100 books like The Eye in the Door

By Pat Barker,

Here are 100 books that The Eye in the Door fans have personally recommended if you like The Eye in the Door. 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 Testament of Youth

Deborah Carr Author Of The Poppy Sisters

From my list on World War One that live rent free in my head.

Why am I passionate about this?

I discovered my passion for the First World War when researching my great-grandfather’s service history in the cavalry. I also write historical fiction with several of my books being set during the First World War and have spent thousands of hours over the past twenty years researching different aspects of this period, both from the point of view of the V.A.D.s, wounded soldiers, medical staff treating them, as well as grieving families. The stories I’ve come across never fail to haunt me and I can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of wanting to discover more about the people who survived these experiences, or stop needing to write books about them.

Deborah's book list on World War One that live rent free in my head

Deborah Carr Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this book about twenty years ago and still find it heartbreaking to think it was written by someone who experienced first-hand the horror of the First World War and with it so much pain and grief brought about not only from her experiences as a V.A.D. but also from her own personal losses.

It is a book that helped me understand as much as anything possibly could living in the twenty-first century, how much of a struggle it must have been for ordinary people to keep going and survive that dark time in history.

By Vera Brittain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An autobiographical account of a young nurse's involvement in World War I.

Book cover of Regeneration

Erna Buffie Author Of Let Us Be True

From my list on grown-up time travelers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I vividly remember visiting our local museum as a little girl and being fascinated by the carefully displayed artifacts of the past, especially the ordinary things people had touched and used on a daily basis: a wooden bowl, a stone tool, an old bottle, its logo embossed on a blue glass surface. It made me want to travel through time, to touch the past, to be inside the hearts and minds of the people who came before me. I wanted to learn about their lives, their joys and suffering, and especially to learn from their mistakes. Each of the books I’ve suggested offers an opportunity to step into the shoes of another and time travel with them.

Erna's book list on grown-up time travelers

Erna Buffie Why did Erna love this book?

I’ve pressed copies of Pat Barker’s trilogy into the hands of more friends than I can count!

Set during the First World War, the books didn’t transport me to the battlefields of France as I’d expected, but onto a hospital ward for shell shock victims and into the fictionalized life of an amazing therapist who dedicated himself to their humane treatment.

I’d done a lot of research on the subject for a documentary film and knew about the extreme, sometimes horrific treatment these men received. So I was blown away to learn that there was at least one doctor who treated them compassionately, encouraging them to heal their psychic wounds by speaking about what they’d witnessed.

Everything about these novels – the crushing psychological impact of war on the minds of men and the healing power of remembering – inspired me to explore similar themes in my own fiction.

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Calls to mind such early moderns as Hemingway and Fitzgerald...Some of the most powerful antiwar literature in modern English fiction."-The Boston Globe

The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy-a Booker Prize nominee and one of Entertainment Weekly's 100 All-Time Greatest Novels.

In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back…

Book cover of The Ghost Road

Mary Francois Rockcastle Author Of Rainy Lake

From my list on WW1 through multiple perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

Both of my grandfathers served in WWI. Growing up on their stories, I had a keen interest in WWI. A lover of history, I attended an exhibit at the Smithsonian called The Faces of War that focused on prosthetic masks made by artists during WWI for men whose faces had been mutilated by war. Having always wanted to write a historical novel, I merged my interest in WWI with a newfound passion for these faces of war and wrote Day Lights the Bone (not yet published). The novel is set in a military hospital in Wandsworth, England, during the final months of WWI. I am a professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, where for many years I taught and served as Director of The Creative Writing Programs.

Mary's book list on WW1 through multiple perspectives

Mary Francois Rockcastle Why did Mary love this book?

The culmination of the trilogy, The Ghost Road, continues Barker’s exploration of the morality of war as the war draws to an end.  Dr. Rivers’ successful treatment of Billy Prior has resulted in Prior’s return to the front where he prepares to enter the war’s final battles, detailing his experiences in a diary.  Rivers’ himself continues to care for patients while revisiting pivotal scenes from his own past.  

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the 1995 Booker Prize

Set in the closing months of World War I, this towering novel combines poetic intensity with gritty realism as it brings Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy to its stunning conclusion.

In France, millions of men engaged in brutal trench warfare are all "ghosts in the making." In England, psychologist William Rivers, with severe pangs of conscience, treats the mental casualties of the war to make them whole enough to fight again. One of these, Billy Prior, risen to the officer class from the working class, both courageous and sardonic, decides to return to France with…

Book cover of The Daughters of Mars

Joanna Higgins Author Of In the Fall They Leave

From my list on WWI Angels of Mercy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I’m neither a healthcare professional nor a historian, my passions are reading great fiction and continually striving to write it. Degrees in literature led to college teaching and then full-time writing. And that, to the publication of six works of fiction, including four historical novels. So, add to the mix, then, the years spent studying and teaching literature as well as those spent writing and rewriting—and, too, being an inveterate reader—and you have, in brief, the sum of my expertise. Each of the works listed below, I feel, has super qualities. I certainly enjoyed reading such masterful work and hope you will as well.   

Joanna's book list on WWI Angels of Mercy

Joanna Higgins Why did Joanna love this book?

As a writer, I found so much to admire in The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally. Simply put, it’s epic. I was blown away by Kenneally’s Tolstoian precision of narrative and by the drama of two sisters who leave their confined lives in Australia and serve as nurses in WWI, first on a hospital ship in the Mediterranean and then on the Western Front. Keneally recreates a full sense of the times, showing how individuals can become enmeshed and shaped by huge historical events. The sisters confront not only the terrible effects of war but also a secret that haunts them. This is a stunning, multi-layered novel by a master, The Daughters of Mars has earned numerous accolades—and no wonder. It’s beautifully written and deeply affecting.  

By Thomas Keneally,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1915, two spirited Australian sisters join the war effort as nurses, escaping the confines of their father's dairy farm and carrying a guilty secret with them. Used to tending the sick as they are, nothing could have prepared them for what they confront, first in the Dardanelles, then on the Western Front. Yet they find courage in the face of extreme danger and become the friends they never were before. And eventually they meet the kind of men worth giving up their precious independence for - if only they all survive.

At once epic in scope and extraordinarily intimate,…

Book cover of Hector and the Search for Happiness

Mónica Ramírez Chimal Author Of Make life Yours!: Based on real facts

From my list on live life fully.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a person like you who has lived difficult situations, has had losses, made mistakes, and deals with bad days wondering about my existence and purpose in life. I have a gift, and it's writing; I began sending reflective messages to the people at my office and that’s when I noticed that people loved them. Years later, after reading several books and accumulating more experience, I realized that there are several experiences that are common to all, but few questioned. Therefore, I decided to share my insight and thoughts in my second book, hoping to help people be a better version of themselves and live their lives to their fullest.

Mónica's book list on live life fully

Mónica Ramírez Chimal Why did Mónica love this book?

Who hasn’t looked for advice on how to be happy? I found wisdom in this book that, in addition to laughing, it made me reflect.

I realized that happiness is not an objective; it is in us, in the way we feel about ourselves. This book came to my hands when I was lost in life and gave me direction. It made me see that I was like Hector, living in the past, wondering how my life could be if I only had done something different. I learned that first, I needed to see what makes me happy.

While reading it, I took several notes that later helped me to order my own life and see who I was. And now I can share that it worked! This book was a lifesaver for me.

By Francois Lelord,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hector and the Search for Happiness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can we learn how to be happy? Hector is a successful young psychiatrist. He's very good at treating patients in real need of his help. But many people he sees have no health problems: they're just deeply dissatisfied with their lives. Hector can't do much for them, and it's beginning to depress him. So when a patient tells him he looks in need of a holiday, Hector decides to set off round the world to find out what makes people everywhere happy (and sad), and whether there is such a thing as the secret of true happiness.

Book cover of Asylum

Frazer Lee Author Of Greyfriars Reformatory

From my list on making you the inmate of a sinister institution.

Why am I passionate about this?

A lifelong horror fan, I have always been fascinated by haunted landscapes and creepy buildings. My childhood in the Midlands of England prepared me for my career as a horror writer and filmmaker with its abundance of spooky ruins and foggy canal paths. I have since explored ancient sites all across the U.K. and Europe and my novels are inspired by these field trips into the uncanny, where the contemporary every day rubs shoulders with the ancient and occult. Places become characters in their own right in my work and I think this list of books celebrates that. I hope you find them as disturbing and thought-provoking as I have.

Frazer's book list on making you the inmate of a sinister institution

Frazer Lee Why did Frazer love this book?

This book stayed with me long after I made it my Summer read that year during a blisteringly hot July. It details a darkly destructive love affair between Stella, the wife of a man running an asylum, and Edgar, a murderer who is incarcerated there. McGrath’s vivid descriptions of the asylum and its grounds reframe the gothic tradition through an unflinching, contemporary lens. The doomed obsession of the novel’s star cross’d lovers reminds us that our own hearts can become institutionalised if we do not balance passion with compromise.

By Patrick McGrath,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A story of self-obsession narrated by the point of view of a psychiatrist, published as a Penguin Essential for the first time.

As a psychiatrist in a top-security mental hospital in the 1950s, Peter Cleave has made a study of what he calls 'the catastrophic love affair characterized by sexual obsession.' His experience is extensive, and he is never surprised. Until, that is, he comes reluctantly to accept that the wife of one of his colleagues has embarked on such an affair...

Book cover of The Swan Thieves

Anna M. Lewis Author Of Women of Steel and Stone: 22 Inspirational Architects, Engineers, and Landscape Designers

From my list on inspiring your inner artist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning toy inventor and author/illustrator, with a lifelong love of art, learning, and creativity. I strive to inspire the future builders and creators of our world in my books, articles, and blog musings. Some of my favorite reads inspired my creative side.

Anna's book list on inspiring your inner artist

Anna M. Lewis Why did Anna love this book?

When I first saw the previews of this book, I had to read it the first day it was published.

Though friends had highly recommended Kostova’s more popular book, The Historian, this book spoke to me.

With the point of view shifting from current time to 19th century France, it checked all my boxes: painting, art museum, impressionists - all tied together into a fabulous mystery bow.

While reading, I wanted to peacefully wander an art museum and dabble with a paintbrush on canvas.

To me, the best books evoke a unique artistic mist or glow that I can still feel years later.

By Elizabeth Kostova,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life - solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. Desperate to understand the secret that torments this genius, Marlowe embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism. Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy; from the late nineteenth century to…

Book cover of Running with Scissors: A Memoir

Liz Alterman Author Of Sad Sacked

From my list on humor to balance difficult circumstances.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think there’s a little voyeur in all of us, which is why we love reading memoirs. These stories typically are written by people who’ve wrestled with a life-changing event and emerged on the other side with wisdom to share. Whether they’ve grappled with a heartbreaking loss, a debilitating illness, or an unsettling change in circumstances that left them reeling, authors who temper their truth with humor are the ones who inspire me most. Finding hilarity in the midst of hardship is no easy feat, but it reminds us that humor is a great coping skill. 

Liz's book list on humor to balance difficult circumstances

Liz Alterman Why did Liz love this book?

When my book club read this, we were universally blown away by Augusten Burroughs’ humor. Mining his tumultuous childhood, Burroughs paints a vivid and unforgettable picture of life with the ultimate dysfunctional family.

I went on to read the author’s other memoirs, and while I always enjoy his one-of-a-kind spin on the world, this remains my favorite of his works.

By Augusten Burroughs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times Bestseller

An Entertainment Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year

Now a Major Motion Picture

This is the true story of a boy who wanted to grow up with the Brady Bunch, but ended up living with the Addams Family. Augusten Burroughs's mother gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead ringer for Santa Claus and a certifiable lunatic into the bargain. The doctor's bizarre family, a few patients and a sinister man living in the garden shed completed the tableau. The perfect squalor of their dilapidated Victorian house, there were no…

Book cover of The Thanatos Syndrome

Ty Roth Author Of Island No. 6

From my list on medical thrillers for doomsday phobics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I come from a family with a number of medical professionals, I am not one myself. My interest in medical thrillers is a three-strand braid that combines my learning and experiences in the fields of sociology, literature, and storytelling. Horrific as the stories on this list are, they share both a hopefulness that mankind is capable of overcoming whatever challenge nature presents, or they themselves conjure and a warning to get ourselves right before the next one comes along. At a time when it is tempting to despair over the human condition, I hope these books inspire your faith in mankind’s resourcefulness and ability to endure.

Ty's book list on medical thrillers for doomsday phobics

Ty Roth Why did Ty love this book?

I enjoy that this novel does not use the plague device. Rather, it explores the ramifications of the abuse of power by authorities who manipulate private citizens to be unwitting participants in medical experimentations.

Rarely are medical thrillers–especially those of the plague variety–sexy books, yet this book manages to be so, as a decrease in sexual inhibitions is a side effect of the chemical being foisted on the populace.

By Walker Percy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Returning home to the small Louisiana parish where he had praticed psychiatry, Dr. Tom More quickly notices something strange occuring with the townfolk, a loss of inhibitions. Behind this mystery is a dangerous plot drug the local water supply, and a discovery that takes More into the underside of the American search for happiness.

Book cover of Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry

Bruce E. Levine Author Of A Profession Without Reason: The Crisis of Contemporary Psychiatry―Untangled and Solved by Spinoza, Freethinking, and Radical Enlightenment

From my list on psychiatry for freethinkers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a practicing clinical psychologist, often at odds with the mainstream of my mental health profession. I have a strong interest in how society, culture, politics, philosophy, and psychology intersect, and my previous books about depression, activism, and anti-authoritarianism reflect that. The late historian Howard Zinn described me this way: “It is always refreshing to find someone who stands at the edge of his profession and dissects its failures with a critical eye, refusing to be deceived by its pretensions. Bruce Levine condemns the cold, technological approach to mental health and, to our benefit, looks for deeper solutions.”

Bruce's book list on psychiatry for freethinkers

Bruce E. Levine Why did Bruce love this book?

I found Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry to be an extremely helpful collection of reports and alternative approaches from an international cast of mental health professionals, ex-patients, lawyers, and social scientists. Peter Stastny is a psychiatrist, documentary filmmaker, and a founder of the International Network Towards Alternatives and Rights-Based Supports; and Peter Lehmann is the founder of Peter Lehmann Publishing and co-founder of the Association for Protection against Psychiatric Violence. Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry includes exciting alternative visions along with concrete self-help and approaches for professionals.

By Peter Stastny, Peter Lehmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The great book of alternatives to psychiatry around the world. (Ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry, therapists, psychiatrists, lawyers, social scientists and relatives report about their alternative work, their successes, their individual and collective experiences. The book highlights alternatives beyond psychiatry, current possibilities of self-help for individuals experiencing madness, and strategies toward implementing humane treatment.These are some of the questions, which are addressed by the 61 authors-(ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry, medical practitioners, therapists, lawyers, social scientists, psychiatrists and relatives from all continents: What helps me if I go mad? How can I find trustworthy help for a relative…

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