100 books like The Forty Rules of Love

By Elif Shafak,

Here are 100 books that The Forty Rules of Love fans have personally recommended if you like The Forty Rules of Love. 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 Medieval Bodies: Life, Death and Art in the Middle Ages

Hana Videen Author Of The Deorhord: An Old English Bestiary

From my list on books with a unique perspective of the medieval past.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in medieval history comes from a love of language. My favourite Old English word is wordhord, which refers to a poet’s mental stockpile of words and phrases. My word hoarding (and sharing) started with tweeting the Old English word of the day in 2013. This spread to other social media platforms, a blog, an app, and now two books. I have a PhD in English from King’s College London (my thesis was on blood in Old English, even though blood actually makes me squeamish). I enjoy histories that make me think about the past from a different perspective.

Hana's book list on books with a unique perspective of the medieval past

Hana Videen Why did Hana love this book?

This book is filled with fascinating facts about medieval medicine, surgery, humoural theory, disease, and diagnosis. But what is surprising is how many other aspects of the Middle Ages are covered through the theme of bodies.

We learn about strange creatures like blemmyae (who have no heads and faces in their chests) and cynocephali (dog-headed people), saints and relics, race relations and politics, manuscript manufacture, religion, literature, travel, eating habits, love, sexuality, and gender identity.

I love how the chapters are organized by body part, from head to feet, a clever approach I have never seen in a history book before. Hartnell demonstrates how the medieval past is "an uncanny place at once startlingly different from and strangely familiar to our own."

By Jack Hartnell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Just like us, medieval men and women worried about growing old, got blisters and indigestion, fell in love, and had children. And yet their lives were full of miraculous and richly metaphorical experiences radically different from our own, unfolding in a world where deadly wounds might be healed overnight by divine intervention, or where the heart of a king, plucked from his corpse, could be held aloft as a powerful symbol of political rule.

In this richly illustrated and unusual history, Jack Hartnell uncovers the fascinating ways in which people thought about, explored, and experienced their physical selves in the…


Book cover of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Elissa L. Perry Author Of Human Resources for the Non-HR Manager

From my list on less businessy business that can help managers.

Why am I passionate about this?

In a world in which we are faced with increasing amounts of information that we have to parse (from social media, cable news channels, newspapers), it often feels hard to separate fact from fiction, and evidence-based research from junk science. In my own work, I have given a great deal of thought to how to get research-based evidence into the hands of practitioners (managers, employees) who can put it to good use. An important piece of the puzzle is helping practitioners understand the research evidence and how to apply it. The books on this list are great examples of authors who translate research into language that people can understand and use.

Elissa's book list on less businessy business that can help managers

Elissa L. Perry Why did Elissa love this book?

This book starts with an interesting premise, that the U.S. is a society that favors Extroverts over Introverts. 

The author cites academic research and data from her own experiences to demonstrate how we moved from a society that valued character over personality, to one that lauds the Extroversion Ideal…at school, at work, and other public venues. This book made me think hard about how my perceptions of others might be influenced by my assumptions about what Extroverts and Introverts bring to the table.

By Susan Cain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SUSAN CAIN'S NEW BOOK, BITTERSWEET, IS AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

A SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, THIS BOOK WILL CHANGE HOW YOU SEE INTROVERTS - AND YOURSELF - FOREVER.

Our lives are driven by a fact that most of us can't name and don't understand. It defines who our friends and lovers are, which careers we choose, and whether we blush when we're embarrassed.

That fact is whether we're an introvert or an extrovert.

The most fundamental dimension of personality, at least a third of us are introverts, and yet shyness, sensitivity and seriousness are often seen as…


Book cover of The Clan of the Cave Bear

T.K. Thorne Author Of Noah's Wife

From my list on history’s remarkable women.

Why am I passionate about this?

T.K. Thorne became a police officer during the first decade of women policing in Birmingham, Alabama, retiring as a captain. Her background as a woman in a macho man’s world helped inform the writing of award-winning historical novels about completely unknown women in two of the world’s oldest and most famous stories—the tale of Noah’s flood and the burning of Sodom (Noah’s Wife and Angels at the Gate). An experienced speaker, T.K. shares the fascinating background research into the culture of those early civilizations, as well as the scientific discoveries behind the flood in the Mideast and first-hand information gained from her personal trips to the area.

T.K.'s book list on history’s remarkable women

T.K. Thorne Why did T.K. love this book?

Ayla’s amazing story of survival in ancient times no doubt influenced me in writing my own book, although I didn’t realize it until I was deep into telling my own story.

Both Ayla and Na’amah were, in a way we find difficult to grasp today, intimately connected to nature. Their very survival turned on that deep understanding. Both women were considered “different,” a feeling that resonated with me.  

I was particularly drawn to the premise that explored how two distinct, but related tribes of humans could have evolved with different innate characteristics and capacities (one relying more on instincts and the other on problem solving).

Not to mention how fascinating that Auel imagined a course of evolution that modern anthropology is only recently vindicating!

By Jean M. Auel,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Clan of the Cave Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love.

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear.

A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by…


Book cover of Selected Poems of Rumi

Sita Bennett Author Of Maya of the In-Between

From my list on finding yourself (for sensitive teens).

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I didn’t understand the hypersensitivity I felt to my own inner world and the outer. Highly alert to both interoceptive and exteroceptive data, I often felt overstimulated and overwhelmed by the intensity to which I experienced my own feelings, the feelings of others, and sensory inputs. I thought there was something wrong with me because being a feeler is generally seen as a weakness. I now write novels about quiet, sensitive, introspective young people for others who feel like I did, as a way to share the true power within this way of being, which I have discovered to be a gift, not a curse over time.

Sita's book list on finding yourself (for sensitive teens)

Sita Bennett Why did Sita love this book?

This is a book of poetry, but it speaks so deeply to the exquisite beauty, simple joy, and profound presence available at the heart of us all, if we are quiet and still enough to listen.

People who are already sensitive seem to drop into this space more fluidly than others, more consumed by the outer world because they are, by nature, closer to the source and often more aware of the subtle forces that run beneath the surface. These ‘ecstatic’ poems always help me return home to the space inside that reminds me what a blessing it is to have the capacity to feel so deeply.

By Rumi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In recent years the stirring, unforgettable poetry of Jalālu’l-Dīn Rūmī (1207–1273), the great Sūfi teacher and the greatest mystical poet of Iran, has gained tremendous popularity in the western world. Although he died over 700 years ago, his poetry is timeless. In the best modern translations, the passion and playfulness of his words reach across the ages to communicate themselves to people today with an undiluted fervor and excitement.
Rūmī produced an enormous body of work — as many as 2,500 mystical odes, 25,000 rhyming couplets, and 1,600 quatrains — some of it instructional, some personal and emotional, much of…


Book cover of You Can Heal Your Life

Joseph Jean Baptiste Jolicoeur Author Of Your Sun Will Rise Again: Poems of Hope and Survival

From my list on increasing your well-being and happiness, and heal.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had depression for many years and looked for healing everywhere I could. Bibliotherapy helped me a lot on my journey. I became a bookworm, reading a lot to better understand myself and how I could heal my mind. When I understood that the words we tell ourselves and the thoughts we constantly think matter, my life improved. Changing our mindset by changing our thoughts surely heals our minds, hearts, and lives. The five books I have picked, which are listed below, among others, brought me solace, gave me hope, and helped me see life from a better perspective.

Joseph's book list on increasing your well-being and happiness, and heal

Joseph Jean Baptiste Jolicoeur Why did Joseph love this book?

I owe my life and sanity to Louise Hay. Her teachings, particularly in You Can Heal Your Life, taught me that everything in my mind “is only a thought and a thought can be changed”.

This book is a powerful tool for healing our mind and life. It teaches us that our thoughts and beliefs directly influence our physical health and well-being. In it, Louise Hay emphasizes positive thinking, self-love, forgiveness, and affirmation techniques as tools to heal our mind, body, and life.

This book has been a significant milestone in my life. I truly believe it can heal our lives.

By Louise Hay,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked You Can Heal Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over 50 million lives transformed worldwide! This seminal classic explores how positive thought and affirmations can inspire your own healing, wellbeing and happiness.

Full of ideas and strategies that have worked for millions of people worldwide. You Can Heal Your Life, the definitive bestselling book on self-healing, has transformed the lives of millions of people. This is a book that people credit with profoundly altering their awareness of the impact that the mind has on our health and wellbeing.

In this inspirational work, world renowned teacher Louise L. Hay offers profound insight into the relationship between the mind and the…


Book cover of Cloud Atlas

Richard Cox Author Of House of the Rising Sun

From my list on thrillers that are also literary novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always looked at the world with a sense of wonder. As a child, I was drawn to the magical and the fantastical, but a budding fascination with the scientific method eventually led me to discover the beauty and wonder of the natural world. I assumed science fiction would scratch that itch, but too many genre novels left me feeling empty, like they were missing something essential—what it feels like to be human. Novels that combine a wonder of the world with an intimate concern for character hit just the right spot for me. Maybe they will for you as well.

Richard's book list on thrillers that are also literary novels

Richard Cox Why did Richard love this book?

I love this book for its Matroyska doll-style structure: The first five sections tell stories in different periods— from the mid-19th century to the 22nd—loosely connected by repeating characters and media, each ending abruptly and without resolution. The sixth section, set in the 24th century, is the spine of the novel, told in its entirety. Then Mitchell revisits the time periods in reverse chronological order, resolving each story, ending where we began in the mid-19th century.

It was a highly satisfying experience that changed my view of how a story could be told. It is widely considered one of the finest novels of the 21st century. It covers ideas I would normally balk at, like reincarnation and the existence of eternal consciousness. Still, the storytelling is so powerful that it all came across as believable to me. I loved the way Mitchell demonstrated how an idea in one time period…

By David Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Cloud Atlas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Six lives. One amazing adventure. The audio publication of one of the most highly acclaimed novels of 2004. 'Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies...' A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified 'dinery server' on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation - the narrators of CLOUD ATLAS hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great…


Book cover of Station Eleven

Eric Porter Author Of A People's History of SFO: The Making of the Bay Area and an Airport

From my list on airports teaching us about society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve long had an ambivalent relationship with airports. They have been the starting point for my adventures, but I have also known well the discomfort, boredom, stress, surveillance, bad food, and other unpleasantries that often define airport experiences. Despite my ambivalence, I’ve found airports to be fascinating places where differently situated people (travelers and workers) encounter one another. I’ve learned that those encounters, as well as airport operations and design, tell us something about the places where they are located and the broader societies in which we live. I’ve since become aware that reading (and writing) about airports are also great ways to gain such insights. 

Eric's book list on airports teaching us about society

Eric Porter Why did Eric love this book?

In addition to eerily anticipating the COVID-19 pandemic—thankfully, our pathogen was not nearly as virulent and lethal—this post-apocalyptic novel offers interesting commentary about airports as microcosms of society.

The airport that figures prominently here is the gateway to and manifestation of a “secure” society structured as much by those it excludes as by those it includes. It is also the archive of a society defined, for better and for worse, by its relationship to technology. 

By Emily St. John Mandel,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked Station Eleven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Best novel. The big one . . . stands above all the others' - George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones

Now an HBO Max original TV series

The New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award
Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
National Book Awards Finalist
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist

What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in…


Book cover of The Forgotten Garden

Julie Brooks Author Of The Keepsake

From my list on whisking you from one time period to another.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the girl who loved school excursions to historical parks and the middle-aged author who cannot keep away from a house museum. Like most Australians, I love to travel (you’ll meet us everywhere), gravitating towards historical sites and weighing down my luggage with museum-shop trophies from Beijing to Bath and Cusco to Athens. All novels are mysteries the reader wants to solve, but stories with multiple timelines add an extra layer of puzzle to the mystery. As a writer I get to craft those puzzle pieces. And as a reader, I love solving them!

Julie's book list on whisking you from one time period to another

Julie Brooks Why did Julie love this book?

The Forgotten Garden hooked me on novels with multiple timelines.

It was the first of Kate Morton’s books I read and I’ve since snapped up each new title as it came out. It is layered with all the things I enjoy in novels: mysteries, old houses, family secrets, disappearances, and stories within stories.

I love being immersed in the mystery as the present-day character unravels a puzzle from the past, especially when I’m clever enough to stay one step ahead of her!

By Kate Morton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A special Sophie Allport Design limited edition of the moving and powerful mystery, The Forgotten Garden, the bestselling second novel from the author of The House at Riverton, Kate Morton.

A lost child . . .

On the eve of the First World War, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her -but has disappeared without a trace.

A terrible secret . . .

On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell Andrews learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she…


Book cover of The Architect's Apprentice

Coirle Mooney Author Of My Lady's Shadow: Power and intrigue in Medieval France

From my list on escape the everyday into sensuous landscapes.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the Spring of 2006, I went to the south of France searching for troubadours. It was my MA year and my thesis was looking at the influence of the courtly love tradition on Chaucer’s writing. Troubadours (and the female, trobairitz) were nowhere to be found. The closest I came was a café named Le Troubadour. However, evidence of their lyrics was there in the beauty and lushness of Languedoc in spring. I'm always drawn to the poetry, landscapes, and love stories of the past and have experienced how these connections enrich my life. I've completed a PhD in seventeenth-century literature and become an historical fiction novelist and a devotee of history and historical fiction. 

Coirle's book list on escape the everyday into sensuous landscapes

Coirle Mooney Why did Coirle love this book?

A mammoth of an historical novel set in the time of the Ottoman Empire.

A unique love story between the elephant keeper (and royal architect) Jahan, his special white elephant, Chota, and the interesting princess Mihrimah. As funny as it is heartbreaking, with characters so compelling they felt like cherished friends mourned and missed at parting, but whom I’ll always remember with deep fondness.   

By Elif Shafak,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Architect's Apprentice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A dazzling and intricate tale from Elif Shafak, Booker-shortlisted author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World - chosen for the Duchess of Cornwall's online book club The Reading Room

'There were six of us: the master, the apprentices and the white elephant. We built everything together...'

Sixteenth century Istanbul: a stowaway arrives in the city bearing an extraordinary gift for the Sultan. The boy is utterly alone in a foreign land, with no worldly possessions to his name except Chota, a rare white elephant destined for the palace menagerie.

So begins an epic adventure that will see…


Book cover of Labyrinth

Julie Brooks Author Of The Keepsake

From my list on whisking you from one time period to another.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the girl who loved school excursions to historical parks and the middle-aged author who cannot keep away from a house museum. Like most Australians, I love to travel (you’ll meet us everywhere), gravitating towards historical sites and weighing down my luggage with museum-shop trophies from Beijing to Bath and Cusco to Athens. All novels are mysteries the reader wants to solve, but stories with multiple timelines add an extra layer of puzzle to the mystery. As a writer I get to craft those puzzle pieces. And as a reader, I love solving them!

Julie's book list on whisking you from one time period to another

Julie Brooks Why did Julie love this book?

Mystery, quest, treasure, and historical adventure, this novel has it all.

Labyrinth links a twelfth-century French heroine in a land of legends, castles, and knights with a present-day heroine who finds two ancient skeletons at an archaeological dig and is drawn into a quest for the Holy Grail.

I love mystical, historical quests, and mysterious symbols, especially when the setting is so real you feel you are there. This one kept me reading far into the wee hours and I enjoyed learning more about medieval France.

By Kate Mosse,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Labyrinth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14.

What is this book about?

July 2005. In the Pyrenees mountains near Carcassonne, Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, stumbles into a cave and makes a startling discovery-two crumbling skeletons, strange writings on the walls, and the pattern of a labyrinth.

Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade that will rip apart southern France, a young woman named Alais is given a ring and a mysterious book for safekeeping by her father. The book, he says, contains the secret of the true Grail, and the ring, inscribed with a labyrinth, will identify a guardian of the Grail. Now, as crusading…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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