100 books like The Alaskan Laundry

By Brendan Jones,

Here are 100 books that The Alaskan Laundry fans have personally recommended if you like The Alaskan Laundry. 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 To the Bright Edge of the World

Peggy O'Donnell Heffington Author Of Without Children: The Long History of Not Being a Mother

From my list on women without kids (that aren’t sad).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who knows women have long lived not-sad lives without children. I’ve spent years researching the full and vibrant lives women without children lived throughout history—lives that often were only possible because they didn’t have the responsibilities of motherhood. I’m also a woman living a decidedly not-sad life without kids. And yet, in popular imagination, a woman without kids must be longing to be a mother or grieving the fact that she isn’t. I know firsthand that it can be isolating not to have kids. But in writing about the sheer variety of lives non-mothers lived in the past, I’m trying to show that we’re not alone.

Peggy's book list on women without kids (that aren’t sad)

Peggy O'Donnell Heffington Why did Peggy love this book?

Unlike Ivey’s other book The Snow Child, which grapples with the grief of infertility (a book I also love!), this book considers the opportunities a life without children allows for.

It opens with Lieutenant Colonel Allan Forrester as he prepares to lead an expedition into Alaska in 1885. His wife, Sophie, is an explorer in her own right and plans to accompany him—until they realize she’s pregnant and decide she has to stay behind.

Spoiler: Sophie miscarries and learns she will likely never be able to carry a baby to term. But this isn’t an endpoint for Sophie: instead, it sets her on a path toward professional and creative success, as well as love and happiness in her marriage.

We’re used to reading about how motherhood gives life meaning—I loved Ivey’s portrait of how not having kids can do the same.

By Eowyn Ivey,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked To the Bright Edge of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDWARD STANFORD TRAVEL WRITING AWARDS 2016.

Set in the Alaskan landscape that she brought to stunningly vivid life in THE SNOW CHILD (a Sunday Times bestseller, Richard and Judy pick and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Eowyn Ivey's TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD is a breathtaking story of discovery set at the end of the nineteenth century, sure to appeal to fans of A PLACE CALLED WINTER.

'A clever, ambitious novel' The Sunday Times

'Persuasive and vivid... what could be a better beach read than an Arctic adventure?' Guardian


'Stunning and intriguing... the reader finishes…


Book cover of Ordinary Wolves

Nancy Lord Author Of pH: A Novel

From my list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time Alaskan (and former Alaska writer laureate) with a passion for my place—its people, environment, and history. I’ve always read widely in its literature and have watched it mature from superficial “last frontier” stories into a complex and diverse wealth of authentic and well-told stories. Since 2015 I’ve reviewed books for the Anchorage Daily News and have made it my business to know and support the growing Alaska writing community. Alaska is particularly strong in nonfiction writing while fiction (other than mysteries and short stories) has been slower to develop, and I’ve chosen to highlight five examples of novels that present truths through imaginative leaps.

Nancy's book list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans

Nancy Lord Why did Nancy love this book?

Kantner’s book, from 2004, is the first literary novel, in my judgment, to present an authentic view of contemporary Alaska.

The story (thinly disguised from the author’s own life) is told by a white boy growing up in a remote northern part of Alaska, living with his family as an earlier generation of Inupiaq people did. The boy fits in with neither the modernizing Inupiaq of a nearby village nor the white world, although he is very much at ease with the natural world and the skills his life demands.

When he later tries city life, the contrast is stark and painful. Kantner presents both worlds in exquisite detail as he explores larger themes about values, choices, and human relationships. Ordinary Wolves won the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.

By Seth Kantner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ordinary Wolves depicts a life different from what any of us has known: Inhuman cold, the taste of rancid salmon shared with shivering sled dogs, hunkering in a sod igloo while blizzards moan overhead. But this is the only world Cutuk Hawcley has ever known. Born and raised in the Arctic, he has learned to provide for himself by hunting, fishing, and trading. And yet, though he idolizes the indigenous hunters who have taught him how to survive, when he travels to the nearby Inupiaq village, he is jeered and pummeled by the native children for being white. When he…


Book cover of Jimmy Bluefeather

Nancy Lord Author Of pH: A Novel

From my list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time Alaskan (and former Alaska writer laureate) with a passion for my place—its people, environment, and history. I’ve always read widely in its literature and have watched it mature from superficial “last frontier” stories into a complex and diverse wealth of authentic and well-told stories. Since 2015 I’ve reviewed books for the Anchorage Daily News and have made it my business to know and support the growing Alaska writing community. Alaska is particularly strong in nonfiction writing while fiction (other than mysteries and short stories) has been slower to develop, and I’ve chosen to highlight five examples of novels that present truths through imaginative leaps.

Nancy's book list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans

Nancy Lord Why did Nancy love this book?

Set in Southeast Alaska, Jimmy Bluefeather honestly depicts both environmental and generational change.

A Tlingit-Norwegian canoe carver anticipates the end of his life while his grandson struggles with his own future and a whale biologist resists authority in favor of moral action. Heacox grounds his beautifully-written story in considerable research as well as with respect for cultural beliefs and practices.

The canoe carver in particular is well-drawn and memorable, with toughness, resilience, and humor earned from living close to the Earth and its waters, in a place of stories. A canoe journey carries the story into a wild landscape, questions about conflicts between economic development and the preservation of lands and cultural values, and understandings of human frailty and strength. 

By Kim Heacox,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jimmy Bluefeather as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Winner, National Outdoor Book Award

"Part quest, part rebirth, Heacox's debut novel spins a story of Alaska's Tlingit people and the land, an old man dying, and a young man learning to live."
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A splendid, unique gem of a novel."
-Library Journal (starred review)

"Heacox does a superb job of transcending his characters' unique geography to create a heartwarming, all-American story."
-Booklist

"What makes this story so appealing is the character Old Keb. He is as finely wrought and memorable as any character in contemporary literature and energizes the tale with a humor and warmth that…


Book cover of Sivulliq: Ancestor

Nancy Lord Author Of pH: A Novel

From my list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time Alaskan (and former Alaska writer laureate) with a passion for my place—its people, environment, and history. I’ve always read widely in its literature and have watched it mature from superficial “last frontier” stories into a complex and diverse wealth of authentic and well-told stories. Since 2015 I’ve reviewed books for the Anchorage Daily News and have made it my business to know and support the growing Alaska writing community. Alaska is particularly strong in nonfiction writing while fiction (other than mysteries and short stories) has been slower to develop, and I’ve chosen to highlight five examples of novels that present truths through imaginative leaps.

Nancy's book list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans

Nancy Lord Why did Nancy love this book?

Alaska’s Indigenous people—expert storytellers and artists—have yet to author many works of fiction, so it’s a pleasure to have discovered this new novel by a writer of Inupiaq heritage.

Set in 1893 during a smallpox epidemic, Sivulliq features two viewpoint characters—an Inupiaq mother whose small daughter is kidnapped by a commercial whaling captain and a Black whaler on the whaling ship. The fast-paced plot follows the family’s efforts to find the ship and rescue the child, while life aboard the ship is narrated by the reluctant whaler.

The historic truths brought to life here include the devastation of Native Alaskans from disease and famine, the prevalence of Black whalers and the often-brutal conditions on board, and Inupiaq spiritual connections (then and now) to the land and ancestors. 

By Lily H Tuzroyluke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the spring of 1893, arctic Alaska is devastated by smallpox. Kayaliruk knows it is time to light the funeral pyres and leave their home. With her surviving children, she packs their dog sled and they set off to find family. Kayaliruk wakes with a bleeding scalp and no memory of the last day. Her daughter was stolen by Yankee whalers, her sons say. They begin chasing the ship, through arctic storms, across immeasurable distances, slipping into the Yankee whalers' town on Herschel Island, and to the enemy shores of Siberia. Ibai, an African American whaler, grew up in New…


Book cover of The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul

Shari Leid Author Of Ask Yourself This: Ultimate Life Lessons From and For My Girlfriends

From my list on helping you live your most imperfectly perfect life.

Why am I passionate about this?

These are the books that changed my life and were the catalyst for a change in career from litigation attorney to life coach. I am also a Friendship expert who is currently traveling the US, meeting a stranger in every state to share a meal with. These books align with the way I live and the energy and lessons that I hope to share with everyone I meet. These are not just books to entertain but also books that have helped me get through some difficult times in life and have helped me find real purpose and meaning in the way I move through life.

Shari's book list on helping you live your most imperfectly perfect life

Shari Leid Why did Shari love this book?

This book changed my life. This is the book that taught me the power of journaling.

I found the journal prompts that the book offers to be useful and appreciate that they provided a guide that helped me define my core beliefs and taught me to listen to my inner voice in a way that brought about an easy method to figure out not only what is truly important to me but this method also helped me to define my goals and purpose in a no-fuss bare bones way.

This book was the catalyst that eventually led me to my career as a life coach. 

By Danielle LaPorte,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Your bucket list. Quarterly objectives. Strategic plans. Big dreams. Goals. Lots of goals and plans to achieve those goals-no matter what. Except ...

You're not chasing the goal itself, you're actually chasing the feeling that you hope achieving that goal will give you.

Which means we have the procedures of achievement upside down. We go after the stuff we want to have, get, or accomplish, and we hope that we'll be fulfilled when we get there. It's backwards. And it's burning us out.

So what if you first got clear on how you actually wanted to feel in your life,…


Book cover of The Natashas

John Biscello Author Of Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale

From my list on mystery is given an existential makeover.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been an ardent admirer and student of works that transgress boundaries and extend the frontiers of literature. A blurring and subversion of genres, or fusion of forms and modalities, arouses my imagination and inspires me to see differently, to read differently, to travel to places within myself that otherwise might remain undiscovered and uncharted. To me, writing is an ongoing experiment, a series of progressions and adventures which ask me to stay open, supple, and curious. There is no set formula—each book demands its own form, and both as writer and reader, I most desire to be engaged in what is a solitary ritual of interaction.  

John's book list on mystery is given an existential makeover

John Biscello Why did John love this book?

Ukrainian-born, Yelena Moskovich, is one of the most daring and radical stylists working in contemporary literature, and I was “bewitched, bothered and bewildered,” in the best possible ways, by her debut novel, The Natashas. Set in contemporary Paris, it is through the mirrored introversion of two protagonists—Beatrice, a jazz singer, and Cesar, an actor—that the dramatic tensions between self and other, silence and voice, are played out, with “the Natashas,” women resigned to a void, functioning as the novel’s haunted, nesting doll chorus. Moskovich’s book is an experiment that closes in on itself, and with claustrophobic intimacy produces a strange, brooding, and salacious form of music. 

By Yelena Moskovich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beatrice, a solitary young jazz singer from a genteel Parisian suburb, meets a mysterious woman named Polina. Polina visits her at night and whispers in her ear: 'There are people who leave their bodies and their bodies go on living without them. These people are named Natasha.'

Cesar, a lonely Mexican actor working in a call centre, receives the opportunity of a lifetime: a role as a serial killer on a French TV series. But as he prepares for the audition, he starts falling in love with the psychopath he is to play.

Beatrice and Cesar are drawn deeper into…


Book cover of Am I a Redundant Human Being?

Kirsten Menger-Anderson Author Of Doctor Olaf Van Schuler's Brain

From my list on love, loss, and logic in 1930s Vienna.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first learned about life in 1930s Vienna from my grandfather’s memoir: Reminiscences of the Vienna Circle and the Mathematical Colloquium. I was fascinated by the time and place and began to read more about the era, which ultimately served as a setting for my forthcoming novel, The Expert of Subtle Revisions.

Kirsten's book list on love, loss, and logic in 1930s Vienna

Kirsten Menger-Anderson Why did Kirsten love this book?

Though written in the 1930s, Am I a Redundant Human Being? was not published until 2001, several decades after Hartwig’s death in 1967 (the English translation appeared in 2010).

The novel’s narrator, Aloisia Schmidt, reflects on her desire for external validation and a more exciting life, as well as the constant feeling of invisibility. Though she is only about thirty in 1930 Vienna, her ambition is constrained by disappointment, and the coming decade promises more of the same. 

By Mela Hartwig, Kerri A Pierce (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Am I a Redundant Human Being? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the first time in English, a contemporary and friend of Virginia Woolf and Stefan Zweig gives us the definitive portrait of a woman lost on the margins of modern life.


Book cover of The Art of Noticing: Rediscover What Really Matters to You

Paul Armstrong Author Of Disruptive Technologies: A Framework to Understand, Evaluate and Respond to Digital Disruption

From my list on disrupting your competitors sleeping patterns.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always asked why too many times I am told. From my early days studying psychology to working for Myspace out in LA and now with clients in London, my fondness for understanding what drives change, inertia, and pain has always been a focus. I knew from an early age that understanding people and how they are affected by, use and fear change and technology would be a useful skill to focus on. Doing so has enabled me to work with big brands, and smart cookies and interview some of the best minds of our generation. I recently brought everything under one roof, TBD Group, to help people see around corners.  

Paul's book list on disrupting your competitors sleeping patterns

Paul Armstrong Why did Paul love this book?

Rob used to write for The New York Times and I was lucky enough to interview him on my podcast Mouthwash. His book is an inspiring read that helps you notice more around you. Beyond this it’s a rallying cry for attention and how you choose to utilise it. The book isn’t meant to be a business book, but I have found that there are massive sections that should be applied to business – especially in this remote working world. Buy one for you and one for a friend. 

By Rob Walker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Notice more, and notice more joy in the everyday.

Distracted? Overwhelmed? Feel like your attention is constantly being pulled in different directions? Learn how to steal it back.

Accessible and inspiring, this book features 131 surprising and innovative exercises to help you tune out white noise, get unstuck from your screen and manage daily distractions.

Make small yet impactful changes and bring focus to the things and people that are most important to you.


Book cover of Leaving the Atocha Station

Quincy Carroll Author Of Unwelcome

From my list on contemporary novels about searching abroad.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside and a former artist-in-residence at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai. After graduating from college, I took a “good” job but soon came to realize it wasn't for me. I quit after less than a week and ended up moving to China, where I spent four years teaching English, working for a consumer electronics company, and writing fiction. I currently teach at a school in Oakland, California.

Quincy's book list on contemporary novels about searching abroad

Quincy Carroll Why did Quincy love this book?

There’s being lost in life, then there’s drunkenly lying about your mother’s death in order to elicit sympathy from a potential love interest. Having bluffed his way into a fellowship in Spain, Adam Gordon, the highly privileged, highly incompetent narrator of this book, spends most of his days getting high and wrestling with the connection between experience and art, questioning his own legitimacy at every turn. Not a lot happens, but that’s kind of the point: the absence of adversity in Gordon’s life is what makes him so insecure and is perhaps saying something on the topic of American decline.

By Ben Lerner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his relationship to art. What is actual when our experiences are mediated by language, technology, medication, and the arts? Is poetry an essential art form, or merely a screen for the reader's projections? Instead of following the dictates of his fellowship, Adam's "research" becomes a meditation on the possibility of the genuine in the arts and beyond: are his relationships with the people he meets in Spain as fraudulent as he fears his poems are?…


Book cover of Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Randy Ross Author Of Fireproof Happiness: Extinguishing Anxiety & Igniting Hope

From my list on the best way to find happiness.

Why am I passionate about this?

My entire career has revolved around helping people find more meaning and fulfillment in their life and work. It’s a fact that happy people are healthier, have better relationships, are more satisfied with life, and are more productive. But, happiness for most folks is elusive. Through my research, personal experience, and coaching and consulting practice, I have found that there is a distinct connection between hope and happiness. Fireproof Happiness is my attempt to show this connection and offer practical wisdom and sound advice to craft a brighter tomorrow, no matter what you may be facing today.

Randy's book list on the best way to find happiness

Randy Ross Why did Randy love this book?

Known as the father of the new science of Positive Psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman shows how optimism enhances quality of life. He refutes the idea that some people are simply born more optimistic and shares how anyone can adopt a more positive outlook on life. This book is filled with simple techniques to break depression, boost your immune system and make you happier.

Learned Optimism offers simple, straightforward solutions to help anyone embrace a healthier mindset as they face and embrace challenging times. Applying the content of this book, anyone can learn to view life through a different lens, changing their perspective and navigating life’s difficulties more effectively.

By Martin E. P. Seligman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The father of positive psychology draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to show you how to overcome depression, boost your immune system, and make yourself happier.

"Vaulted me out of my funk.... So, fellow moderate pessimists, go buy this book." —The New York Times Book Review

Offering many simple techniques anyone can practice, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I–give–up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue.

With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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