100 books like So Long, Chester Wheeler

By Catherine Ryan Hyde,

Here are 100 books that So Long, Chester Wheeler fans have personally recommended if you like So Long, Chester Wheeler. 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 Travels with Charley in Search of America

Eyal Halfon Author Of They Were Here Before Us: Stories from Our First Million Years

From my list on traveling the world from your armchair.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before I became a filmmaker and many years before I knew what pre-history meant, I was a restless traveler. I was an adventurer and a hiker, fascinated by maps and mountain peaks and constantly searching for the best place for a coffee break. In my list, I have tried to combine my passion for traveling with what is really important in life: people, friends, and travel companions.

Eyal's book list on traveling the world from your armchair

Eyal Halfon Why did Eyal love this book?

I wish I could be there, in the back seat of Steinbeck’s pickup truck…with a 10-year-old French poodle named Charlie.

Steinbeck's travelogue is a farewell to the America he knew and an observation of a country that is changing before his eyes. What a joy it could have been to join this great writer (and the poodle) if only for a part of his 10,000-mile road trip across the USA at the beginning of the 60s.

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Travels with Charley in Search of America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An intimate journey across America, as told by one of its most beloved writers

To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light-these were John Steinbeck's goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.

With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the…

Book cover of A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Jim Landwehr Author Of Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir

From my list on the trials and joys of outdoor adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a lover of all things outdoors since I was a boy. After my father was killed at a young age, my brothers and I took his love for outdoor adventure and made it our own. Fully aware of all that can go wrong, my brothers and I went into our ventures with a keen sense of humor. Camping, fishing, and kayaking all come with their own challenges and requisite hilarious moments. It is these moments of adversity, and personal risk, that are sometimes lightened by a good dose of laughter and levity.

Jim's book list on the trials and joys of outdoor adventure

Jim Landwehr Why did Jim love this book?

This book minces no words about the difficulties of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Bryson does a brilliant job laying out the reality that despite extensive planning and, in the case of his hiking partner, Steven Katz, differing motives, things can go wrong.

Bryson does an amazing job keeping the story light with side-splitting humor. The blend of humor and adventure play roles as some of the primary inspirations behind my own writing.

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked A Walk in the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of "Notes from a Small Island" and "The Lost Continent" comes this humorous report on his walk along the Appalachian Trail. The Trail covers 14 states and over 2000 miles, and stretches along the east coast of America from Maine in the north to Georgia in the south. It is famous for being the longest continuous footpath in the world. It snakes through some of the wildest and most specactular landscapes in America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.

Book cover of Trailer, Get Your Kicks!

Diane Winger Author Of Ellie Dwyer's Great Escape

From my list on proving you’re never too old for fun adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an active senior who seeks outdoor adventures and who cringes whenever I hear someone say, “I’m too old to [fill in the blank]…”, I love both writing and reading books with older characters who believe instead, “You’re never too old.” I’m drawn to stories where older folks defy stereotypes and continue to relish new experiences, especially those involving the things I most enjoy: camping, hiking, and climbing. Toss in some fun and laughter and I’m there! 

Diane's book list on proving you’re never too old for fun adventures

Diane Winger Why did Diane love this book?

What a great combination – time travel and an adventure in a classic RV!

In my opinion, this book is the best of Nortman’s fun Time Travel Trailer series, combining suspense, nostalgia, and time travel with a delightful trip down memory lane – or I should say, a trip along the original Route 66.

By Karen Musser Nortman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trailer, Get Your Kicks! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lynne McBriar swore her vintage trailer would stay in a museum where it would be safe from further time travel. But when a museum in Texas wants to borrow it, she determines that she must deliver it herself. Her husband Kurt convinces her to take it along Route 66 for research he is doing. What starts out as a family vacation soon turns deadly. Travel can be dangerous any time, but when your trip involves the Time Travel Trailer, who knows where (or when) you will end up?

Book cover of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Pamela Carter Joern Author Of Toby's Last Resort

From my list on mature, smart, resilient, and life-embracing women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m not as old as some of the characters in the books I’ve mentioned, but I’m getting there. With age, one learns to hold grief in one hand and gratitude in the other. The importance of friendship and community can hardly be overstated. I love reading books that represent older characters, especially women, as complex, life-embracing individuals without resorting to condescension. I strove to write such a book with Toby’s Last Resort. I’m not always writing about older characters, but in all my work, I want to dive below the surface, discover meaning in the ordinary, and treat my characters with respect. 

Pamela's book list on mature, smart, resilient, and life-embracing women

Pamela Carter Joern Why did Pamela love this book?

Lillian is an 84-years old woman walking around New York City on New Year’s Eve.

She loves the city, made her way there as a young woman in advertising in the 30s, became well-known as a poet of light verse. She alternately reminisces about her life and encounters people you would not expect.

She remembers her life in pieces, the way one does, so the reader puts together the mystery.

I found her to be a delightful and refreshing character. The book is a beautiful lacing of the past with the promise of unexpected things to come. 

By Kathleen Rooney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A love letter to city life in all its guts and grandeur, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.

“In my reckless and undiscouraged youth,” Lillian Boxfish writes, “I worked in a walnut-paneled office thirteen floors above West Thirty-Fifth Street…”

She took 1930s New York by storm, working her way up writing copy for R.H. Macy’s to become the highest paid…

Book cover of The Darkness Outside Us

Darren Campo Author Of Alex Detail's Revolution

From my list on young love confronting cosmic forces like UFOs and life after death.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love people who are totally lost because they are on the brink of their greatest discovery–their true nature. Even as a little boy I remember seeing that everyone has a purpose in life, but that is hidden to them. I have always felt that every step of the way, life seems to be a little off-track. But through authentic stories, I came to an understanding that right now, everyone is doing great things with their lives, even if they can’t see it.

Darren's book list on young love confronting cosmic forces like UFOs and life after death

Darren Campo Why did Darren love this book?

I love how smart this book is, even as it takes us to very dark and depressing places and forces the characters to contemplate life over huge spans of time.

At first, it’s just a book about two guys on a spaceship, running a routine mission to a nearby planet. But the ship or someone is deceiving them. They find out they aren’t on a simple mission, they find out they’re probably the last two people left in the world, they fall in love and then they are killed by the ship (but that’s not the end of their lives).

I love that this book is about a new take on a generation ship–where the inhabitants are indented, never to return home. This is somewhat like The Dark Beyond the Starswhere the characters are intentionally kept in the dark by the people who designed the mission. I really…

By Eliot Schrefer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

They Both Die at the End meets The Loneliest Girl in the Universe in this mind-bending sci-fi mystery and tender love story about two boys aboard a spaceship sent on a rescue mission, from two-time National Book Award finalist Eliot Schrefer. Stonewall Honor Award winner!

Two boys, alone in space. Sworn enemies sent on the same rescue mission.

Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor with no memory of a launch. There's more that doesn't add up: evidence indicates strangers have been on board, the ship's operating system is voiced by his mother, and his handsome, brooding shipmate has barricaded…

Book cover of A Beautiful Crime

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?

This book deserves all the comparisons to Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley—but despite the similarities of the setting and genre, it’s so much more than an imitation.

The story is unique and unbearably tense. While I read, I felt like I was watching a Hitchcock movie: the dread and apprehension felt so palpable and painful that I had to keep reading because I couldn’t stand not knowing how it would turn out. 

By Christopher Bollen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An L.A. Times Book Prize Finalist | An O Magazine Best Book of the Year

“Stylish… a compelling take on the eternal question of how good people morph into criminals. Terrific.”—People, Book of the Week

From the author of The Destroyers comes an "intricately plotted and elegantly structured" (Newsday) story of intrigue and deception, set in contemporary Venice and featuring a young American couple who have set their sights on a risky con.

When Nick Brink and his boyfriend Clay Guillory meet up on the Grand Canal in Venice, they have a plan in mind—and it doesn’t involve a vacation.…

Book cover of Banana Fish, Vol. 1

Emily Rooke Author Of The Dying Light

From my list on LGBTQ+ found family guaranteed to break your heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I endured many years with my voice stolen. Growing up, books offered a sanctuary from a world of cruelty and violence. Yet I never saw myself in fiction—not only as a young person battling to survive, but as a vulnerable teen questioning their sexuality. Now, I’m determined to support fellow survivors. 100% of the proceeds of my books are donated to charities supporting sexual abuse survivors, particularly victims of child trafficking. Living with CPTSD means I have a particular interest in trauma narratives, and an intense desire to do justice to abuse survivors in fiction. No one should feel alone or unseen.

Emily's book list on LGBTQ+ found family guaranteed to break your heart

Emily Rooke Why did Emily love this book?

Determined to escape the clutches of his sinister mafia boss, ruthless Ash Lynx stumbles across a dying man bearing a strange drug and the codename ‘Banana Fish’. As bloodshed looms over New York City, Ash meets Eiji, a gentle Japanese photographer. Together, they attempt to uncover the mystery behind Banana Fish, as danger stalks ever closer to their fledgling friendship. Dark and brutal, Banana Fish is centered on the trauma of Ash’s past as a child forced into prostitution. Handled with respect and care, the author offers Ash a chance to heal through the compassionate nature of a true friend, warding off the demons plaguing Ash’s memories. Survivors are rarely given the opportunity to be as complex and conflicted, so Ash is a character who remains of deep personal importance.

By Akimi Yoshida,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nature made Ash beautiful; Nurture made him a killer!


Nature made Ash Lynx beautiful; nurture made him a cold ruthless killer. A runaway brought up as the adopted heir and sex toy of "Papa" Dino Golzine, Ash, now at the rebellious age of seventeen, forsakes the kingdom held out by the devil who raised him. But the hideous secret that drove Ash's older brother mad in Vietnam has suddenly fallen into Papa's insatiably ambitious hands--and it's exactly the wrong time for Eiji Okamura, a pure-hearted young photographer from Japan, to make Ash Lynx's…

Book cover of Lot: Stories

Julie Cohn Author Of The Grid: Biography of an American Technology

From my list on stealth environmental histories.

Why am I passionate about this?

My childhood was marked by weekly trips to the library, afternoons on the couch with snacks and novels, and imaginary play with friends. I became a professional historian later in life and found my home in the study of energy, environment, and technology as key factors in the story of human change. My workday is consumed with tracking down the facts of how and why things took place in the past. It's a delight to pick up a novel for the writing and narrative, and to put it down thinking about the environmental history hidden within. I selected these five books because they're renowned for their authorship, yet they convey tales of environmental change interwoven with the drama of human lives.

Julie's book list on stealth environmental histories

Julie Cohn Why did Julie love this book?

As a longtime resident of Houston, of course, I must include a book about this unusual place! Washington’s characters lead difficult lives, his narrative is tough, and sometimes his geographical references are misleading. Nonetheless, each episode (which unfolds on a particular lot or spot in Houston) captures the experience of living in the Bayou City – the traffic, the summer weather, the slow-moving waterways, the unruly weed patches, the architecture, the neatly maintained neighborhoods, and the mix of cultures from around the world. Houston was transformed from prairie, swamp, and piney woods to a landscaped metropolis by wildcatters, entrepreneurs, scientists, workers, creatives, and others. Washington’s stories evoke this dynamic human/environment connection throughout. 

By Bryan Washington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize 2020 *

* One of Barack Obama's "Favourite Books of the Year" *

* A New York Times Critics' Top Books of 2019 *

'A superb book' Max Porter, author of Lanny

Stories of a young man finding his place among family and community in Houston, from a powerful, emerging American voice.

In an apartment block, the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He's working at his family's restaurant, trying to dodge his brother's fists and resenting his older sister's absence. He's also discovering he…

Book cover of Janine and the Field Day Finish

Claire Annette Noland Author Of Evie's Field Day: More Than One Way to Win

From my list on help children develop good sportsmanship.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a children’s librarian, teacher, and parent, I know that children have big feelings. I write heart-filled books that speak to the issues that they deal with while navigating new experiences. I was inspired to write Evie’s Field Day because of the frustrations most children deal with when they lose. I hope that my book will encourage children to enjoy the process of playing sports and games with others and the rewards of being a friend and a good sport.

Claire's book list on help children develop good sportsmanship

Claire Annette Noland Why did Claire love this book?

Janine is good at lots of things like singing, spelling, and cheering.  But she’s not good at sports and is bullied and teased by her competitive classmate, Abbie. Janine runs the race and doesn’t mind being in last place. She’s just glad to participate.  When Abbie falls, Janine is the one who stops, helps her up, and together they cross the finish line.

Janine is the best kind of competitor – kind and encouraging as she urges everyone to do their best. Children with different abilities are included in all the activities making this book an inclusive celebration of sportsmanship.

By Maryann Cocca-Leffler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Janine and the Field Day Finish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Janine is back!

Today is field day and even though Janine is not good at sports, she is ready to compete. Her body just doesn't work like the other kids'. But no matter what, Janine cheers for everyone and tries her best. During the big race, her classmate Abby trips and falls. Janine is right there to help. But Abby is crushed that she won't win the race. Can Janine teach Abby and her classmates that being a winner is not always about being number one?

Book cover of Rules

Sara Leach Author Of Slug Days

From my list on neurodivergent characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been an elementary school classroom teacher and teacher-librarian for over 25 years and I’ve had the privilege of teaching many amazing students with neurodiversity. I was inspired to write the Slug Days book when I was teaching a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I wrote the book to imagine what life might be like for that student so I could be a better teacher. I believe a school library should represent all our students and I’m always on the lookout for excellent books that feature neurodiverse characters.

Sara's book list on neurodivergent characters

Sara Leach Why did Sara love this book?

12-year-old Catherine’s feelings toward her younger, autistic brother are complicated. She’s protective of him and also appears to be embarrassed by his behaviour. All she wants is a “normal” life. When she becomes friends with a paraplegic boy she’s forced to think about what “normal” really means. This book is hopeful, humourous, thoughtful, and explores what it means to interact with someone who is neurodivergent. The author is the mother of a child with autism and the complex relationships and friendships in the book felt real and captured the mixed-up emotions of middle-graders. 

By Cynthia Lord,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rules 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?

This Newbery Honor Book is a heartfelt and witty story about feeling different and finding acceptance -- beyond the rules.

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public" -- in order to head off David's embarrassing behaviors.But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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