100 books like The Bear and the Nightingale

By Katherine Arden,

Here are 100 books that The Bear and the Nightingale fans have personally recommended if you like The Bear and the Nightingale. 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 Norse Mythology

Patricia Furstenberg Author Of Dreamland: Banat, Crisana, Maramures, Transylvania, 100-WORD STORIES, Folklore and History

From my list on short stories to make you dream about travelling.

Why am I passionate about this?

My upbringing in refined Bucharest, surrounded by books and Romania's rich folklore, as well as my youth excursions in the idyllic Transylvanian countryside, instilled in me a love for storytelling. Although I have a medical degree, my insatiable curiosity about historical figures' lives, journeys, and the landscapes they encountered has driven me to investigate and write about these enthralling tales. This allowed me to share the wonders of travel through historical and contemporary fiction with a strong historical foundation - and a dog or two. On my blog I share enchanting gems from Romania’s past, while on social media I promote Romania’s history and culture under the hashtag #Im4Ro.

Patricia's book list on short stories to make you dream about travelling

Patricia Furstenberg Why did Patricia love this book?

I'd heard a lot about Norse myths on social media recently, but I was unfamiliar with them. 

The idea of Gaiman weaving his narrative magic through the tapestry of these ancient tales intrigued me, and it surely made for an exciting read.

Even if you're unfamiliar with Norse mythology (as I was), this retelling will awe you with the strangeness and wonder of these ancient tales. Norse Mythology is more than a book; it's an invitation to a hypnotic world inhabited by gods, giants, undead goats, betrayals, a mischievous squirrel, elves, dwarves, and Valkyries.

This collection is an enthralling journey through a selection of Norse myths, narrated with Neil Gaiman's trademark wit and simplicity.

By Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Norse Mythology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok.

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin's son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki-son of a giant-blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the…

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Claudia Amendola Alzraa Author Of The Transformational Path: How Healing, Unlearning, and Tuning into Source Helped Me Manifest My Most Abundant Life

From my list on completely transforming your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known I was “special” since I was a child. I saw, felt, and heard things that others did not. Eventually I embraced my clairaudient mediumship gifts and turned it into a thriving business, allowing me to live a life of purpose: helping others find their passions and live their most joyful lives. But the journey never ends; I am always on a mission to transform. Consistently, literature has been where I turn when I am seeking wisdom on becoming the best version of myself. I also pursued certification as a Book Therapist - the first thing I’ll recommend to friends, family, or clients is the best book for their dilemma!

Claudia's book list on completely transforming your life

Claudia Amendola Alzraa Why did Claudia love this book?

J.R.R. Tolkien's masterful storytelling is unmatched, and The Lord of the Rings weaves together moral dilemmas and profound philosophical ideas seamlessly, encouraging me to contemplate the nature of power, the importance of preserving the natural world, and the significance of individual choices.

The book's themes of heroism, friendship, sacrifice, and the struggle between good and evil resonate deeply. In addition, each of his characters feels like an aspect of oneself; the introspection it inspires is brilliant!

The Lord of the Rings instills a sense of wonder, ignites the imagination, and imparts timeless wisdom, which heavily transformed my perspective on life, my values, and my understanding of the human condition.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

52 authors picked The Lord of the Rings 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?

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of…

Book cover of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Duncan Hubber Author Of Notes from the Citadel: The Philosophy and Psychology of A Song of Ice and Fire

From my list on The best philosophical fantasy novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic at the University of Queensland whose research areas include horror films, screen trauma theory, the cinematic representation of urban spaces, and the collision of romanticism and postmodernism in fantasy literature. My first book, POV Horror: The Trauma Aesthetic of the Found Footage Subgenre, was adapted from my PhD thesis. I am an avid member of the A Song of Ice and Fire fandom, and my second book represents over a decade of talking and writing about George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, having grown out of conversations in forums, podcasts, symposiums, and fan conventions, as well as my own background in literary analysis and research.

Duncan's book list on The best philosophical fantasy novels

Duncan Hubber Why did Duncan love this book?

Clarke transports the reader to England during the time of the Napoleonic Wars. There is, however, one small twist: magic once existed in this world and has now returned through two men, drastically changing the course of history and society.

The story is rich in gothic atmosphere and wry humour, and is positively bursting with ideas (there are almost 200 footnotes!). Clarke imbues her protagonists with conflicting approaches to the pursuit of knowledge, with Norrell representing cautious rationality and conservative methodology, while Strange embodies an adventurous spirit and a willingness to embrace the arcane and often the dangerous.

By Susanna Clarke,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of…

Book cover of Deathless

Camilla Andrew Author Of When The Stars Alight

From my list on fantasy and cinematic experiences.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was a maladaptive daydreamer. I could often be found crafting elaborate fantasies in my head featuring fully-fledged worlds and characters that I would actively interact with and speak to as if they were real. I was a strange child, and I kept that strangeness with me when I went into fiction. Since then, I’ve always wanted to encapsulate the feeling of giving a movie-like experience in book form. I want the people who read my work to feel like they’re experiencing something real.

Camilla's book list on fantasy and cinematic experiences

Camilla Andrew Why did Camilla love this book?

Reading this book felt like drinking a pitch-black winter night. That’s the best way I can describe it. Somehow, Valente managed to masterfully bottle the frigid sensation of a bleak midwinter and transport it to the page.

I’ve always loved this book for how mythic and grandiose it feels even in the short amount of pages it has. This is something that I feel would come alive in an animated adaptation where you can really capture the eerie and surrealist imagery used.

By Catherynne M. Valente,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and he is Marya's fate. For years she follows him in love and in war, and bears the scars. But eventually Marya returns to her birthplace - only to discover a starveling city, haunted by death. Deathless is a fierce story of life and death, love and power, old memories, deep myth and dark magic, set against the history of Russia in the twentieth century. It is, quite simply, unforgettable.

Book cover of A Discovery of Witches

Caren Simpson McVicker Author Of Henderson House

From my list on believing in magic again.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a debut novelist at the age of fifty-seven, I’ve spent most of my life as a reader, not an author. My love of reading began with The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and flourished when I discovered the genre of fantasy with The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin. Is it any wonder I giggle with delight when I stumble upon a book that makes me believe in magic again? When an author weaves the supernatural into their story in a natural way, my expectations shift, and my heart opens to the power of the unknown to teach me something new and take me somewhere extraordinary.

Caren's book list on believing in magic again

Caren Simpson McVicker Why did Caren love this book?

I love books about books, so I was thrilled when Oxford's Bodleian Library and a bewitched alchemical manuscript turned up as the linchpin of this enchanting love story between a vampire and a reluctant witch.

While this story was made into a television series, do yourself a favor and read the entire trilogy. Harkness creates a compelling framework of history and heroics, love and loss, and friendship and betrayal for her underworld creatures to inhabit. And these are not your typical creatures of the night, but accomplished scholars, physicians, and scientists.

This book is one of those rare novels I wish I could read again for the first time and fall under its magical and mesmerizing spell anew.

By Deborah Harkness,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked A Discovery of Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Book cover of Gideon the Ninth

Tim Pratt Author Of Heirs of Grace

From my list on fantasy with women heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been reading fantasy for 42 years and writing it for 40, and because I was raised by badass women, I've always enjoyed tales of clever, kickass, indomitable heroines. I've written a bunch of them (a dozen books in an urban fantasy series about a sorcerer named Marla Mason; four books in the Axiom space opera series about ship captain Callie Machedo and her love interest, time refugee xenobiologist Elena Oh; contemporary fantasy/romance Heirs of Grace, about an art student who discovers a magical inheritance, and more). I'm also a longtime book reviewer, editor at SF/fantasy trade magazine Locus, and frequent award juror (Bradbury Prize, Philip K. Dick Award, and more), so... I think about SF/fantasy books a lot. 

Tim's book list on fantasy with women heroines

Tim Pratt Why did Tim love this book?

Gideon the Ninth lit up the sky of the science fiction/fantasy world when it was published, launching the Locked Tomb series (which is ongoing, and great; third volume Nona the Ninth is especially lovely).

It's been described as "lesbian necromancers in space" but it's more "lesbian necromancer and swordsperson on various weird planets in the far future with a god-emperor who uses death magic to fight planet-sized spectral monsters...." for a start.

The whole series is enigmatic, complex, and laced through with humor, action, and yearning, but the first book is notable for the power of Gideon's voice.

By Tamsyn Muir,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Gideon the Ninth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

15+ pages of new, original content, including a glossary of terms, in-universe writings, and more!

A USA Today Best-Selling Novel!

"Unlike anything I've ever read. " --V.E. Schwab

"Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!" --Charles Stross

"Brilliantly original, messy and weird straight through." --NPR

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth, first in The Locked Tomb Trilogy, unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as…

Book cover of Keturah and Lord Death

Maria Vale Author Of Molly Molloy and the Angel of Death

From my list on stories of death personified.

Why am I passionate about this?

The 14th century had it all: the 100 Years' War, near-constant famines, and, of course, the Black Plague. As a medievalist studying the art of the time, I was struck by the representations of Death that emerged from this near-perfect storm of misery. Yes, Death was often portrayed accompanied by demons and devils, lumped willy-nilly with evil. But it was more often portrayed in the Danse Macabre as a skeletal partner, leading everyone—Pope and Emperor, Lord and Laborer—on a merry dance. I know it was meant as a warning, but I found the Danse Macabre to be oddly comforting, a vision of an ultimate democracy, with Death the final partner and companion to us all.

Maria's book list on stories of death personified

Maria Vale Why did Maria love this book?

Leavitt’s story is a fairytale and like all good fairytales, there is a handsome prince except this one is played by Lord Death himself.

I love Keturah. She is brave enough not to be afraid and big-hearted enough to see beyond Death’s terrifying purpose to the underlying sadness of the feared and hated outsider. Through the course of the book, she also comes to appreciate the meaning he brings to life.

“It was Death who…made her see the sun in the blue sky and hear the trees in a spring wind. He made her see how much she loved her friends…Made her love the breath in her lungs. She knew she had never been truly alive as when she met him. Never so happy and content with her lot until she was touched by the sorrow of him.”

By Martine Leavitt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Keturah and Lord Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

National Book Award Finalist

A young woman makes a bargain with Death himself-and only true love can set her free-in this spellbinding YA fantasy romance for fans of Robin McKinley.

For most of her sixteen years, beautiful Keturah Reeves has mesmerized the villagers with her gift for storytelling. But when she becomes hopelessly lost in the king's forest, her strength all but diminished, she must spin the most important of tale of life. With her fate hanging in the balance, she charms Death himself-a handsome, melancholy, and stern lord-with a story of a love so true that he agrees to…

Book cover of Alice

E.B. Moore Author Of Loose in the Bright Fantastic

From my list on humor about surviving family and dementia.

Why am I passionate about this?

Throughout my life I found the trick to getting through rough patches meant isolating dark thoughts. I got them out by creating something (artworks, poems, stories), and looked forward to new horizons, though these works could easily be misinterpreted by those around me. When I was fifteen, after my father died and we were forced off the farm, I created a series of disturbing drawings that won the school's art prize and were displayed at graduation. A friend of my mother saw the exhibit and said, “Oh Dorothy, I’m so sorry.” It gave us a laugh later when Mother realized this method of cleansing beat finding a psychiatrist, and the cost couldn’t be beat.

E.B.'s book list on humor about surviving family and dementia

E.B. Moore Why did E.B. love this book?

This story is a twist on a familiar Lewis Carroll tale.

It is unsettling in a dementia-like way, spinning the reader from the known into the unknown with just enough of the old story to keep them from tipping completely off balance, hope and dark humor always alive. 

This book helped me with the twisting of fact and fiction in my own books, where I used many of my own family incidents (and fears), but gave them to fictional characters with their own generational slant.

By Christina Henry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with the screams of the poor souls inside.In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn't remember why she's in such a terrible place-just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood...Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her…

Book cover of Gods of Jade and Shadow

Nick Wisseman Author Of Witch in the White City

From my list on transporting yourself to an alternate reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fantasy has long been one of my go-to genres. I also studied history in college and grad school. And while my academic focus was 20th-century America, I’ve always enjoyed studying other regions and eras. So if you can boil a book down to the equation History + Fantasy = Magical Learning Experience, I’m in. Those are also the types of novels I love to write.

Nick's book list on transporting yourself to an alternate reality

Nick Wisseman Why did Nick love this book?

Gods of Jade and Shadow starts as a Mexican Cinderella story, except that the fairy godmother is a Mayan god of death.

Not sold yet? What if I told you the god of death is also Prince Charming?

It’s an awesome premise.

I also enjoyed the setting. The story takes place in Jazz Age Mexico, shortly after the Mexican Revolution and at a time when pop culture was “all about the United States” and “reproducing its women, its dances, its fast pace.” Yet there’s far more old than new here. Mayan mythology threads throughout.

I didn’t always love the pace, but the book has an irresistible style. If you like fresh takes on classic fairy tales, Gods of Jade and Shadow is definitely worth a look.

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Gods of Jade and Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'This is historical fantasy at its best' S.A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass

Inspired by Mexican folklore, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a magical, wildly imaginative coming-of-age tale for fans of Katherine Arden, Naomi Novik and Helene Wecker.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but it's passing Casiopea Tun by. She's too busy scrubbing floors in her wealthy grandfather's house to do anything more than dream of a life far from her dusty, small town in southern Mexico. A life she could call her own.

This dream is impossible, distant as the stars - until the…

Book cover of Small Gods

Robert Pettus Author Of Abry.

From my list on cultivating meaning in the face of societal absurdity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a rural area influenced by both Protestantism and Catholicism, I found that the daily habits of devoutly religious people were often contradictory to the basic practices of their religion. I also discovered that people were every day forced to adjust their beliefs and behaviors depending on which microcosm within the culture they were in at a given moment participating. People unable to play by these ever-shifting cultural rules would quickly lose respect. This scared the hell out of me, as I was never good at adjusting to different social situations on the fly, but I also found it interesting, and it therefore became the primary theme of my book. 

Robert's book list on cultivating meaning in the face of societal absurdity

Robert Pettus Why did Robert love this book?

Most all of Terry Pratchett’s books do an excellent job of turning absurdity into humor while remaining thought provoking, and this one is probably my favorite.

In terms of style and humor, I really found myself thinking of Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams while reading this, which is obviously good company to be in. Essentially, the book deals with the question: “What happens to religion when no one believes in its God?”  

By Terry Pratchett,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Small Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fans of Sir Terry Pratchett will love this stunning graphic novel adaptation of his bestselling standalone Discworld novel Small Gods. Beautifully brought to life by illustrator Ray Friesen, it takes a close look at religion's institutions, its people, its practices and its role in politics in Pratchett's unique way...

'An intriguing satire on institutionalized religion corrupted by power...' - Independent
'Deftly weaves themes of forgiveness, belief and spiritual regeneration' - The Times
'I loved this book. I wish it could go on and on and on because it was so enjoyable to read. I wish more books are like this…

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