53 books like The Gift of the Deer

By Helen Hoover,

Here are 53 books that The Gift of the Deer fans have personally recommended if you like The Gift of the Deer. 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 This Tender Land

Brenda Smith Author Of Becoming Fearless: Finding Courage in the African Wilderness

From my list on surviving and finding courage in the wilderness.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the daughter of a prim and proper New England family, expectations were that I would follow societal norms: attend college, get married, and raise a family. I knew practically nothing about the world outside the United States, nor had I any curiosity about it. Everything changed in 1980 when I took a job as an accountant working for one of the world’s greatest adventurers, Richard Bangs. He literally dragged me, kicking and screaming, into the remotest heart of Africa, where I became infected by wanderlust. Ever since, as a single woman, I have embraced a life of adventure traveling around our amazing planet.

Brenda's book list on surviving and finding courage in the wilderness

Brenda Smith Why did Brenda love this book?

This story also tells of a river journey by four young orphans who in 1932 escape from a horrid Indian training school and travel for months down the Mississippi River. They head into the unknown, unprotected from the perils they encounter.

On my journey, I needed to be constantly vigilant for natural predators like lions, hippos, and crocs. These children had to be on the lookout for human predators: the search party sent looking for them, drifters, grifters, and traveling faith healers. Facing each obstacle we encountered on our trips, we managed not only to survive but actually thrive in hostile surroundings.

By William Kent Krueger,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked This Tender Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1932, Minnesota-the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O'Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent's wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will fly into the unknown and cross paths with others…


Book cover of The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

Joe Wilkins Author Of The Entire Sky

From my list on books about rural America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on the high plains of eastern Montana. Like most rural folks, we lived close to the bone, even in the best of times. Then, when I was nine, my father died—and things got even harder. We finally had to put our acres up for lease, and I made a goal to leave that hard place. Though I worked hard for this new life I find myself leading—I studied, won scholarships, earned an MFA, and became a professor—ever since I left Montana, I’ve been trying to understand the distance between there and where I find myself now. I’ve been trying to understand rural America.

Joe's book list on books about rural America

Joe Wilkins Why did Joe love this book?

I’ve read and deeply admired nearly everything Erdrich has written, from Love Medicine to The Roundhouse. Erdrich’s language is always incantatory, and her stories are full of magic, landscape, and history. But this one is my absolute favorite. Even the title is amazing!

The story moves back and forth across the decades, and characters shift and transform before your eyes. Erdrich reminds me of Faulkner or even Homer; though deeply rooted in the lives and experiences of the Ojibwe communities of eastern North Dakota, Erdrich’s novels have a timeless, mythic feel. 

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerfully involving novel from one of America's finest writers, and winner of America's prestigious National Book Award for Fiction 2012

Sister Cecilia lives for music, for those hours when she can play her beloved Chopin on the piano. It isn't that she neglects her other duties, rather it is the playing itself - distilled of longing - that disturbs her sisters. The very air of the convent thickens with the passion of her music, and the young girl is asked to leave. And so it is that Sister Cecilia appears before Berndt Vogel on his farm, destitute, looking for…


Book cover of My Name Is Joe Lavoie

Curt Brown Author Of Minnesota, 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State

From my list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter.

Why am I passionate about this?

After more than 30 years in daily journalism in Minnesota, I moved to a trout stream near Durango, Colo., to stage a second act. Editors at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where I worked for 26 years, gave me a freelance contract to write a Minnesota History column every Sunday. It’s morphed into a popular crowd-sourcing of history with readers feeding me delicious family stories. I’m the lucky one who gets to weave these stories—enriching my knowledge of what being Minnesotans is all about.

Curt's book list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter

Curt Brown Why did Curt love this book?

A master of nonfiction crime writing, William Swanson uses his W.A. Winter pen name for fictional works, including this 2022 book that clung to my thoughts weeks after the last page. Based loosely on a Minnesota crime spree in the 1950s, Winter takes readers into the mind of Joe Lavoie—the wheelchair-bound lone survivor of three brothers who engaged in a shootout with police in 1953. Set in 1991, 38 years after the crippling police gunshot, the taut writing takes you into Joe’s mind and explores his dysfunctional family on what turns out to be his last stand.

By W.A. Winter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Name Is Joe Lavoie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Minneapolis, 1953—A wild crime spree stuns the Upper Midwest, leaving a trail of blood and betrayal that terrifies a region and shatters the family at its core. 

Thirty-eight years later, the tattered remnants of the notorious LaVoie crime family—sisters, brothers, and children too young to remember or understand—gather for an edgy reunion in a Minneapolis suburb. Among the guests is Joe LaVoie, sole survivor of the fraternal gang behind the ’50s bloodshed, a convicted cop-killer crippled by a police bullet during the final shootout. Now, an old man facing his own death, Joe is both desperate and terrified to learn…


Book cover of Chief Bender's Burden: The Silent Struggle of a Baseball Star

Curt Brown Author Of Minnesota, 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State

From my list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter.

Why am I passionate about this?

After more than 30 years in daily journalism in Minnesota, I moved to a trout stream near Durango, Colo., to stage a second act. Editors at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where I worked for 26 years, gave me a freelance contract to write a Minnesota History column every Sunday. It’s morphed into a popular crowd-sourcing of history with readers feeding me delicious family stories. I’m the lucky one who gets to weave these stories—enriching my knowledge of what being Minnesotans is all about.

Curt's book list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter

Curt Brown Why did Curt love this book?

This 2008 biography of a Hall of Fame baseball pitcher follows Charles Albert Bender from the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota to his heyday with the Philadelphia Athletics in the early-1900s. While fans know about Minnesota baseball stars like Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, and Jack Morris, Bender’s amazing life has been all but forgotten. Swift breathes new life into a man with a foot in both his Indian and white worlds.

By Tom Swift,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chief Bender's Burden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The greatest American Indian baseball player of all time, Charles Albert Bender, was, according to a contemporary, "the coolest pitcher in the game." Using a trademark delivery, an impressive assortment of pitches that may have included the game's first slider, and an apparently unflappable demeanor, he earned a reputation as baseball's great clutch pitcher during tight Deadball Era pennant races and in front of boisterous World Series crowds. More remarkably yet, "Chief" Bender's Hall of Fame career unfolded in the face of immeasurable prejudice. This skillfully told and complete account of Bender's life is also a portrait of greatness of…


Book cover of The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees

Talitha Shipman Author Of Finding Beauty

From my list on inspiring childlike wonder for all ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning children's book author-illustrator. I’ve spent the last fifteen years dreaming up stories that I hope will inspire curiosity and wonder in kids of all ages. I’m also a life-long learner! I can’t get enough info about this amazing world we live in. The more I learn, the more I realize that being a noticer, someone who slows down to observe the tiny details around them, will inspire questions and the need to find some surprising and fascinating answers. When my daughter asks a question (and there are many), my mantra has become, “I don’t know, let’s find out!” I hope this list inspires your own adventurous inquiries.

Talitha's book list on inspiring childlike wonder for all ages

Talitha Shipman Why did Talitha love this book?

You will never look at an oak tree in the same way after reading The Nature of Oaks.

Tallamay shares so much fascinating info about a tree most of us take for granted. No other tree species supports so many different kinds of animals. From tiny wasps to white-tailed deer, everyone in the forest relies on oak trees.

Whenever I walk past a tall oak tree, I feel like I know so much more about its life and the hidden world it supports. I’m in on a huge secret that started with a tiny acorn.

By Douglas W. Tallamy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With Bringing Nature Home, Doug Tallamy changed the conversation about gardening in America. His second book, the New York Times bestseller Nature's Best Hope, urged homeowners to take conservation into their own hands. Now, he is turning his advocacy to one of the most important species of the plant kingdom - the mighty oak tree.

Oaks sustain a complex and fascinating web of wildlife. The Nature of Oaks reveals what is going on in oak trees month by month, highlighting the seasonal cycles of life, death, and renewal. From woodpeckers who collect and store hundreds of acorns for sustenance to…


Book cover of Murder on the Red River

Lynn Emery Author Of Spirited Sisters: Two Joliet Sisters Psychic Detectives Mysteries

From my list on psychic sleuths supernatural and fantasy creatures.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mixing the magical with everyday life is part of my Louisiana culture. Our history is a rich gumbo of legends from Indigenous peoples, Africa, the Caribbean, Spain, and France. So, as a child, hearing stories of the supernatural didn’t seem abnormal at all. I was ten years old when I became hooked on supernatural suspense. I voraciously read Agatha Christie's mysteries and spooky comic books. The comic book sleuths were sometimes as scary as the villains they chased. And I loved every page. What fun I had during summer school breaks! If you’re like me and love mysteries with paranormal twists, dive in. You won’t be disappointed in this list.

Lynn's book list on psychic sleuths supernatural and fantasy creatures

Lynn Emery Why did Lynn love this book?

The unique protagonist is the main reason I loved this novel. Cash Blackbear is a young Objibwe woman in North Dakota with a strong sixth sense that leads her to clues. Cash gets visions that she can’t ignore. She teams with local Sheriff Wheaton, who trusts her insights even though he doesn’t understand them. Wheaton has been a father figure/mentor since she was a child left adrift in one abusive foster home after another.

I loved their sometimes awkward yet tender interactions. The author, who is Native American, expertly weaves in the rich tapestry of American indigenous culture and life. Additionally, this is a great whodunnit with plot twists that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

By Marcie R. Rendon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Murder on the Red River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One Book, One Minnesota Selection for Summer 2021
 
Introducing Cash Blackbear, a young Ojibwe woman whose visions and grit help solve a brutal murder in this award-winning debut.

1970s, Red River Valley between North Dakota and Minnesota: Renee “Cash” Blackbear is 19 years old and tough as nails. She lives in Fargo, North Dakota, where she drives truck for local farmers, drinks beer, plays pool, and helps solve criminal investigations through the power of her visions. She has one friend, Sheriff Wheaton, her guardian, who helped her out of the broken foster care system.

One Saturday morning, Sheriff Wheaton is…


Book cover of Packinghouse Daughter: A Memoir

Janet Hulstrand Author Of A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France

From my list on literary memoirs from the Midwest.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Minnesota, and although I have not lived there for most of my adult life, it will always be home for me. I miss the prairie, the lakes, and the wide open skies; I even miss the winters. So I love reading good books set in the Midwest. To me these five books exemplify all that is best about Midwesterners: their honesty, their modesty, their connection to the land; their belief in themselves, and in the interesting and good people in this part of the country. Each of these writers shows that sometimes you can go home again: and that it can be worth it to do so. 

Janet's book list on literary memoirs from the Midwest

Janet Hulstrand Why did Janet love this book?

Cheri Register grew up in Albert Lea, Minnesota in the 1950s and 60s, in a working-class home.

When she was 14, a strike in a meatpacking plant created deep divisions within the town and brought national attention when the National Guard was called out to maintain order. As a teenager Register felt acutely the social tensions and class conflicts inherent in such a situation.

In this book she elegantly weaves together her personal coming-of-age story and her own family’s history with details of the strike gathered from archives as well as conversations with those who lived through it.

With sensitivity, humor, affection, and respect for the people of her hometown Register has written a classic American story with a focus on class issues that remain to be resolved. 

By Cheri Register,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A unique blend of memoir and public history, Packinghouse Daughter, winner of the Minnesota Book Award, tells a compelling story of small-town, working-class life. The daughter of a Wilson & Company millwright, Cheri Register recalls the 1959 meatpackers' strike that divided her hometown of Albert Lea, Minnesota. The violence that erupted when the company "replaced" its union workers with strikebreakers tested family loyalty and community stability. Register skillfully interweaves her own memories, historical research, and oral interviews into a narrative that is thoughtful and impassioned about the value of blue-collar work and the dignity of those who do it.


Book cover of Listening Point

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a highly experienced outdoorsman, musician, songwriter, and backcountry guide who chose teaching as a day job. As a writer, however, I am a promoter of creative and literary nonfiction, especially nonfiction that features a thematic thread, whether it be philosophical, conservation, historical, or even unique experiential. The thread I used for thirty years of teaching high school and honors English was the thread of Conservation, as exemplified by authors like Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Edward O. Wilson, Al Gore, Henry David Thoreau, as well as many other more contemporary authors.

Mark's book list on creative nonfiction books that entertain and teach through threaded essays and stories

Mark Doherty Why did Mark love this book?

Sigurd Olson’s book transported me on a wonderful, multifaceted journey through the Quantico-Superior country of Northern Minnesota by blending stories of places and people of the northern lake country with rich ecological, geological, and cultural history.

I was particularly engaged and amazed by Olson’s ability to maintain a theme of the man/nature interface and how history has impacted and still impacts ecology. I learned an incredible amount of history while reading, and at the same time, I felt literally transported to the unparalleled beauty and magical landscape (or “lake scape”) through delicious and vivid sensory imagery.

I cannot imagine ever traveling the lakes and forests of the Quantico-Superior region without having first read Olson’s book!

By Sigurd F. Olson,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Safe from the Sea

Caitlin Hamilton Summie Author Of Geographies of the Heart

From my list on the families we have and the families we make.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a book publicist of roughly twenty years, a writer, and a reader. My award-winning short story collection, To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts (Fomite Press, 2017), deals with family, reconciliation, loss, and hope. My first novel, Geographies of the Heart (Fomite Press) was released in January 2022. It’s about the importance of forgiveness, the power of legacies, and the fertile but fragile terrain that is family, the first geography to shape our hearts. I am surrounded by books, live and breathe books, work with books. Lucky me!

Caitlin's book list on the families we have and the families we make

Caitlin Hamilton Summie Why did Caitlin love this book?

This is a novel about loss, family, and reconciliation, and it moved me deeply. It’s set in Minnesota, where I spent about half my childhood, and it deals with personal and family histories, which I find quite compelling. In the novel, Noah’s father, Olaf Torr, lives under the weight of survivor’s guilt. Years earlier, thirty men went out on the ore boat, the Ragnorak, and only three returned. One was Olaf. As the novel begins, Olaf is dying, and he contacts Noah, from whom he’s estranged. But Noah still hasn’t forgiven Olaf for his alcoholism. Also, Noah and his wife, Natalie, are struggling with infertility issues. But Noah and Natalie come to see Olaf, who starts telling Noah what happened on that boat. 

By Peter Geye,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set against the powerful lakeshore landscape of northern Minnesota, Safe from the Sea is a heartfelt novel in which a son returns home to reconnect with his estranged and dying father thirty-five years after the tragic wreck of a Great Lakes ore boat that the father only partially survived and that has divided them emotionally ever since. When his father for the first time finally tells the story of the horrific disaster he has carried with him so long, it leads the two men to reconsider each other. Meanwhile, Noah's own struggle to make a life with an absent father…


Book cover of Main Street

Steven Mayfield Author Of The Penny Mansions

From my list on funny and not-so-funny truths about small towns.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a small, Midwestern town where people sinned Monday through Saturday, then went to church on Sunday to stock up on absolution for the coming week. It was also a place where people wanted to be well-thought of, if thought of at all, and could be at their best when things were at their worst. I wanted to escape as soon as possible, yet now as old memories become more accessible than recent ones, I realize that I never escaped at all. I write about small towns, perhaps to avenge, perhaps as homage; perhaps because it is still, after all these years, what I best know.

Steven's book list on funny and not-so-funny truths about small towns

Steven Mayfield Why did Steven love this book?

With biting satire and elegiac prose, Main Street is the paragon of stories set in small towns.

Author Sinclair Lewis was obviously not enamored of small towns, and like Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, is perhaps exorcising some demons from his own upbringing. Nevertheless, perhaps unable to help himself, he instills his protagonist, Carol Milford (Kennicott) with a “Never give up” small town value. At the end she is undaunted. Even though she’s been stifled at nearly every turn, in her own words she has “kept the faith.”

I love the work of Sinclair Lewis. I based the character of July Huffaker in Delphic Oracle, U.S.A. on Elmer Gantry, and when I taught in medical schools, kept copies of Arrowsmith in my office that I gave to students and residents interested in a career in academic medicine. “Read this,” I told them. “If you still want in, come talk to…

By Sinclair Lewis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Main Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

In this classic satire of small-town America, beautiful young Carol Kennicott comes to Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, with dreams of transforming the provincial old town into a place of beauty and culture. But she runs into a wall of bigotry, hypocrisy and complacency. The first popular bestseller to attack conventional ideas about marriage, gender roles, and small town life, Main Street established Lewis as a major American novelist.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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