100 books like The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck,

Here are 100 books that The Grapes of Wrath fans have personally recommended if you like The Grapes of Wrath. 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 The Nightingale

Mel Laytner Author Of What They Didn't Burn: Uncovering My Father's Holocaust Secrets

From my list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a foreign correspondent seven time zones from home when my father died of a sudden heart attack. My grief mixed with guilt for never having sat down with him to unravel his vague vignettes about life and loss in the Holocaust. I wondered, how did he survive when so many perished? How much depended on resilience, smarts, or dumb luck? As reporters do, I started digging. I uncovered a Nazi paper trial that tracked his life from home, through ghettos, slave labor, concentration camps, death marches, and more. The tattered documents revealed a man very different from the quiet, quintessential Type-B Dad I knew…or thought I knew. 

Mel's book list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II

Mel Laytner Why did Mel love this book?

This novel left me feeling both teary-eyed and ennobled. Superficially, it is about two French sisters living through the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. At its root, however, Hannah deconstructs the essence of survival.

I loved how her characters frame the book’s cosmic questions: What would you do to survive? What compromises would you make? Is it better to fight back aggressively or resist passively? The sisters are of different temperaments and personalities. Each answers these questions differently, painfully. I found myself haunted by these themes long after I put The Nightingale back on the shelf. You will, too.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women.

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women's stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah's…

Book cover of The Winds Of War

J. Lawrence Graham Author Of Charlotte's War

From my list on understanding the roots of war and peace.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent the 1970s as an officer in the U.S. Navy UDT/SEAL Teams, giving me insight into the military aspects of peacebuilding. I have spent the last forty years researching and teaching international marketing and negotiations at USC and UC Irvine, after receiving a Berkeley PhD. I was also the director of the UC Irvine Center for Citizen Peacebuilding for ten years. I have published four books on international negotiations and all my ten books in print are on the topic of peace in families, neighborhoods, commerce, and international relations.

J.'s book list on understanding the roots of war and peace

J. Lawrence Graham Why did J. love this book?

The Winds of War is a powerful and intimate story about WWII.

It follows one fictional family through the buildup to the most devastating war in human history. The cultural and political details are most impressive. The writing itself is captivating. I have used it as a model for my own book.

Wouk’s work demonstrates the impact of war on families and establishes the importance of advocating for peaceful resolutions to global disputes.

By Herman Wouk,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Winds Of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II, which begins with THE WINDS OF WAR and continues in WAR AND REMEMBRANCE, stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers.

Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - the drama, the romance, the heroism and the tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very centre of the maelstrom.

"First-rate storytelling." - New York Times

"Compelling . . . A panoramic, engrossing story." - Atlantic…

Book cover of Gone With the Wind

Jessica James Author Of Noble Cause: A Novel of Love and War

From my list on enemies to lovers romantic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in Gettysburg, PA, all of my life, so I’m drawn to historical fiction, especially the Civil War era. The 1860s is the perfect setting for the enemies-to-lovers trope, and I am lucky enough to be surrounded by history all of the time. In doing lots of research, I have found that enemies fell in love more often than you might think during the Civil War. I hope you enjoy this list of books that got me interested in reading and continue to keep my attention to this day.

Jessica's book list on enemies to lovers romantic

Jessica James Why did Jessica love this book?

This is a beloved book for many, but I love it so much because both of the characters are so unlikeable—yet you fall in love with them. I also love the conflict and the dueling, strong personalities of Scarlet and Rhett.

The plot is full of emotion and passion, and yet there are no sex scenes, which is another reason why I like it so much.

By Margaret Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Gone With the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the tempestuous romance between Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara is set amid the drama of the Civil War.

Book cover of Lonesome Dove

Lee Goldberg Author Of Calico

From my list on humor that makes us human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing crime stories since I was a child. They entertained me and helped me cope with a lot of family strife. My first novel was published in college and sold to the movies, which got me into screenwriting, leading to writing hundreds of hours of TV and fifty novels to date. The one thing all of my stories share is humor because I believe it’s an essential part of life–and of memorable story-telling. Humor makes characters come alive, revealing shades of personality and depths of emotion you wouldn’t otherwise see. Here are five books that taught me that it’s true and that continue to influence me as a writer. 

Lee's book list on humor that makes us human

Lee Goldberg Why did Lee love this book?

This is my favorite book of all time, by far. It’s a sprawling, epic Western for people who don’t like Westerns. But that’s just one of the many things it does brilliantly.

McMurtry was the master at finding humor in every character, no matter how loathsome or pitiful, and in every situation, no matter how heart-breaking or violent, without sacrificing or undercutting anything for a laugh. He makes the humor seem as natural as breathing, crying, or bleeding, which is a vital coping mechanism for dealing with life…it certainly is in my own.

But McMurtry taught me how to incorporate that into my storytelling and how important humor is in humanizing characters. It’s how he got me to emotionally invest in his characters and almost believe they are real. Perhaps that’s why this novel is the only one I have re-read multiple times in my life that I still wish…

By Larry McMurtry,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Lonesome Dove as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize winning novel is a powerful, triumphant portrayal of the American West as it really was. From Texas to Montana, it follows cowboys on a grueling cattle drive through the wilderness.

It begins in the office of The Hat Creek Cattle Company of the Rio Grande.
It ends as a journey into the heart of every adventurer who ever lived . . .

More than a love story, more than an adventure, Lonesome Dove is an epic: a monumental novel which embraces the spirit of the last defiant wilderness of America.

Legend and fact, heroes and outlaws,…

Book cover of And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes

Jeff Provine Author Of Secret Oklahoma City: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure

From my list on showing the hidden struggles of Oklahomans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on my family’s land run farm north of Enid before coming to the OKC metro for school, giving me a view of the quiet rural spaces and the hopping city life Oklahoma pushes for today and more! 

Jeff's book list on showing the hidden struggles of Oklahomans

Jeff Provine Why did Jeff love this book?

People were shocked to read about the Osage murders, but those who’ve read Angie Debo just had to sigh and shake their heads since it’s nothing new. Her 1936 work opened my eyes to the systematic devastation of the tribes, bite by bite. Forced off their homelands with removal, they were promised to hold land in Oklahoma “as long as the waters run,” but it wasn’t more than a few decades before allotment narrowed tribal holdings and opened up more land to be taken. With Native peoples not even legal citizens, anyone with money had to have a guardian, a breeding ground for amoral administrators to siphon off as much as they wanted.

By Angie Debo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked And Still the Waters Run as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Debo's classic work tells the tragic story of the spoliation of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole nations at the turn of the last century in what is now the state of Oklahoma. After their earlier forced removal from traditional lands in the southeastern states--culminating in the devastating 'trail of tears' march of the Cherokees--these five so-called Civilized Tribes held federal land grants in perpetuity, or "as long as the waters run, as long as the grass grows." Yet after passage of the Dawes Act in 1887, the land was purchased back from the tribes, whose members were then…

Book cover of Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

Stephanie Lincoln Author Of Born to be Brave: My 56 hour battle for my life in the Olympic National Forest

From my list on badass people who overcame crazy odds.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated with people’s stories. I think this came from my grandfather, who, whether we liked it or not, would gather his grandkids in his study and wax poetically about his life. He was a writer and a teacher, so he knew how to spin a tale and keep even the most inattentive grandchildren captivated. I have for many years referred to myself as a “memoir junkie,” consuming life after life like a starving drifter. Memoirs are a great way to continue to remind ourselves that life is guaranteed to provide us with struggle, but we are equipped to overcome it. We must endure, explore, and prevail. 

Stephanie's book list on badass people who overcame crazy odds

Stephanie Lincoln Why did Stephanie love this book?

If you want a FIRE lit under your ass, read this book!

I love this book so much and have reread this one a couple of times because of the sheer injection of motivation I get straight into my veins when I read it. What I love about this first memoir from David is his brutal honesty about his childhood and his subsequent journey to become “the baddest motherfucker on the planet.”

This guy is the quintessential story of polishing a terd long enough, you will get a diamond. Whenever I am feeling sorry for myself, my mind goes back to this book. I think, “If David can do it, I can too. This is nothing compared to the odds he faced, and look at him now!” 

By David Goggins,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Can't Hurt Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Best Seller

Over 4 million copies sold

For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare -- poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name…

Book cover of The Old Man and the Sea

Harold Bergman Author Of When the Dream Becomes a Nightmare

From my list on the romance and reality of ocean sailing.

Why am I passionate about this?

Similar to many other men and women, when I was younger and more naïve, I had the romantic dream of sailing around the world, exploring and experiencing new times in exotic places. Like many others who turned that dream into reality, I quickly learned the new and exotic moments were far out-shadowed by the life-threatening, dream-ending, nightmare realities of ocean sailing. Fortunately, I ended the voyage before I killed myself. I wanted to share my dream and nightmare experiences with those who dream.

Harold's book list on the romance and reality of ocean sailing

Harold Bergman Why did Harold love this book?

I liked this book because it taught me several lessons. One was to be careful of what you wish for. The second was that if your goal is that important to you, do not let anything stop you from attaining it. The third was to maybe take a second look at your goal and reassess whether it is really that important to you.

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Old Man and the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This powerful and dignified story about a Cuban fisherman's struggle with a great fish has the universal appeal of a struggle between man and the elements, the hunter with the hunted. It earned Hemingway the Nobel prize and has been made into an acclaimed film. Age 13+

Book cover of Brideshead Revisited

Richard Vaughan Davies Author Of Fireweed

From my list on books from a pre-internet era, full of action, humour and social comment.

Why am I passionate about this?

The list reflects my interest in history and my own recollections of the days before the current era of mass tourism and online globalisation. I confess to a feeling of painful nostalgia for a time when we all had a very different worldview, and these books are all of that period. They feature temporal grief for an age that has passed. They are all highly readable books by writers at the top of their game.

Richard's book list on books from a pre-internet era, full of action, humour and social comment

Richard Vaughan Davies Why did Richard love this book?

A world that has gone forever, portrayed by one of our finest novelists.

Nostalgic bliss in the Oxford of the 1930s, with its dreaming spires and punts down the Isis in the sunshine. The scene shifts to the aristocratic world of the eponymous stately home in its heyday before the war and in the very different conditions of wartime. It was hard for me not to feel pangs of sadness at not being part of this world – I failed the entrance exam to Oxford in 1960.

A masterclass in how to create characters and settings.

By Evelyn Waugh,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Brideshead Revisited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is WW2 and Captain Charles Ryder reflects on his time at Oxford during the twenties and a world now changed. As a lonely student Charles was captivated by the outrageous and decadent Sebastian Flyte and invited to spend time at the Flyte's family home - the magnificent Brideshead. Here Charles becomes infatuated by its eccentric, aristocratic inhabitants, and in particular with Julia, Sebastian's startling and remote sister. But as his own spiritual and social distance becomes marked, Charles discovers a crueller world, where duty and desire, faith and happiness can only ever conflict.

Book cover of Where the Crawdads Sing

Emerald Dodge Author Of Battlecry

From my list on take place in America’s deep South.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and raised in Virginia, so I am very familiar with America’s southern lands and culture. The South—also known as the Deep South—is a unique part of America’s tapestry of identities, and I love books set in this locale. Southern literature tends to focus on themes such as racial politics, one’s personal identity, and rebellion. When I wrote my book, I knew the story would have to take place in the southern states. 

Emerald's book list on take place in America’s deep South

Emerald Dodge Why did Emerald love this book?

Remember a few years ago when this book was everywhere? I do! And it was deserved—Delia Owens created a memorable heroine in Kya, a loner who lives in the tidal lands of the North Carolina coast.

Owens, a zoologist, calls upon her impressive knowledge of flora and fauna as she sets up a murder mystery, and the novel's finale is both satisfying and memorable. I’ve never read another book quite like this one.

By Delia Owens,

Why should I read it?

46 authors picked Where the Crawdads Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


For years, rumours of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be…

Book cover of The European Discovery of America: Volume 1: The Northern Voyages A.D. 500-1600

Ben Wiener Author Of Murder at First Principles

From my list on non-business reads that teach business strategy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an experienced entrepreneur and venture capitalist and a voracious reader. My reading, particularly of non-business books, is motivated not just by a natural curiosity, but is also driven by a continuous search for metaphors and lessons from outside the traditional business genre that I can apply to situations and decisions in the business arena. My appreciation of the crossover benefit of non-business narratives to business contexts has motivated me to write my own Business Fiction works to “enlighten and entertain.” 

Ben's book list on non-business reads that teach business strategy

Ben Wiener Why did Ben love this book?

If you read this book about the early cross-Atlantic explorers and substitute today’s technology entrepreneurs, the metaphors fit cleanly.

They sold exuberant, sometimes-fulfilled, and often-failed stories to profit-seeking backers, took inordinate risks, and results were often winner-take-all.

As Mark Twain, another famous explorer, once said, “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.”

By Samuel Eliot Morison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The late Samuel Eliot Morison, a former U.S. Navy admiral, was also one of America's premier historians. Combining a first-hand knowledge of the sea and transatlantic travel with a brilliantly readable narrative style, he produced what has become nothing less than the definitive account of the great age of European exploration. In his riveting and richly illustrated saga, Morison offers a comprehensive account of all the known voyages by Europeans to the New World
from 500 A.D. to the seventeenth century. Together, the two volumes of The European Discovery of America tell the compelling stories of the many intrepid explorers…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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