100 books like Rosemary

By Kate Clifford Larson,

Here are 100 books that Rosemary fans have personally recommended if you like Rosemary. 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 Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington

Sylvia Shults Author Of Spirits of Christmas: The Dark Side of the Holidays

From my list on nonfiction books that read like a novel.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sylvia Shults is a librarian by day, a ghost hunter by night, and the “hostess with the mostest ghosties” of the Lights Out podcast. During her twenty-plus-year career in libraries, she has managed to smuggle enough words out in her pockets to put together several books of her own, including 44 Years in Darkness, Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital, and Spirits of Christmas. She sits in dark, spooky places so you don't have to, and shares her experiences of her brushes with the other side of the Veil.

Sylvia's book list on nonfiction books that read like a novel

Sylvia Shults Why did Sylvia love this book?

This book rocked my world. Imagine this: Congress is meeting to ratify the election of a new president. But half the country doesn't want the new guy; in fact, there are armed thugs wandering around the streets of Washington, making noise about insurrection. The rumors of violence are so disturbing that the police force is put on high alert, and the Vice President, carrying the election paperwork, is assigned extra security. Sound familiar? This was the situation in 1861, as Abraham Lincoln was readying himself for his trip to the Capitol to take office. The book follows his train ride there, and the writing rollicks along just like a train speeding down a track. I adored this book, and for me, it was made even more compelling because I read it about a week after the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021. As a really well-written book, filled with history…

By Ted Widmer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lincoln on the Verge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE LINCOLN FORUM BOOK PRIZE

"A Lincoln classic...superb." -The Washington Post

"A book for our time."-Doris Kearns Goodwin

Lincoln on the Verge tells the dramatic story of America's greatest president discovering his own strength to save the Republic.

As a divided nation plunges into the deepest crisis in its history, Abraham Lincoln boards a train for Washington and his inauguration-an inauguration Southerners have vowed to prevent. Lincoln on the Verge charts these pivotal thirteen days of travel, as Lincoln discovers his power, speaks directly to the public, and sees his country up close. Drawing on new research, this…


Book cover of The Sinking of the Eastland: America's Forgotten Tragedy

Sylvia Shults Author Of Spirits of Christmas: The Dark Side of the Holidays

From my list on nonfiction books that read like a novel.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sylvia Shults is a librarian by day, a ghost hunter by night, and the “hostess with the mostest ghosties” of the Lights Out podcast. During her twenty-plus-year career in libraries, she has managed to smuggle enough words out in her pockets to put together several books of her own, including 44 Years in Darkness, Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital, and Spirits of Christmas. She sits in dark, spooky places so you don't have to, and shares her experiences of her brushes with the other side of the Veil.

Sylvia's book list on nonfiction books that read like a novel

Sylvia Shults Why did Sylvia love this book?

Jay Bonansinga is best known as a horror writer – he took over the Walking Dead novels when Robert Kirkman “handed him the keys to the Jaguar”, as Jay charmingly puts it. He brings that visceral immediacy and intensity to his nonfiction as well. This is his book on the sinking of the Eastland as it was being loaded with passengers for a picnic excursion. On July 24, 1915, this tragedy claimed more lives than the Chicago Fire. Nearly 10,000 people could only stand by and watch helplessly as the overloaded Eastland rolled, righted itself, then counterbalanced and rolled to the other side, sinking in the Chicago River. Jay tells the story of the people (many of them immigrants) who lived this history, and brings their stories to life once more.

By Jay Bonansinga,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On July 24, 1915, the city of Chicago suffered a tragedy that was witnessed by nearly 10,000 bystanders and claimed more lives than the infamous Chicago Fire. But, unlike the Titanic three years before, the sinking of the steamship Eastland has been largely forgotten. Now award-winning writer and Chicagoan Jay Bonansinga has set out to discover why - and the result is a historical thriller.


Book cover of Wicked Mortals

Sylvia Shults Author Of Spirits of Christmas: The Dark Side of the Holidays

From my list on nonfiction books that read like a novel.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sylvia Shults is a librarian by day, a ghost hunter by night, and the “hostess with the mostest ghosties” of the Lights Out podcast. During her twenty-plus-year career in libraries, she has managed to smuggle enough words out in her pockets to put together several books of her own, including 44 Years in Darkness, Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital, and Spirits of Christmas. She sits in dark, spooky places so you don't have to, and shares her experiences of her brushes with the other side of the Veil.

Sylvia's book list on nonfiction books that read like a novel

Sylvia Shults Why did Sylvia love this book?

The Lore series, based on the World of Lore podcast, is a wonderful collection of the strange, bizarre, and creepy. This particular book focuses on people who gained fame through their disturbing hobbies and unpleasant predilections: serial killers, criminals, psychopaths, and other associated weirdos. I've always been drawn to collections like these, and this is one of the best. Check out the others in the series too.

By Aaron Mahnke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A chilling, lavishly illustrated who's-who of the most despicable people ever to walk the earth, featuring both rare and best-loved stories from the hit podcast Lore, now an online streaming series.

Here are the incredible true stories of some of the mortals who achieved notoriety in history and folklore through horrible means. Monsters of this sort - serial killers, desperate criminals, and socially mobile people with a much darker double-life - are, in fact, quite real . . . including H. H. Holmes, the infamous Chicago serial killer; William Brodie, the Edinburgh criminal mastermind who inspired The Strange Case of…


Book cover of Spirits of the Cage: True Accounts of Living in a Haunted Medieval Prison

Sylvia Shults Author Of Days of the Dead: A Year of True Ghost Stories

From my list on for paranormal enthusiasts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a paranormal investigator (a paranormal reporter, actually) for over a decade. One of the very best parts of my job is that I get to gorge myself on books of true accounts of the paranormal. It's exciting to see what else is out there, and what other people have experienced – both historically, and personally. I'm so grateful for the chance to add to this body of work; there are many renowned investigators and writers out there, and I'm thrilled to be counted among them. And someday, someone will read about my experiences and be terrified and intrigued and inspired by them.

Sylvia's book list on for paranormal enthusiasts

Sylvia Shults Why did Sylvia love this book?

I will read absolutely anything that Richard Estep writes. He has written books about the Villisca Ax Murders, Malvern Manor, and other crazy-haunted places. This one, about a site in his native England, is utterly terrifying. Estep writes with a very straightforward, matter-of-fact style (his writing reminds me much of my own style), and the evidence he presents for this haunted site is deeply chilling -- especially since his team is one of the groups that has investigated the Cage. 

By Richard Estep, Vanessa Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Spirits of the Cage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When single mother Vanessa Mitchell moved into a historic cottage in Essex, she had no idea that a paranormal nightmare was about to unfold. The cottage, known as the Cage, used to imprison those accused of witchcraft back in the 1500s. From her first day living there, Vanessa saw apparitions walk through her room, heard ghostly growls, and was even slapped and pushed by invisible hands. Unable to handle the dark phenomena after three years, Vanessa moved out and paranormal investigator Richard Estep moved in. Spirits of the Cage chronicles the years that Vanessa and Richard spent in the Cage,…


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 It's Kind of a Funny Story

Nash Jenkins Author Of Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos

From my list on teenage sentimentality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I do not remember a time when I wasn’t captivated by stories about adolescence. This was the case when I myself was a teenager—when I sought in these overwrought sagas the sort of sentimental melodrama that eluded the banality of my own life—but curiously it’s no less true at thirty, for reasons that are fundamentally the same but somehow more urgent. Becoming an adult is an exercise in hardening; to grow up is to forget what it’s like to be beholden to one’s own autobiographical romance. The following titles offer a respite from the cynicism that is adulthood; as a writer and a human, I'm forever in their debt.

Nash's book list on teenage sentimentality

Nash Jenkins Why did Nash love this book?

This is another novel written expressly for teenagers, and all the better for it.

Inflected by the author’s own autobiographical experiences—like Craig, the novel’s narrator, Vizzini spent a week in a psychiatric hospital as a teenager—It’s Kind of a Funny Story was the first work of fiction I’d read that articulated the adolescent experience through the language of mental health. It was here that I learned “depression” isn’t an abstracted emotion but the very real neurochemical imbalance that impels Craig to call the suicide hotline after abandoning his SSRIs.

There’s an uncanny familiarity to the circumstances of Craig’s breakdown—namely in how he struggles to remain above water at a famously rigorous college preparatory high school—and a fundamental earnestness to his story’s confessions that gilds even its grimmest moments with a fifteen-year-old's sense of impressionable wonder.

By Ned Vizzini,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked It's Kind of a Funny Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?


Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life—which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job—Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does.  That’s when things start to get crazy.

At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and…


Book cover of Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates

Emily Baum Author Of The Invention of Madness: State, Society, and the Insane in Modern China

From my list on rethinking your sanity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent the last decade researching and writing about mental illness and how it manifests in different cultures. My research has led me to archives in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, where I’ve uncovered documents from the earliest Chinese-managed asylums and psychopathic hospitals – documents that give rare glimpses into what it was like to have been mentally ill in China at the turn of the twentieth century. My book, The Invention of Madness, is the first monographic study of mental illness in China in the modern period.

Emily's book list on rethinking your sanity

Emily Baum Why did Emily love this book?

This classic account by a renowned sociologist is critical reading for those interested in the anti-psychiatry movement, a crusade that viewed psychiatry as more coercive than therapeutic and, in some cases, questioned the reality of mental illness itself. For one year, Goffman embedded himself in St. Elizabeth’s mental hospital in Washington, DC, where he ultimately concluded that the defining features of the asylum – similar to those of prisons and other “total institutions” – did more to shape the patient’s behavior than the supposed illness for which the patient had been admitted in the first place. Goffman’s observations left a significant impact on popular ideas about asylum care and helped contribute to widespread deinstitutionalization several decades later.

By Erving Goffman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Asylums is an analysis of life in "total institutions"--closed worlds like prisons, army camps, boarding schools, nursing homes and mental hospitals. It focuses on the relationship between the inmate and the institution, how the setting affects the person and how the person can deal with life on the inside.


Book cover of A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash

Ted Anton Author Of Programmable Planet: The Synthetic Biology Revolution

From my list on sizzling science books that simplify.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written four books of popular science, and edited a fifth collection of my favorite science writers. I have been a judge for the 2022 Science in Society Book Awards for the National Association of Science Writers. I taught popular science writing for 34 years to undergraduates and graduates alike. Most of all, I love the wonder and awe of understanding the world around us.

Ted's book list on sizzling science books that simplify

Ted Anton Why did Ted love this book?

A stunning biography of a brilliant mathematician, John Forbes Nash, and his descent and resurrection from madness, that became a hit movie.

Nasar makes both the mathematics and the personality of an early, unusual and important game theorist come alive for even the most math-adverse reader. This is an unusual account of recovery, of a mind apprehending the world of human competition, and a poetical love and coming-of-age story.

By Sylvia Nasar,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Beautiful Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**Also an Academy Award–winning film starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly—directed by Ron Howard**

The powerful, dramatic biography of math genius John Nash, who overcame serious mental illness and schizophrenia to win the Nobel Prize.

“How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?” the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the movie-star looks and Olympian manner. “Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did,” came the answer. “So I took them seriously.”

Thus begins the true story of John Nash, the mathematical genius who…


Book cover of Everything Here Is Beautiful

David Jackson Ambrose Author Of Unlawful DISorder

From my list on people trying to keep their shit together.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an ‘expert’ when it comes to books because I've been ‘reading’ books since before I could talk – even at two years old, holding the books upside down, but somehow still immersed. I presume all of you are experts, too. Your love of books has brought you to this site. Books became my escape when the world seemed too large and too cruel to cope with. But what makes me even more of an expert, was my dedication to books….that two-year-old loved books so much he would tear out pages and eat them, he would stuff pieces in his nose….Grossed out?  Well, what can I tell ya’, I was dedicated lol.


David's book list on people trying to keep their shit together

David Jackson Ambrose Why did David love this book?

In all honesty, what I liked most about this book is out of all the books I’ve read about mental illness, this one comes closest to my own book.  

It looks at the ramifications of mental illness through the gaze of a person that loves the main character. In the case of this book, it is two Asian American sisters: Lucia and Miranda.  

Lucia, like many people with a mental health diagnosis, like the character Bowie in my novel, suffers from anosognosia - a lack of insight about having a mental illness; making her oppositional to any treatment that would help level off her symptoms. Mira T. Lee compellingly describes the arrogance of ‘experts’ who know nothing about Lucia, ignoring the well-informed input from Miranda, prescribing meds that Miranda already knows from experience will have adverse effects. 

The book also examines how people with severe mental illness endure shifting diagnoses:…

By Mira T. Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything Here Is Beautiful as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

‟A tender but unflinching portrayal of the bond between two sisters.” —Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere

“There's not a false note to be found, and everywhere there are nuggets to savor. Why did it have to end?” —O Magazine

“A bold debut. . . Lee sensitively relays experiences of immigration and mental illness . . . a distinct literary voice.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Extraordinary . . . If you love anyone at all, this book is going to get you.” —USA Today

A dazzling novel of two sisters and their emotional journey through love, loyalty,…


Book cover of The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times

Frazer Lee Author Of Greyfriars Reformatory

From my list on making you the inmate of a sinister institution.

Why am I passionate about this?

A lifelong horror fan, I have always been fascinated by haunted landscapes and creepy buildings. My childhood in the Midlands of England prepared me for my career as a horror writer and filmmaker with its abundance of spooky ruins and foggy canal paths. I have since explored ancient sites all across the U.K. and Europe and my novels are inspired by these field trips into the uncanny, where the contemporary every day rubs shoulders with the ancient and occult. Places become characters in their own right in my work and I think this list of books celebrates that. I hope you find them as disturbing and thought-provoking as I have.

Frazer's book list on making you the inmate of a sinister institution

Frazer Lee Why did Frazer love this book?

I once worked on a film shoot at the infamous Friern Barnet Asylum in London, an imposing building that boasts the longest corridor in Europe at over a third of a mile long. It was my job to lock up after filming was over each night, and to do so, I had to walk the long corridor with just a flashlight for company… and the ghosts rumoured to haunt the building! I have never forgotten the feeling of dread and despair in that place, and my heart went out to the patients who were isolated in the creepy basement wards. Barbara Taylor gives an inside perspective on this fearsome institution in her book, which is both an achingly honest account of mental illness and addiction, and a critique of community care.

By Barbara Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Last Asylum is Barbara Taylor's haunting memoir of her journey through the UK mental health system.

A RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

SHORTLISTED FOR THE RBC TAYLOR PRIZE

In July 1988, Barbara Taylor, then an acclaimed young historian, was admitted to what had once been England's largest psychiatric institution: Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum, later known as Friern Hospital.

This searingly honest, thought-provoking and beautifully written memoir is the story of the author's madness years, set inside the wider story of the death of the asylum system in the twentieth century. It is a meditation on her own experience…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in mental disorders, Boston, and presidential biography?

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