10 books like The Glass Castle

By Jeannette Walls,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Glass Castle. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

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

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Joseph's favorite books.

Why did Joseph love this book?

This book helped me understand “the power of why” in my life: when we have a reason to keep going, nothing can stop us.

Despite the dreadful experiences in Nazi concentration camps, Viktor Frankl survived because he had found the importance of purpose and meaning in life, even in dire circumstances. We too can tap into resilience, find meaning in our lives, develop our capacity to endure suffering so we can be transformed and healed.

If we are seeking personal growth, wisdom, and a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the world, we should read Man's Search for Meaning. It can contribute to our sense of well-being, happiness, and personal healing.

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

36 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.


Too Close to the Falls

By Catherine Gildiner,

Book cover of Too Close to the Falls

Karen Harmon Author Of Where Is My Happy Ending?: A Journey of No Regrets

From the list on mental health, addiction, and families.

Who am I?

I have the expertise for this topic because I was raised in a loving home with a mother who struggled with bipolar disorder. At times my life was hilariously adventurous or heart-wrenchingly sad. Given little direction, I married an alcoholic and then went on to work at a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. I have fallen on hard times, but at the age of thirty-two, as a single mother collecting welfare, I managed to grief, heal and dig myself out, creating a rewarding life. I am optimistic, and I try to find humour in all things, especially after the tears and healing have subsided. My writing has brought me tremendous healing and joy.

Karen's book list on mental health, addiction, and families

Discover why each book is one of Karen's favorite books.

Why did Karen love this book?

Too Close to the Falls is hilarious and moving with a dark side that at first is undetectable. Gildner's memoir is richly absorbing and captures childhood's essence, where each experience is a lesson. In the 1950s, Too Close to the Falls is an exquisite, haunting portrayal of friendships, brushes with death, and how a schoolgirl affects the course of aboriginal politics. Memorable and skillfully told.

By Catherine Gildiner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Too Close to the Falls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the childhood of Catherine McClure Gildiner. It is the mid-1950s in Lewiston, New York, a sleepy town near Niagara Falls. Divorce is unheard of, mothers wear high heels to the beauty salon, and television has only just arrived.

At the tender age of four, Cathy accompanies Roy, the deliveryman at her father's pharmacy, on his routes. She shares some of their memorable deliveries-sleeping pills to Marilyn Monroe (in town filming Niagara), sedatives to Mad Bear, a violent Tuscarora chief, and fungus cream to Warty, the gentle operator of the town dump. As she reaches her teenage years, Cathy's…


The Memory Palace

By Mira Bartok,

Book cover of The Memory Palace

Karen Harmon Author Of Where Is My Happy Ending?: A Journey of No Regrets

From the list on mental health, addiction, and families.

Who am I?

I have the expertise for this topic because I was raised in a loving home with a mother who struggled with bipolar disorder. At times my life was hilariously adventurous or heart-wrenchingly sad. Given little direction, I married an alcoholic and then went on to work at a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. I have fallen on hard times, but at the age of thirty-two, as a single mother collecting welfare, I managed to grief, heal and dig myself out, creating a rewarding life. I am optimistic, and I try to find humour in all things, especially after the tears and healing have subsided. My writing has brought me tremendous healing and joy.

Karen's book list on mental health, addiction, and families

Discover why each book is one of Karen's favorite books.

Why did Karen love this book?

A harrowing and beautiful tale of two sisters growing up with a paranoid schizophrenic mother. The author describes a fine line between gentle artistic creativity and debilitating mental illness. The reader will come away with a better understanding of how deeply children are affected growing up in a dysfunctional and traumatic environment. A mother's love and a journey to forgiveness teach us the complex meaning of love.

By Mira Bartok,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, two sisters confront schizophrenia in this New York Times bestselling poignant memoir about family and mental illness. Through stunning prose and original art, The Memory Palace captures the love between mother and daughter, the complex meaning of truth, and one family’s capacity for forgiveness.

*A Washington Post Best Book of the Year *
*The National Book Critics Circle Award Winner for Best Autobiography*

“People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you’ve been through,” Mira Bartók is told at her mother’s memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship…


Book cover of Mennonite Girl at the Welcome Inn

Karen Harmon Author Of Where Is My Happy Ending?: A Journey of No Regrets

From the list on mental health, addiction, and families.

Who am I?

I have the expertise for this topic because I was raised in a loving home with a mother who struggled with bipolar disorder. At times my life was hilariously adventurous or heart-wrenchingly sad. Given little direction, I married an alcoholic and then went on to work at a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. I have fallen on hard times, but at the age of thirty-two, as a single mother collecting welfare, I managed to grief, heal and dig myself out, creating a rewarding life. I am optimistic, and I try to find humour in all things, especially after the tears and healing have subsided. My writing has brought me tremendous healing and joy.

Karen's book list on mental health, addiction, and families

Discover why each book is one of Karen's favorite books.

Why did Karen love this book?

This lovely memoir follows Mary, the daughter of Mennonite Pastors. Her recollections are comical and heartwarming as she deals with growing up in a Mennonite home in a non-Mennonite community. The creativity that goes with being raised with little means and living frugally makes Mary and her family rich beyond belief in adventure and storytelling.

By Mary Ediger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mennonite Girl at the Welcome Inn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the Welcome Inn and welcome to the life of Mary Ediger. A work of creative non-fiction, Mennonite Girl follows Mary from her life as a young girl in a quiet rural parsonage to an inner city community center in Hamilton, Ontario.
The daughter of a Mennonite preacher, Mary struggles with the trials of growing up Mennonite in a non-Mennonite community, while her parents continue to follow God's call. Young and old, religious and non-religious readers alike will find themselves drawn into Mary's tale, laughing all the while as she deals with everything life throws at her.
With interminable…


Olive Kitteridge

By Elizabeth Strout,

Book cover of Olive Kitteridge

Shannon Bowring Author Of The Road to Dalton

From the list on capturing the Maine experience.

Who am I?

As a born and bred Mainer, there are dozens of great books I could recommend set in the Pine Tree State. But the five I’ve curated capture, for me, the diversity of the Maine culture, from the long-gone loggers who made their living from the woods to the often-overlooked Indigenous communities to the mill towns struggling to survive. When a non-Mainer thinks of our state, what usually comes to mind are quaint coastal villages, lighthouses, lobster… And while those things are part of what makes Maine the place it is, there exists, both on and off the page, plenty of other experiences and histories to discover here. 

Shannon's book list on capturing the Maine experience

Discover why each book is one of Shannon's favorite books.

Why did Shannon love this book?

Olive Kitteridge is one of my favorite fictional characters—not because she’s likable (she often isn’t), but because she feels so real.

She is impatient, stubborn, often downright caustic. But she can also be softhearted, sensitive, and insightful. In many ways, Olive reminds me of some of the best Maine women I know, capturing the New England spirit of hard work and blunt language that seamlessly coexists with tenderness and humor.

Strout’s other characters in this book are just as relatable, and she does an incredible job of showing another quality prevalent throughout Maine: keeping your secrets and emotions to yourself, rather than airing them publicly. 

By Elizabeth Strout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • The beloved first novel featuring Olive Kitteridge, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah’s Book Club pick Olive, Again
 
“Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You’ll never forget her.”—USA Today
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post Book World • USA Today • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • Seattle Post-Intelligencer • People • Entertainment Weekly • The Christian Science Monitor • The Plain Dealer • The Atlantic • Rocky Mountain News • Library Journal
 
At times stern, at…


The Call of the Wild

By Jack London,

Book cover of The Call of the Wild

Anthony DeCapite Author Of Fireline

From the list on heart-pounding thrills.

Who am I?

I grew up reading stories of heroes, of adventures in fantastical worlds, and my time in the Marines expanded my sensibilities, adding grit and an understanding of real-world crises and conflicts. Give me compelling characters, unique worlds, and fast pacing, and I’ll be up until the wee hours glued to the page. Those are the kind of books I featured in this list, as well as what I try to write. 

Anthony's book list on heart-pounding thrills

Discover why each book is one of Anthony's favorite books.

Why did Anthony love this book?

This is one of those books you’re supposed to have read growing up, but I never did. Instead, I read it during the pandemic—and I loved it. While it’s definitely a product of its time, it still holds up a hundred years later. It moves at such a fast clip, and the unsentimental, often brutal tribulations of the sled dog Buck kept me glued to the page. The quality of the writing and richness of the Yukon world adds to the intense ‘how’s he going to get through this’ tension. Plus, as a dog person, it’s always great reading a story about a dog or from a dog’s perspective. This is both.

By Jack London,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Call of the Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics bring together the best-loved stories to a new generation.

In The Call of the Wild life is good for Buck in Santa Clara Valley, where he spends his days eating and sleeping in the golden sunshine. But one day a treacherous act of betrayal leads to his kidnap, and he is forced into a life of toil and danger. Dragged away to be a sledge dog in the harsh and freezing cold Yukon, Buck must fight for his survivial. Can he rise above his enemies and become the master of his realm once again?

Jack London (1876-1916) was…


Angela's Ashes

By Frank McCourt,

Book cover of Angela's Ashes

Judy Sheer Watters Author Of The Road Home

From the list on memorable memoirs that speak to you.

Who am I?

As bedtime stories, I told our children my personal stories of life on a Pennsylvania farm with a city-slicker father who yearned to be a successful farmer. Growing up in a Jewish orphanage in the early 1900s, he dreamed of someday owning a farm and breathing the fresh air of the country. So many funny stories from the farm encouraged our children to say “Tell me a story when you were little, Mommy,” every night. I decided to write these down and they became my first memoir The Road Home. I love memoir and through my YouTube channel, I encourage others to “Write Your Story for Your Generations to Come.”

Judy's book list on memorable memoirs that speak to you

Discover why each book is one of Judy's favorite books.

Why did Judy love this book?

Angela’s Ashes made such an impression on me. It was a real page turner as I followed Frank McCourt through his childhood of poverty in Limerick, Ireland. His mother tries to care for the children in spite of her husband continually drinking away any wages he ever earns. The family has to use boards from the walls of their rent house to burn for heat in the winter. They endure near-starvation and cruelty from both relatives and neighbors. Through the telling of a horrendous upbringing, Frank teaches life lessons. He finds a redeeming quality in his father where he learns the art of storytelling. Frank also teaches how to forgive and move on. A great life lesson for all.

By Frank McCourt,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Angela's Ashes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author recounts his childhood in Depression-era Brooklyn as the child of Irish immigrants who decide to return to worse poverty in Ireland when his infant sister dies.


Another Hill and Sometimes a Mountain

By Tim Green, Marlayna Glynn (editor),

Book cover of Another Hill and Sometimes a Mountain

Marlayna Glynn Author Of Overlay

From the list on surviving traumatic childhoods.

Who am I?

My first memoir, Overlay, has been called “the very best teenage suicide prevention tool ever created” for which I am eternally grateful. I've been told that it's a miracle I survived my childhood at all, but I don't take credit or satisfaction in that statement. Instead, I've aspired to understand what it is that gives some of us the grit that allows us to power through the unfathomable. Voraciously reading similar stories from my fellow authors continues to inform me that we all have the power to push through the pain of a disadvantaged childhood. Whether it's an inner light, luck, fate, a higher power or some combination of some or all of the above, I don't know. I do know that the children like me who grew up to tell their story with the hope of helping others deserve a read. And sometimes, a good cry.

Marlayna's book list on surviving traumatic childhoods

Discover why each book is one of Marlayna's favorite books.

Why did Marlayna love this book?

You think you had a tough childhood? Meet Tim Green. Born blue into an uneducated, poor, and incestuous family in 1950s Ohio, it's a wonder this child lived at all. However, grit and forces of luck arrived to meet Tim when he needed help. Luck involved the right policemen, care workers, social workers, and foster parents. Grit involved the resolve of Tim himself.

Like Frank McCourt, Tim Green learned early to look on the bright side of life. You'll read the most shocking things you can imagine in this book that will leave you shaking your head at the things people will do. But Tim maintained the idea that not only was he worth something, but so was everyone around him. He learned how to forgive, and that was his rocky path to the fabulous life he lives today. This book is LGBTQ positive.

By Tim Green, Marlayna Glynn (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Another Hill and Sometimes a Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This is a book that should be read while alone, to your friends, to a congregation of survivors of abuse – in other words, it should be read by everyone. Sensitive and honest, gain a new perspective on being alive by infusing Tim’s words into your mind. Highly recommended." Hall of Fame Top 50 Reviewer, Grady Harp

ANOTHER HILL AND SOMETIMES A MOUNTAIN is the powerful testimony of Tim Green's determination to rise above his beginnings ... despite the sting of abandonment and the dark secrets surrounding his birth family. In his painful yet at times wry memoir, Green recounts…


Book cover of The Splendid Things We Planned - A Family Portrait

Marlayna Glynn Author Of Overlay

From the list on surviving traumatic childhoods.

Who am I?

My first memoir, Overlay, has been called “the very best teenage suicide prevention tool ever created” for which I am eternally grateful. I've been told that it's a miracle I survived my childhood at all, but I don't take credit or satisfaction in that statement. Instead, I've aspired to understand what it is that gives some of us the grit that allows us to power through the unfathomable. Voraciously reading similar stories from my fellow authors continues to inform me that we all have the power to push through the pain of a disadvantaged childhood. Whether it's an inner light, luck, fate, a higher power or some combination of some or all of the above, I don't know. I do know that the children like me who grew up to tell their story with the hope of helping others deserve a read. And sometimes, a good cry.

Marlayna's book list on surviving traumatic childhoods

Discover why each book is one of Marlayna's favorite books.

Why did Marlayna love this book?

No one wants to know a troubled, addicted family member isn't going to beat their demons. But knowing the ending at the beginning makes reading this difficult story possible. Bailey tells a relatable story that breaks down his brother's struggles and their effect upon the family in a way that those of us who share similar stories can relate to. The reader can see how and where things went wrong with Blake's brother Scott, while recognizing that there wasn't anything anyone could have done to prevent the ending.

By Blake Bailey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Splendid Things We Planned - A Family Portrait as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet the Baileys: Burck, a prosperous lawyer once voted the American Legion's "Citizen of the Year" in his tiny hometown of Vinita, Oklahoma; his wife Marlies, who longs to recapture her festive life in Greenwich Village as a pretty young German immigrant, fresh off the boat; their addled son Scott, who repeatedly crashes the family Porsche; and Blake, the younger son, trying to find a way through the storm. "You're gonna be just like me," a drunken Scott taunts him. "You're gonna be worse."

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Blake Bailey…


The Tender Bar

By J.R. Moehringer,

Book cover of The Tender Bar: A Memoir

Christine Sismondo Author Of America Walks Into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops

From the list on to will make you rethink the way we drink and why.

Who am I?

I became interested in bar culture in my 20s when I worked at a neighborhood "local" in Toronto and was struck by how close people could become when sharing drinks and stories across a bar. Since then, I’ve spent most of my life researching the history of cocktails and bars—both as an academic topic and as a columnist for magazines and newspapers, including the Toronto Star. I’ve written a podcast on Prohibition for Wondery Media, as well as four books, Mondo Cocktail, America Walks Into a Bar, Canadian Spirits (with Stephen Beaumont), and the forthcoming Cocktails: A Still Life (Running Press), with James Waller and still-life artist Todd M. Casey.   

Christine's book list on to will make you rethink the way we drink and why

Discover why each book is one of Christine's favorite books.

Why did Christine love this book?

Although I loved the city of New York more than ever after 9/11, it was sometimes hard to feel optimism and hope about the bigger picture and humanity as a whole in the first several years of the new millennium. This book was one of several things that helped restore my faith, since Moehringer so lovingly portrays the community where he grew up in Long Island—an area profoundly impacted by the attack on the World Trade Center. While I was fact-checking the title, et cetera, I discovered there’s a movie version coming out in early 2022. Obviously I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.  

By J.R. Moehringer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Now a major film directed by George Clooney and starring Ben Affleck**

'Highly entertaining . . . constructed as skilfully as a drink mixed by the author's Uncle Charlie' New York Times

In the rich tradition of bestselling memoirs about self-invention, The Tender Bar is by turns riveting, moving, and achingly funny. An evocative portrait of one boy's struggle to become a man, it's also a touching depiction of how some men remain lost boys.

JR Moehringer grew up listening for a voice, the voice of his missing father, a DJ who disappeared before JR spoke his first words. As…


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