100 books like The Girl in the Flammable Skirt

By Aimee Bender,

Here are 100 books that The Girl in the Flammable Skirt fans have personally recommended if you like The Girl in the Flammable Skirt. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The House on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Learning and Forgetting

Tanya Ward Goodman Author Of Leaving Tinkertown

From my list on alzheimer’s caregivers.

Who am I?

With more than 6-million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, my story is a shared narrative. Because reading creates empathy, I work to widen the perspective of my writing and include voices different from my own. Thanks to neuroplasticity, healthy brains have the ability to keep changing and learning. Each one of these books offers a helpful nudge in a new direction. My essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications including the Washington Post, Luxe, and Variable West, and are listed as notable in the 2019 Best American Science and Nature Writing. I’m currently at work on a second memoir about motherhood and the way travel cultivates a willing acceptance of uncertainty. 

Tanya's book list on alzheimer’s caregivers

Tanya Ward Goodman Why did Tanya love this book?

I was a new mother when I read this Alzheimer’s memoir and immediately felt that I’d found a friend. Elizabeth Cohen is funny, lyrical, and sometimes (understandably) frustrated as she takes on the bruising balance of managing a career while simultaneously caring for her aging father and her young daughter. The book is a testimony to the healing power of story and provided a valuable model to me as I sought to make sense of my own family experience by committing my memories to the page.

By Elizabeth Cohen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Daddy walks around, dropping pieces of language behind him, the baby following, picking them up. He asks for 'the liquid substance from the spigot'. She asks for 'wawa'. He wants a tissue to wipe his 'blowing device'. She says 'Wipe, Mummy' and points to her runny nose. The brain of my father and the brain of my daughter have crossed. On their ways to opposite sides of life, they have made an X-On his way out of life, Daddy has passed her the keys.' Soon after her daughter's first birthday, her husband walked out of their rambling old house in…


Book cover of Dementia, My Darling

Tanya Ward Goodman Author Of Leaving Tinkertown

From my list on alzheimer’s caregivers.

Who am I?

With more than 6-million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, my story is a shared narrative. Because reading creates empathy, I work to widen the perspective of my writing and include voices different from my own. Thanks to neuroplasticity, healthy brains have the ability to keep changing and learning. Each one of these books offers a helpful nudge in a new direction. My essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications including the Washington Post, Luxe, and Variable West, and are listed as notable in the 2019 Best American Science and Nature Writing. I’m currently at work on a second memoir about motherhood and the way travel cultivates a willing acceptance of uncertainty. 

Tanya's book list on alzheimer’s caregivers

Tanya Ward Goodman Why did Tanya love this book?

The title poem in this collection, (made from lines spoken by the poet’s mother,) manages to embody both caregiver and loved one as Constantine gives gentle structure to a string of seemingly disconnected utterances. Each poem in the book explores themes of loss, memory, and family through a different lens, creating an almost kaleidoscopic vision of the world. The collection is a rumination, a celebration, and a beautiful example of how poetry can expand our perspectives and teach us to speak and hear new rhythms.  

By Brendan Constantine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As with Constantine's previous titles, Dementia, My Darling can be enjoyed at random or in order. However, when taken in sequence, the poems construct a thesis on life as we remember it from moment to moment. What is your first memory of love? How soon will you forget answering that question?


Book cover of The Wide Circumference of Love

Tanya Ward Goodman Author Of Leaving Tinkertown

From my list on alzheimer’s caregivers.

Who am I?

With more than 6-million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, my story is a shared narrative. Because reading creates empathy, I work to widen the perspective of my writing and include voices different from my own. Thanks to neuroplasticity, healthy brains have the ability to keep changing and learning. Each one of these books offers a helpful nudge in a new direction. My essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications including the Washington Post, Luxe, and Variable West, and are listed as notable in the 2019 Best American Science and Nature Writing. I’m currently at work on a second memoir about motherhood and the way travel cultivates a willing acceptance of uncertainty. 

Tanya's book list on alzheimer’s caregivers

Tanya Ward Goodman Why did Tanya love this book?

When 68 year-old Gregory Tate is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, his family members reckon with the past and try to move toward an unexpected future with love and honesty. This beautifully written novel offers readers a chance to see the crisis from varying points of view and encourages empathy for every member of the family. In addition, Golden works to raise awareness of the way Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects Black and Latino communities. African Americans are more than twice as likely as whites to develop the disease, and yet, are gravely underrepresented in research and clinical trials. Part of a diverse chorus represented by #AlzAuthors, Golden is a vital voice to follow.

By Marita Golden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A 2018 NAACP Image Award nominee and an NPR Best Book of 2017, a moving African-American family drama of love, devotion, and Alzheimer's disease.

Diane Tate never expected to slowly lose her talented husband to the debilitating effects of early-onset Alzheimer's disease. As a respected family court judge, she's spent her life making tough calls, but when her sixty-eight-year-old husband's health worsens and Diane is forced to move him into an assisted living facility, it seems her world is spinning out of control.

As Gregory's memory wavers and fades, Diane and her children must reexamine their connection to the man…


Book cover of The Authenticity Experiment: Lessons From The Best & Worst Year Of My Life

Tanya Ward Goodman Author Of Leaving Tinkertown

From my list on alzheimer’s caregivers.

Who am I?

With more than 6-million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, my story is a shared narrative. Because reading creates empathy, I work to widen the perspective of my writing and include voices different from my own. Thanks to neuroplasticity, healthy brains have the ability to keep changing and learning. Each one of these books offers a helpful nudge in a new direction. My essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications including the Washington Post, Luxe, and Variable West, and are listed as notable in the 2019 Best American Science and Nature Writing. I’m currently at work on a second memoir about motherhood and the way travel cultivates a willing acceptance of uncertainty. 

Tanya's book list on alzheimer’s caregivers

Tanya Ward Goodman Why did Tanya love this book?

Akin to peering into the pages of a private journal, The Authenticity Experiment, is an unvarnished reaction to a series of heartbreaking losses. Tired of the way social media has forced us to create a relentlessly curated and cheerful version of ourselves, de Gutes presents a museum of true emotion. The consecutive deaths of her mother, a dear friend, and a beloved mentor move de Gutes to map her own identity around the absence of three critical landmarks. Musing on perfectionism, guilt, joy, love, and success, de Gutes finds the route to self-compassion is a long and winding one. We readers are lucky enough to be able to walk beside her.

By Kate Carroll De Gutes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* * * Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) BRONZE MEDAL in LGBT Non-Fiction! * * *

The Authenticity Experiment: Lessons from the Best and Worst Year of My Life is the new collection of essays from award-winning writer Kate Carroll de Gutes.

In 2012, Kate Carroll de Gutes found herself at a rest stop “ruined with anxiety. And when I say ruined, I mean in a car, in hundred-degree weather, with all the windows rolled up, sobbing and crouched in the passenger’s seat rocking and waiting for the Ativan to take effect. I posted on Facebook, ‘Hello,…


Book cover of Her Body and Other Parties: Stories

Marielle Thompson Author Of Where Ivy Dares to Grow

From my list on gothic that explore different types of grief.

Who am I?

My debut novel, Where Ivy Dares to Grow, inherently explores many kinds of grief through the lens of a gothic novel; the grief of losing one’s sense of self to mental illness, of family estrangement, of relationships that have run their course, of illness in loved ones, of beloved places no longer being the beautiful things we remember them as. While this was not something I did consciously while writing, the gothic genre simply seemed to be a natural fit to investigate mourning in so many untraditional senses, using a sentient home and timeslips as metaphors for the way that grief can seem to shift the world and swallow one whole.

Marielle's book list on gothic that explore different types of grief

Marielle Thompson Why did Marielle love this book?

This gothic-esque collection of short stories explores so many different forms of grief.

It mainly focuses on tales of women and the kinds of grief that often come from living and moving through the world as women. There is a tale of a young woman whose agency of her own body is breached by her husband removing her mysterious neck ribbon, exploring grief at a loss of trust in a relationship as well as loss of agency.

A woman left alone and isolated in the wake of a deadly global virus, left to grieve the way the world once was. Many stories that explore the oppressive, many-faced grief of the smothering patriarchy, from women who whittle down their bodies to nothing in the pursuit of beauty, to those who learn they are hardly real beyond the male gaze.

By Carmen Maria Machado,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Her Body and Other Parties as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FICTION PRIZE 2017
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE 2018

'Brilliantly inventive and blazingly smart' Garth Greenwell

'Impossible, imperfect, unforgettable' Roxane Gay

'A wild thing ... covered in sequins and scales, blazing with the influence of fabulists from Angela Carter to Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi' New York Times

In her provocative debut, Carmen Maria Machado demolishes the borders between magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. Startling narratives map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited on their bodies, both in myth and in practice.

A…


Book cover of Orange World and Other Stories

Jacqueline Vogtman Author Of Girl Country: and Other Stories

From my list on magical realism by women writers.

Who am I?

I’m a writer who loves all kinds of fiction, but I’m most passionate about magical realism and related genres (like fabulism and speculative fiction). I love when writers skirt several genres, especially when their use of the “strange” holds a funhouse mirror up to our world and allows us to see a deeper truth. My favorite writers craft prose that rivals poetry and delve into their characters’ interior worlds; for me, one of fiction’s greatest magic tricks is the ability to enter another’s world and create empathy. The five authors on this list do all of these things and more, and they serve as some of my greatest inspirations.  

Jacqueline's book list on magical realism by women writers

Jacqueline Vogtman Why did Jacqueline love this book?

In Orange World, Karen Russell guides readers expertly through a multitude of weird worlds, but in her hands the weird becomes familiar as we enter her characters’ inner lives.

The title story—about a mother striking a deal with the devil to protect her child, only this deal involves breastfeeding the devil himself—struck a chord with me, as my collection also focuses on motherhood, and I wrote many of the stories while in the throes of taking care of my young child.

Other standouts in Russell’s collection are “Bog Girl,” a love story between an ordinary teenage boy and a two-thousand-year-old bog girl; and “The Prospectors” a Depression-era ghost story. I’m inspired by Russell’s level of inventiveness and empathy, her richness of language, and her wide-ranging settings. 

By Karen Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Orange World and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I loved Orange World... a collection of short stories in which demons live in drains, bog women come back from the dead and trees can grow inside the human body' Daisy Johnson, New Statesman BOOK OF THE YEAR

'A rare combination of literary brilliance and unbridled entertainment' Mark Haddon

These exuberant, unforgettable stories showcase Karen Russell's comedic and imaginative talent for creating outlandish predicaments that uncannily mirror our inner lives. In 'The Bad Graft', a couple on a road trip stop in Joshua Tree National Park, where the spirit of a giant tree accidentally infects the young woman, their fates…


Book cover of The Rock Eaters: Stories

Rita Chang-Eppig Author Of Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea

From my list on if you find genre boundaries kind of silly.

Who am I?

As an immigrant, an Asian American, and a gender-questioning person, I’ve never fit comfortably anywhere. So perhaps it’s no surprise that my writing isn’t easily categorizable either: many have told me that my work is too literary to be considered SF/F and too SF/F to be strictly literary. But what is genre anyway? My favorite books have always been the ones that straddled genres, and every time I read a wonderful book that can’t be easily labeled or marketed, I grow even more sure that the future of literature lies in fluid, boundary-crossing, transgressive texts. Here are some of my favorites—I hope you enjoy them.

Rita's book list on if you find genre boundaries kind of silly

Rita Chang-Eppig Why did Rita love this book?

Short story collections are funny things: some are strong from start to finish, and some… read as if the author wrote all the other stories over the course of a weekend after one of their stories garnered public attention. No, I will not name names.

Peynado’s The Rock Eaters is a glowing example of the former. The collection spans genres: realist, science fiction, magical realist. What all the stories have in common is Peynado’s controlled hand and breadth of imagination, not to mention her keen insights into what it’s like to exist in the real world, a world fraught with gun violence, racism, and xenophobia.

You finish the collection feeling like you’ve traversed worlds and, in the process, learned something new about the world we live in.  

By Brenda Peynado,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A story collection, in the vein of Carmen Maria Machado, Kelly Link, and Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, spanning worlds and dimensions, using strange and speculative elements to tackle issues ranging from class differences to immigration to first-generation experiences to xenophobia
 
What does it mean to be other? What does it mean to love in a world determined to keep us apart?
 
These questions murmur in the heart of each of Brenda Peynado's strange and singular stories. Threaded with magic, transcending time and place, these stories explore what it means to cross borders and break down walls, personally and politically. In one…


Book cover of By Light We Knew Our Names: Stories

Jacqueline Vogtman Author Of Girl Country: and Other Stories

From my list on magical realism by women writers.

Who am I?

I’m a writer who loves all kinds of fiction, but I’m most passionate about magical realism and related genres (like fabulism and speculative fiction). I love when writers skirt several genres, especially when their use of the “strange” holds a funhouse mirror up to our world and allows us to see a deeper truth. My favorite writers craft prose that rivals poetry and delve into their characters’ interior worlds; for me, one of fiction’s greatest magic tricks is the ability to enter another’s world and create empathy. The five authors on this list do all of these things and more, and they serve as some of my greatest inspirations.  

Jacqueline's book list on magical realism by women writers

Jacqueline Vogtman Why did Jacqueline love this book?

Full disclosure: Anne is a dear friend and was an MFA workshop-mate of mine.

But even if she wasn’t, I’m confident this would still be one of my favorite collections. There is so much magic in Valente’s writing, in the gorgeous prose but also in the content of the stories: ghosts, pink dolphins, tiny librarians, Northern Lights.

Much of the magic is not supernatural, but just the magic of the natural world, and Valente is a master of place; I’ve always admired her use of setting. Many of the stories deal with loss, grief, and pain, but the magic acts as a way to transcend these things, which is what I aim to do in my stories as well.

By Anne Valente,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked By Light We Knew Our Names as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From ghosts to pink dolphins to a fight club of young women who practice beneath the Alaskan aurora borealis, By Light We Knew Our Names examines the beauty and heartbreak of the world we live in. Across 13 stories, this collection explores the thin border between magic and grief.


Book cover of The Mermaid of Black Conch

Therese Down Author Of The Estate Agent

From my list on lighting up your imagination and your soul.

Who am I?

I love stories grounded in realism - but which also explore that there may be more to life than meets the eye; reasons beyond reason, for the way we dream, love, and think, and which come from unexpected sources. I love books whose characters really 'live', and stay with me, long after I've finished reading. I aspire to create such characters. In my novels, I seek to explore important themes from perspectives that often pitch rationality against what it cannot explain, or dismiss. The fiction I most love does this – whether it exploits mythology, suggests life beyond life, or uses magical realism to add ‘other’ dimensions to the ordinary. "There are more things… Horatio…"

Therese's book list on lighting up your imagination and your soul

Therese Down Why did Therese love this book?

The Mermaid of Black Conch takes a mythological creature and gives her extraordinary life, as a very real, young woman, called Aycayia.

She is caught – hooked like a prize fish - by greedy anglers, and hauled from the sea, bringing with her an already fascinating and tragic history of injustice and misunderstanding. But, she is also an object of love.

Not all fishermen are commercial opportunists… Not all men are eager to exploit beautiful and unusual women, and so begins an extraordinary rescue, and a life-affirming relationship, with many unpredictable, literally magical, and truly remarkable twists.

This enchanting book, written with breath-taking originality, is likely to spell-bind you – permanently. You’ll never again think of mermaids in the same way.

By Monique Roffey,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Mermaid of Black Conch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Escape to the ocean with the entrancing, unforgettable winner of the Costa Book of the Year - as read on BBC Radio 4.

'Mesmerising' MAGGIE O'FARRELL
'A unique talent' BERNARDINE EVARISTO
'Wonderful' BRIDGET COLLINS
'Brilliant' CLARE CHAMBERS

Near the island of Black Conch, a fisherman sings to himself while waiting for a catch. But David attracts a sea-dweller that he never expected - Aycayia, an innocent young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid.

When American tourists capture Aycayia, David rescues her and vows to win her trust. Slowly, painfully, she transforms into a woman again. Yet…


Book cover of Things in Jars

Bridget Walsh Author Of The Tumbling Girl

From my list on crime set in the nineteenth century.

Who am I?

I’m a lover of all things Victorian and an obsessive researcher. Academic libraries are my favourite places in the world and I like nothing more than uncovering some weird nugget of information that forces me to reappraise what I thought I knew. With a PhD in Victorian domestic murder and a fascination with the weirder elements of Victorian life, it was almost inevitable I’d turn my hand to writing crime fiction set in that era. The five books I’ve recommended are some of the best crime novels set in the nineteenth century, but written more recently.

Bridget's book list on crime set in the nineteenth century

Bridget Walsh Why did Bridget love this book?

Things in Jars is positioned at the meeting point of three Victorian obsessions: anatomy, entertainment, and spectacle.

It features Bridie Devine, a female detective tasked with finding a kidnapped child. But the child is not like other children. And Bridie, ‘the finest female detective of her age’ is not like other detectives. Not only is this an outstanding detective novel, at its heart lies a beautifully observed, genuinely moving, if somewhat unconventional love story.

By Jess Kidd,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Things in Jars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in magical realism, mermaids, and Alzheimer's disease?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about magical realism, mermaids, and Alzheimer's disease.

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