94 books like Stiff

By Mary Roach,

Here are 94 books that Stiff fans have personally recommended if you like Stiff. 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 Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Susan E. Lindsey Author Of Liberty Brought Us Here: The True Story of American Slaves Who Migrated to Liberia

From my list on explore history you didn’t know.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical nonfiction, I’m an avid reader, and I’ve long been fascinated by the past. But I’m far less interested in the stories of powerful people, political intrigues, and significant battles. I would rather read (and write) hidden history: the stories that have not yet been discovered or fully explored and stories that are left out of history books—accidentally or deliberately. I find these far more compelling. They often provide a deeper look at how history affects those who lack power, influence, and money but who nevertheless do remarkable and often heroic things. I live in Portugal and have started working on a new historical nonfiction book.   

Susan's book list on explore history you didn’t know

Susan E. Lindsey Why did Susan love this book?

I couldn’t put down this book that traces dual stories of the architect who designed the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and a serial killer who chose his victims from among those who flocked to the city.

One of my great-aunts served as a nurse at the World’s Fair infirmary, and I remember hearing about the fair and her experiences there—how wondrous and magical it had all seemed to a young woman from a small town.

I couldn’t help but think of her when I read about the very dark side of the fair, too. Erik Larson is one of my favorite authors, and this is my favorite of his books.

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Devil in the White City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Chicago World Fair was the greatest fair in American history. This is the story of the men and women whose lives it irrevocably changed and of two men in particular- an architect and a serial killer. The architect is Daniel Burnham, a man of great integrity and depth. It was his vision of the fair that attracted the best minds and talents of the day. The killer is Henry H. Holmes. Intelligent as well as handsome and charming, Holmes opened a boarding house which he advertised as 'The World's Fair Hotel' Here in the neighbourhood where he was once…


Book cover of How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir

Jonathan T. Jefferson Author Of Mugamore: Succeeding without Labels - Lessons for Educators

From my list on Black-ish American memoirs and autobiographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first twenty-five years of my life appeared to be atypical for an inner-city African American boy from a large family. Only a small number of children were bused to more “academically advanced” schools. I earned that honor by frequently running away from the local school. Overcoming the challenges of being a minority in a demanding, predominantly Jewish, school district eventually benefited me greatly. In the early 1970s, my parents did something unprecedented for a working-class African American family from Queens: They bought an old, dilapidated farmhouse in Upstate New York's dairy country as a summer home. What other unusual life experiences that impact people of color have taken place on the American tapestry? 

Jonathan's book list on Black-ish American memoirs and autobiographies

Jonathan T. Jefferson Why did Jonathan love this book?

From childhood through college and a burgeoning career, the author’s honest and unambiguous voice matures as he paints a vivid picture of growing up poor, Black, and gay. Despite societal and familial challenges, having a loving single mother committed to his education helped him to navigate to success. Page after page, readers will find something relatable in unexpected ways.

By Saeed Jones,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked How We Fight for Our Lives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2020 STONEWALL BOOK AWARD-ISRAEL FISHMAN NONFICTION AWARD

"Jones's voice and sensibility are so distinct that he turns one of the oldest of literary genres inside out and upside down." NPR'S Fresh Air

Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence-into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds…


Book cover of Detroit: An American Autopsy

Drew Philp Author Of A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City

From my list on why Detroit is the most interesting city in the US.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve lived in Detroit for nearly 15 years, where I built my house with my own two hands out of the shell of one I purchased for $500. A longtime journalist, I grew up in a small town in the countryside of Michigan. When I moved to Detroit after college people told me I was throwing my life away, but I looked at it as a moral decision, as “staying home” when it seemed like most other people were leaving. I’m glad I did—it offered me a look into a world more strange and beautiful than I could have imagined, potentially even a vision into a brave new future. I hope this world comes across in A $500 House in Detroit, and I hope we can make it last. 

Drew's book list on why Detroit is the most interesting city in the US

Drew Philp Why did Drew love this book?

Love him or hate him, it’s undeniable that LeDuff is a tremendously charismatic writer. A Pulitzer Prize winner, a breathtaking reporter, and a denizen of Detroit for decades, this is one of the most compellingly written books on Detroit ever.

This book has a Mustang eight-cylinder engine on it, and I hoovered this up over just a couple of hours. If you want a barn-burning page-turner of a tale, showcasing Detroit as its most broken and beautiful, this is the one for you.

By Charlie LeDuff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An explosive expose of America's lost prosperity by Pulitzer Prize -winning journalist Charlie LeDuff

"One cannot read Mr. LeDuff's amalgam of memoir and reportage and not be shaken by the cold eye he casts on hard truths . . . A little gonzo, a little gumshoe, some gawker, some good-Samaritan-it is hard to ignore reporting like Mr. LeDuff's." -The Wall Street Journal

"Pultizer-Prize-winning journalist LeDuff . . . writes with honesty and compassion about a city that's destroying itself-and breaking his heart." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A book full of both literary grace and hard-won world-weariness." -Kirkus

Back in his…


Book cover of The Orchid Thief

Sonia Day Author Of The Mexico Lunch Party -- A Sisters of the Soil Novel. With Recipes

From my list on the amazing world of plants.

Why am I passionate about this?

During two decades as a gardening columnist for the Toronto Star, I wrote about hundreds of different plants. I also penned, for various publishers, over half a dozen books with titles ranging from Incredible Edibles: 40 Fun Things to Grow in the City and The Untamed Garden: A Revealing Look at our Love Affair with Plants. And in doing so, I got hooked. Even if you aren’t interested in gardening, the botanical world is chock-a-block with terrific stories. My new novel, for instance, published in 2022, begins with an extraordinary tale about a plant called The Corpse Flower which bloomed for the first time in 70 years at Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

Sonia's book list on the amazing world of plants

Sonia Day Why did Sonia love this book?

A good book provides me with information, but it must also be entertaining and free of annoying jargon. This one became a bestseller after it appeared back in 1998, with good reason. In fact, I’ve read it three times (a rarity for me) and I always get a chuckle or two. Susan Orlean crafts a fascinating tale about the wonderful subculture of orchid fanciers in Florida. The writing is vivid, the characters she meets are off the wall, and I learned a lot about these weird, sometimes creepy flowers.

By Susan Orlean,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Orchid Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of orchid thief and obsessive, John Laroche, and the bizarre world of the orchid fanciers of Florida. The world of the orchid hunters, breeders and showmen, their rivalries, vendettas and crimes, smuggling, thefts and worse provide the backdrop to an exploration of one of the byways of human nature, the obsessive world of the collector.


Book cover of Dark Harvest

R.B. Thorne Author Of Listen: The Sound of Fear

From my list on when the body is dead, but the book goes on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fan of horror—specifically, supernatural horror—for as long as I can remember. Though the topic of life after death is perhaps one of the most long-standing debates in existence, almost every family has a story or two about things that can’t be explained. I’ve turned my lifelong interest in death, the occult, and how the two can coexist, into slow-burn horror stories for people who like a little weird with their fear. Stories that explore the beautiful complexity of queer people. Stories for the strange at heart.

R.B.'s book list on when the body is dead, but the book goes on

R.B. Thorne Why did R.B. love this book?

This book is fast and punchy. It’s filled with twists and a high level of unnerving emotions. Set during autumn harvest, this is an absolutely perfect Halloween read. It is rather short, which means a fast reader or someone with some time could devour it in a day or two. There’s also an upcoming film adaptation.

By Norman Partridge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is Halloween, 1963. They call him the October Boy, or Ol' Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in this small Midwestern town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death. Pete McCormick knows that killing the October Boy is his one chance to escape a dead-end…


Book cover of And the Trees Crept In

Tyffany D. Neiheiser Author Of Not Dead Enough

From my list on YA horror books that engage with mental health.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two of my favorite things to read about are horror stories and mental health. I have a Master’s Degree in mental health counseling and have worked with kids and adults with various mental health challenges. I’m passionate about talking about mental health to help demystify and destigmatize some of the conversations around these issues. It’s been frustrating to me how often, in the past, books have gotten mental health “wrong.” So whenever I find books with an accurate picture of mental health challenges, told in speculative fiction, I get super excited. I most enjoy stories when they’re entertaining but also mean something and have strong characters with challenges I can relate to.

Tyffany's book list on YA horror books that engage with mental health

Tyffany D. Neiheiser Why did Tyffany love this book?

The first time I read this book, I was blown away by how twisty and creepy it was.

Silla is a wonderfully complex heroine. Is she paranoid, or is the manor really cursed? How much is she imagining and how much is real? Every time I thought I knew where the book was going, I was wrong. It just gets weirder and more unsettling as the book progresses.

As I read it, I just kept thinking that things didn’t make sense. But it was so compelling that I couldn’t stop, even when I was very confused. The ending pulls it all together with a completely satisfying ending that explained every question I had. It goes darker than most YA, but I loved it for going all in.

By Dawn Kurtagich,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked And the Trees Crept In as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt's home, it's immediately clear that the "blood manor" is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too--the questions that Silla can't ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that's appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?
Filled with just as many twists and turns as The Dead House, and with…


Book cover of Parasite

R.B. Thorne Author Of Listen: The Sound of Fear

From my list on when the body is dead, but the book goes on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fan of horror—specifically, supernatural horror—for as long as I can remember. Though the topic of life after death is perhaps one of the most long-standing debates in existence, almost every family has a story or two about things that can’t be explained. I’ve turned my lifelong interest in death, the occult, and how the two can coexist, into slow-burn horror stories for people who like a little weird with their fear. Stories that explore the beautiful complexity of queer people. Stories for the strange at heart.

R.B.'s book list on when the body is dead, but the book goes on

R.B. Thorne Why did R.B. love this book?

I originally picked up this book because I really like the author. Seanan McGuire never disappoints. Parasite is part one of a series, and is a completely fresh take on what some people might call zombies (although there is a lot of room for speculation there). The characters were compelling, and the plot kept me reading when I should have been doing countless other things. I love everything I’ve ever read by McGuire (alternate pen name Mira Grant), and this book was no different.

By Mira Grant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author Mira Grant comes a vision of a decade in the future, where humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.
 
We owe our good health to a humble parasite — a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system — even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives .…


Book cover of The Girl from the Well

Tyffany D. Neiheiser Author Of Not Dead Enough

From my list on YA horror books that engage with mental health.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two of my favorite things to read about are horror stories and mental health. I have a Master’s Degree in mental health counseling and have worked with kids and adults with various mental health challenges. I’m passionate about talking about mental health to help demystify and destigmatize some of the conversations around these issues. It’s been frustrating to me how often, in the past, books have gotten mental health “wrong.” So whenever I find books with an accurate picture of mental health challenges, told in speculative fiction, I get super excited. I most enjoy stories when they’re entertaining but also mean something and have strong characters with challenges I can relate to.

Tyffany's book list on YA horror books that engage with mental health

Tyffany D. Neiheiser Why did Tyffany love this book?

I LOVE anti-heroes, and Okiku, as a vengeful ghost who horrifically kills child murderers, is perfect.

A lot of books end with a character’s trauma as if surviving is the only important part of the story. But Okiku didn’t survive her trauma-—and she is furious, taking out all her pain and rage on people who prey on the weak. When Okiku makes a connection with a lonely, cursed boy, she starts to wonder if she can help prevent tragedy instead of cleaning up after it. Through an unlikely friendship, Okiku and Tark come together and show that it’s never too late to heal.

If I’m making it sound like this is a sweet story of friendship and redemption, be warnedthis book is terrifying.

By Rin Chupeco,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Girl from the Well as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

"[A] Stephen Kinglike horror story...A chilling, bloody ghost story that resonates."- Kirkus
From the highly acclaimed author of the Bone Witch trilogy comes a chilling story of a Japanese ghost looking for vengeance and the boy who has no choice but to trust her, lauded as a "a fantastically creepy story sure to keep readers up at night" (RT Book Reviews)
I am where dead children go.
Okiku is a lonely soul. She has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the spirits of the murdered-dead. Once a victim herself, she now takes the lives of killers with the vengeance they're…


Book cover of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Jawahara Saidullah Author Of We are...Warrior Queens

From my list on transporting you across time and place.

Why am I passionate about this?

Travel and writing are my two great passions. Since I was a child, I escaped reality by escaping into my own mind. I had relied on my stories of the warrior queens ever since I learned about them as a child. It was only a few years ago, when I lived in Geneva, that I had a memory flash at me of the statue of Queen Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi on a rearing horse with a curved sword held in one hand. I knew then that it was time to tell a story—my own story and that of my favorite warrior queens.

Jawahara's book list on transporting you across time and place

Jawahara Saidullah Why did Jawahara love this book?

This is a surprising book because while it is certainly macabre, it’s not morbid (at least not for me) and is strangely entertaining. It demystifies the human body and the process of death and dying. 

Even as the author delves into every aspect of dead bodies, she does so with compassion and humor. Rooted and backed up with science, this book held my interest from beginning to end, and I read it non-stop for over a day and a half. Despite its grave subject matter, this book is not dark or scary. It’s matter-of-fact and very educational.

By Mary Roach,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For two thousand years, cadavers - some willingly, some unwittingly - have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender confirmation surgery, cadavers have helped make history in their quiet way. "Delightful-though never disrespectful" (Les Simpson, Time Out New York), Stiff investigates the strange lives of our bodies postmortem and answers the question: What should…


Book cover of The Silent Teacher: The Gift of Body Donation

Janet Philp Author Of Burke - Now and Then

From my list on the supply of cadavers and what they can teach us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anatomy educator and doctoral researcher looking at the use of human material in anatomy education. My historical research into the antics of body suppliers has caused me to explore many publications on what we do with the remains of our relatives. This is a subject that can be fascinating but also requires compassionate handling and sometimes asks us questions that we often do not want to ponder.

Janet's book list on the supply of cadavers and what they can teach us

Janet Philp Why did Janet love this book?

Right up to date with a book written by an anatomist detailing how cadavers are used in a modern teaching facility in the UK. In an unusual break from the silence that usually surrounds the use of human cadavers, Dr. Smith talks us through the whole process from donation to disposal and the assistance they provide to medical teaching.

By Claire F. Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One single body donation could affect the lives of around ten million patients. Body donation is an amazing gift which enables doctors and healthcare professionals to understand the human body. Surgeons can refine existing surgical skills and develop new procedures to create better treatment for you. Dr Claire Smith goes through every aspect of donating a body, clearly describing what happens to a body once it has been donated, how it is used, how bodies are reassembled and then placed in coffins before cremation.

This is the fascinating journey into the untold story of the Silent Teacher.


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