100 books like Silas Marner

By George Eliot,

Here are 100 books that Silas Marner fans have personally recommended if you like Silas Marner. 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 Death Of Ivan Ilych

Susan M Soesbe Author Of Bringing Mom Home: How Two Sisters Moved Their Mother Out of Assisted Living to Care For Her Under One Amazingly Large Roof

From my list on portraying death and loss honestly and hopefully.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lost my marriage. I lost my dad to cancer, and my mom to Alzheimer’s Disease (and wrote a memoir about it). Along the way, I lost my sense of superiority and entitlement. I gained the ability to laugh at myself and trust God for everything. I found that I was not as important as I had tacitly assumed. I’ve learned Jesus’s words are true: “Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” When I see this depicted well in a book, I think, “Thank God for writers who will tell me the truth.” Today, I’m a fiction book coach with a goal of helping writers tell the whole awful, glorious truth.

Susan's book list on portraying death and loss honestly and hopefully

Susan M Soesbe Why did Susan love this book?

It’s not possible that Tolstoy died and lived to tell about it, but that's what this book feels like.

As Ivan Ilych’s illness progresses, the reader sees how shallow his relationships are, and how fruitless is his striving to “get ahead.” As I read this book, I felt the vast chasm between the living and the dying, how alone Ivan is in his suffering. Ivan Ilych is no hero: he is an everyman. He squarely faces the pointlessness of his life, and ultimately throws off the things of no importance.

Through his experience I anticipated my own death, and felt how important it must be to live my life remembering that all the stupid stuff doesn’t matter. What does matter is my relationships with God and with other humans. Everyone who expects to die someday should read this book.

By Leo Tolstoy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Death Of Ivan Ilych as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Death of Ivan Ilyich, first published in 1886, is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late 1870s. "Usually classed among the best examples of the novella", The Death of Ivan Ilyich tells the story of the sufferings and death of a high-court judge from a terminal illness in 19th-century Russia.


Book cover of The Marrow Thieves

Anton Treuer Author Of Where Wolves Don't Die

From my list on indigenous empowerment.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think about the positive identity development of Native youth all the time and not just because I am an educator and author. I love my Ojibwe language and culture, but I want to turn Native fiction on its head. We have so many stories about trauma and tragedy with characters who lament the culture that they were always denied. I want to show how vibrant and alive our culture still is. I want gripping stories where none of the Native characters are drug addicts, rapists, abused, or abusing others. I want to demonstrate the magnificence of our elders, the humor of our people, and the power of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Anton's book list on indigenous empowerment

Anton Treuer Why did Anton love this book?

Cherie Dimaline's book really spoke to me because, in addition to great story-telling, it sets Native people in a post-apocalyptic setting.

As Native people, we are so often portrayed as ancient rather than modern. So this work connected the ancient and the modern in a novel way. With relatable characters searching for family and community, it was relatable and real even in the world the book describes.

By Cherie Dimaline,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden-but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

"Miigwans is a true hero; in…


Book cover of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Christy Cashman Author Of The Truth About Horses

From my list on coming of age YA books with strong voices.

Why am I passionate about this?

Books were a way to navigate life, my love for my horse, and just being an awkward feeling person. For me, the most powerful thing that stories provide is revealing that everyone is awkward. No one really feels like they fit in, have everything figured out, and know what this whole, crazy existence is about. A book offers a perspective that makes me see my world just a little more clearly. When I find relatable characters in books, I feel comforted because it makes me realize that no one is all good and no one is all bad. We are flawed and beautiful all at once, just like the characters that draw me into their worlds.

Christy's book list on coming of age YA books with strong voices

Christy Cashman Why did Christy love this book?

Gail Honeywell gave me a gift when she wrote the character of Elinore Oliphant. I felt so sorry for her one minute, and the next, I could relate to her crazy life and insecurities. I felt like I wanted to protect her, and I also wanted to shake her and tell her to stop being so weird. I wanted to give her a big hug, and I wanted to tell her to snap out of it.

Honeyman provided a magical experience for me that all the best authors are able to do. It’s like she is able to point at her character and say, “Look at this crazy human and her crazy behavior,” at the same time as holding up a mirror in front of my face. 

By Gail Honeyman,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

"Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!" -Reese Witherspoon

No one's ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of…


Book cover of The Hiding Place

M.H. Sargent Author Of Seven Days From Sunday

From my list on take you to a place you’ve never been with memorable characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had been a long-time screenwriter in March of 2003 when the US invaded Iraq with overwhelming air power, and the TV news showed footage of the “shock and awe.” But I remember thinking, what is it like for the Iraqi people? Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, your country is at war. What is your life now like? Seeking to focus on an ordinary Iraqi family caught up in the war, I soon realized it was too layered for a spec screenplay and wrote it as a novel. It was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. 

M.H.'s book list on take you to a place you’ve never been with memorable characters

M.H. Sargent Why did M.H. love this book?

Set in Holland during WWII, this autobiography gives an up close and personal look at life in a German concentration camp.

The vivid descriptions of the horrid living conditions and prevailing illnesses made me feel like I was there. Most memorable was the discussion of the flea-infested straw bedding and the notion of being thankful for the fleas. The author and her sister were devout Christians, but why be thankful for fleas? However, the guards left the women alone because of the fleas.

I will also always remember how the author was given a small bottle of liquid vitamin D and how she never hesitated to share it with the sick, yet it never ran dry. She makes it clear this was God’s work. 

By Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherrill, John Sherrill , Tim Foley (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Hiding Place 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?

The True Story of a Real-Life Hero

It's World War II. Darkness has fallen over Europe as the Nazis spread hatred, fear and war across the globe. But on a quiet city corner in the Netherlands, one woman fights against the darkness.

In her quiet watchmaking shop, she and her family risk their lives to hide Jews, and others hunted by the Nazis, in a secret room, a "hiding place" that they built in the old building.

One day, however, Corrie and her family are betrayed. They're captured and sent to the notorious Nazi concentration camps to die. Yet even…


Book cover of Fingersmith

Rachel Cochran Author Of The Gulf

From my list on queer mystery and crime books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a queer writer who lovers to read and write mystery and crime fiction. The history of these genres is often full of homophobic stereotypes and scapegoating of queer characters. While I think it’s important to show queer characters as flawed, I also want to make sure to celebrate the contributions of queer writers to these messy, wonderful genres.

Rachel's book list on queer mystery and crime books

Rachel Cochran Why did Rachel love this book?

Whenever I’m pressed to name a favorite novel of all time, this is the title I turn to.

It’s so many things all at once: a perfectly plotted slow-burn of a crime caper with several killer surprises, an absorbing lesbian romance that burns with passionate intensity, and a fully realized, deeply immersive historical drama that displays masterful research by leaning into the weirder, hidden corners of its familiar Victorian setting.

As a writer, this book fills me with delicious envy; as a reader, it bowls me over with tension and awe.

By Sarah Waters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Oliver Twist with a twist…Waters spins an absorbing tale that withholds as much as it discloses. A pulsating story.”—The New York Times Book Review

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man,…


Book cover of The Eye of Love

Gary Blackwood Author Of Curiosity

From my list on about orphans not written by Horatio Alger.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though I’m not personally an orphan, I’ve always been drawn to books that feature them. Maybe it’s because I felt the lack of a father; mine wasn’t around much during my childhood, since he worked at a job in the city through the week. The absent or distant father is a recurring theme in my novels, including the Shakespeare Stealer series, Moonshine, The Imposter, The Year of the Hangman, and Curiosity. Of course, when you write for young readers, orphans also make ideal protagonists, since they’re forced to use their own resources to confront and resolve the story’s conflict, rather than relying on grownups.

Gary's book list on about orphans not written by Horatio Alger

Gary Blackwood Why did Gary love this book?

Okay, this is really three novels, but they’re all linked, and all fascinating. Martha, the orphan, is offbeat, often unlikeable, and yet one of the most compelling characters you’re likely to find in fiction. Though Sharp is best known for The Rescuers and its sequels, this series is in a whole different universe, and definitely not for young readers. (By the way, they’re also very funny.)

By Margery Sharp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

They met at the Chelsea Arts Ball: he went as a paper parcel, and she as a Spanish dancer. Harry Gibson and Miss Diver fell deeply in love...

But when Mr Gibson decides he'll have to marry the hopelessly unprepossessing daughter of his colleague in order to save his ailing business, Miss Diver is cut off without a penny. She's forced in turn to take in a lodger, Mr Philips, who mistakenly takes Miss Diver for a much richer woman than she is...

Watching over them all is Miss Diver's niece Martha, a clumpy, unappealing child of a certain artistic…


Book cover of Soul Music

Gary Blackwood Author Of Curiosity

From my list on about orphans not written by Horatio Alger.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though I’m not personally an orphan, I’ve always been drawn to books that feature them. Maybe it’s because I felt the lack of a father; mine wasn’t around much during my childhood, since he worked at a job in the city through the week. The absent or distant father is a recurring theme in my novels, including the Shakespeare Stealer series, Moonshine, The Imposter, The Year of the Hangman, and Curiosity. Of course, when you write for young readers, orphans also make ideal protagonists, since they’re forced to use their own resources to confront and resolve the story’s conflict, rather than relying on grownups.

Gary's book list on about orphans not written by Horatio Alger

Gary Blackwood Why did Gary love this book?

And speaking of funny, they don’t get much better than Pratchett’s Discworld novels. Though they’re usually classified as fantasy, they’re really very pointed satire. He sends up everything from movies to opera to the postal system. Soul Music takes on popular music, and it’s one of his best. 

By Terry Pratchett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discworld is about to rock...Deputising for death was never going to be easy, not least when he has gone walkabout in search of the Meaning of Life - without even leaving a forwarding address. But for his granddaughter, Susan, it becomes even more difficult when she breaks one of the cardinal rules of the family business - don't get involved! All around the Disc, crowds are shouting out for Buddy Celyn and The Band With Rocks In. They are in the grip of a new and dangerous music and Buddy is under its thumb. It's alive, it changes people -…


Book cover of Great Expectations

Richard Vetere Author Of She's Not There

From my list on classic coming-of-age set within the last century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Richard Vetere’s teleplay adaptation of his published stage play The Marriage Fool, starring Walter Matthau, Carol Burnet, and John Stamos, now streaming on Amazon. He co-wrote the movie The Third Miracle, which is a screenplay adaptation of his own novel. It was produced by Francis Ford Coppola, directed by Agnieszka Holand, and stars Ed Harris and Anne Heche released by Sony Picture Classics. His screenplay Caravaggio, an adaptation of his own published stage play, won the Golden Palm Award for Best Screenplay at the Beverly Hills International Film Festival in 2021. In 2005, the Frank Melville Library at Stony Brook University created the Richard Vetere Collection, an archive of his work.  

Richard's book list on classic coming-of-age set within the last century

Richard Vetere Why did Richard love this book?

You cannot mention a coming-of-age novel without mentioning this classic.

Pip is an orphan who meets an escaped prisoner in a graveyard, does him a good deed, then is made a gentleman from an inheritance he knows nothing about. All of us enter our youth with great expectations and some of us are lucky enough, or unlucky, to meet our own beautiful Estella or the damaged and doomed Miss Havisham or the worldly and wise attorney Mister Jaggers.

Set in London where the worlds of extreme poverty and privilege co-exist side by side, we experience this world firsthand as Pip does wondering, all the time, if we can survive it unscathed. Ignore all other movie adaptations since they will only disappoint. Screen the 1946 version directed by David Lean. It is a great film.

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Great Expectations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'His novels will endure as long as the language itself' Peter Ackroyd

Dickens's haunting late novel depicts the education and development of a young man, Pip, as his life is changed by a series of events - a terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor - and he discovers the true nature of his 'great expectations'. This definitive edition includes appendices on Dickens's original ending, giving an illuminating glimpse into a…


Book cover of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Susan M Soesbe Author Of Bringing Mom Home: How Two Sisters Moved Their Mother Out of Assisted Living to Care For Her Under One Amazingly Large Roof

From my list on portraying death and loss honestly and hopefully.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lost my marriage. I lost my dad to cancer, and my mom to Alzheimer’s Disease (and wrote a memoir about it). Along the way, I lost my sense of superiority and entitlement. I gained the ability to laugh at myself and trust God for everything. I found that I was not as important as I had tacitly assumed. I’ve learned Jesus’s words are true: “Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” When I see this depicted well in a book, I think, “Thank God for writers who will tell me the truth.” Today, I’m a fiction book coach with a goal of helping writers tell the whole awful, glorious truth.

Susan's book list on portraying death and loss honestly and hopefully

Susan M Soesbe Why did Susan love this book?

Edward Tulane is a vain, selfish, coldhearted toy rabbit. And, except for the toy rabbit part, I am Edward Tulane. That’s why I needed this book.

Whilst the family is on the Queen Mary, Edward is cast overboard, like Jonah. Outside the bosom of his family, Edward is largely unloved and disrespected. Through many trials and tribulations, he is reunited with his family. It’s classic Odyssey territory, except that Edward’s trials broaden his perspective and enable him to appreciate – and, yes, love – those who love him.

Edward may be merely a toy rabbit, but he stands in for all of us who need to die in order to live.

By Kate DiCamillo, Bagram Ibatoulline (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane 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?

The Incredible Journey meets The Mouse and His Child, an enchanting tale that begs to be read aloud.

The magical story of the adventures of a lost toy rabbit from a New York Times bestselling author, twice winner of the Newbery Medal. Abilene loves her blue china rabbit, but Edward Tulane is extremely vain and only loves himself. On a voyage from New York to London, Edward falls overboard and from there finds himself on an amazing journey. He travels with tramps, works as a scarecrow, comforts a dying child ... and finally learns what it is to truly love.


Book cover of In This House of Brede

Susan M Soesbe Author Of Bringing Mom Home: How Two Sisters Moved Their Mother Out of Assisted Living to Care For Her Under One Amazingly Large Roof

From my list on portraying death and loss honestly and hopefully.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lost my marriage. I lost my dad to cancer, and my mom to Alzheimer’s Disease (and wrote a memoir about it). Along the way, I lost my sense of superiority and entitlement. I gained the ability to laugh at myself and trust God for everything. I found that I was not as important as I had tacitly assumed. I’ve learned Jesus’s words are true: “Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” When I see this depicted well in a book, I think, “Thank God for writers who will tell me the truth.” Today, I’m a fiction book coach with a goal of helping writers tell the whole awful, glorious truth.

Susan's book list on portraying death and loss honestly and hopefully

Susan M Soesbe Why did Susan love this book?

I love this story because it portrays people choosing to die to themselves in order to live for God.

These Benedictine sisters are not running away from the world. Each woman faces her past, present, and future through the lens of devotion to God. Centering their lives around worship has cost them dearly but, as I read, I began to grasp its worth with greater clarity. I’ve seen myself that believers in Christ who die to themselves, paradoxically, seem more alive.

This House of Brede made me reflect on the concept of losing your life to save it. It reminded me that losing my life is tragically inevitable, but saving it is gloriously possible.

By Rumer Godden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

By the author of Black Narcissus and The River

'Rumer Godden's novels have a timeless shimmer' GUARDIAN

'One hundred years after her birth, Rumer Godden's novels still pulse with life' MATTHEW DENNISON, TELEGRAPH

'Her craftsmanship is always sure' NEW YORK TIMES

'The motto was Pax but the word was set in a circle of thorns. Peace, but what a strange peace, made of unremitting toil and effort . . .'

Bruised by tragedy, Philippa Talbot leaves behind a successful career with the civil service for a new calling: to join an enclosed order of Benedictine nuns. In this small community…


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