100 books like Something Happened

By Cathy Blanford, Phyllis Childers (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Something Happened fans have personally recommended if you like Something Happened. 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 An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Monica Starkman Author Of The End of Miracles: A Novel

From my list on miscarriage and pregnancy loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychiatrist-novelist. As a psychiatrist, I’ve seen many patients struggling with infertility and miscarriage. As a novelist, I became intrigued with the idea of having false pregnancy (pseudocyesis) be a key element in a character’s life. My primary goal was to create an engrossing good read. I also wanted to show the psychological trauma of infertility/miscarriage. Another goal was to portray psychiatric patients, the psychiatrists who treat them, and psychiatry in a realistic way. I’m so gratified by the reader reviews: “gripping”...“spell-binding”...“rich, satisfying read”...“a page-turner”...“Illuminating”.  

Monica's book list on miscarriage and pregnancy loss

Monica Starkman Why did Monica love this book?

This extraordinary book combines a lived experience with the powerful writing of an accomplished author.  Unexpectedly, in her mid-thirties, she finds a man to love and a baby is on the way. But then, the agony:  the baby dies in utero in the ninth month. She tackles head-on the deepest feelings and questions this brings. I like the way she unsparingly describes her experience and her grief, and then how she processes this and finds a way to move on. 

By Elizabeth McCracken,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This is the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending," writes Elizabeth McCracken in her powerful, inspiring memoir. A prize-winning, successful novelist in her 30s, McCracken was happy to be an itinerant writer and self-proclaimed spinster. But suddenly she fell in love, got married, and two years ago was living in a remote part of France, working on her novel, and waiting for the birth of her first child.

This book is about what happened next. In her ninth month of pregnancy, she learned that her baby boy had died. How do you deal with and recover from…


Book cover of The Light Between Oceans

Kendra Broekhuis Author Of Between You and Us

From my list on impossible choices that will rip your heart out.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom and author for the past decade, and during that time, I went through the stillbirth of my second baby. Grief taught me a lot about compassion, including the importance of being able to see the nuance of difficult subject matters. I learned it’s easy to theorize what to do in a situation until you're in that situation. For that reason, I love books in all sorts of genres that are layered with characters’ past griefs, impossible scenarios, and tensions regarding the choices they make. I picked five of my favorite books with a heart-ripping plot that sparks interesting discussion and leaves readers pondering, "What would I have done?"

Kendra's book list on impossible choices that will rip your heart out

Kendra Broekhuis Why did Kendra love this book?

This is one of those books that can set off a fire of controversy because of the choices made by its characters, and I love that about it.

The main couple’s marriage lies on a foundation of grief that includes war, extreme isolation, and multiple pregnancy losses. The story dives into the way grief shapes us, as well as the morality of how much we should let our grief shape our choices.

I loved the characters, the moving plot, and the moral conundrum of this book.

By M.L. Stedman,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Light Between Oceans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The years-long New York Times bestseller and Goodreads Best Historical Novel that is “irresistible…seductive…with a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page” (O, The Oprah Magazine)—soon to be a major motion picture from Spielberg’s Dreamworks starring Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz, and Alicia Vikander, and directed by Derek Cianfrance.

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young,…


Book cover of The Snow Child

Victoria Costello Author Of Orchid Child

From my list on realist that use magic to say hard things.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like most children growing up with fairy tales and Bible instruction, I believed in miracles and magic. But it was the death of my father at age eight, then having his spirit return to my childhood bedroom to comfort and reassure me, that planted in me a core belief in dimensions beyond material reality. Other influences, including living as a neurodiverse woman and raising a neurodiverse son, working as a science journalist, and reading quantum physics, helped me re-embrace the liminal as part of my adult worldview. The most interesting novels to me often carry subtle messages and bring awareness to underrepresented people and issues, and many do this using magic and the fantastic.

Victoria's book list on realist that use magic to say hard things

Victoria Costello Why did Victoria love this book?

The Snow Child depicts a maybe real, maybe imaginary little girl bringing joy to a childless, homesteading couple in 1920s Alaska.

In this bestselling debut novel, released in 2016, a couple that yearns for a child of their own is visited by a nymph who appears and disappears in the snow drifts on their homestead. In her novel, Eowyn Ivy manages to sustain the reader’s belief that this girl could in fact be real, without directly saying one way or the other. 
Why do this in an essentially realist portrayal of hardscrabble life in rural Alaska? Again, I see it as a way to get past the character’s rational mind and open both the character and readers’ hearts to the ineffable.

Here, Mabel, the main character says it better. “You did not have to understand miracles to believe in them, and in fact, Mabel had come to suspect the opposite.…

By Eowyn Ivey,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Snow Child as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bewitching tale of heartbreak and hope set in 1920s Alaska, Eowyn Ivey's THE SNOW CHILD was a top ten bestseller in hardback and paperback, and went on to be a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in…


Book cover of The Miscarriage Map: What To Expect When You Are No Longer Expecting

Monica Starkman Author Of The End of Miracles: A Novel

From my list on miscarriage and pregnancy loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychiatrist-novelist. As a psychiatrist, I’ve seen many patients struggling with infertility and miscarriage. As a novelist, I became intrigued with the idea of having false pregnancy (pseudocyesis) be a key element in a character’s life. My primary goal was to create an engrossing good read. I also wanted to show the psychological trauma of infertility/miscarriage. Another goal was to portray psychiatric patients, the psychiatrists who treat them, and psychiatry in a realistic way. I’m so gratified by the reader reviews: “gripping”...“spell-binding”...“rich, satisfying read”...“a page-turner”...“Illuminating”.  

Monica's book list on miscarriage and pregnancy loss

Monica Starkman Why did Monica love this book?

This is a book written by a psychologist who herself experienced a miscarriage that traumatized her. The author is frank and open about her own feelings and those of her husband. I like how beneficial this is: it brings a sense of normality to feelings women have that may seem frightening to them. There are also suggestions of what can help, as well as supplemental recommended readings. The book is a combination of memoir, reading companion, and advice-provider. 

By Sunita Osborn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Miscarriage: It can devastate an individual, a couple, and family to their very core. And yet, this painfully common human experience is so rarely talked about. How do we continue functioning? How do we tell our partner what we need? How do we deal with emotional dumpster fire that is the aftermath of a miscarriage? How do we not kill the fifth person who tells us “You can always have another baby.”

With unflinching honesty and fearless humor, psychologist Dr. Sunita Osborn addresses the relevant but often unspoken topics following a miscarriage including the impact of miscarriage on a relationship,…


Book cover of The End of Miracles: A Novel

C.J. Washington Author Of The Intangible

From my list on the fluidity of reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

My background is in computer science, specifically artificial intelligence. As a student, I was most interested in how our knowledge of the human brain could inform AI and vice versa. As such, I read as much neuroscience and psychology as I could and spent a lot of time thinking about how our minds create reality out of our senses. I always appreciate a novel that explores the fluidity of reality.

C.J.'s book list on the fluidity of reality

C.J. Washington Why did C.J. love this book?

False Pregnancy, a mysterious and fascinating condition, is a topic of The End of Miracles, written by a psychiatrist who has witnessed the condition up close.

The novel examines how unfulfilled desire can meet with mental illness (or perhaps lead to mental illness) and alter our perceptions in ways that can have outsized effects on our behavior. The tale is told with great sympathy and respect for its protagonist and has no shortage of surprising twists.

By Monica Starkman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

International Book Awards 2016 finalist for literary fiction

The End of Miracles is a twisting, haunting story about the drastic consequences of a frustrated obsession.

A woman with a complex past wants nothing more than to become a mother, but struggles with infertility and miscarriage. She is temporarily comforted by a wish-fulfilling false pregnancy, but when reality inevitably dashes that fantasy, she falls into a depression so deep she must be hospitalized. The sometimes-turbulent environment of the psychiatry unit rattles her and makes her fear for her sanity, and she flees. Outside, she impulsively commits a startling act with harrowing…


Book cover of The Secret Club

Amy Larry Author Of God Above Cancer: Faith When It's Ugly

From my list on true Christian stories to point to God.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love God stories! Sharing what God has done in my life and hearing others’ stories is a passion of mine. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to grow in my faith; however, nothing matures someone faster than going through a hard season. Mine came when I was a mom of four young children and endured cancer treatments during the Covid lockdowns. I went from feeling anxious and alone to remembering God’s love. Reading others’ stories encouraged me when the weight of life brought me down, and I want to pay it forward by giving the world my story too.

Amy's book list on true Christian stories to point to God

Amy Larry Why did Amy love this book?

Several women share how they continued trusting Jesus during trials with infertility and pregnancy loss.

This book matches scriptures to their hardships and has questions at the end of each chapter, allowing you to reflect on your own story. Recalling traumatic memories and sharing those thoughts with others can help us heal and process the horror and grief in this world.

While writing my memoir, I noticed these journaling opportunities were useful for many kinds of suffering. It would be a great book for a small group to go through together.

By Brianna Lindenmeyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Have you struggled with infertility or miscarriages This book is for you! Read stories of women from all walks of life that share in the heartaches often kept silent. Find the answers to difficult questions that have left you hopeless. Be encouraged! You are not alone! Welcome to The Secret Club.


Book cover of Getting Pregnant Simply and Resolving Recurrent Miscarriage: A Clinician's Advice Based on 50-Years Experience and Many Successes of Working With Infertile Couples

Joseph S. Sanfilippo Author Of The Expert Guide to Fertility: Boost Your Chances for Pregnancy

From my list on how to increase your chances for pregnancy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my medical career focused on infertility and helping couples achieve their dream of pregnancy. Over the span of my career, I have had the opportunity to teach and provide research in the field of infertility, offer medical treatment to address the dream of pregnancy and parenthood, and, most importantly, be there for each and every one of my patients in good and bad times through the stages of their fertility journeys. The joy of achieving pregnancy after navigating infertility makes our entire team celebrate this sometimes monumental goal. This is why I am most passionate and enthusiastic to provide a book designed for those going through the challenging, daunting infertility process.

Joseph's book list on how to increase your chances for pregnancy

Joseph S. Sanfilippo Why did Joseph love this book?

I like the illustrations. Though it has a focus on “young couples” with infertility, it deals with fundamental issues such as the role of in-vitro fertilization and its indications, and a number of medical problems, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, are introduced, as well as other medical problems that may adversely affect fertility.

The book considers one’s faith and potential effects on fertility. It also deals with sexuality and its “intricate and rhythmic pattern(s).”  A questionnaire is included, making the material engaging for the reader. The book is designed to provide a basic level of information and has a good glossary of terms.

By Brian M Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Getting Pregnant Simply and Resolving Recurrent Miscarriage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book transparently describes the principles of diagnosis and treatment of patients with infertility and solutions to be explored in those with recurrent miscarriage in an environment charged with assisted reproductive technology. This volume provides the fundamental knowledge to assist in the possibility of having a more simple therapy which may help them have a viable pregnancy without the need for assisted reproductive technologies.


Book cover of The Life of the Mind

Ashley Wurzbacher Author Of How to Care for a Human Girl

From my list on brainy women who are ambivalent about motherhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many women my age, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the possibly discordant relationship between the things I love doing—writing, reading, spending time in solitude with stories and ideas—and the expectation of motherhood. For many of us, the prospect of parenthood can feel less like a choice than a cultural imperative, and it can be difficult to reconcile brain and body, self and society. The novels on this list feature razor-sharp, highly educated female protagonists who experience, recall, or imagine pregnancy and motherhood in complicated ways. Their minds and bodies are sometimes in sync, sometimes painfully at odds, but always fascinating to behold.

Ashley's book list on brainy women who are ambivalent about motherhood

Ashley Wurzbacher Why did Ashley love this book?

I loved this novel for its savage intelligence and frank exploration of the problems of inhabiting a body while trying to live a “life of the mind.”

Protagonist Dorothy is an adjunct English professor whose ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage are not so much the subject of this book as a metaphor for Dorothy’s life in general: her hopes have not materialized, and her nonstop thoughts rarely lead to action. Readers who have struggled to claw their way up the academic ladder (particularly those who’ve spent a lot of time at the bottom of that ladder) will especially enjoy this book.

Be prepared for visceral descriptions of Dorothy’s body—of all that it produces, and all that it fails to produce.

By Christine Smallwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, NPR, The Atlantic, Electric Lit, Thrillist, LitHub, Kirkus Reviews • A witty, intelligent novel of an American woman on the edge, by a brilliant new voice in fiction—“the glorious love child of Ottessa Moshfegh and Sally Rooney” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“[A] jewel of a debut . . . abundantly satisfying.”—Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

As an adjunct professor of English in New York City with little hope of finding a permanent position, Dorothy feels “like a janitor in the temple who continued to sweep because she had nowhere else to…


Book cover of How To Be Married

Nancy Barone Author Of Storm in a D Cup

From my list on iffy marriages and other adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t remember how many times I thought someone was The One, but I know I’ve had to kiss a lot of frogs before I found my own Prince Charming. The path was riddled with self-doubt, interfering wicked witches, and wondering whether it was all worth the heartache. As it turns out, none of them were until I finally did find my HEA. I’d become an expert on navigating all the Single Lady tropes: moving to another country in search of the elusive happy ending, getting a better job, enduring the gossip about why I was single. I’d recommend all of these if you are having relationship trouble or doubts about yourself. You're not alone!

Nancy's book list on iffy marriages and other adventures

Nancy Barone Why did Nancy love this book?

In this novel Florist Sadie Drew thinks her marriage depends on how good an impression she can make on the other corporate wives. Too bad she’s anything but a housewife.

She has her own career, her own personality, and her own friends. She doesn’t need to wear Mary Archer dresses. And yet, her husband Tom seems very disappointed at her inability to blend in with the other wives. Why can’t she be a good wife like all the others? Good question. Especially when we find out that Sadie and Tom had lost a baby. Now she wants to try again, but Tom is not having any of it.

Does he not love her anymore? Is he having an affair?  What she doesn’t know is how much Tom has suffered for their loss, and how afraid he was to see Sadie shutting down after the miscarriage.

By Polly Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How To Be Married as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sadie Drew thinks she must be the world's worst wife. She only needs to walk into a room to make it untidy. She wears flannel pyjamas in bed. Furry things breed in her fridge. But she's a busy working mother not a wifebot and husband Tom loves her as she is. Until he gets a hot new job and things change. There are alpha-wives to entertain. Nuclear rows. Unsettling secrets. And the smell of another woman's perfume on his suit. Sadie risks losing everything if she can't transform herself into the perfect wife...

But what is a perfect wife anyway?


Book cover of Brood

Jane Hamilton Author Of The Excellent Lombards

From my list on sad but funny bummer literature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m no particular expert on anything, but I know what I love in a book, and I’ve read approximately a million books, plus or minus. I’ve written novels with the hope that they will be funny and poignant in about equal measure, I value humor in books more than just about anything, and here I have listed books that I cherish.  

Jane's book list on sad but funny bummer literature

Jane Hamilton Why did Jane love this book?

This beautiful short novel about various matters, including chickens, house cleaning, idiosyncratic neighbors and parents, is funny—really, how can you not laugh at a hen named Miss Hennepin Country.  (Her owners live in Minnesota.)

Also, the novel goes to the heart of the grief of infertility. At the same time, Jackie Polzin is very, very funny in a remarkably quiet way. Her writing is spare, eloquent, and precise. She is, as we say in the biz, The Real Deal. I can open this book at any page and marvel and be filled with happiness.  

By Jackie Polzin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An exquisite new literary voice—wryly funny, nakedly honest, beautifully observational, in the vein of Jenny Offill and Elizabeth Strout—depicts one woman's attempt to keep her four chickens alive while reflecting on a recent loss.
 
“Full of nuance and humor and strangeness…[Polzin] writes beautifully about everything.” —The New York Times

Over the course of a single year, our nameless narrator heroically tries to keep her small brood of four chickens alive despite the seemingly endless challenges that caring for another creature entails. From the forty-below nights of a brutal Minnesota winter to a sweltering summer which brings a surprise tornado, she…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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