10 books like The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Book Thief. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Woman of No Importance

By Sonia Purnell,

Book cover of A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

Virginia Hall was an American spy in Nazi-occupied France during WWII. The genre is non-fiction, but the book flows like historical fiction. Hall is caught up in a male chauvinist world of spies. She is physically handicapped with a limp, but ingeniously turns the defect into an effective disguise. When her supposedly superior male spy handlers fail to provide effective guidance, Hall employs street smarts and courage to create her own spy network. They, of course, take credit for her success and only hamper her operations. This work hits nearly all of my favorite attributes of a story—a woman with superior abilities and courage is stymied and dishonored by prejudice. Irony and empathy for the character abounds. The reader is highly satisfied knowing these are the actual experiences of a real woman. 

A Woman of No Importance

By Sonia Purnell,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked A Woman of No Importance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, Amazon, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, PopSugar, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

Winner of the Plutarch Award for Best Biography

"Excellent...This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down." -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

"A…


The Book of Lost Names

By Kristin Harmel,

Book cover of The Book of Lost Names

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis. Author Kristin Harmel includes meticulous research to spotlight the French Resistance figures whose bravery and immeasurable sacrifices must not be lost to history. The act of what the forger needed to turn out identity documents like birth certificates to library cards to ration cards—and the process itself—is fascinating! This is a heartrending page-turner! 

The Book of Lost Names

By Kristin Harmel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Book of Lost Names as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout the 1940s, forgers helped thousands of children escape Nazi France. In this instant New York Times bestseller, Kristin Harmel reimagines their story...

Perfect for readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Librarian of Auschwitz and The Book Thief.

In 1942, Eva is forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children escaping to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Remy, Eva realises she must find a way to preserve…


Alone in Berlin

By Hans Fallada,

Book cover of Alone in Berlin

Often overlooked by today's readers, this fine novel of 1940 Berlin by an author who never left Nazi Germany offers a realistic and touching portrayal of ordinary working citizens. A married couple whose life is upended by the loss of a soldier son encounters persistent Nazi propaganda discrediting their sacrifice. Inspired by actual historical figures, the protagonists courageously turn to modest acts of resistance, drawing the unrelenting focus of a Gestapo inspector determined to solve the case to further his career. Fallada's masterful storytelling and unforgettable characters will put you inside a righteous struggle to resist the oppressive state. This is a classic from an author who lived the place and time, and it shouldn't be missed

Alone in Berlin

By Hans Fallada,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Alone in Berlin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gripping portrait of life in wartime Berlin and a vividly theatrical study of how paranoia can warp a society gripped by the fear of the night-time knock on the door.

Based on true events, Hans Fallada's Alone In Berlin follows a quietly courageous couple, Otto and Anna Quangel who, in dealing with their own heartbreak, stand up to the brutal reality of the Nazi regime. With the smallest of acts, they defy Hitler's rule with extraordinary bravery, facing the gravest of consequences.

Translated and Adapted by Alistair Beaton (Feelgood, The Trial Of Tony Blair), this timely story of the…


All the Light We Cannot See

By Anthony Doerr,

Book cover of All the Light We Cannot See

My father was a teenager when he fought in World War II. All my life I have tried to reconcile the dichotomy of my gentle father with the boy who joined the German military when he was 15. Werner Pfennig, the novel’s teenaged German protagonist, illustrates simply and powerfully that, even in a war, our moral compass allows us to make decisions to preserve our humanity.   

In one of the book’s final chapters, Marie-Laure, the blind French protagonist, admits to Werner she is not brave: “I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?” Werner implies that we all have a choice when he replies, “Not in years. But today. Today maybe I did.” 

All the Light We Cannot See

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked All the Light We Cannot See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.'

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic…


Anne Frank

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart,

Book cover of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

This list would not be complete without Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. I immediately fell in love with Anne when I read this classic book at a young age. Perhaps the quintessential story of a young girl coming-of-age during the Holocaust, the story unfolds through the letters 13-year-old Anne writes to her diary, whom she has named “Kitty.” Despite being hidden away from the world during her most formative years because she is Jewish, Anne experiences all the normal feelings and emotions of any teenage girl. Living in dire conditions and in constant danger of being discovered, Anne dreams of her future, is moody and temperamental, experiences young love, and dares to hold onto hope. It is a timeless story that shows that no matter our background, ethnicity, religion, or race, we are more alike than different. It also highlights the strength of familial bonds and…

Anne Frank

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.


The Body Keeps the Score

By Bessel Van Der Kolk,

Book cover of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

In The Body Keeps the Score, van der Kolk explains the lifelong impact of trauma on the mind and body, then introduces various therapeutic approaches to help survivors carry the crushing weight of their past. This book is a lifeline for survivors, validating their fragmented memories and reassuring them that their trauma responses are biological necessities rather than personal failures. As a writer, I love that many of the therapeutic approaches described in the book harness the power of imagination to reprocess traumatic memories—a transformative process of healing that’s nothing short of magical.

The Body Keeps the Score

By Bessel Van Der Kolk,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Body Keeps the Score as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestseller

"Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding and treating traumatic stress and the scope of its impact on society." -Alexander McFarlane, Director of the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies

A pioneering researcher transforms our understanding of trauma and offers a bold new paradigm for healing in this New York Times bestseller

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der…


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

By John Boyne,

Book cover of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

This middle grade book takes place during WWII. The story takes the reader from Berlin to Poland, told through the eyes of a young German boy who encounters a Jewish boy on the other side of a tall fence. I loved this book because we who know about the depravity and horror of Auschwitz can see the bleak reality from a perspective of an innocent child: a boy who thinks his thin Jewish friend is dressed in pajamas.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

By John Boyne,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the cover, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

We hope you never have to cross such a fence.


Lovely War

By Julie Berry,

Book cover of Lovely War

Lovely War is highly literary but lush in its emotional pull. Months after reading it, it still stands out. As has been a running theme throughout this list, the First World War is again the setting of the book. The inclusion of Greek gods as narrators lends a magical realism to the story, something that is also present in my book, where historical fiction and magical realism are blended in a literary style. In a sea of black and white, Lovely War is in stark technicolor. 

Lovely War

By Julie Berry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller!

A sweeping, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates--and the hearts--of four mortals in their hands.

They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect turned soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by the goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals…


Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

Dune is a sci-fi story that really makes you think in the abstract and it poses a lot of deep questions about leadership. While Dune is a tough read with strange protagonists, its worldbuilding is what sucks you because it’s so richly detailed. It’s an immersive book, and I consider it the sci-fi equivalent of Lord of the Rings for setting the standard for sweeping space operas. I read Dune before self-publishing my most recent book, and it made me want to retool the way resource control worked in my book’s universe.

Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

40 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…


Maus I

By Art Spiegelman,

Book cover of Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History

This extraordinary graphic novel was recommended to me by my teacher training tutor years ago and I’ve never quite got over it. It’s a work of genius, that approaches the horrific subject of the Holocaust via the narrator’s father, rendering the Jewish people as mice and the Nazis as cats. It’s incredibly powerful and yet so easy to read, deceptively so. When I came to write my own novel about the Warsaw Ghetto and forest partisans of World War Two Poland the education that Maus gave me was never far from the forefront of my mind. A brilliant lesson in the power of words and pictures working together to sear those images into your consciousness forever. An absolutely unforgettable reading experience.

Maus I

By Art Spiegelman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The bestselling first installment of the graphic novel acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker) • PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • One of Variety’s “Banned and Challenged Books Everyone Should Read”

A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats.

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his…


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