96 books like Ring of Bright Water

By Gavin Maxwell,

Here are 96 books that Ring of Bright Water fans have personally recommended if you like Ring of Bright Water. 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 Road

Stephen M. Sanders Author Of Passe-Partout

From my list on dystopian and sci-fantasy novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a sci-fi/fantasy fan ever since my dad introduced me to the original Star Trek (in reruns) and The Lord of the Rings in my youth. I’ve always loved thinking about possibilities—large and small—so my work tends to think big when I write. I also write poetry, which allows me to talk about more than just the everyday or at least to find the excitement within the mundane in life. These works talk about those same “possibilities”—for better or worse, and in reading, I walk in awareness of what could be.

Stephen's book list on dystopian and sci-fantasy novels

Stephen M. Sanders Why did Stephen love this book?

Cormac McCarthy does the impossible in this book—he writes an emotionally satisfying, literary-minded travelogue of horrors. It shatters the reader but then lifts them up with its beautifully wrought prose.

Be patient: the novel gets brutally dark before the light.

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…


Book cover of Highland River

Kenneth Steven Author Of Iona: New and Selected Poems

From my list on spiritual places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a different kind of life. I was brought up by two writers who took me to magical places, far away from cities, to meet magical people. I spent my childhood searching for horse chestnuts and looking for otters. I wasn’t interested in electronic games and loud music: I wanted instead to be out in nature, watching for wild things and listening to the song of birds. It comes back to Iona, to this tiny little island on the west coast of Scotland which I will feel always is my spiritual home. In that place, I have everything I need. Nothing that a big city can offer tempts. Ever.

Kenneth's book list on spiritual places

Kenneth Steven Why did Kenneth love this book?

I choose this book because it gives me the most haunting sense of landscape and place. The author was from the northeast corner of Scotland and it was in his blood. I find it incredible that he’s able to capture it so deeply. We can feel these things, but to put them on paper is something else, a different skill. But somehow he manages to take you with him and to bring that landscape to life in the most incredible and powerful way. I suppose my greatest compliment to this book is that I wish I’d written it myself.

By Neil M. Gunn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kenn returns to the Highlands of his youth, back to the river which has haunted his dreams since boyhood. Determined to walk all the way back to its source, Kenn embarks on a journey that will lead him deep into the wilderness of his own heart.

Profound and moving, Highland River is a stirring tale of what is lost and what endures, and the unexpected ways we can be renewed.


Book cover of The Peace of Wild Things

Judy Croome Author Of the dust of hope: rune poems

From my list on for finding hope and inspiration.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a poet and a dreamer, I believe in a world where we live in harmony with other people, nature, and the Divine. During the completion of my Master of Arts degree, I discovered a love of poetry: the lyrical cadences of the romantic poems reminded me of the sung psalms of my youth. No life is without sorrow, and the gift of poetry — both writing and reading it — has offered me hope through many a dark time, inspiring me to push on towards a new dawn. My wish for you is that, in these poetry collections, you too find a light during these turbulent times that we’re living in.

Judy's book list on for finding hope and inspiration

Judy Croome Why did Judy love this book?

While this book of poems, first published in 1964, does hark back to a past era, the poems themselves are timeless. There’s an underlying sense of peace, which gives me solace when I feel bleak and filled with a nameless anxiety. Despite the sorrows, there’s grace in these poems, and in the world Berry speaks of — a simpler world than the one we live in today. Yet, each time I read them, I’m enriched with comfort and hope that frees me from the melancholy of living in a modern world that appears to be losing its way.

By Wendell Berry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

The poems of Wendell Berry invite us to stop, to think, to see the world around us, and to savour what is good. Here are consoling verses of hope and of healing; short, simple meditations on love, death, friendship, memory and belonging; luminous hymns to the land, the…


Book cover of The Knot of Vipers

Kenneth Steven Author Of Iona: New and Selected Poems

From my list on spiritual places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a different kind of life. I was brought up by two writers who took me to magical places, far away from cities, to meet magical people. I spent my childhood searching for horse chestnuts and looking for otters. I wasn’t interested in electronic games and loud music: I wanted instead to be out in nature, watching for wild things and listening to the song of birds. It comes back to Iona, to this tiny little island on the west coast of Scotland which I will feel always is my spiritual home. In that place, I have everything I need. Nothing that a big city can offer tempts. Ever.

Kenneth's book list on spiritual places

Kenneth Steven Why did Kenneth love this book?

I studied this book at school and found myself coming back to it again and again long after I had grown into adulthood. It’s inspired by a part of France that the author knew well and loved deeply. It was a place of pine forests and great summer heat, and you can smell the trees and feel yourself in that landscape on every page of the work. The book is about an old man nearing the end of his life. He is not a good man nor a kind one: quite the reverse. And yet in these pages, there is redemption: he finds himself and he finds the peace he has longed for all the days of his life.

By Francois Mauriac,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The masterpiece of one of the greatest modern Catholic writers, The Knot of Vipers tells the story of Monsieur Louis, an embittered ageing lawyer who has spread his misery to his entire estranged family. Louis writes a journal to explain to them, and to himself, why his soul has been deformed, why his heart seems like a foul nest of twisted serpents. Mauriac's novel masterfully explores the corruption caused by pride, avarice and hatred, and its opposite the divine grace that remains available to each of us until the very moment of our deaths. It is the unforgettable tale of…


Book cover of More Scenes from the Rural Life

Jonathan T. Jefferson Author Of Echoes from the Farm

From my list on rural life in upstate New York.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born in 1969 as the seventh of eight children to two Harlem-raised parents, I benefited from both the inner-city life of Queens, New York and childhood summers spent on a farm in rural upstate New York. Academic, professional, and physical accomplishments have punctuated my life. An adventurer by nature, I became the first African American to hike to the top of every mountain in the northeast US over 4,000' (115 of them) by September of 2000. At that time, less than 400 people had accomplished this feat; whereas thousands have scaled Mount Everest. My home city’s iconic landmarks create a psychological veil that blinds people to the vast open spaces that dominate New York State. 

Jonathan's book list on rural life in upstate New York

Jonathan T. Jefferson Why did Jonathan love this book?

This book can be more aptly titled “Life”. Klinkenborg’s musings over an eleven-year span while maintaining his farm in upstate New York’s Hudson Valley go well beyond the allotted time and location. His many astute observations about nature, animals, and people are expertly framed with blunt and humorous analogies. The Interlude and final chapter ("Coda") state the importance of the sciences exploring cosmology, biology, and archeology and why knowledge morphs through history. A must-read for any urbanite or suburbanite curious about country living.

By Verlyn Klinkenborg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked More Scenes from the Rural Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Verlyn Klinkenborg's regular column, The Rural Life , is one of the most read and beloved in the New York Times. Since 1997, he has written eloquently on every aspect, large and small, of life on his upstate New York farm, including his animals, the weather and landscape, and the trials and rewards of physical labor, as well as broader issues about agriculture and land use behind farming today. Klinkenborg's pieces are admired as much for their poetic writing as for their insight: peonies are the sheepdog of flowers," dry snow "tumbles offthe angled end of the plow-blade as if…


Book cover of We Took to the Woods

Shannon Bowring Author Of The Road to Dalton

From my list on capturing the Maine experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a born and bred Mainer, there are dozens of great books I could recommend set in the Pine Tree State. But the five I’ve curated capture, for me, the diversity of the Maine culture, from the long-gone loggers who made their living from the woods to the often-overlooked Indigenous communities to the mill towns struggling to survive. When a non-Mainer thinks of our state, what usually comes to mind are quaint coastal villages, lighthouses, lobster… And while those things are part of what makes Maine the place it is, there exists, both on and off the page, plenty of other experiences and histories to discover here. 

Shannon's book list on capturing the Maine experience

Shannon Bowring Why did Shannon love this book?

In lyrical prose, Rich brings the reader into her real experience as a woman living in the Maine woods during the 1930s.

Rich’s narrative often reads like an adventure story—black bears, raging snowstorms—but some of my favorite scenes center around the endless daily chores necessary to a life in the wilderness. I also love Rich’s stories of the logging camps that surround her and her husband’s homestead.

Her riveting descriptions of the annual river drives, during which logs would be floated from the forest down to the lumber and paper mills, recall a way of life nearly unfathomable for those of us in the modern age. And if all that weren’t enough, Rich’s singular, humorous voice is simply a delight to read. 

By Louise Dickinson Rich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Took to the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In her early thirties, Louise Dickinson Rich took to the woods of Maine with her husband. They found their livelihood and raised a family in the remote backcountry settlement of Middle Dam, in the Rangeley area. Rich made time after morning chores to write about their lives. We Took to the Woods is an adventure story, written with humor, but it also portrays a cherished dream awakened into full life. First published 1942.


Book cover of Consider This, Senora

Alice Neikirk Author Of The Elephant Has Two Sets of Teeth: Bhutanese Refugees and Humanitarian Governance

From my list on cross-cultural interactions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a small, rural community that is perhaps best defined by cold, grey, rainy days – perfect reading weather. I developed an interest in learning about different places and cultures through books. Then I started traveling and my interest turned into a passion, that transformed my educational journey. I completed a Masters and PhD in Anthropology and did my field research for my degree in Australia and Nepal. I still love to learn about new cultures, though the children have meant less traveling and more adventuring via books!

Alice's book list on cross-cultural interactions

Alice Neikirk Why did Alice love this book?

This work of fiction is by the incredible Harriet Doerr. I adore her because she published her first book at 74 –a wonderful reminder that the muse doesn’t fade with age.

Her lifetime of wisdom and insight comes through in her second novel, Consider This, Señora. Set in rural Mexico, this book explores interactions between ex-pats and locals, ex-pats and visitors from the ‘home’ country, and relationships between husbands and wives when they are untethered from their communities.

By Harriet Doerr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The long-awaited and highly praised second novel by the author of Stones for Ibarra. The American characters here find themselves waiting, hoping, and living in rural Mexico-a land with the power to enchant, repulse, captivate, and change all who pass through it. Named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly and a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times.


Book cover of Blackberry Wine

Maureen Thorpe Author Of Tangle of Time

From my list on how magic can change your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maureen's book list on how magic can change your life

Maureen Thorpe Why did Maureen love this book?

I read this book many years ago in 2000. This book with magic realism awoke my love of magic (buried since a child). Five bottles of homemade wine hold powerful but subtle magic which transform the hero’s life. I love the concept that there is always hope; that there is something out there if we just reach out and believe. The setting is in France which also awoke a desire to travel–and I love making homemade wine! 

By Joanne Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This captivating and charming novel from international multi-million copy seller Joanne Harris takes us back to the French village we first discovered in Chocolat. Seamlessly interweaving the past and the present, magic and memory, it is a sensual rollercoaster that will appeal to fans of Victoria Hislop, Fiona Valpy, Maggie O'Farrell and Rachel Joyce.

'Thickly sensuous, wildly indulgent, magical escapism: Chocolat lovers will drink deeply' --GUARDIAN
'Joanne Harris has the gift of conveying her delight in the sensuous pleasures of food, wine, scent and plants... Blackberry Wine has all the appeal of a velvety scented glass of vintage wine' --…


Book cover of The Railway Children

Lucia Wilson Author Of The Adventures of Cedric the Bear

From my list on thought-provoking social themes for children.

Why am I passionate about this?

There is nothing more gratifying when you are reading your own books to a group of children to see that they are eager to know what is going to happen next. My top priority is to create a story that is a page-turner. My second wish is to include social topics that provoke ideas and questions. After I read to a group of schoolchildren, I like to encourage them to discuss the themes in the story; the children are always keen to give their views. Nonetheless, adding social topics to my children’s books needs to evolve naturally; ultimately, for me, the story is king! 

Lucia's book list on thought-provoking social themes for children

Lucia Wilson Why did Lucia love this book?

The Railway Children is a rich family saga set in 1905 told from the perspective of the children, Bobbie, Phyllis, and Peter. They live a happy, comfortable life until their father is suddenly taken away by two police officers. The family is forced to move away and adapt to living in the countryside on a much-reduced income. The separation from their father is keenly felt by the children, whilst their mother hides her own distress to protect them. 

We eventually realise that an injustice has occurred, but how can the children hope to reunite with their father? The Railway might provide an answer. Edith Nesbit has created a warm and engaging novel where acts of kindness, sometimes misguided, are integral to the storytelling.

By Edith Nesbit,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Railway Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

One of the most popular classics of all time, with a wonderful introduction by multi-million bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson.

When Father is taken away unexpectedly, Roberta, Peter, Phyllis and their mother have to leave their comfortable life in London to go and live in a small cottage in the country. The children seek solace in the nearby railway station, and make friends with Perks the Porter and the Station Master himself. Each day, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis run down the field to the railway track and wave at the passing London train, sending their love to Father. Little do they…


Book cover of Atonement

Paul Tomkins Author Of London Skies

From my list on heroism and flaws of the English during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

A lover of fiction since my teens, I only really took an interest in history in my 20s. I’m fascinated with WWII and the 1950s due to family histories and having visited key sites, like Bletchley Park and the Command Bunker in Uxbridge, near where I grew up. I’m not especially patriotic, but I am proud of what Britain had to do in 1940, as well as the toll the war took and the years of recovery. But it’s also the time, albeit decreasingly so, when people still alive today can look back at their youth, and we can all have a nostalgia for that time in our lives.

Paul's book list on heroism and flaws of the English during WWII

Paul Tomkins Why did Paul love this book?

As a huge fan of Ian McEwan’s early novels with their dark drama, especially The Innocent, I initially gave up on this book after the first 70 pages—but then, thankfully, resumed a while later. 

What seemed a genteel novel about manners transforms into something much more sinister and dramatic. I loved the tense atmosphere of it, with much of the story condensed into one hot pre-war summer’s day and then the later serious repercussions from what, at the time, seem fairly harmless childish actions.

By Ian McEwan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl's imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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