88 books like The Cider House Rules

By John Irving,

Here are 88 books that The Cider House Rules fans have personally recommended if you like The Cider House Rules. 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 The Shining

Ben Monroe Author Of The Seething

From my list on scary stories to bring on vacation.

Who am I?

I’ve been a fan of horror stories as long as I can remember. The sense of building dread, and the moment of release when the terrible thing happens. I love stories about people put in impossible situations, and seeing how they overcome them, and that’s what good horror brings to the table. Being an avid reader I always have a book with me. To me, picking the right book to take on a holiday is as important as choosing the right clothing. I certainly hope this list gives you some ideas for your next vacation read.

Ben's book list on scary stories to bring on vacation

Ben Monroe Why did Ben love this book?

Perhaps a trip to the mountains is more your style? Spend some time in a snowy cabin with a hot drink and a copy of this classic ghost story. If you’re only familiar with the film version of this tale, then buckle up, buddy.

The book goes places the film never could, and is very much worth the time. The set up and pay off are great, and the sense of isolation and dread which pervades the book is palpable. It’s a classic for a reason. I reread this book every winter, and it never gets old.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Shining as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before Doctor Sleep, there was The Shining, a classic of modern American horror from the undisputed master, Stephen King.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around…


Book cover of Portnoy's Complaint

Matthew Arnold Stern Author Of The Remainders

From my list on Jewish families in crisis.

Who am I?

Reseda, California plays an important part in my novels. I grew up there in a middle-class Jewish family, and we experienced the turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s. My parents got divorced, and my brother and I were raised by our working mom until she became paralyzed by a stroke. I found refuge in writing. I wrote The Remainders in 2016 during a tumultuous time when issues of family conflict, homelessness, and the growing cruelty of society came into focus. Still, I believe decency and compassion will prevail. The books I write and enjoy reading seek to find light in the darkest of circumstances.

Matthew's book list on Jewish families in crisis

Matthew Arnold Stern Why did Matthew love this book?

I stumbled onto this book at way too young of an age.

It’s vulgar, graphic, and crude—but one of the best expressions of Jewish anxiety and the sense of “otherness” I’ve read. It’s both funny and revealing. And with a return of sexual repression, male anxieties, and incel rage, this book is again relevant.

By Philip Roth,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Portnoy's Complaint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The most outrageously funny book about sex written' Guardian

Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933-)]:A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature.

Portnoy's Complaint tells the tale of young Jewish lawyer Alexander Portnoy and his scandalous sexual confessions to his psychiatrist.

As narrated by Portnoy, he takes the reader on a journey through his childhood to adolescence to present day while articulating his sexual desire, frustration and neurosis in shockingly candid ways.

Hysterically funny and daringly intimate, Portnoy's Complaint was an immediate bestseller upon its publication…


Book cover of The Risk Pool

Chuck Augello Author Of A Better Heart

From my list on fathers and sons.

Who am I?

When I started writing my novel A Better Heart, the focus was not on fathers and sons, but from the moment the narrator’s estranged father walked through the door, I knew their relationship would drive the story. As a reader, I enjoy following characters as they navigate the potholes of their lives, and family often present the biggest holes. Our primary relationships are with our parents, and their influence is a big part of who we become as adults. Exploring that bond often makes great fiction. My father died of cancer ten years ago. In writing about fathers and sons, perhaps I’m trying to imagine a different ending.          

Chuck's book list on fathers and sons

Chuck Augello Why did Chuck love this book?

The Risk Pool shows the importance of accepting and loving our fathers for who they are instead of resenting them for who they never could be. Sam Hall, the irresponsible wreck of a dad in this warm-hearted and funny book, is by any definition a terrible father, yet his relationship with his son Ned feels real in ways that most fictionalized father-son relationships don’t. Forced to care for Ned when Ned’s mother is hospitalized with mental illness, Sam introduces his son to pool halls, bars, bookies, drunks, and the occasional petty crime. Though aware of his father’s many faults, Ned can’t help but be charmed by Sam’s easy-going life, and even when Sam disappears for years, the bond remains strong.  

By Richard Russo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Risk Pool is a thirty-year journey through the lives of Sam Hall, a small-town gambling hellraiser, and his watchful, introspective son Ned. When Ned's mother Jenny suffers a breakdown and retreats from her husband's carelessness into a dream world, Ned becomes part of his father's seedy nocturnal world, touring the town's bars and pool halls, struggling to win Sam's affections while avoiding his sins.


Book cover of Townie: A Memoir

Chuck Augello Author Of A Better Heart

From my list on fathers and sons.

Who am I?

When I started writing my novel A Better Heart, the focus was not on fathers and sons, but from the moment the narrator’s estranged father walked through the door, I knew their relationship would drive the story. As a reader, I enjoy following characters as they navigate the potholes of their lives, and family often present the biggest holes. Our primary relationships are with our parents, and their influence is a big part of who we become as adults. Exploring that bond often makes great fiction. My father died of cancer ten years ago. In writing about fathers and sons, perhaps I’m trying to imagine a different ending.          

Chuck's book list on fathers and sons

Chuck Augello Why did Chuck love this book?

As we grow into our lives, we become more like our fathers than we ever thought. This memoir is equal parts anger and love, Dubus II writing about growing up in rough working-class Massachusetts towns with a father, the well-known short story writer Andre Dubus, only a partial presence in his life. Dubus II’s rage is channeled through his fists as he assumes the roles of neighborhood brawler and family protector. Andre II is drawn to his father’s violent tendencies but also to the sensitive perception that helped Andre become an acclaimed writer. As he punches his way through life, Andre II learns to forgive, fusing aspects of his father’s character into his adult self.  

By Andre Dubus III,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their overworked mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and everyday violence. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash between town and gown, between the hard drinking, drugging, and fighting of "townies" and the ambitions of students debating books and ideas, couldn't have been more stark. In this unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Dubus shows us how he escaped the cycle of violence and found empathy in channeling…


Book cover of Alone in the World: Orphans And Orphanages In America

Marlene Trestman Author Of Most Fortunate Unfortunates: The Jewish Orphans' Home of New Orleans

From my list on orphans and orphanages for children and adults.

Who am I?

A former special assistant to Maryland’s attorney general, I reluctantly gave up my three-decade legal career to tell two remarkable stories I was uniquely qualified to tell. Orphaned at age 11, I grew up in New Orleans as a foster care client of the Jewish Children’s Regional Service, the agency that formerly ran the orphanage in which my mentor, legal trailblazer Bessie Margolin, was raised. It was also the orphanage in which I would've been raised had it not closed in 1946. During the time I spent with Bessie Margolin she inspired me to both become her future biographer and go on to write the first comprehensive history of the nation’s earliest purpose-built Jewish orphanage.

Marlene's book list on orphans and orphanages for children and adults

Marlene Trestman Why did Marlene love this book?

The author of nearly three dozen nonfiction books for young people, Catherine Reef reveals through her clear writing, first-hand accounts, and photographs what it was really like for a child to grow up in an orphanage in America from the mid-1850s to the early 20th century when nearly all of these congregate dependent childcare institutions closed.

Reef also includes a satisfying Afterword that lets us know “where life led some of the children” who appeared in her book. Although intended for a young reader, Alone in the World also proved a strong resource to me in writing my book and will interest anyone who wants a thoughtful and deeply-researched overview of this topic.

By Catherine Reef,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alone in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Uncovers the true history of American orphanages, revealing what it was like to eat, sleep, study, and play in such institutions, why children were sent to live there in the first place, what happened to them after they left, and more.


Book cover of Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal

Patti Shales Lefkos Author Of Nepal One Day at a Time: One woman's quest to teach, trek and build a school in the remote Himalaya

From my list on inspiration to leap out of your comfort zone.

Who am I?

Currently a journalist, author, and adventure traveller, I am a former inner-city educator from Vancouver, BC, Canada with a Masters of Environmental Education degree, a Wilderness Leadership certificate, and a post-graduate certificate in Journalism. Solo and with my husband I have completed several major treks in Europe, Tibet, and Nepal including Mount Kailash kora, Everest Base Camp north (Tibet), The Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp, Everest Base Camp south (Nepal), Upper Mustang, the Manaslu Circuit and Tsum Valley for a total of about 800 km. I am currently training to complete Nepal’s Great Himalayan Trail (low route), 1,500 km from one end of Nepal to the other.

Patti's book list on inspiration to leap out of your comfort zone

Patti Shales Lefkos Why did Patti love this book?

When Conor Grennan embarked on a journey around the globe, beginning with a three-month stint volunteering at an orphanage in civil war-torn Nepal, he never imagined the children were not actually orphans but had been taken from their families by child traffickers. He became attached to the rambunctious children and decided to reunite them with their parents. Little Princes illustrates how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of others. I noticed a percentage of book profits goes to Next Generation Nepal, the non-profit he founded to assist the children. I was hooked. That cemented my resolve to tell my story of solo travel and the village that asked for my help. I founded the non-profit Nepal One Day at a Time Society, wrote my first book (noted above), dedicated profits back to the children, and created a partnership with Kathmandu-based NGO Sambhav Nepal. Thanks, Connor!

By Conor Grennan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The riveting story of Conor Grennan's year in Nepal reads like a cross between Into Thin Air and Three Cups of Tea. While volunteering at an orphanage, Conor discovers that the children are not orphans: they are trafficked. Despite the danger, Conor treks up dirt paths with photographs of the children, miraculously reuniting dozens of families.

It's 2006 and Nepal is a country torn apart by war, greed and corruption. Caught in the middle are the Nepalese children, snatched and sold into slavery, the kidnappers promising their families that they will be taken to a safe haven from where they…


Book cover of Before We Were Yours

Cheri Krueger Author Of Thanks, Universe

From my list on strong women and the difficult choices mothers face.

Who am I?

I wrote this book to give my mother an alternate life. She was a mother at age fifteen, mother of five by twenty-seven, and a grandmother by thirty-three. Being a parent defined her life, but she did not enjoy motherhood and was very frank on the subject. Thanks, Universe is my way of giving Mom her freedom and even though she never read anything I wrote, I like to think she would have approved of Pauline and the choices she made.

Cheri's book list on strong women and the difficult choices mothers face

Cheri Krueger Why did Cheri love this book?

The decisions mothers are forced to make are often difficult, but it is terrifying to have those decisions taken from you.

When the five Foss children are scooped up by unscrupulous people under the guise of social services, the children’s best interests aren’t part of the discussion, and the repercussions are devastating to all.

Based on a horrific true story.

By Lisa Wingate,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Before We Were Yours as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT—Over two million copies sold! A New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly Bestseller

“Poignant, engrossing.”—People • “Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and weaves a tale of enduring power.”—Paula McLain

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage,…


Book cover of The House in the Cerulean Sea

T.G. Sparrow Author Of Being Fiction

From my list on blending humor and heart.

Who am I?

Growing up, I didn’t read that much. My school-assigned books felt like enough. The turning point, as I remember it, was my introduction to Terry Pratchett. His Discworld novels were lighthearted and fun, but they still explored serious themes and presented honest reflections on humanity. That blend of levity and sincerity stuck with me and introduced me to the style of storytelling I now aim for in my own work. I find a lighter-hearted approach can make difficult or elusive topics more approachable, and mixing a little humor into the narrative helps us care. It connects us more deeply to the characters and makes a story’s heartfelt moments shine.

T.G.'s book list on blending humor and heart

T.G. Sparrow Why did T.G. love this book?

Love, kindness, and empathy are at the core of this story, and it all stands on an imaginative, unique premise unlike any I’ve read before.

It’s a story that delights in its quirky setting but thrives on its honest and earnest characters. A forty-year-old man visiting a school of marginalized orphans, which happens to include, among others, a strange green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. It’s certainly an eclectic bunch, but by the end of the story, you’ll love every one of them.

Our characters—kids and adults alike—confront very real, difficult issues, yet through it all, the story never loses its unique charm. The prose, the setting, and the characterizations all blend together seamlessly into something beautifully strange and strangely beautiful. 

By TJ Klune,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The House in the Cerulean Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not…


Book cover of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

S.B. Norton Author Of Dave Bi-Plane Fights the Red Winged Death Command

From my list on wildly worldly invention in fantasy and steampunk.

Who am I?

I have been drawn toward tales and stories of the bizarre since childhood. As a reader, I look for works that will surprise me. The real world in general, I find very unsurprising (lord yes, I do!). When I read, when I enter the fictional world (my favorite!) I want to be inspired to read on. I have put down many a book through boredom. I am not a plough. If I am uninterested, I stop. These books have inspired me in my own craft. Currently writing my sixth novel of the unpredictable, I feel I have experienced enough to forward on some irregular reads of the pure and the awesome.  

S.B.'s book list on wildly worldly invention in fantasy and steampunk

S.B. Norton Why did S.B. love this book?

Ransom Riggs has created quite the extraordinary book here. It also reads like a graphic novel of sorts as there are a lot of odd photos to accompany the text. It crosses genres rather seamlessly as well, between Urban YA to Fantasy to Horror to a Speculative fictional realm where Miss Peregrines' home resides. It is a rare read with well-developed characters and plot. The children are all quite odd, though strangely likable. If you want different, this is as different as it gets. Gave me chills of the good and ill-feeling variety. That’s what you want, yes? I do.   

By Ransom Riggs,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 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 mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather…


Book cover of The Home for Unwanted Girls

Vered Hazanchuk Author Of Life As An Almost

From my list on to make you wish you joined that book club.

Who am I?

I love book club. If I could make it a requirement for everyone in the universe to give it a try, I would. I was an English major in college, so that feeling of ending an amazing story and needing someone to discuss it with never fully went away. All book club books should be thought-provoking, but the best add that intricate and wholehearted understanding, I think, that only literature can. Why do the characters you least understood or felt a kinship with suddenly have your heart, what do they want, need, feel, think? I hope these novels help you better understand. The who and what are beside the point. 

Vered's book list on to make you wish you joined that book club

Vered Hazanchuk Why did Vered love this book?

I think I’ll be recommending this book to people until the end of time. It’s just so, so good.

What I love most about it is it brings a forgotten part of history to life: a time when orphanages in 1950s Quebec misdiagnosed children as mentally ill to qualify for the better funding allocated to psychiatric hospitals. An obscure moment in history, generations of family scandals and secrets, and a forbidden love story? Yes, please.

By Joanna Goodman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Philomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit—the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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