100 books like The Glass Room

By Simon Mawer,

Here are 100 books that The Glass Room fans have personally recommended if you like The Glass Room. 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 Suite Française

David Snell Author Of Sing to Silent Stones: Part One

From my list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2.

Who am I?

My reading is almost entirely influenced by my own family’s extraordinary history. My mother and father-in-law were both illegitimate. Both suffered for the fact and my father-in-law was 11 years old when he first found out and was reunited with his mother, albeit on a second-class basis compared to his half siblings. My mother trained bomb aimers. My father flew Lancaster bombers and was just 19 years old in the skies above wartime Berlin. My own books combine history, my personal experiences, and my family’s past to weave wartime stories exploring the strains that those conflicts imposed on friendships.

David's book list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2

David Snell Why did David love this book?

An abiding theme within my own book is that love and friendship can supplant racial and cultural differences, and this book, set in a village in France during the 2nd World War, highlights a growing and reluctant friendship between an occupier and the occupied.

The hatred that invasion induces causes any fraternisation to be labelled ‘collaboration.’ Sometimes it is. Sometimes, it is just people caught out of context seeking comfort and normality.

It is easy for those whose countries have never been occupied to scoff at the behaviour of those who had to live in the atmosphere and the reality of a hostile invasion. Let’s hope we never have to find out firsthand.

By Irene Nemirovsky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, "Suite Francaise" would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece. Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, "Suite Francaise" falls…


Book cover of Jane Eyre

Anne Brooke Author Of Where You Hurt The Most

From my list on couples working through a challenging relationship.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’m fascinated by relationships, what makes them work and what might make them fail. And I’ve always been gripped by the power of two people who try to love each other, no matter how different they may be or what obstacles they face. I honestly believe that two people in love are far more than the sum of their parts and can create something magical that wouldn’t have been there without them. So, yes, I’m a romantic at heart but, even in these cynical times, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I hope you love the books on this list as much as I do.

Anne's book list on couples working through a challenging relationship

Anne Brooke Why did Anne love this book?

I love this book because it’s about two people who society would never have expected to fall in love.

Jane and Mr Rochester are so far away from each other on the social scale that at the time it was written it was almost impossible to imagine they could ever get married. I also love that Jane is no beauty and is described as plain, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to love.

I also find it moving that both she and Mr Rochester have to overcome huge emotional challenges in order to be together at all. Finally, I have a soft spot for this book as my own paternal grandmother was a governess who married the ‘lord of the manor’ as Jane does here!

By Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…


Book cover of All the Light We Cannot See

Vanessa Lee Author Of High Rise

From my list on celebrating the bravery of everyday heroes.

Who am I?

I am an Australian writer living in Europe. Returning to my hometown on the East Coast of Australia post-COVID, I confronted relentless rain and king tides threatening the beach promenade cafes. Witnessing the potential demise of these familiar spots sparked the idea for my novel. Opening with a dystopian scene of future tourists exploring submerged coastal cafes with snorkels, my work delves into the realm of "cli-fi" (climate fiction). Against the backdrop of imminent climate danger, my characters, a lovable yet obstinate Australian ensemble, navigate a world profoundly altered by the impacts of climate change. I hope what I have written is an exaggeration. I fear it may not be.

Vanessa's book list on celebrating the bravery of everyday heroes

Vanessa Lee Why did Vanessa love this book?

Last summer, I visited Saint-Malo in Brittany, France, an extraordinary walled city on the Atlantic Coast where this beautiful novel is set.

Wars breed everyday heroes, and this book introduces us to one, the blind, young Marie-Laure. Despite Saint-Malo being under German occupation in WW2, she courageously risks her own life by using a radio to send daily dispatches from her attic to the Allied Forces. Her stoic heroism and valuable intelligence ultimately play a pivotal role in the Allies liberating Saint-Malo and afterward, the whole of France.

A well-deserved international bestseller, the book powerfully underscores the notion that ordinary individuals can indeed change history.

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

37 authors picked All the Light We Cannot See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.'

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic…


Book cover of We Were the Lucky Ones

Michael C. White Author Of Beautiful Assassin

From my list on WW2 that breathe new life into a subject.

Who am I?

I’m the author of seven published novels and a recently retired English professor. I was the founder and director of the Fairfield University MFA program. My latest novel is called Lebensborn and is set in Germany near the end of World War II. The novel concerns a little-known project hatched by Heinrich Himmler called Lebensborn (“the fount of life”). Concerned about Germany’s falling birth rate, Himmler began the program in 1935 hoping to encourage unwed mothers not to have abortions but to give birth to their babies at Nazi-run homes and then to give their babies up for adoption to “pure Aryan” officers. Lebensborn follows the story of Renate Dressler, a young German girl who falls in love with an SS officer. 

Michael's book list on WW2 that breathe new life into a subject

Michael C. White Why did Michael love this book?

What I appreciate about Hunter's novel is that it takes a new approach to the subject of the Holocaust. With the outbreak of WWII, the Kurcs, a Polish-Jewish family, find themselves driven into another diaspora, with their family members cast to the four corners of the globe. Hunter touches on the plight of Poland during the early years of the war when the country was torn asunder by Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. The plot follows the various family members as they struggle to survive the Holocaust in Poland, in Stalin's Gulag, and as one member tries to flee to South America. A big, sprawling, family epic filled with tragedy and humanity, brutality and heroism.

By Georgia Hunter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Were the Lucky Ones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller with more than 1 million copies sold worldwide

Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive-and to reunite-We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.

"Love in the face of global adversity? It couldn't be more timely." -Glamour

It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family…


Book cover of City of Thieves

Christie Nelson Author Of Beautiful Illusion

From my list on life and love in San Francisco as the world quakes.

Who am I?

I tend to see the events that affect people and countries in the shape of a narrative. Is it any wonder then that I would try my hand at literary fiction, which confers wholeness to stories of turmoil and division? I think not. Finally settling into historical fiction as if I’d found my true home came as a welcome surprise. Without sounding grandiose, it didn’t hurt to be born and raised in a magnificent American city built on seven hills on the edge of the Pacific with deep traditions in literature, music, the arts, and damn good drinking establishments. I wish you happy reading and the thrill of discovery.

Christie's book list on life and love in San Francisco as the world quakes

Christie Nelson Why did Christie love this book?

City of Thieves occupies the top shelf in my library. Why? Is it because now I’m watching the people of Ukraine battle a merciless enemy or because David Benioff has packed a tale that swings between unlikely comrades, a tender courtship, and the Nazis’ siege of Leningrad in WWII? Maybe both answers. But I read this book years ago. The deep humanity of the story is also a thriller that made me laugh and shudder through its short length of 258 pages. It doesn’t hurt that Benioff is a gifted screenwriter, too.

By David Benioff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour and When the Nines Roll Over and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival - and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

During the Nazis' brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in…


Book cover of The Leopard

Anika Scott Author Of Sinners of Starlight City

From my list on sparking an obsession with Sicily.

Who am I?

I’ve been a traveler and a dreamer ever since I was a little girl. I used to write to the tourism bureaus of different countries and tape pictures of faraway places onto the walls of my bedroom. It’s no surprise I ended up living in Europe, my home base for excursions all over the world. My historical fiction always features places that mean a lot to me, whether it’s Germany (where I live now), or Sicily – where my mother’s family came from. Digging into my Sicilian heritage and the culture and life of the island for my third novel was like discovering a new home.

Anika's book list on sparking an obsession with Sicily

Anika Scott Why did Anika love this book?

This is the novel to read if you want to submerge yourself in Sicily’s culture and history.

I read it during a visit to Italy, and was sucked right into this tale of an aristocratic Sicilian family decaying in the 19th century in the time of Garibaldi’s revolution. I really despised the patriarch Don Fabrizio, and was still fascinated by the choices he had to make to keep his family status in turbulent times.

Once you finish the book, check out the 1963 film starring Burt Lancaster and Alain Delon.

By Giuseppe Di Lampedusa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Leopard is a modern classic which tells the spellbinding story of a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy threatened by the approaching forces of democracy and revolution.

'There is a great feeling of opulence, decay, love and death about it' Rick Stein

In the spring of 1860, Fabrizio, the charismatic Prince of Salina, still rules over thousands of acres and hundreds of people, including his own numerous family, in mingled splendour and squalor. Then comes Garibaldi's landing in Sicily and the Prince must decide whether to resist the forces of change or come to terms with them.

'Every once in a…


Book cover of Le Grand Meaulnes

Lucy Hughes-Hallett Author Of Peculiar Ground

From my list on houses.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated by houses and the memories that haunt them. I grew up on a private estate in rural England where my father worked. When I was little I knew a witch. She rode a bicycle, not a broomstick: she cured my warts. The trees I played under were planted when the big house belonged to the 17th-century statesman and historian, Lord Clarendon. I knew storytellers who performed in the local pubs – part of an oral tradition that goes back millennia. I moved to London, but I kept thinking about those rural enclaves where memories are very long. I set my novel in that beautiful, ghost-ridden, peculiar world. 

Lucy's book list on houses

Lucy Hughes-Hallett Why did Lucy love this book?

Clumsy peasant schoolboy, Meaulnes, and his friend – the narrator of this haunting story – get lost, and happen upon a great house, deep in the woods, where a phantasmagorical fancy dress party is underway. Everything at ‘the lost domain’ is topsy-turvy. Children are in charge. The passage of time is suspended. Social inequality has been erased.   The time the boys spend there is dream-like, disconcerting, life-spoiling because nothing can ever be so strange and marvelous again.  

Later, after much searching, Meaulnes make his way back, but the domain is like youth itself. If you return, it will be to find everything drabber than you remembered,  and the people you adored merely human. 

This book is even greater than its reputation.  Generally thought of as one of the last works of romanticism, a celebration of illusion, it is actually clear-eyed, tough-minded, bracingly truthful about the inevitably of disillusion. Alain-Fournier was…

By Alain Fournier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Le Grand Meaulnes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Le Grand Meaulnes est le seul roman de l'auteur français Alain-Fournier qui a été tué dans le premier mois de la Première Guerre mondiale. Il est un peu biographique - en particulier le nom de l'héroïne Yvonne, avec qui il a eu un engouement condamné à Paris. François Seurel, 15 ans, raconte l'histoire de son amitié avec Augustin Meaulnes, dix-sept ans, alors que Meaulnes cherche son amour perdu. Impulsif, imprudent et héroïque, Meaulnes incarne l'idéal romantique, la recherche de l'inaccessible, et le monde mystérieux entre l'enfance et l'âge adulte.


Book cover of Ulverton

Lucy Hughes-Hallett Author Of Peculiar Ground

From my list on houses.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated by houses and the memories that haunt them. I grew up on a private estate in rural England where my father worked. When I was little I knew a witch. She rode a bicycle, not a broomstick: she cured my warts. The trees I played under were planted when the big house belonged to the 17th-century statesman and historian, Lord Clarendon. I knew storytellers who performed in the local pubs – part of an oral tradition that goes back millennia. I moved to London, but I kept thinking about those rural enclaves where memories are very long. I set my novel in that beautiful, ghost-ridden, peculiar world. 

Lucy's book list on houses

Lucy Hughes-Hallett Why did Lucy love this book?

Not just one house, this time, but houses - a whole village in fact.  Adam Thorpe’s dazzlingly inventive novel is the story of a rural community over three and half centuries, narrated by a chorus of different voices.  Human dramas proliferate: love affairs, murders, executions, violent uprisings. But as people come and go, things stay put, outlasting them. An adulterous eighteenth-century lady is confined to her shuttered bed-chamber, forbidden to go down the creaky old stairs. Fifty years later a garrulous carpenter, reminiscing in the pub, describes the cutting of the wooden scroll that finished the banister of the new staircase he and his mates have built in the Hall, once that lady’s home. Two generations later a consumptive young lawyer, taking down the testimony of dozens of Luddite machine-breakers, visits the Hall, notices the stairs, judges them dark and old-fashioned. Time passes again and a 20th-century television cameraman leans…

By Adam Thorpe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Immerse yourself in the stories of Ulverton, as heard on BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime

'Sometimes you forget that it is a novel, and believe for a moment that you are really hearing the voice of the dead' Hilary Mantel

At the heart of this novel lies the fictional village of Ulverton. It is the fixed point in a book that spans three hundred years. Different voices tell the story of Ulverton: one of Cromwell's soldiers staggers home to find his wife remarried and promptly disappears, an eighteenth century farmer carries on an affair with a maid under his…


Book cover of A Boy's Journey: From Nazi-Occupied Prague to Freedom in America

Chad Bryant Author Of Prague: Belonging in the Modern City

From my list on Prague and its hidden histories.

Who am I?

Prague has fascinated me my whole life. I first explored the city while an English teacher in the Czech Republic in 1993, shortly after the end of Communist rule there. I’ve been wandering Prague’s streets ever since, always seeing something new and intriguing, always stumbling upon stories about the city and its people. Below are some of my favorite books about a city that continues to surprise me. The author or co-editor of four books, I teach European history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Chad's book list on Prague and its hidden histories

Chad Bryant Why did Chad love this book?

I first met Peter here in Chapel Hill, and we became fast friends. A Holocaust survivor from Prague, Peter often spoke to my classes about his experiences. What made his talks so powerful was his ability to remember what it was like to be an eight-year-old boy living in a city under Nazi occupation, and to tell a story that is humbling, moving, and real. Never have I seen a speaker connect better with young people. Peter first became inspired to begin telling his story to students and others after confronting a Holocaust denier, and his many presentations laid the foundation for this book. Part history, part memoir, A Boy’s Journey is also a story about family and the need for tolerance and empathy in our world today. 

By Peter J. Stein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Boy's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Peter J. Stein was a witness to history, a keeper of Holocaust memories and teller of its stories. He grew up the child of a Catholic mother and a Jewish father who was forced into slave labor and later disappeared. Nazi-occupied Prague was full of German soldiers everywhere and Peter’s loved ones vanished in mystery and secret. As a 12-year-old immigrant in America, he searched for a new identity that left his past behind.
But as Faulkner tells us, the past is never past. When, as a college professor, a group of students sought his help to challenge a Holocaust…


Book cover of Concrete

Peter Koepke Author Of Patterns, Inside the Design Library

From my list on textile for your design library.

Who am I?

Nearly 50 years ago I was completely taken with the patterns drawn, woven, or embroidered by the Indigenous Peoples of the Upper Amazon of Peru. This was my first experience with the power of pattern and led to a career in collecting and curating the pottery and textiles from that area. By the end of the 1980s, I was ready to start a family and a more settled job. The Design Library was the perfect segue. The patterns created in Europe, Africa, and Asia over the past 250 years are also important cultural statements and are continually re-interpreted by our clients for today's market.

Peter's book list on textile for your design library

Peter Koepke Why did Peter love this book?

A serious departure from my list from a guy who is dedicated to surface design and pattern, but it is a beautifully designed book with wonderful photographs of architectural sculptural structures. Not much color but there are patterns of course, in the surface textures, created by repetition in the design details, and by the light finding its way through these often grand forms.

By William Hall, Leonard Koren,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is a celebration of concrete: collating fascinating and beautiful images of concrete structures from the breathtaking New York Guggenheim to coldly functional aircraft hangars, Concrete will engage anyone interested in architecture and encourage them to think about the sculptural qualities of buildings. Familiar icons by Le Corbusier and Tadao Ando are featured alongside vernacular structures such as petrol stations, vast power plants and London Zoo's famous penguin pool.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Czechoslovakia, the Holocaust, and Germany.

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