10 books like Sympathy

By Olivia Sudjic,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Sympathy. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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My Sister, the Serial Killer

By Oyinkan Braithwaite,

Book cover of My Sister, the Serial Killer

The title and all the glowing reviews made me pick this book up, but the sisters Korene and Ayoola kept me reading. This book actually made me wonder exactly how far I’d go for one of my sisters. It also made me think about how much many women give up to be the caretakers (as Korene the nurse is), especially of the men in our lives. Korene not only figuratively has to clean up after her little sister, she has to literally don plastic gloves and grab the bleach. Is it horrible to think a little Ayoola-style “self-defense” would make the world a better place? Yes. Yes, it is. But I’m so glad this book took me there, right to the darkest edge of that thought…fictionally.

My Sister, the Serial Killer

By Oyinkan Braithwaite,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked My Sister, the Serial Killer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sunday Times bestseller and The Times #1 bestseller

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019
Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019
Winner of the 2019 LA Times Award for Best Crime Thriller
Capital Crime Debut Author of the Year 2019
__________

'A literary sensation'
Guardian

'A bombshell of a book... Sharp, explosive, hilarious'
New York Times

'Glittering and funny... A stiletto slipped between the ribs and through the left ventricle of the heart' Financial Times
__________

When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber…


Notes on a Scandal

By Zoe Heller,

Book cover of Notes on a Scandal

A real classic, leaving Heller fans in frustration, longing for her to match this achievement. The rank stupidity of the teacher, Sheba’s, affair with a perfectly mundane male pupil – while she has a marriage and childrenis perversely enjoyable. But it’s the older female narrator’s warped obsession with Sheba, her desire to control her, to possess her life, that forms the really fascinating and highly ill-advised relationship. 

Notes on a Scandal

By Zoe Heller,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Notes on a Scandal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Film tie-in edition of Zoe Heller's darkly compelling Booker shortlisted novel. The film of Notes on a Scandal received four Oscar nominations and stars Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench.

From the first day that the beguiling Sheba Hart joins the staff of St George's history teacher Barbara Covett is convinced she has found a kindred spirit. Barbara's loyalty to her new friend is passionate and unstinting and when Sheba is discovered having an illicit affair with one of her pupils, Barbara quickly elects herself as Sheba's chief defender. But all is not as it first seems in this dark story…


The Majesties

By Tiffany Tsao,

Book cover of The Majesties

Originally published as Under Your Wings in Australia, The Majesties could just easily be titled My Sister, the Mass-Murderer. It has one of my favourite openings of all time: beginning in a hospital, where Chinese-Indonesian fashion designer Gwendolyn lies comatose, the sole survivor of her sister Estella’s mass-poisoning of their 300-strong family dynasty. Though it has been compared to Crazy Rich Asians with its globe-trotting plot (taking place in Jakarta, Paris, and Melbourne, among other settings), The Majesties is a more sombre read, exploring corruption and racial tension in the upper echelons of Indonesian society. 

The Majesties

By Tiffany Tsao,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Best Books to Read in August - The Independent

Gwendolyn and Estella are as close as sisters can be. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor after Estella poisons their entire family.

As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to such a brutal act.

Journeying from the luxurious world of Indonesia's rich and powerful, to the spectacular shows of Paris Fashion Week, and the melting pot of Melbourne's student scene, The Majesties is a haunting novel about the dark secrets that can build a family…


Two Girls Fat and Thin

By Mary Gaitskill,

Book cover of Two Girls Fat and Thin

Almost any of Mary Gaitskill’s books would have suited this theme (and her short story collection Bad Behavior is the obvious choice), but Two Girls, Fat and Thin is a recent discovery and new favourite of mine. Dorothy Never is the titular fat girl, and a former acolyte of an Ayn Rand-like guru, Anna Granite. Thin girl Justine Shade is a journalist who tracks her down while writing a takedown of Granite. From this setup, the novel backtracks to tell the girls’ life stories, in parallel, building up to Justine’s journalistic betrayal of Dorothy, and its surprising aftermath.  

Two Girls Fat and Thin

By Mary Gaitskill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Two Girls Fat and Thin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This captivating novel shimmers with dark intensity and wicked wit. In a stunning synthesis of eroticism, rage, pathos, and humor, Gaitskill's "fine storyteller's pace and brilliant metaphors" (The New York Times Book Review) create a haunting and unforgettable journey into the dark side of contemporary life and the deepest recesses of the soul.


Someday, Somewhere

By Lindsay Champion,

Book cover of Someday, Somewhere

I was dying to read this book because I'd heard it was structured after Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata for violin and piano, and even though it's not a piece I'm intimately familiar with I could almost hear the music as I read. Even though it's billed as a love story, it's not so much a typical romance as it is an ode to following your passions, listening to your heart, and falling in love with New York City...for the first time, or all over again. As a longtime New Yorker I found myself rediscovering the city through Dominique's eyes, and I even learned some cool NYC facts I'd never heard before (not going to spoil anything, but I listen to the subway in a whole new way now)! Highly recommended for anyone who loves music, New York, or lyrical writing about flawed but shimmering characters.

Someday, Somewhere

By Lindsay Champion,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Structured like a sonata, this heartbreaking debut novel hits all the right notes.

Dominique is a high school junior from gritty Trenton, barely getting by. Ben is a musical prodigy from the Upper East Side, a rising star at a top conservatory.

When Dom’s class is taken to hear a concert at Carnegie Hall, she spots Ben in the front row, playing violin like his life depends on it — and she is transfixed.

Posing as an NYU student, Dom sneaks back to New York City to track him down. Soon, the two are desperately in love, each seeing something…


Meow or Never

By Jazz Taylor,

Book cover of Meow or Never: Wish Novel

This is a heartwarming story about Avery, an anxious 12-year-old prone to panic attacks, with a secret crush on one of the popular girls in her school. In part to impress her, she auditions for the school musical, and to her horror, lands the lead role. She finds solace in a stray cat, Phantom, who hangs around the school theater, and slowly opens up to two new human friendships, including her crush. Avery learns how to become comfortable with asking for and receiving help while dealing with her anxiety, as well as figuring out how to face her stage fright.

Meow or Never

By Jazz Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meow or Never as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A heartwarming story of secret pets and secret crushes... and learning to take center stage!

Avery Williams can sing, but that doesn't mean she can sing in front of people. She likes to stay backstage at her new school, which is where, to her surprise, she finds a cat tucked away into a nook. Avery names the stray Phantom and visits any time she's feeling stressed (which is a lot these days).

As she sings to Phantom one day, her crush, Nic, overhears her and ropes Avery into auditioning for the school's musical. Despite her nerves, Avery lands the lead…


The Lonesome Era

By Jon Allen,

Book cover of The Lonesome Era

Jon Allen’s coming out and growing up story in his ongoing Ohio Is For Sale series, The Lonesome Era is, so far, his most complex and affecting work, but that’s not saying much for a cartoonist who expands his abilities and repertoire with each new book. The Lonesome Era is a rites-of-passage tale that showcases Allen’s customarily bleak outlook and dry wit, and it is, by turns, hilarious and poignant. I’ve called his work “Kafkaesque situation comedies” in the past, but that description belies the mordant emotional and observational sophistication on show here. He is simply one of the best young visual storytellers around.

The Lonesome Era

By Jon Allen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A touching book that is sure to appeal to any reader who has tried to be the person they were meant to be." - BOOKLIST

Camden is a cat. Camden is also crushing hard on his best buddy and all-around terrible influence, Jeremiah. Young, bored, and trapped in their slowly decomposing Rust Belt town, Camden tamps down his burgeoning feelings for the local ne'er-do-well and allows himself to be dragged along with every awful idea, every hair-brained plan, and every threat to life and limb Jeremiah can come up with. As the dangers of Camden's risk-taking mount, an even more…


Through My Window

By Ariana Godoy,

Book cover of Through My Window

This title is for the upper YA crowd, I’m talking sixteen going on seventeen because while set in high school, this read is steamy. What I love about this book is the humane side of things. Ares Hidalgo is far from perfect. He messes up with our heroine Raquel quite a few times, and I love that he’s flawed and kept trying to right his wrongs. I just loved Ares’s boldness, from stealing Raquel’s WiFi, to climbing through her window to fix said WiFi when it’s down, to calling her out on her crush on him. This book is total wish fulfillment, because imagine obtaining your crush!! Do watch the Netflix movie as well!

Through My Window

By Ariana Godoy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW ON NETFLIX! Read the steamy romance that started the international sensation…

It used to be that I obsessed over Ares Hidalgo from afar.
But that was before he climbed
Through My Window

Raquel Álvarez is hardworking and serious about her future. She’s only got one goal―to become a psychologist. Well, that and to get Ares Hildago to notice her.

For as long as Raquel can remember, she has been obsessed with Ares. Even though he lives next door, Raquel has never spoken to him. Yet, she can’t help thinking there’s more to him than his rich, hot playboy image.…


The Long-Winded Lady

By Maeve Brennan,

Book cover of The Long-Winded Lady: Notes from the New Yorker

“I saw a little boy on the street today, and he cried so eloquently that I will never forget him.” Maeve Brennan wrote for the New Yorker’s Talk of the Town section as ‘The Long-Winded Lady’ from 1954 to 1968. She roamed the city’s streets, bars, and restaurants, eyes wide open, weaving stories of vivid emotional detail from the most seemingly mundane moments. None of these are too long – in the waiting room concentration can be fleeting – but each sketch engages. Her story of the crying boy ends this way: “He might have been the last bird in the world, except that if he had been the last bird there would have been no one to hear him.”

The Long-Winded Lady

By Maeve Brennan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Long-Winded Lady as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Of all the incomparable stable of journalists who wrote for The New Yorker during its glory days in the Fifties and Sixties,” writes The Independent, “the most distinctive was Irish-born Maeve Brennan.” From 1954 to 1981, Maeve Brennan wrote for The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” column under the pen name “The Long-Winded Lady.” Her unforgettable sketches—prose snapshots of life in small restaurants, cheap hotels, and crowded streets of Times Square and the Village—together form a timeless, bittersweet tribute to what she called the “most reckless, most ambitious, most confused, most comical, the saddest and coldest and most human…


The New York Trilogy

By Paul Auster,

Book cover of The New York Trilogy

This is post-modern crime fiction thematically linked and all with increasingly unreliable characters—because they’re each going insane.

In City of Glass private investigator, Daniel Quinn, goes mad sinking deeper into an investigation about identity. Who is telling his story and can they be relied on? Is it any of these characters who appear: ‘the author,’ ‘Paul Auster the writer,’ ‘Paul Auster the detective’?  Whoosh.

I love this stuff but understand it’s an acquired taste!

The New York Trilogy

By Paul Auster,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The New York Trilogy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul Auster's signature work, "The New York Trilogy," consists of three interlocking novels: "City of Glass," "Ghosts," and "The Locked Room" - haunting and mysterious tales that move at the breathless pace of a thriller."City of Glass" - As a result of a strange phone call in the middle of the night, Quinn, a writer of detective stories, becomes enmeshed in a case more puzzling than any he might hace written"Ghosts"Blue, a student of Brown, has been hired to spy on Black. From a window of a rented house on Orange street, Blue stalks his subject, who is staring out…


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