100 books like Ten Days in a Mad-House

By Nellie Bly,

Here are 100 books that Ten Days in a Mad-House fans have personally recommended if you like Ten Days in a Mad-House. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of All the President's Men

G. Wayne Miller Author Of Unfit to Print: A Modern Media Satire

From my list on an important moment or time in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been passionate about journalism since I was a teenager, when I became the co-editor of my high school newspaper. My career as a full-time journalist began decades ago, at a small family-owned newspaper in Berkshire County, Mass., and continued through staff writer positions at The Cape Cod Times, Providence Journal and now at OceanStateStories.org, the new non-profit news outlet based at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center in Newport, R.I., that I co-founded and now direct. So I have the long and inside view of American journalism!

G.'s book list on an important moment or time in history

G. Wayne Miller Why did G. love this book?

This is arguably the most important book by journalists in the modern era.

Not only did the reporting behind it lead to the impeachment and subsequent resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of Watergate, it inspired generations of other journalists to investigate political crimes and criminals and hold office-holders at all levels accountable. One could reasonably say that it helped to save American democracy.

By Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked All the President's Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

50th Anniversary Edition—With a new foreword on what Watergate means today.

“The work that brought down a presidency...perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history” (Time)—from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of The Final Days.

The most devastating political detective story of the century: two Washington Post reporters, whose brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation smashed the Watergate scandal wide open, tell the behind-the-scenes drama the way it really happened.

One of Time magazine’s All-Time 100 Best Nonfiction Books, this is the book that changed America. Published just months before President Nixon’s resignation, All the President’s Men revealed the…

Book cover of Hiroshima

Rhys Crilley Author Of Unparalleled Catastrophe: Life and Death in the Third Nuclear Age

From my list on nuclear war and how to stop it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I currently spend my time researching (and worrying about) nuclear war and how to stop it from ever happening. I live about 25 miles away from where the UK’s nuclear weapons are based, so I have a very personal interest in making sure that nuclear war never becomes a reality! As a lecturer at the University of Glasgow I’m also embarking on a four-year research fellowship with over £1 million in funding where I will be leading a team of experts to research how to improve nuclear arms control and disarmament. So keep in touch if you want to reduce the risk of nuclear war and ban the bomb!

Rhys' book list on nuclear war and how to stop it

Rhys Crilley Why did Rhys love this book?

I really enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award-winning Oppenheimer movie, and this book is the perfect book to read after watching it. Hiroshima was the first widespread account of what Oppenheimer’s creation – the atomic bomb – did to the people of Hiroshima.

Written in the immediate aftermath of the nuclear bombing, Hiroshima tells the story of six men and women who survived amidst the destruction that killed over 100,000 other people. By focusing on these six survivors, Hersey makes the almost unimaginable scale of destruction achingly real and relatable. At one point, he describes "the wounded as silent as the dead around them," and this line sends shivers down my spine. 

Few writers can conduct such detailed investigative reporting and tell the story in such a human way that still resonates today, nearly 80 years after it was first published. 

By John Hersey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“One of the great classics of the war" (The New Republic) that tells what happened in Hiroshima through the memories of survivors—from a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. 

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic "that stirs the conscience of humanity" (The New York Times).

Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search…

Book cover of Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells

Frances McNamara Author Of Molasses Murder in a Nutshell: A Nutshell Murder Mystery

From my list on real women in criminology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was frustrated by stories of gilded-age women who floundered around and were pitied because of the limitations society put on them. I thought the heroine of House of Mirth was not heroine but a loser. It seemed to me there must be other women out there who weren’t just sitting around bemoaning their predicament. Since I’m a mystery writer I was especially pleased to find some women who were out there doing things, even in criminology. Finding Frances Glessner Lee was the icing on the cake when I learned that she is known as the Mother of Forensic Science. Had to be great stories there.

Frances' book list on real women in criminology

Frances McNamara Why did Frances love this book?

Ida B. Wells was a journalist. She was also an organizer of an anti-lynching campaign.

She’s a wonderful example of a woman who ignored the limitations the world of the time set on her to do what she felt was needed. She and others collected accounts of lynchings, many of them from white newspapers and published them to force society to confront the fact that they were happening.

As a young woman she sued a railroad for physically ejecting her from a carriage because she was African American. She won.

She’s just a great example of a young woman bucking the system. I’m so glad my feminine forebearers did!

By Ida B. Wells,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Crusade for Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"She fought a lonely and almost single-handed fight, with the single-mindedness of a crusader, long before men or women of any race entered the arena; and the measure of success she achieved goes far beyond the credit she has been given in the history of the country."-Alfreda M. Duster

Ida B. Wells is an American icon of truth telling. Born to slaves, she was a pioneer of investigative journalism, a crusader against lynching, and a tireless advocate for suffrage, both for women and for African Americans. She co-founded the NAACP, started the Alpha Suffrage Club in Chicago, and was a…

Book cover of Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays

Kate Doyle Author Of I Meant It Once

From my list on making sense of your life by writing about it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of the short story collection I Meant It Once. I often say it’s a book about being a mess in your twenties, but to speak more personally, writing it was a necessity, a way to make sense of both the intensity and mundanity of my own experiences. I love a book where you can palpably feel the author working to make sense of their own life, through language—and, in turn, sorting out what it is for any of us to be a person. Books like these are essential reading when life feels thorny, beautiful, and impossible to make sense of, and all you can do is try to write it down.  

Kate's book list on making sense of your life by writing about it

Kate Doyle Why did Kate love this book?

I’ll end with a book that started it all for me!

I still remember, in the year 2010, reaching the end of the essay "Goodbye to All That" where the date of publication is noted—1967—and how startled I was to realize something that feels so contemporary and alive had been written decades earlier. As in so much of her work, in this collection Didion offers vivid details from her life and brings her extraordinary powers of analysis to understanding their meaning.

As she once put it herself—in another essay, "Why I Write"—"Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write. I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means.”

By Joan Didion,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Slouching Towards Bethlehem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joan Didion's savage masterpiece, which, since first publication in 1968, has been acknowledged as an unparalleled report on the state of America during the upheaval of the Sixties Revolution.

We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were

In her non-fiction work, Joan Didion not only describes the subject at hand - her younger self loving and leaving New York, the murderous housewife, the little girl trailing the rock group, the millionaire bunkered in his mansion…

Book cover of It's Kind of a Funny Story

Nash Jenkins Author Of Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos

From my list on teenage sentimentality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I do not remember a time when I wasn’t captivated by stories about adolescence. This was the case when I myself was a teenager—when I sought in these overwrought sagas the sort of sentimental melodrama that eluded the banality of my own life—but curiously it’s no less true at thirty, for reasons that are fundamentally the same but somehow more urgent. Becoming an adult is an exercise in hardening; to grow up is to forget what it’s like to be beholden to one’s own autobiographical romance. The following titles offer a respite from the cynicism that is adulthood; as a writer and a human, I'm forever in their debt.

Nash's book list on teenage sentimentality

Nash Jenkins Why did Nash love this book?

This is another novel written expressly for teenagers, and all the better for it.

Inflected by the author’s own autobiographical experiences—like Craig, the novel’s narrator, Vizzini spent a week in a psychiatric hospital as a teenager—It’s Kind of a Funny Story was the first work of fiction I’d read that articulated the adolescent experience through the language of mental health. It was here that I learned “depression” isn’t an abstracted emotion but the very real neurochemical imbalance that impels Craig to call the suicide hotline after abandoning his SSRIs.

There’s an uncanny familiarity to the circumstances of Craig’s breakdown—namely in how he struggles to remain above water at a famously rigorous college preparatory high school—and a fundamental earnestness to his story’s confessions that gilds even its grimmest moments with a fifteen-year-old's sense of impressionable wonder.

By Ned Vizzini,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked It's Kind of a Funny Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life—which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job—Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does.  That’s when things start to get crazy.

At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and…

Book cover of The Devil in Silver

Michele W. Miller Author Of The Lower Power

From my list on supernatural terror with real-world adversity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write horror and crime thrillers grounded in my unusual lived experience as an author and attorney who has also overcome poverty, incarceration, and violent crime. I feel most fulfilled when I read a book that both entertains and expands me in meaningful ways, immersing me in lives, cultures, and history I might not otherwise know. So I love Social Horror novels, which feature characters who face significant human adversity beyond my own experience and leave me questioning what was worse, the human or the supernatural.

Michele's book list on supernatural terror with real-world adversity

Michele W. Miller Why did Michele love this book?

A man called “Pepper,” who may or may not suffer from mental illness, ends up in a locked mental ward in Queens, New York, where the entire novel takes place.

A beast, who the patients believe is the devil, comes out at night, assaulting and sometimes killing patients. Patient deaths are chalked up to suicide. The engaging, quirky characters—drugged to the gills while warehoused and essentially untreated in a public hospital—share the defining feature of being low-income and unprotected from both the supernatural and human forces that would destroy them. They must take matters into their own hands to protect themselves.

I appreciated the theme of how marginalization and isolation presented as much terror here as the supernatural. Yet, the hope and humor of the characters also kept me engaged and frequently smiling.

By Victor LaValle,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Devil in Silver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • Publishers Weekly

New Hyde Hospital’s psychiatric ward has a new resident. It also has a very, very old one.
Pepper is a rambunctious big man, minor-league troublemaker, working-class hero (in his own mind), and, suddenly, the surprised inmate of a budget-strapped mental institution in Queens, New York. He’s not mentally ill, but that doesn’t seem to matter. He is accused of a crime he can’t quite square with his memory. In the darkness of his room on his first…

Book cover of The Snake Pit

Mikita Brottman Author Of Couple Found Slain: After a Family Murder

From my list on psychiatric hospital by women who spent time there.

Why am I passionate about this?

In addition to being an author, I’m a literature professor and a psychoanalyst; I have worked in prisons and psychiatric hospitals. I have also been a psychiatric patient. I’m fascinated by narrative, and by the way we use language to make sense of our own experiences and to connect with other people.

Mikita's book list on psychiatric hospital by women who spent time there

Mikita Brottman Why did Mikita love this book?

This is the 75th anniversary edition of a book first published in 1946, a best-seller at the time, and the impetus for changes in the treatment of psychiatric patients. The narrator, novelist Victoria Cunningham, finds herself incarcerated in a corrupt and badly-run hospital with little memory of how she got there; I was disturbed by the way she had to navigate through an obscure, nonsensical bureaucracy that seems more insane than any of the hospital’s patients. Virginia is supported by her loving and loyal husband, but at times she loses track of her memories and forgets who he is. The book is frightening—especially given that it’s based on the author’s own experiences at Bellevue Hospital in New York—but also intimate and moving.

By Mary Jane Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vintage book

Book cover of The Risk Pool

Chuck Augello Author Of A Better Heart

From my list on fathers and sons.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I started writing my novel A Better Heart, the focus was not on fathers and sons, but from the moment the narrator’s estranged father walked through the door, I knew their relationship would drive the story. As a reader, I enjoy following characters as they navigate the potholes of their lives, and family often present the biggest holes. Our primary relationships are with our parents, and their influence is a big part of who we become as adults. Exploring that bond often makes great fiction. My father died of cancer ten years ago. In writing about fathers and sons, perhaps I’m trying to imagine a different ending.          

Chuck's book list on fathers and sons

Chuck Augello Why did Chuck love this book?

The Risk Pool shows the importance of accepting and loving our fathers for who they are instead of resenting them for who they never could be. Sam Hall, the irresponsible wreck of a dad in this warm-hearted and funny book, is by any definition a terrible father, yet his relationship with his son Ned feels real in ways that most fictionalized father-son relationships don’t. Forced to care for Ned when Ned’s mother is hospitalized with mental illness, Sam introduces his son to pool halls, bars, bookies, drunks, and the occasional petty crime. Though aware of his father’s many faults, Ned can’t help but be charmed by Sam’s easy-going life, and even when Sam disappears for years, the bond remains strong.  

By Richard Russo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Risk Pool is a thirty-year journey through the lives of Sam Hall, a small-town gambling hellraiser, and his watchful, introspective son Ned. When Ned's mother Jenny suffers a breakdown and retreats from her husband's carelessness into a dream world, Ned becomes part of his father's seedy nocturnal world, touring the town's bars and pool halls, struggling to win Sam's affections while avoiding his sins.

Book cover of This Train Is Being Held

Kristin Bartley Lenz Author Of The Art of Holding on and Letting Go

From my list on teen sports (and so much more).

Why am I passionate about this?

I wasn’t a sporty teen, but I discovered rock climbing in my twenties and that later inspired my first novel, The Art of Holding On and Letting Go. I’m also a social worker, and even though my main character Cara is a competitive climber and the book features gripping (ha!) rock climbing scenes, the story is about much more – love and loss, finding home, the transformative power of nature. Sports and athleticism (or lack thereof) are something we can all relate to. What a great starting point for exploring our multi-faceted lives.

Kristin's book list on teen sports (and so much more)

Kristin Bartley Lenz Why did Kristin love this book?

Welcome to the sweet romance of Isa, a dancer, and Alex, a baseball player, teenagers in New York with very different upbringings. Isa is a blonde, half-Cuban/half white, private school girl from a well-off family that’s falling apart behind the scenes. Alex is Dominican, attends public school, and divides his time between his divorced parents. He’s also a secret poet and leaves his poems for Isa to find on the subway train where they first met. Both have professional sports potential, but the reality is more complicated. The couple navigates challenges with their families and neighborhoods, including mental health and gangs, and you’ll be rooting for them the entire time. The author has a beautiful poem in the Rhyme and Rhythm anthology that I mentioned above.

By Ismée Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Train Is Being Held as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Family and class differences threaten the love of two teens in this contemporary YA romance

When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her long ballet dancer's legs and untroubled happiness, something he feels belongs to all rich kids. As the two grow closer in and out of the subway, Isabelle learns of Alex's father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues despite Alex's desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle's Havana-born…

Book cover of In the Blood

Jenna Kernan Author Of The Nurse

From my list on psychological thrillers with a jaw-dropping twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a certified crime junkie beginning with Helter Skelter and, more recently, FBI profiler Jack Douglas’ Mindhunter. This genre is a passion, but here’s the kicker, I started my writing journey in Western historical romance. I know, right? Then I had this wild idea: a psychologist who’s got a secret – her mother is a notorious serial killer on death row, and someone is imitating her crimes. Just like that A Killer’s Daughter was born! Now I’m always reading and listening to thrillers and true crime podcasts. Check out my newsletter to see what’s grabbing me. 

Jenna's book list on psychological thrillers with a jaw-dropping twist

Jenna Kernan Why did Jenna love this book?

I attended an author event at the coolest bookstore in Tampa in The Exchange building, and Lisa Unger was being interviewed by Colette Bancroft, the book editor for the Tampa Times.

Well, the book sounded wonderful, and it really is. The heroine in this story is smart, clever, and managed to keep one step ahead of the unusual, troubled boy she is hired to babysit. I loved this story and now have a signed copy on my keeper shelf.

By Lisa Unger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Best Mystery Novel of the Year (Sun-Sentinel)

A Best Book of the Year (Suspense Magazine)

A Silver Falchion Award Winner for Best Novel

A Best Book Nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards

A CBC Morning Show Top Book Pick

An Amazon Best Book of the Month 

An Indie Next Best Books of the Month Pick

"A brisk, crafty and fascinating psychological thriller... In The Blood is a complex mosaic as well, one that's tricky, arresting and meaningful." (The Washington Post)

Liar, liar, pants on fire . . . 

College senior Lana Granger has told so many lies about her…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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