52 books like The Best of Me

By David Sedaris (narrator),

Here are 52 books that The Best of Me fans have personally recommended if you like The Best of Me. 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 American Happiness and Discontents: The Unruly Torrent, 2008-2020

Luis Martínez-Fernández Author Of When the World Turned Upside Down: Politics, Culture, and the Unimaginable Events of 2019-2022

From my list on today's biggest domestic and global challenges.

Why am I passionate about this?

By ten years old, I had lived in four countries and endured the repercussions of revolution, exile, military coup d’état, and emigration. That explains my life-long passion for history. I pursued a Ph.D. in Latin American history to make sense of the forces that shaped my and my family’s lives. My seven previous books explored diverse topics in Caribbean history within its broader Atlantic context. Momentous domestic and global events, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and an explosion of racial and political violence in the U.S. pushed me to broaden my scholarly attention and become a Creators Syndicate’s weekly columnist, and publish a collection of columns with the title When the World Turned Upside Down. 

Luis' book list on today's biggest domestic and global challenges

Luis Martínez-Fernández Why did Luis love this book?

American readers and news watchers are deeply segregated: those on the left reading and watching news produced by liberals, and those on the right consuming words and images from conservative authors and broadcasts. And then there is Washington Post columnist George Will, a conservative, who reads voraciously across the political spectrum and offers commentary that reasonable Americans must recognize as honest and insightful. American Happiness and Its Discontents is a collection of thoroughly researched, thought-provoking, exquisitely-written columns written by Will from 2008 to 2020. He offers insightful commentary on a wide range of political, social, and cultural topics and tackles subjects deemed taboo by the left such as the wave of nonsense that has flooded higher education. 

By George F. Will,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

George F. Will has been one of this country's leading columnists since 1974. He won the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1977. The Wall Street Journal once called him "perhaps the most powerful journalist in America." In this new collection, he examines a remarkably unsettling thirteen years in our nation's experience, from 2008 to 2020. Included are a number of columns about court cases, mostly from the Supreme Court, that illuminate why the composition of the federal judiciary has become such a contentious subject.

Other topics addressed include the American Revolutionary War, historical figures from Frederick Douglass to JFK, as…


Book cover of Rabbit Hill

Peter W. Fong Author Of The Coconut Crab

From my list on animals that talk.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have often spoken with the animals that I meet: from migrating ducks to street cats, woodchucks to chickadees. Mostly quietly—and always as if they not only could hear and understand, but also could reply. As our children grew, the replies became louder and more insistent. When our daughter was old enough to feel fearful of travel—particularly the crossing of open water in small boats—I began to tell her stories featuring these talking animals. Because the animals also were sometimes afraid, the stories helped to distract her from the perils of our own adventures and then, eventually, to enjoy them as well.

Peter's book list on animals that talk

Peter W. Fong Why did Peter love this book?

Although not nearly as well-known as Richard Adams’ Watership Down (an epic tale, with voyages and battles on the scale of Homer’s Odyssey), this book was published decades earlier and could be seen as a quiet precursor to that far more violent story.

The gardeners among you will immediately recognize both the fear and the excitement that the animals feel when contemplating unfamiliar humans. My wife and I, who have moved dozens of times in our long careers, often quote a line from Little Georgie: “New folks coming, oh my!”

By Robert Lawson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rabbit Hill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

It has been a while since Folks lived in the Big House, and an even longer time has passed since there has been a garden at the House. All the animals of the Hill are very excited about the new Folks moving in, and they wonder how things are going to change. It’s only a matter of time before the animals of the Hill find out just who is moving in, and they may be a little bit surprised when they do.


Book cover of Why Peacocks?: An Unlikely Search for Meaning in the World's Most Magnificent Bird

Elizabeth Gehrman Author Of Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man Who Brought It Back from Extinction

From my list on birds and life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never had a particular interest in birds until I heard about David Wingate and the cahow; I’m just a reporter who was smitten by a compelling story. I often write about science and the environment, as well as travel and other topics, for publications including the Boston Globe, Archaeology, and Harvard Medicine, and while working on Rare Birds I got hooked on these extraordinary creatures and the iconoclastic obsessives who have become their stewards in the Anthropocene era. You don’t have to care about birds to love their stories — but in the end, you will.

Elizabeth's book list on birds and life

Elizabeth Gehrman Why did Elizabeth love this book?

GQ writer Flynn and his wife and two kids are minding their own business on their surburban Durham “faux farm” when a friend calls to ask if they want to add a peacock to the two chickens that wander their yard. They end up with three of the kaleidoscopic birds, and Flynn’s chronicle of the family’s first year with Carl, Ethel, and Mr. Pickle takes readers on an implausibly relatable journey from the bird’s place in history, culture, and myth through its evolutionary biology and breeding habits to its endangered status in the wild, offering sardonically hilarious and harrowingly poignant life lessons along the way.

By Sean Flynn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An acclaimed journalist seeks to understand the mysterious allure of peacocks-and in the process discovers unexpected and valuable life lessons.

When Sean Flynn's neighbor in North Carolina texted "Any chance you guys want a peacock? No kidding!" he stared bewilderedly at his phone. He had never considered whether he wanted a peacock. But as an award-winning magazine writer, this kind of mystery intrigued him. So he, his wife, and their two young sons became the owners of not one but three charming yet fickle birds: Carl, Ethel, and Mr. Pickle.

In Why Peacocks?, Flynn chronicles his hilarious and heartwarming first…


Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

By Wendy Lee Hermance,

Book cover of Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

Wendy Lee Hermance Author Of Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Wendy Lee Hermance was heard on National Public Radio (NPR) stations with her Missouri Folklore series in the 1980s. She earned a journalism degree from Stephens College, served as Editor and Features Writer for Midwestern and Southern university and regional publications, then settled into writing real estate contracts. In 2012 she attended University of Sydney, earning a master’s degree by research thesis. Her books include Where I’m Going with this Poem, a memoir in poetry and prose. Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat marks her return to feature writing as collections of narrative non-fiction stories.

Wendy's book list on why Portugal is weird

What is my book about?

Weird Foods of Portugal describes the author's first years trying to make sense of a strange new place and a home there for herself.

Witty, dreamlike, and at times jarring, the book sizzles with social commentary looking back at America and beautiful, finely drawn descriptions of Portugal and its people. Part dark-humor cautionary tale, part travel adventure, ultimately, Hermance's book of narrative non-fiction serves as affirmation for any who wish to make a similar move themselves.

Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

By Wendy Lee Hermance,

What is this book about?

"Wendy Lee Hermance describes Portugal´s colorful people and places - including taxi drivers and animals - with a poet´s empathy and dark humor. Part travel adventure, part cautionary tale, Weird Foods of Portugal is at it´s heart, affirmation for all who consider making such a move themselves."


Book cover of Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory

Merrill J. Davies Author Of Becoming Jestina

From my list on how women helped win World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

After teaching high school English for thirty-one years, I retired and began my second career in writing. I have published five novels and one collection of poetry. When I met Jane Tucker in 1974, she became a good friend, fellow church member, and my dental hygienist. I had no idea she had worked as a welder on Liberty Ships during World War II when she was only sixteen years old. After I learned this in 2012, I began my journey into learning all about the Rosies during World War II and writing my fourth novel Becoming Jestina. Jane’s story is an amazing one, and I still talk to her regularly.

Merrill's book list on how women helped win World War II

Merrill J. Davies Why did Merrill love this book?

Since I taught school for thirty-one years, this book was especially fascinating to me because it involved two young teachers spending their summer in 1943 working on a production line at a San Diego bomber plant. It enlightened me significantly on how difficult it often was for women during that time to be accepted in what was usually an exclusively male world of work.

By Constance Bowman Reid, Clara Marie Allen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1943 two spirited young teachers decided to do their part for the war effort by spending their summer vacation working the swing shift on a B-24 production line at a San Diego bomber plant. Entering a male-dominated realm of welding torches and bomb bays, they learned to use tools that they had never seen before, live with aluminum shavings in their hair, and get along with supervisors and coworkers from all walks of life. 
   
   They also learned that wearing their factory slacks on the street caused men to treat them in a way for which their "dignified schoolteacher-hood" hadn't…


Book cover of First Date Stories: Women’s Romantic and Ridiculous Midlife Adventures

Marcia Naomi Berger Author Of Marriage Minded: An A to Z Dating Guide for Lasting Love

From my list on dating toward marriage.

Why am I passionate about this?

Marcia Naomi Berger's passion is to help people create lasting, fulfilling marriages. An experienced clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and medical school clinical faculty member, Berger has held senior-level positions in child welfare, alcoholism treatment, and psychiatry. She says, "I stayed single for a long time because of my parent's divorce. Now happily married for over thirty-four years, I fill my books with the hard-earned wisdom I've gained professionally and personally."  

Marcia's book list on dating toward marriage

Marcia Naomi Berger Why did Marcia love this book?

I found this book engaging and fun to read. It's filled with well-written, informative stories of many women's first dates. Some of the dismal dates remind me of the saying, "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince."

Sometimes my mouth would drop open in shock while reading about a miserable first date. Other stories had happy endings. Some couples continued dating and married. Others had successful first dates because the people liked each other but decided then, or after a few dates, that they weren't a good fit for a romantic relationship.

First Date Stories makes for a friendly, optimistic companion to women experiencing the ups and downs of dating. It reassures them that they are not alone, worthy, and likely to succeed in reaching their goal if they persevere. The implication is that every first date is successful because of the learning it…

By Jodi Klein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ellen meets Jim at a posh restaurant, hoping for an evening of fine wine and better conversation. Maria sets out on a walk with a man she's been looking forward to meeting. In First Date Stories, these women, and others, enter into initial liaisons with well-honed expectations-and come out on the other side with extraordinary tales to tell.

Chances are, every woman in her mid-thirties and over who is seeking a loving companion has a first date tale of triumph or disaster. Each of the candid and memorable stories Jodi Klein shares here imparts a bit of wisdom-with the help…


Book cover of If You Lived Here You'd Be Famous by Now: True Stories from Calabasas

María Amparo Escandón Author Of L.A. Weather

From my list on changing your perception of Los Angeles.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a creature of habitat. I can’t help but connect with my environment in every possible way. It’s physical, emotional. I spent the first 23 years of my life in Mexico City. Leaving was heart-wrenching, but the promise to fulfill a dream drew me to Los Angeles. During the next four decades I became a student of Los Angeles and the Latino community that populates it. I agree with Randy Newman: I love L.A. 

María's book list on changing your perception of Los Angeles

María Amparo Escandón Why did María love this book?

If You Lived Here You’d Be Famous By Now is a debut novel by Via Bleidner, a young writer who reports her experiences living in the L.A./San Fernando Valley enclave of Calabasas, attending the Calabasas High School. Calabasas, for those who have missed this essential chapter of contemporary lunacy, is home to the Kardashians. Bleidner writes about the world she has inhabited as a reporter. She participates, but she also is able to maintain a certain writer's detachment describing the shenanigans the natives engage in: lip surgery, social media, and dog celebrities. But there is humor in this slice of the L.A. experience. Bleidner not only describes, but also tries to understand and reflect. 

By Via Bleidner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If You Lived Here You'd Be Famous by Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If You Lived Here You'd Be Famous by Now is an insider's collection of funny and warmhearted stories about coming of age in the Los Angeles suburb famed for birthing the Kardashian-Jenners and the Bling Ring.

For Via Bleidner, transferring to Calabasas High from the private Catholic school she's attended since second grade is a culture shock, not to mention absolutely lonely. Suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar world of celebrities, affluenza, and McMansions, Via takes a page from Cameron Crowe and pretends she's on a journalism assignment, taking notes on her classmates and jotting down bits of overheard gossip.

Getting…


Book cover of Girl with Dove

Morag Joss Author Of Our Picnics in the Sun: A Novel

From my list on the poignant and complex lives of children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wondered, seven novels in, why I’d never written in the voice of a child, and it so happened that Our Picnics in the Sun, the eighth novel, required me to do just that. In doing my research I discovered an oddity. Writers of fiction assume the right to enter the head or consciousness or identity of their characters. The oddity is that you might expect a writer to write, without too much difficulty, from the point of view of a child: after all, the writer has been a child. But it turns out that childhood experience is often elusive, evades interpretation, and is the hardest to capture on the page.

Morag's book list on the poignant and complex lives of children

Morag Joss Why did Morag love this book?

A wonderful and slightly maddening memoir, this (it’s nonfiction, Jim, but not as we know it). Bayley survived her childhood by absorbing books. She evokes the worlds of David Copperfield, Jane Eyre, and everything Agatha Christie ever wrote, by ventriloquising and interweaving the voices of those stories with the story of her own parental neglect, thereby insisting, if dreamily, that the boundaries between her reliable book-land and her unstable real-life-land will remain blurred. It’s only slightly maddening (I did much the same as a child; part of me will always be Katie tumbling out of the swing). The book’s deliberate ambiguities suggest that Bayley is claiming sanctuary, reserving the right not to divulge what is still too unbearable to relate, and why shouldn’t she? It’s an amazingly honest, touching book.

By Sally Bayley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The word "mesmerising" is frequently applied to memoirs, but seldom as deservedly as in the case of Girl With Dove' Financial Times

'Reading is a form of escape and an avid reader is an escape artist...'

Brilliantly original, funny and clever Honor Clark, Spectator, Book of the Year

Growing up in a dilapidated house by the sea where men were forbidden, Sally's childhood world was filled with mystery and intrigue. Hippies trailed through the kitchen looking for God - their leader was Aunt Di, who ruled the house with charismatic force. When Sally's baby brother vanishes from his pram, she…


Book cover of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Dennis C. Rasmussen Author Of Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders

From my list on American founders from a political theorist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a political theorist at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. I spent the first fifteen years or so of my career working on the Scottish and French Enlightenments (Adam Smith, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire), but in recent years I’ve been drawn more and more to the American founding. In addition to Fears of a Setting Sun, I’m also the author of The Constitution’s Penman: Gouverneur Morris and the Creation of America’s Basic Charter, which explores the constitutional vision of the immensely colorful individual who—unbeknownst to most Americans—wrote the US Constitution.

Dennis' book list on American founders from a political theorist

Dennis C. Rasmussen Why did Dennis love this book?

Joseph Ellis is probably the most popular historian of the founding period, and for good reason: he has few rivals as a storyteller. As with Wood, Ellis has written at least a dozen books that could be included in my list, but Founding Brothers is probably his most well-known, as well as my personal favorite. I assign small bits of it in my American political thought course as a supplement to the primary texts, and students often comment on how much they enjoy reading it.

By Joseph J. Ellis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this landmark work of history, the National Book Award—winning author of American Sphinx explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed individuals–Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison–confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course for our nation.

The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers–re-examined here as Founding Brothers–combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes–Hamilton and Burr’s deadly…


Book cover of Stories from the Polycule: Real Life in Polyamorous Families

Dedeker Winston Author Of The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know about Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love

From my list on to figure out if polyamory is right for you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been practicing some flavor of non-monogamy for over a decade now—and how much has changed in the past few years! In my coaching practice, I’ve seen an increase in clients who are trying to evaluate what kind of relationship is best for them. Many people know that the traditional dating game and lifelong monogamy are not for them, but they also feel concerned, intimidated, or confused by exploring non-monogamy. These books have helped many of my clients get perspective on how non-monogamous relationships work in real life. 

Dedeker's book list on to figure out if polyamory is right for you

Dedeker Winston Why did Dedeker love this book?

Whenever I’m working with clients who are trying to figure out if polyamory is for them, I always recommend finding a way to connect to real-life polyamorous folks. It’s so important to hear genuine stories from a wide variety of perspectives—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Going to a local meetup group is the best way to do this, but reading this book comes in at a close second. Dr. Eli Sheff, a researcher who has conducted several longitudinal studies on polyamorous families, presents this compilation of personal stories from many different folks in non-monogamous families and networks. These stories span the range from hilarious to heartbreaking. 

Book cover of Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies

Christopher Beauregard Emery Author Of White House Usher: Stories from the Inside

From my list on from-a-white-house-insiders-perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.

Christopher's book list on from-a-white-house-insiders-perspective

Christopher Beauregard Emery Why did Christopher love this book?

J.B. West was a White House Usher from 1941 to 1969. His book details many of his experiences in performing this rare and unique job in the White House, where he personally worked for Presidents (and First Ladies): Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. There have only been three books written by White House Ushers: Ike Hoover, who served from 1904 -1933; J.B. West, 1941-1969; and me, Chris Emery, 1986-1994.

By J. B. West, Mary Lynn Kotz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Upstairs at the White House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this New York Times bestseller, the White House chief usher for nearly three decades offers a behind-the-scenes look at America's first families.
J. B. West, chief usher of the White House, directed the operations and maintenance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue-and coordinated its daily life-at the request of the president and his family. He directed state functions; planned parties, weddings and funerals, gardens and playgrounds, and extensive renovations; and, with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home. For twenty-eight years, first as assistant to the chief usher, then as chief usher, he witnessed national crises and triumphs,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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