100 books like The Appeal

By Janice Hallett,

Here are 100 books that The Appeal fans have personally recommended if you like The Appeal. 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 Dune

Liam Lombard Author Of The Calling

From my list on fantasy great world building relatable characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved the intricacies and secrets our world has to offer. In pursuing knowledge, I delved deep into the ‘magic’ of science to learn about its mysteries. The more I learned, the more I wanted to experiment with the laws of our world. After much schooling and reading many fantasy books, I eventually wrote about a fantastical world where science has been tweaked just enough to make things interesting. I hope you enjoy my list of books and that they excite you as much as they have excited me. 

Liam's book list on fantasy great world building relatable characters

Liam Lombard Why did Liam love this book?

This book is probably the best I have ever read. The way characters think and feel is expressed magnificently, and the subtle ‘awe’ moments drive the plot forward.

I have never felt more attached to characters and their magic. Paul’s journey is believable and incredibly crafted. World-building is effortless, and I was never bored at any point while listening to the book.

I fear reading more in the series because this book is so good. I don’t want anything to spoil its perfection. 

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…

Book cover of Dracula

L.W. King Author Of Carrie's Legacy

From my list on supernatural with a sprinkling of realism.

Why am I passionate about this?

From an early age, I have been fascinated with anything supernatural and occult. My Aunt would read my palm, and then, as a teenager, I would visit clairvoyants to see what the future held for me. As I grew older, I found I had an ability, a gift of seership, and after reading many books, embarked on my pagan journey, from which I have never looked back, and am now studying Druidry,which is very much nature-based. I hope you love the books on this list as much as I do!  

L.W.'s book list on supernatural with a sprinkling of realism

L.W. King Why did L.W. love this book?

I read this book at the tender age of ten and instantly became ever so slightly obsessed with vampires; I love how the atmosphere builds slowly, sucking me to the point that I am genuinely afraid that the wolves might attack.

The description of the locations and the journal and letter writing are wonderful story breakers, and what a uniquely wonderful story it is. For me, it is a timeless masterpiece.

By Bram Stoker,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked Dracula as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 17.

What is this book about?

'The very best story of diablerie which I have read for many years' Arthur Conan Doyle

A masterpiece of the horror genre, Dracula also probes identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. It begins when Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, and makes horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England - an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck; a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his 'Master' - and a determined group of adversaries…

Book cover of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4

Todd Alexander Author Of Over the Hill and Up the Wall

From my list on the lighter side to aging.

Why am I passionate about this?

As one of Australia’s bestselling observational comedy authors, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to write about the fact that I’ve recently become my parents’ go-to expert on just about everything. From solving technological dilemmas to coaching through society’s ever-changing correctness and reminding them to eat their greens, the elders in my life have inspired me to look at the funny side to aging, and to explore how a middle aged child sometimes crosses over from being helpful to just plain interfering.

Todd's book list on the lighter side to aging

Todd Alexander Why did Todd love this book?

Okay, so this book is predominantly about the struggles of a boy going through puberty but its depiction of the magnetic older characters of Bert and Queenie in the Alderman Cooper Sunshine Home are among the funniest scenes in the book. 

Of every book I’ve ever read, it remains one of the most hilarious and if you’ve read it previously, it’s well worth another visit.

By Sue Townsend,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 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?

A humorous story first published in 1982, which chronicles the daily life of a teenage boy and all his problems.

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

Fiona Tolan Author Of The Fiction of Margaret Atwood

From my list on dark, dystopian futures written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic and a passionate reader of women’s fiction. My job title, Reader in Contemporary Women’s Writing, is also, fortunately, my hobby. I love to think about how women’s writing explores women’s lives today. I chose the theme of dystopian fiction because The Handmaid’s Tale has been so central to my work. Still, other potential topics that came to mind were motherhood, home and domestic labour, reproductive politics, and feminist protest. It strikes me now that each of the books on my list also cover these topics. This is the element of my work I love – drawing out the connections and political convictions that make today’s women’s writing so powerful.

Fiona's book list on dark, dystopian futures written by women

Fiona Tolan Why did Fiona love this book?

This is the novel that inspired whole shelves in the bookshops of recent women’s dystopian fictions (note how often their covers mimic the red and white of the handmaid’s uniform!) 

I write about Atwood a lot, and I'm most often asked to talk about this book. No matter how many times I return to The Handmaid’s Tale, I find something new to think about. 

Atwood took what was an often male-focused genre (think George Orwell’s 1984) and reimagined it from a woman’s perspective. For me, the most terrifying thing about Offred’s story is how ordinary she is – how she’s just trying to keep her head down and survive. When the government was overthrown, she watched it on TV and did nothing, like most of us would.

If you only know this book from the Hulu TV series, I urge you to go back to the novel: it's…

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

34 authors picked The Handmaid's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Go back to where it all began with the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it' Guardian

I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford -…

Book cover of Possession

Emily Matchar Author Of In The Shadow Of The Greenbrier

From my list on historical fiction with mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love historical settings and detail – I love coming away from a novel feeling like I’ve also learned something about the world. But I also like lots and lots of plot and intensity. Historical fiction slash mystery novels hit the spot just right. Though my own work thus far is more on the historical fiction side, I do try to plot it like a mystery, with lots of questions, revelations, and discoveries to be made as you go along.  

Emily's book list on historical fiction with mysteries

Emily Matchar Why did Emily love this book?

A gorgeous, extravagant dual-timeline historical mystery about late-20th-century academics researching a pair of (fictional) Victorian poets – did they or didn’t they?

If you like library settings, fictional documents (letters, poems – lots of poems), and a good dose of poking-fun-at-academia, you’ll love it. Yes, it is also a movie (though I can’t speak to it). 

By A.S. Byatt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets. Following a trail of letters, journals and poems they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time.


Book cover of The Color Purple

Hari Ziyad Author Of Black Boy Out of Time

From my list on loss and grief from a certified death doula.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, author and screenwriter, my work has always pondered loss and grief. I think this has something to do with the fact that of my mother’s religion; she was a convert to Hinduism and started conversations about the inevitability of death and how the soul and the body aren’t the same when us children were at a very young age. It probably also has something to do with the constant presence of death within my family and communities as a Black and queer person in a violently anti-Black and queerantagonistic world. I currently volunteer at a hospice, and provide community-building programming to death workers from diverse communities.

Hari's book list on loss and grief from a certified death doula

Hari Ziyad Why did Hari love this book?

This novel is a soul-stirring journey of resilience and self-discovery.

Reminding us that loss of connection to a loved one shares many of the same aspects as death, The Color Purple is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, particularly in the face of adversity. Along the way, you’ll come to a deeper understanding of gendered violence, the healing power of sisterhood and the enduring nature of love.

By Alice Walker,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Color Purple 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?

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Alice Walker's iconic modern classic is now a Penguin Book.

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug…

Book cover of Before I Go to Sleep

Mallika Narayanan Author Of In the Dark I See You

From my list on Suspense/thriller books with great plot twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer of suspense/thrillers and psychological thrillers, I’ve always loved thrillers and suspense books where I can’t guess the ending. And this list of books is additionally close to my heart because of the way they made me feel when I read them: breathless; restless to know how they were going to end; and most of all, they made me think about and question the psychology of the characters. I hope you will like them as much as I did!

Mallika's book list on Suspense/thriller books with great plot twists

Mallika Narayanan Why did Mallika love this book?

This book kept me on the edge of my seat, biting my nails, and err… made me forget to go to sleep. This book to me is the epitome of books that make you go wait, what??

I want to highlight the menacing ambiance and constant edge in the tone of the story by giving the character such vulnerability that made me squirm. I loved the pacing of this story as the main character is hurled from the one bad situation into another.

Yet again, this book taught me to re-think assumptions, because it proved all of them wrong. I love the uniqueness of this trope especially when it first came out but the originality of it captivated me entirely.

By S.J. Watson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Before I Go to Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Mesmerising and unsettling . . . The best debut thriller for years' Sunday Times

Now a major film starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong

Over 7 million copies sold worldwide

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.


Readers are obsessed with Before I Go To Sleep:

***** 'A genius plot with an incredible twist. Before…

Book cover of Lie Beside Me

Anne Brooke Author Of Where You Hurt The Most

From my list on couples working through a challenging relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer, I’m fascinated by relationships, what makes them work and what might make them fail. And I’ve always been gripped by the power of two people who try to love each other, no matter how different they may be or what obstacles they face. I honestly believe that two people in love are far more than the sum of their parts and can create something magical that wouldn’t have been there without them. So, yes, I’m a romantic at heart but, even in these cynical times, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I hope you love the books on this list as much as I do.

Anne's book list on couples working through a challenging relationship

Anne Brooke Why did Anne love this book?

I love this book because, even though it’s a crime story, it’s also a rollercoaster ride through the story of the marriage of Louise and Niall, who are both in various ways involved in the crime.

Each person is lying for different reasons and each of them is terrified to tell the truth to each other for fear of how the other person might react. The plot takes them through moments of dark despair, utter dishonesty, anger, and even hatred, all of which is somehow part and parcel of the marriage they have created.

There is hope, however, and they come to realise a deeper truth about themselves and their relationship which, for me, was incredibly moving in an unexpected way.

By Gytha Lodge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A HUSBAND. A LIAR. A KILLER . . . The gripping new thriller from the Sunday Times bestseller

'Utterly gripping and unpredictable' 5***** Reader Review
'Suspenseful and compulsive with twists galore' 5***** Reader Review
'You won't be able to put it down' 5***** Reader Review
'Absolutely brilliant' Claire Douglas, bestselling author of The Couple at No 9

Louise wakes up. Her head aches, her mouth is dry, her memory's fuzzy. But she knows she's done something bad.

She rolls over towards her husband, Niall.

But it's not Niall lying beside her. In fact, she's never seen this man before.…

Book cover of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Eric Coulson Author Of The Chrysalis Option

From my list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been in love with London and the UK since I started reading British thrillers over 40 years ago. When I finally had the chance to live in London as a US diplomat, I was able to see so many of those places that had filled my imagination for years. I have my JD from Southern Illinois University. I have worked for the US Army and the US State Department. I now support my wife Karen, who is a US Diplomat.

Eric's book list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain

Eric Coulson Why did Eric love this book?

I love the sense of intimacy in this book.

The characters are flawed and detailed against the backdrop of London and Great Britain. It is a classic of the genre and really takes you back to the pre-internet and pre-fall of the USSR. It really captures what it was like to live in those times.

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Legacy of Spies.

The man he knew as "Control" is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn't quite ready for retirement-especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla-his Moscow Centre nemesis-and sets a trap to catch the traitor.

The Oscar-nominated feature film adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is directed by…

Book cover of Whip Hand

Lia Matera Author Of The Good Fight

From my list on details of legal and definitely illegal professions.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I wrote crime novels, I was a lawyer. Legal mysteries back then were mostly set in traditional firms, with just enough lawyering to set up final courtroom scenes. I preferred novels that showed more of the nitty-gritty, the conflicts, and temperaments peculiar to different workplaces. I’d been binging Dick Francis, with his deep dives into jobs connected to racing, and I wished there were books with his level of detail in settings I knew—students scrabbling to make law review, firebrand litigators in labor firms, double-crosses in corporate practice, the horrors of bank law retreats. When I finished Francis’s excellent Whip Hand, I decided to try writing one myself. 

Lia's book list on details of legal and definitely illegal professions

Lia Matera Why did Lia love this book?

What is it like to be a jockey? Dick Francis offers a master class in using workplace details to develop characters. Readers bond with his jockeys at a gallop (or sometimes when they’re under galloping hooves). Each book is a feast of information about a different related job. We see the power of stewards and bookies and the racing press, the schemes of fixers, the pride and agonies of owners and trainers, the grievances of lads mucking out stables. We learn about transporting horses, filming them, painting them, investing in them. In Whip Hand, Francis’s lean prose and fast pace establish his jockey-turned-detective's personality and backstory in a single page of prologue. The book holds a special place in my heart because it inspired me to try writing legal mysteries.

By Dick Francis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There are two worlds in racing. Winning and losing. Private detective Sid Halley has gone from one to the other - fast. First his career as a jockey ended when he lost his hand in a fall. Then his wife said a cold good-bye. Now he's on the trail of thugs who crush losers. With vicious pleasure.

These are people who aim to win - at any price. There's a syndicate of owners with a sideline in violent kidnapping. And Trevor Deansgate, a bookmaker whose hatred of favourites goes one deathly step too far...

For the sake of his health,…

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