100 books like The Ghost Writer

By Philip Roth,

Here are 100 books that The Ghost Writer fans have personally recommended if you like The Ghost Writer. 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 To Kill a Mockingbird

Katie K. May Author Of You're on Fire, It's Fine: Effective Strategies for Parenting Teens with Self-Destructive Behaviors

From my list on healing family dynamics and generational trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

My journey from a teen struggling with self-harm, drug use, and overwhelming emotions to a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Clinician™ and director of Creative Healing, Teen Support Centers, uniquely positions me to understand the deep emotional challenges teens face. Having navigated my own tumultuous youth and now parenting a "Fire Feeler" teen, I use my personal and professional insights to guide thousands of teens and their parents. I am passionately committed to creating environments where teens are supported while the entire family learns skills to improve and work together.

Katie's book list on healing family dynamics and generational trauma

Katie K. May Why did Katie love this book?

I treasure this book and recently reread it alongside my own teen! It profoundly showcases the courage required to challenge deep-seated prejudices within a community and family.

Witnessing Scout Finch's perspective on her father Atticus' stand against racial injustice amidst moral dilemmas serves as a powerful reminder of the strength needed to confront and transcend the biases we inherit, a journey that resonates with my own experiences of overcoming familial legacies.

By Harper Lee,

Why should I read it?

34 authors picked To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped…


Book cover of Frankenstein

Aaron Dennis Author Of Beyond the End of the World: Lokians 1

From my list on sci-fi books with a good dose of science.

Why am I passionate about this?

Who am I to be an expert? I'm not. I know what I like and why, and I also know what I dislike. I have no idea what you like or dislike, and I don't presume to know more than anyone else. I do not have a passion for sci-fi; I have a predilection for it. I've been writing creatively all my life. Sci fi is not all I read or write either. At the end of the day, I only need to know that I've given life my best shot.

Aaron's book list on sci-fi books with a good dose of science

Aaron Dennis Why did Aaron love this book?

I don't know if creating a monster from the remains of the dead qualifies as sci-fi, but I'm adding Mary Shelley's 1818 title anyway. This was one I got to read in middle school; we had a list of books we could read, but it was mandatory to read at least 5 for the year. Other than just a handful of books I've read that were written by female authors, this is the only one that can qualify as sci-fi.

Shelley has a very eloquent yet provocative voice. I think it would be near impossible to liken her tone, pace, choice of words, etc., to any other novelist of our time. At any rate, the fact that this is last on the list by no means suggests that it is not one of my favorites. It just worked out that way.

You've probably seen the movie, but it relied much…

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'

'That rare story to pass from literature into myth' The New York Times

Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley on Lake Geneva. The story of Victor Frankenstein who, obsessed with creating life itself, plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, but whose botched creature sets out to destroy his maker, would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity. Based on the third…


Book cover of Absalom, Absalom!

Paul Lamb Author Of One-Match Fire

From my list on understand the joys and sorrows of being a father.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the natural course as a young man, I became a husband and a father. I have four children and eleven grandchildren. Fatherhood has been the most difficult yet rewarding job of my life. You never stop being a parent. So, it was inevitable that this would become a subject of my writing. I have tried to be a compassionate caregiver and a positive role model to my children; you’ll have to ask them if I’ve succeeded. In my novel, I try to depict two fathers (and their two sons) as good yet flawed men, doing their best and finding their way. Just as all fathers do.

Paul's book list on understand the joys and sorrows of being a father

Paul Lamb Why did Paul love this book?

It took me two tries to finish this tremendously difficult novel about a father who desperately wants a son, and gets two. Considered by many to be Faulkner’s most challenging work, it defeated me on my first attempt. But I was captivated by this example of fatherhood gone obsessively wrong, so returned to it and soldiered through.

It was worth the effort. I hope I never find any commonality with the main character of this novel, and I’m not sure if I should take solace from Faulkner’s conclusion that we can never really understand another person, and may not want to. I read it as a cautionary tale of what a family can become.

By William Faulkner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This postbellum Greek tragedy is the perfect introduction to Faulkner's elaborate descriptive syntax.

Quentin Compson and Shreve, his Harvard roommate, are obsessed with the tragic rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen. As a poor white boy, Sutpen was turned away from a plantation owner's mansion by a black butler. From then on, he was determined to force his way into the upper echelons of Southern society. His relentless will ensures his ambitions are soon realised; land, marriage, children, his own troop to fight in the Civil War... but Sutpen returns from the conflict to find his estate in ruins and…


The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

By Norrin M. Ripsman,

Book cover of The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

Norrin M. Ripsman Author Of The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Too often, I find that novelists force the endings of their books in ways that aren’t true to their characters, the stories, or their settings. Often, they do so to provide the Hollywood ending that many readers crave. That always leaves me cold. I love novels whose characters are complex, human, and believable and interact with their setting and the story in ways that do not stretch credulity. This is how I try to approach my own writing and was foremost in my mind as I set out to write my own book.

Norrin's book list on novels that nail the endings

What is my book about?

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road explores the life and singular worldview of “Crazy Eddie,” a brilliant, highly-educated homeless man who panhandles in front of a downtown bank in a coastal town.

Eddie is a local enigma. Who is he? Where did he come from? What brought him to a life on the streets? A dizzying ride between past and present, the novel unravels these mysteries, just as Eddie has decided to return to society after two decades on the streets, with the help of Jane, a woman whose intelligence and integrity rival his own. Will he succeed, or is it too late?

In the tradition of Graham Greene, this is a book about love, betrayal, and life’s heavenly music

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

By Norrin M. Ripsman,

What is this book about?

“Crazy Eddie” is a homeless man who inhabits two squares of pavement in front of a bank in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. In this makeshift office, he panhandles and dispenses his peerless wisdom. Well-educated, fiercely intelligent with a passionate interest in philosophy and a profound love of nature, Eddie is an enigma for the locals. Who is he? Where did he come from? What brought him to a life on the streets? Though rumors abound, none capture the unique worldview and singular character that led him to withdraw from the perfidy and corruption of human beings. Just as Eddie has…


Book cover of The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between

Paul Lamb Author Of One-Match Fire

From my list on understand the joys and sorrows of being a father.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the natural course as a young man, I became a husband and a father. I have four children and eleven grandchildren. Fatherhood has been the most difficult yet rewarding job of my life. You never stop being a parent. So, it was inevitable that this would become a subject of my writing. I have tried to be a compassionate caregiver and a positive role model to my children; you’ll have to ask them if I’ve succeeded. In my novel, I try to depict two fathers (and their two sons) as good yet flawed men, doing their best and finding their way. Just as all fathers do.

Paul's book list on understand the joys and sorrows of being a father

Paul Lamb Why did Paul love this book?

I didn’t think I could appreciate this memoir of a son searching for his imprisoned father in Gaddafi’s Libya until, suddenly, I did. This book showed me that the bonds between all fathers and their sons transcend things like nationality and religion. It is part of the core of what it means to be human.

I knew from the very first pages that the author would never again see his father, even as he tirelessly spends most of his adult life trying to. By extension, I understood that as much as we want to, we can never really know our fathers.

I raced through the pages.

By Hisham Matar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY
WINNER OF THE SLIGHTLY FOXED BEST FIRST BIOGRAPHY PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES' TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2016

The Return is at once a universal and an intensely personal tale. It is an exquisite meditation on how history and politics can bear down on an individual life. And yet Hisham Matar's memoir isn't just about the burden of the past, but the consolation of love, literature and art. It is the story of what…


Book cover of American Pastoral

Richard Ravin Author Of Nothing to Declare

From my list on set in the 1960s and 70s.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came of age during the tumult of the 1960s and 1970s. I stood more on the sidelines than at the burning center, so I’ve always wondered what it was like for those who did. That’s why I wrote my first novel, to go beyond the borders of my own experience. The 60s/70s era of political and sexual upheaval has reduced itself over time to a series of cliches. What I love about the books on my list is how willing they are to break through to real feelings and events and sensations. Hope you like them, too.

Richard's book list on set in the 1960s and 70s

Richard Ravin Why did Richard love this book?

I’ve always loved how Philip Roth populates his fiction with transgressors. It’s hard not to envy their boldness, bad as they may be. Narrated by Roth’s stand-in, bad boy Nathan Zuckerman, American Pastoral focuses on Zuckerman’s high school idol, ‘Swede’ Levov. Swede’s triumphs on the sporting field and later in business, anoint him for a life marked by pure American success. His inevitable fall from grace feels moving and tragic and infuriating. Swede can’t comprehend how his darling teenage daughter has become an anti-Viet Nam War terror bomber, responsible for bystander death. No happy lessons here. Read American Pastoral if you like books that leave you with as many questions as answers—the way life does.

By Philip Roth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Philip Roth's fiction has often explored the human need to demolish, to challenge, to oppose, to pull apart. Now, writing with deep understanding, with enormous power and scope and great storytelling energy, he focuses on the counterforce: the longing for an ordinary life. Seymour 'Swede' Levov - a legendary high school athlete, a devoted family man, a hard worker, the prosperous inheritor of his father's glove factory - comes of age in thriving, triumphant, postwar America. He has a beautiful wife - Miss New Jersey 1949 - and a lively, precocious daughter, Merry. She is the apple of his eye…


Book cover of The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity

Barrie Wilson Author Of Searching for the Messiah: Unlocking the "Psalms of Solomon" and Humanity's Quest for a Savior

From my list on early Christianity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Barrie is an historian specializing in early Christianity. Today we now know that there were many different movements within the first few centuries, each claiming to be Christian. James’ Jewish group differed from Paul’s Christ religion and both differed from Gnostic Christianity which saw Jesus as a teacher of insight. None was dominant. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic writings add an intriguing overlay. The books selected are those that open up new ways of understanding the historical development of Christianity. Each in its own way has created a paradigm shift.

Barrie's book list on early Christianity

Barrie Wilson Why did Barrie love this book?

A well-written, well researched book by a prominent American archeologist and New Testament scholar that examines what we can now reliably know about the Jesus of history. Tabor carefully sifts through the conflicting evidence in the gospels, written 40-70 years after the death of Jesus, and illuminates his discussion with contemporary archeological finds. A paradigm changer in our search for the historical Jesus, not the Christ of faith.

By James D. Tabor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you thought Dan Brown's fiction was gripping, try the truth. This controversial book pieces together new evidence on the real life of Jesus. The true inspiration behind Kathy Reich's bestselling thriller, "Crossbones", archaeologist and scholar James Tabor takes us on a startling journey that changes the story of Christianity as we know it. Based on hand-on archaeological experience and ground-breaking academic research, real-life Indiana Jones, James Tabor, has produced a compelling and bold new interpretation of the life of Jesus and the origins of Christianity. So impressive is his work that Kathy Reichs, bestselling mystery writer of the "Tempe…


Book cover of The Favourite Game

Corey Mesler Author Of Memphis Movie

From my list on by poets.

Why am I passionate about this?

Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published over 25 books of fiction and poetry. His newest novel, The Diminishment of Charlie Cain, is from Livingston Press. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On, which won The Memphis Film Prize in 2017. With his wife he runs Burke’s Book Store (est. 1875) in Memphis. I have a fondness for novels written by writers who are primarily poets. These five books are my favorites in that contracted genre.

Corey's book list on by poets

Corey Mesler Why did Corey love this book?

Leonard Cohen is one of my touchstones, an artist I take personally, someone who speaks to me deeply. He is best known as a singer/songwriter, the author of “Suzanne” and “Hallelujah.” He is not quite as well-known as a poet, but that’s how he started and he’d already published books of verse before his first album appeared. He also wrote two novels, the first when he was in his 20s. It is entitled The Favourite Game and it’s an autobiographical, Jewish, coming-of-age story. It’s so good it seems like an early Philip Roth novel.

In an interview, Cohen once said, “There’s no story so fantastic that I cannot imagine myself the hero. And there’s no story so evil that I cannot imagine myself the villain.” His protagonist is a little of both in this book. And the prose, as you might imagine is beautiful, simpler perhaps than in his poetry,…

By Leonard Cohen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this unforgettable novel, Leonard Cohen boldly etches the youth and early manhood of Lawrence Breavman, only son of an old Jewish family in Montreal. Life for Breavman is made up of dazzling color - a series of motion pictures fed through a high-speed projector: the half-understood death of his father; the adult games of love and war, with their infinite capacity for fantasy and cruelty; his secret experiments with hypnotism; the night-long adventures with Krantz, his beloved comrade and confidant. Later, achieving literary fame as a college student, Breavman does penance through manual labor but ultimately flees to New…


Book cover of The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity

Barrie Wilson Author Of Searching for the Messiah: Unlocking the "Psalms of Solomon" and Humanity's Quest for a Savior

From my list on early Christianity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Barrie is an historian specializing in early Christianity. Today we now know that there were many different movements within the first few centuries, each claiming to be Christian. James’ Jewish group differed from Paul’s Christ religion and both differed from Gnostic Christianity which saw Jesus as a teacher of insight. None was dominant. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic writings add an intriguing overlay. The books selected are those that open up new ways of understanding the historical development of Christianity. Each in its own way has created a paradigm shift.

Barrie's book list on early Christianity

Barrie Wilson Why did Barrie love this book?

If we only had Paul to rely on for our knowledge of Jesus’ life, all we’d know is that he was born, was Jewish, had brothers and died. Written by a British academic, The Mythmaker is a break-through book that shows how Paul created Christianity by developing a mythology/theology about the significance of the death of Jesus as a Christ. Maccoby’s thought is further developed in my book, How Jesus Became Christian (2008) that demonstrates how different Paul’s religion was from that of Jesus.

By Hyam Maccoby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Argues that Jesus Christ never broke away from Judaism and that the Christian religion was founded by Paul


Book cover of Ben-Hur

Vince Rockston Author Of Aquila: Can Silvanus Escape That God?

From my list on spiritual quests set in Antiquity.

Why am I passionate about this?

A yearning for a happy and meaningful life, as well as struggles with fear, guilt, and unfulfilled wishes, are common to mankind of all ages. My books combine historical and fictional characters to address such timeless spiritual issues from a Christian perspective. During a hiking tour of the Isle of Elba, I discovered the cave where the saintly 6th-century hermit San Cerbone lived in exile. Researching his life inspired me to write a work of historical fiction about that colourful character’s interactions with Silvanus, an unhappy local lad who longs to escape but finds new priorities.

Vince's book list on spiritual quests set in Antiquity

Vince Rockston Why did Vince love this book?

The glamour and excitement of the films distract somewhat from this book’s true message. A young Jewish prince named Judah Ben-Hur longs for a Jewish king to vanquish Rome, but suffers injustice through no fault of his own and is brutally enslaved. After perilous experiences on land and sea, he returns to Jerusalem and witnesses the last days of Jesus’s life: healing of outcasts, gracious forgiveness, and a mercilessly cruel death. Ben-Hur finally comes to faith in this divine anti-hero.

The historic, geographic, and cultural detail in this long book is stunning, as are the realistically portrayed characters and the romantic side story. But it is the spiritual message that impressed me most: a downtrodden slave finally chooses to follow Jesus rather than pursue worldly riches and fame. He experiences redemption, learns to forgive, and starts a new life.

By Lew Wallace,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ben-Hur is the remarkable saga of a man framed for attempting to murder a Roman official, and condemned to death as a galley slave. Epic in scope, it recreates Imperial Rome from a thrilling sea battle, to the famous chariot race, to the agony of Crucifixion.


Book cover of Jesus the Jew

Robert M. Price Author Of Jesus Christ Superstition

From my list on the historical Jesus.

Why am I passionate about this?

Given my adolescent preoccupation with fundamentalist Christianity and its fixation upon Jesus as one’s “personal savior,” it was important to me, once I discovered that some doubted the historical accuracy of the gospels, to defend them. But the more I did so, the greater my doubts became. I found my former confidence untenable, and was pretty steamed about it, but I retained my fascination with the question!

Robert's book list on the historical Jesus

Robert M. Price Why did Robert love this book?

This immensely learned expert in Old and New Testament, as well as Jewish and Christian history, shows how various items in the gospels make the best, most natural sense as clues that Jesus was first remembered as something like a Hasidic saint.

A very eye-opening rereading of the gospels through Jewish eyes. This book taught me some crucial things about the original meaning of the phrase “the son of man” and many other things.

And by the way, his name is pronounced “Ver-MESH.”

By Geza Vermes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this, Geza Vermes' best known book, there emerges perhaps the closest portrayal that we have of a genuinely historical Jesus. Freed from the weight and onus of Christian doctrine or Jewish animus, Jesus here appears as a vividly human, yet profoundly misunderstood, figure, thoroughly grounded and contextualised within the extraordinary intellectual and cultural cross currents of his day. Jesus the Jew is a remarkable portrait by a brilliant scholar writing at the height of his powers, informed by insights from the New Testament, Jewish literature, and the Dead Sea Scrolls alike.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Jewish history, pilgrimages, and Jesus?

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