64 books like Shirley

By Susan Scarf Merrell,

Here are 64 books that Shirley fans have personally recommended if you like Shirley. 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 So Long, See You Tomorrow

Ellen Prentiss Campbell Author Of Frieda's Song

From my list on life in a haunted house.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my stories and novels, in my reading, and in my life, I'm inspired and captivated by what I call resonant places, places with deep connections to the past as well as the present moment. I grew up in a mid-century modern house my parents built. Although no other family had lived in it before, our own family—like all families—was haunted by ghosts of our past. My childhood home was bulldozed by the next owners; the house has become a ghost itself. But memories remain long after a family or a home is gone. As a writer, a reader, and a psychotherapist, I believe that memories are the seeds for both remembering and imagining.

Ellen's book list on life in a haunted house

Ellen Prentiss Campbell Why did Ellen love this book?

In So Long, See You Tomorrow, an adult narrator looks back at childhood and the lingering effects of childhood loss and displacement. He recalls his mother’s death, his father’s remarriage, and moving from a beloved home. The author also tells a parallel story of the scandal that befell his friend Cletus: his father shot his mother’s lover, and then drowned himself. For the narrator, his lost boyhood home is recalled like a dream of paradise lost, a mirage of another life: “I dream about it, the proportions are so satisfying to the eye and the rooms so bright, so charming and full of character that I feel I must somehow give up my present life and go live in that house: that nothing else will make me happy.” This novel about haunting memories of a lost place and past will haunt the reader. This was one of my father’s…

By William Maxwell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked So Long, See You Tomorrow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A novel which charts the lives of two former friends until the father of one was responsible for the murder of the father of the other. They do not speak following the tragedy, but the victims son realises fifty years later that he has failed in a fundamental act of friendship.


Book cover of Housekeeping

Marcia Aldrich Author Of Studio of the Voice

From my list on compelling books about the trouble between mothers and daughters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a woman-centered household, the youngest with two older sisters. I was the only child of my mother’s second marriage, and a space of ten and twelve years separated me from my sisters. My sisters and mother always felt like an intense unit that didn’t include me, and that yearning and outsider status defined my life and made me a lover of books about mothers and daughters and the female world.

Marcia's book list on compelling books about the trouble between mothers and daughters

Marcia Aldrich Why did Marcia love this book?

I read this book in graduate school at the University of Washington, where Robinson had also been a graduate student. What struck me so forcefully was how the father is killed off in a train wreck at the beginning of the novel to usher in the exploration of the female life of generations of women.

No work before made me see how a male character and tradition can marginalize female life. This novel encouraged me to focus on my mother and sisters in my own writing.

By Marilynne Robinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award

A modern classic, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, the eccentric and remote sister of their dead mother.

The family house is in the small town of Fingerbone on a glacial lake in the Far West, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized…


Book cover of The Home Place

Ellen Prentiss Campbell Author Of Frieda's Song

From my list on life in a haunted house.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my stories and novels, in my reading, and in my life, I'm inspired and captivated by what I call resonant places, places with deep connections to the past as well as the present moment. I grew up in a mid-century modern house my parents built. Although no other family had lived in it before, our own family—like all families—was haunted by ghosts of our past. My childhood home was bulldozed by the next owners; the house has become a ghost itself. But memories remain long after a family or a home is gone. As a writer, a reader, and a psychotherapist, I believe that memories are the seeds for both remembering and imagining.

Ellen's book list on life in a haunted house

Ellen Prentiss Campbell Why did Ellen love this book?

Wright Morris believed that we are “inhabited” by the places where we have lived.

The Home Place is set on the plains of Nebraska where Morris was born. The text is combined with his photographs of farm buildings, farmhouse interiors, farming implements, cooking utensils, and furniture. Narrator Clyde Muncy returns from New York to the farm in Nebraska where he grew up, bringing his own family. He re-experiences the farm through the eyes, ears, and especially noses of his city wife and children. When his son sniffs a croquet ball and says it smells like the subway, Muncy observes, “Two thousand miles from New York a city boy turns up something in a farmyard, it smells damp and earthy, like a storm cave, so he calls it the subway smell.” Morris eschews sentimentality. His plain prose and black-and-white photographs are austere, like the farm itself. “Home is where you hang…

By Wright Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reproduced from the 1948 edition of The Home Place, the Bison Book edition brings back into print an important early work by one of the most highly regarded of contemporary American Writers.

This account in first-person narrative and photographs of the one-day visit of Clyde Muncy to "the home place" at Lone Tree, Nebraska, has been called "as near to a new fiction form as you could get." Both prose and pictures are homely: worn linoleum, an old man's shoes, well-used kitchen utensils, and weathered siding. Muncy's journey of discovery takes the measure of the man he has become and…


Book cover of Flora

Ellen Prentiss Campbell Author Of Frieda's Song

From my list on life in a haunted house.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my stories and novels, in my reading, and in my life, I'm inspired and captivated by what I call resonant places, places with deep connections to the past as well as the present moment. I grew up in a mid-century modern house my parents built. Although no other family had lived in it before, our own family—like all families—was haunted by ghosts of our past. My childhood home was bulldozed by the next owners; the house has become a ghost itself. But memories remain long after a family or a home is gone. As a writer, a reader, and a psychotherapist, I believe that memories are the seeds for both remembering and imagining.

Ellen's book list on life in a haunted house

Ellen Prentiss Campbell Why did Ellen love this book?

Godwin’s psychological mystery Flora takes place in a remote, isolated house, a former mountaintop sanatorium in Tennessee. Adult narrator Helen looks back on her ten-year-old self, and her premature coming of age the summer she lived there with her young adult cousin and temporary guardian, Flora. Helen’s father has gone to do war work, her mother is dead. Flora and Helen cannot leave the mountaintop due to a polio threat in the valley. Both child and caretaker fall under the spell of a charismatic jack of all trades, Quinn. The consequences of their unconscious competition play out in the shadowy rooms of the big house.

This is a tale of psychological possession in a lonely estate; Godwin’s homage to Henry James’s Turn of the Screw. Years ago, I visited my great-aunt in her mountaintop summer home in Tennessee. Reading this book unlocked memories of that mysterious house. Good novels…

By Gail Godwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ten-year-old Helen and her summer guardian, Flora, are isolated together in Helen's decaying family house while her father is doing secret war work in Oak Ridge during the final months of the Second World War. At three Helen lost her mother and the beloved grandmother who raised her has just died. A fiercely imaginative child, Helen is desperate to keep her house intact with all its ghosts and stories. Flora, her late mother's twenty-two-year old first cousin, who cries at the drop of a hat, is ardently determined to do her best for Helen. Their relationship and its fallout, played…


Book cover of Bellamy and the Brute

Charity Bradford Author Of Fade Into Me

From my list on fairytales retellings with a twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved fairytales. What little girl with a growing romantic heart doesn’t? By the time I was eight, I told people I was Cinderella because of all the work I did at home. An exaggeration, even for the oldest child, but still. My first prom dress, during a year I won’t mention, was reminiscent of Cinderella’s blue ballgown. As I became a writer myself, I noticed my stories held themes I learned from fairytales. Love, loyalty, courage, and a dose of magic. I simply add space or aliens to the mix.

Charity's book list on fairytales retellings with a twist

Charity Bradford Why did Charity love this book?

Can you tell Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales to read in all its retellings? This one is set in our modern world. It takes a look at the ugly side of bullying in high school, a murder mystery, ghosts, money extortion, lots of people keeping secrets, and through all of this, two people have to learn to see into each other’s hearts.

By Alicia Michaels,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.

When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she's reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill―including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin's eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness―one that…


Book cover of Maybe a Fox

Ashley Wilda Author Of The Night Fox

From my list on magical realism about mental health.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I devoured books with any magical element, especially those somehow linked to nature. As I grew older and discovered that my emotional struggles were a signal of mental health issues, I turned to books again to make sense of my shattered world. I've found that magical realism is an incredible vehicle to explore the deep truths and questions behind mental health, healing, and grief, providing a way to make sense of the unexplainable. I slowly found my way to my own healing and wrote the book I needed as a young adult. I'm forever grateful to the authors of these books for providing a haven for souls like mine.

Ashley's book list on magical realism about mental health

Ashley Wilda Why did Ashley love this book?

Although this book is aimed at slightly younger readers, I’d be remiss not to mention it – this book is such a valuable read for both kids and adults alike.

Another book that deals with processing grief and the terrible weight of guilt through magic and nature. Of the dual points of view, one is a fox, the main character’s dead sibling reborn, giving this book a tender, poignant throughline.

By Kathi Appelt, Alison McGhee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maybe a Fox as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Worlds collide spectacularly when Newbery and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt and Pulitzer Prize nominee and #1 New York Times bestseller Alison McGhee team up to create a fantastical, heartbreaking and gorgeous tale about two sisters, a fox cub ... and what happens when one sister disappears.

Sylvie and Jules, Jules and Sylvie. Better than just sisters, better than best friends. Jules' favourite thing is collecting rocks, and Sylvie's is running - fast. But Sylvie is too fast, and when she runs to the most dangerous part of the river one snowy morning to throw in a wish rock,…


Book cover of Country of Origin

Sung J. Woo Author Of Skin Deep

From my list on mysteries/thrillers by writers of Korean origin.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my high school days, when I encountered the mystery novels of Dick Francis and Robert B. Parker for the first time, I’ve been hooked on this genre. And yet it took me more than twenty years to finally write my first bona fide work of detective fiction. Why? Because I was chicken. Didn’t think I could cut it. After publishing two works of literary fiction, I figured I had enough practice to make an attempt.  Nope. Still wasn’t ready, writing myself into ugly, impossible corners. So I read Sue Grafton, John D. MacDonald, Dennis Lehane, and I kept failing better – until I failed best.

Sung's book list on mysteries/thrillers by writers of Korean origin

Sung J. Woo Why did Sung love this book?

There are some writers I read purely for the pleasure of a well-written sentence. Don is one of those, because he is a Literary Writer™ – he edited one of the premier literary journals for many years. But here’s the thing – he is also one hell of a plotter. This first novel of his caught the letters community by surprise, but not me; the intricate construction of his short stories could only lead to a tale as labyrinthine as this one. Featuring classic mystery tropes, Country of Origin is a missing person case that leads our hero, an American Embassy officer in Tokyo, to seedy strip clubs, dangerous love affairs, and the CIA, all delivered with surgical prose that would make Raymond Chandler blush.

By Don Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this "poignant story of prejudice, betrayal and the search for identity" (Newsweek International), the trials and tribulations of these three remarkable characters are "at turns trenchantly funny and heartbreakingly sad" (Publishers Weekly). "[An] elegant and haunting debut" (Entertainment Weekly), Country of Origin is a "swirl of action, a whirl of love and sex and race and politics, local and international" (Chicago Tribune)-a "quiet literary triumph" (Booklist)

Lisa Countryman is a woman of complex origins. Half-Japanese, adopted by African American parents, she returns to Tokyo, ostensibly to research her thesis on Japan's "sad, brutal reign of conformity." When she vanishes,…


Book cover of No Time for Goodbye

Robert Darke Author Of The Accidental Courier

From my list on thrillers to keep you reading until the wee hours.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a thrill seeker ever since I was a child when I was often in trouble for going on some adventure or other. Before turning to writing, my career included investigative elements from being a customs officer catching smugglers to detecting fraudsters. Later in life, I learned to ride motorcycles and biking has become a new passion of mine. Small wonder then that I enjoy reading thrillers, and now writing them. I’ve published two fast-paced novels and am currently working on my next full-length project. I sincerely hope you get the same pleasure and enjoyment as I did from my book recommendations. 

Robert's book list on thrillers to keep you reading until the wee hours

Robert Darke Why did Robert love this book?

I enjoy Linwood Barclay for his intriguing openings that grip right from the start and then how he racks up the tension until the end. This was his first thriller and wow—what a debut! It starts when a teenage girl, Cynthia, wakes to find her house deserted and the whole family—mum, dad, and brother missing. Jump forward to 25 years later and the mystery of her family’s disappearance is still unsolved and still haunts Cynthia. But then a letter arrives tipping her whole world upside down and placing her in grave danger… Another unputdownable read!

By Linwood Barclay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Time for Goodbye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tenth Anniversary edition of the million-copy, bestselling novel No Time for Goodbye with a special introduction from Linwood Barclay.

'One of the world's finest thriller writers' Peter James

*

The house was silent. That was the first sign that something was terribly wrong.

Fourteen-year-old Cynthia wakes one morning to discover that her entire family - mother, father, brother - have vanished.

No note, no trace and no return. Ever.

Now, twenty-five years later - with a family of her own - a letter arrives which chills Cynthia to the core.

It leads her inescapably down the path to the devastating…


Book cover of Ladder of Years

Nancy Crochiere Author Of Graceland

From my list on runaway moms.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young working mom, I occasionally longed to follow the example of columnist Erma Bombeck and hide from my family in the car. Instead, I channeled the mayhem of family life into a humor column called “The Mother Load,” which detailed the day-to-day challenges of running a business while caring for two daughters, one husband, two guinea pigs, and a dancing rabbit. When I decided to pursue my life-long dream to write fiction, my debut novel was a humorous story about a mother-daughter-grandmother road trip/chase from Boston to Memphis. Although my writing doesn’t shy away from serious issues, I choose to see the world through a humorous and ultimately hopeful lens.

Nancy's book list on runaway moms

Nancy Crochiere Why did Nancy love this book?

While on a beach vacation, the forty-year-old mother/protagonist of this book, Delia Grinstead, walks away from her distant husband and three surly children – seemingly on a whim – to try out a new life.

Anne Tyler’s characters are unfailingly quirky, and Delia can be both frustrating and charming, but the book engagingly details the mid-life crisis of a woman eager to learn who she is.

By Anne Tyler,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ladder of Years as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Breathing Lessons

"BALTIMORE WOMAN DISAPPEARS DURING FAMILY VACATION."

The headlines are all the same: Beloved mother and wife Delia Grinstead was last seen strolling down the Delaware shore, wearing only a bathing suit and carrying a beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To the best of her family's knowledge, she has disappeared without a trace. But Delia didn't disappear. She ran.

Exhausted with her routine and everyone else's plans for her, Delia needed an out, a chance to make a new life for herself and to…


Book cover of Moving Target

Tayler Marie Brooks Author Of Tangled Suspects

From my list on keeping you up or to let your imagination roam.

Why am I passionate about this?

Unlike most authors, who only write one genre, I write mystery/suspense, thriller, fantasy, and dystopian. I love plotting and naming stories. I studied Criminal Justice & Legal Studies in college and absolutely loved it. I've also been reading these genres since I was little. I certainly never thought I’d be a writer, but the ideas kept coming so I guess the writing chose me. As a self-published writer, I get to make every decision concerning my books and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write my books, design the covers, make the trailers, market the books, and everything else. I enjoy using my writing to point to the things I believe are important.

Tayler's book list on keeping you up or to let your imagination roam

Tayler Marie Brooks Why did Tayler love this book?

What a story! In this book Maddie and Quinn are kidnapped and wake up on an island filled with booby traps. They have to figure out how to survive and get off the island while they’re being chased by the killer and his two dogs.

To make matters worse Quinn is still suffering from injuries from a previous book when a killer tried to crush him with a backhoe. I knew just from looking at the cover, I would love this book, but it was so much better than I ever imagined. 

By Lynette Eason,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don't show up for Quinn's surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it's not long before she realizes she's in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in missing persons, haunted houses, and Vermont?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about missing persons, haunted houses, and Vermont.

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