90 books like Spirits of the Cage

By Richard Estep, Vanessa Mitchell,

Here are 90 books that Spirits of the Cage fans have personally recommended if you like Spirits of the Cage. 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 Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington

Jerome Slater Author Of Mythologies Without End: The US, Israel, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1917-2020

From my list on why it took so long for Lincoln to end slavery.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a life-long admirer of Abe Lincoln, and never more so than today when American democracy is again under severe threat. Yet, like so many other admirers of Lincoln, I am puzzled why it took him so long to end slavery: it was not until January 1, 1963, nearly two years after he became president, that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed only those slaves within the Confederacy. Moreover, it wasn’t until the end of the Civil War that Lincoln was able to enforce emancipation in the South, and it wasn’t until the passage of the 13th Amendment at the end of 1865 that all slavery was ended.

Jerome's book list on why it took so long for Lincoln to end slavery

Jerome Slater Why did Jerome love this book?

After his presidential victory in 1860, Lincoln still had to get to Washington to take office. I loved this book because of its cliff-hanging, blow-by-blow description of how close pro-slavers came to assassinating Lincoln even before he took office; if they had succeeded, slavery would have been preserved for years to come.

In a fascinating and original story, Widmer notes the parallels between Lincoln’s courageous Odyssey—a 1900-mile, thirteen-day train trip to Washington DC, with dangers lurking all along the route—and Odysseus’s perilous journey home in Homer’s Odyssey.

By Ted Widmer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors 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 Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

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?

Because of my work with the splendidly haunted Peoria State Hospital, I have a massive soft spot for tales of struggles with mental illness. This is a topic that is very close to my heart for many reasons, and it's fascinating to read about historical figures that suffered with mental illness or mental disabilities. Rosemary Kennedy was a beautiful, lively, spirited girl who grew up in one of the most famous families in America. But due to injuries suffered during her birth, she was mentally challenged – and this did not sit well with the Kennedys. Rosemary's disability was at odds with their own image of themselves as a powerful political juggernaut ... so she was shunted aside. As a young woman, she was lobotomized, which destroyed her bubbly, outgoing personality. After this, she was institutionalized and largely forgotten. This is a painful story to read, but Rosemary, and others…

By Kate Clifford Larson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The revelatory, poignant story of Rosemary Kennedy, the eldest and eventually secreted-away Kennedy daughter, and how her life transformed her family, its women especially, and an entire nation.
"[Larson] succeeds in providing a well-rounded portrait of a woman who, until now, has never been viewed in full."-The Boston Globe
"A biography that chronicles her life with fresh details . . . By making Rosemary the central character, [Larson] has produced a valuable account of a mental health tragedy and an influential family's belated efforts to make amends."-The New York Times Book Review
Joe and Rose Kennedy's strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary…


Book cover of One August Morning

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?

There have been loads of books written about Lizzie Borden, but very few that I have enjoyed as much as this one. It's brilliantly well-written and extremely accurate. Taylor does a thorough job of explaining the history and circumstances that led to the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden. Plus, he puts forth a theory on who the killer was, a theory that a), I had not heard before, and b), makes a whole lot of sense. When I do presentations on the Borden murders, this is the book I always recommend people read for a detailed look at the crime. 

By Troy Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

ONE AUGUST MORNING THE TRUE STORY OF LIZZIE BORDEN BY TROY TAYLOR LIZZIE BORDEN TOOK AN AXE... OR DID SHE? Lizzie Borden is a name that has lived in infamy. As everyone knows, she's the young woman who "took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks" and then "gave her father 41." Everyone seems to know the rhyme, but most people don't know the truth behind the grim story of one of America's most famous unsolved murders. In this new entry in the "Dead Men Do Tell Tales" series, author Troy Taylor delves into the true story of the…


Book cover of Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps: True Tales of an Accidental Ghost Hunter

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?

Adam Selzer writes as if you're listening to him tell ghost stories over a beer and a plate of nachos in a dark Chicago bar, with a summer night's breeze blowing in off Lake Michigan. Selzer is hands-down the expert on Chicago history, and he's no slouch at the paranormal aspect of the city's background either -- he's a tour guide for one of the Chicago ghost tour companies. He has a snarky, irreverent style that makes any of his books a sheer pleasure to read. In addition to his historical and paranormal nonfiction, he also writes YA fiction. 

By Adam Selzer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Getting pushed down the stairs by unseen hands? An old spirit hag sitting on your chest, holding you down? Strange glowing ectoplasm escaping from a grave? Don't believe everything you hear ...then again, some things can't just be brushed off. Come aboard the ghost bus and get a glimpse of Chicago's ghostly goings-on. With a healthy dose of skepticism, professional ghostbuster Adam Selzer takes you on a tour of his famously spooky town and the realm of the weird. Tag along with your tour guide Selzer, bus driver and improve comic Hector, psychic detective Ken, and prolific author Troy Taylor…


Book cover of Ghosts of the Northeast

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?

Pitkin writes in a very accessible style. What drew me into this book, in particular, is that he starts the book off with a personal experience. He writes of the incident that turned him from a skeptic into a believer in the paranormal. Intriguing stuff, to be sure ... but this revelation also changed his attitude towards teaching, making him more tolerant of other cultures, and more open to sharing different worldviews with his students. Whereas prior to this experience, he had been dismissive of what he saw as "primitive" beliefs (regarding African belief in witchcraft and the afterlife), he was now more willing to explore alternative belief systems with his students.

By David J. Pitkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Pitkin, David J.


Book cover of Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places

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?

Steiger is a well-known explorer of the supernatural, and he brings this solid research foundation to his many books on the subject. Steiger's works tend towards the encyclopedic, simply because he gathers such a wealth of stories and information in every book. Because he's been at this business for such a long time, a reader can be confident that they are in good hands with Steiger's work. 

By Brad Steiger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The culmination of Brad Steiger's 50 years of paranormal research, Real Ghosts delves into the true scary stories from both historical documents and personal accounts. This second edition builds on the highly acclaimed, masterful first edition. It is updated to include new stories and compelling evidence of both the existence of ghosts and proof of hauntings that will entertain, induce chills, and make the doubtful believe. Arranged in 29 topical chapters, it covers every sort of ghost and haunting, including poltergeists, shadow beings, and more.


Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Anna Noyes Author Of The Blue Maiden

From my list on gothic fiction imbued with atmosphere and dread.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a tiny peninsula in Downeast Maine, an evocative and rugged place, both lovely and haunting. As a girl, walking home late down gravel roads through an encompassing darkness I’ve found nowhere else, I sensed the world’s dangers long before I knew how to articulate them. Surrounded by woods, water, and unnerving quiet broken by the fox’s scream and rustling branches, I began to write. I sought out strange and unsettling books by Shirley Jackson and Stephen King (his home just a few towns away from mine) that left their mark. Storytelling became a way to process and explore what keeps me up at night. 

Anna's book list on gothic fiction imbued with atmosphere and dread

Anna Noyes Why did Anna love this book?

For me, this is the book that started it all. When I was 10 years old, I stole it from my Granny’s shelf, curled in her BarcaLounger, and finished in one ravenous sitting.

The world I emerged into was changed: the main character Nell’s spiraling, exuberant, increasingly unhinged interiority echoed in my mind. I remember walking afterward through the Maine woods, the green more vivid than ever before, pulsing with a new sense of menace and aliveness.

Each sentence in this masterpiece about a sentient, malevolent house is electric, and if I could only read one paragraph for the rest of my life, it would be this novel’s opening. 

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

32 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…


Book cover of Secondhand Spirits

Daryl Wood Gerber Author Of A Flicker of a Doubt

From my list on mysteries that will make you wonder whodunit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by paranormal stories for years. One of the first books I truly loved was A Wrinkle in Time. I loved the Dragons of Pern, as well. As a girl, I read more stories featuring witches and magical creatures than one ought. But I also loved mysteries—Nancy Drew, as well as all the Agatha Christie books. At present, I’m working on my fifth Fairy Garden Mystery, and I recently completed a mystery novella featuring an elf. To round out the experience, I have personally crafted over fifty fairy gardens. I’m pretty certain a fairy spirit had something to do with my obsession... or perhaps it all started when I kissed the Blarney Stone.

Daryl's book list on mysteries that will make you wonder whodunit

Daryl Wood Gerber Why did Daryl love this book?

I love this series.

Lily Ivory, who owns a vintage clothing shop in San Francisco, wants to fit in somewhere and conceal her “witchiness”.

She is spiritual and stylish and has a charming sense of humor. Just when life seems normal, she stumbles onto a spooky murder.

This book ticks off all the boxes for a fun and mentally stimulating read. Lily’s familiar is an adorable, witty pig. There’s a sexy myth buster who is enticing. And there’s a powerful warlock who is her nemesis.

Such a fun read!

By Juliet Blackwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Love the vintage- not the ghosts

Lily Ivory feels that she can finally fit in somewhere and conceal her "witchiness" in San Francisco. It's there that she opens her vintage clothing shop, outfitting customers both spiritually and stylistically.

Just when things seem normal, a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area. Lily has a good idea that some bad phantoms are behind it. Can she keep her identity secret, or will her witchy ways be forced out of the closet as she attempts to stop the phantom?


5 book lists we think you will like!

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