unmoved, or unmoved directly, by the cultures of the country’s intellectual elites”. Enter George Orwell.

By Ross McKibbin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ross McKibbin investigates the ways in which 'class culture' characterized English society, and intruded into every aspect of life, during the period from 1918 to the mid-1950s. He demonstrates the influence of social class within the mini 'cultures' which together constitute society: families and family life, friends and neighbours, the workplace, schools and colleges, religion, sexuality, sport, music, film, and radio. Dr McKibbin considers the ways in which
language was used (both spoken and written) to define one's social grouping, and how far changes occurred to language and culture more generally as a result of increasing American influence. He assesses…

Book cover of Vampire Academy

Jacey K. Dew Author Of Three Souls

From my list on fantasy to bring magic to familiar worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I was consistently described as one who had her head in the clouds. I was far away imagining all sorts of fantastical things; dragons soaring in the sky, a witch blasting a fireball in the grocery store, a werewolf coming to eat the gym teacher, the coffee barista is actually a vampire, etc. There is something alluring about supernatural beings existing in our often mundane world; whether they are being subjected to the same life we are or are wreaking havoc for any reason.

Jacey's book list on fantasy to bring magic to familiar worlds

Jacey K. Dew Why did Jacey love this book?

Rose and Lissa are dragged back to a school for vampires; though it’s a fair bit more complicated than that, with vampires of different sorts and being able to wield magic.

Rose is Lissa’s bodyguard and the school trains their powers, so that Rose will be able to protect Lissa (who is a princess) when the time comes. Their lessons don’t stop them from getting into a whole swath of familiar teenage drama.

By Richelle Mead,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Vampire Academy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Now a major TV series on SKY & NOWTV


Lissa Dragomir is a mortal vampire. She must be protected at all times from the fiercest and most dangerous vampires of all - the ones who will never die.

Rose Hathaway is Lissa's best friend - and her bodyguard.

Now, after two years of illicit freedom, they've been dragged back inside the iron gates of St. Vladimir's Academy. The girls must survive a world of forbidden romances, a ruthless social scene and terrifying night-time rituals. But above…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in social class, London, and presidential biography?

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