100 books like The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood,

Here are 100 books that The Handmaid's Tale fans have personally recommended if you like The Handmaid's Tale. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Claudia Amendola Alzraa Author Of The Transformational Path: How Healing, Unlearning, and Tuning into Source Helped Me Manifest My Most Abundant Life

From the list on completely transforming your life.

Who am I?

I’ve known I was “special” since I was a child. I saw, felt, and heard things that others did not. Eventually I embraced my clairaudient mediumship gifts and turned it into a thriving business, allowing me to live a life of purpose: helping others find their passions and live their most joyful lives. But the journey never ends; I am always on a mission to transform. Consistently, literature has been where I turn when I am seeking wisdom on becoming the best version of myself. I also pursued certification as a Book Therapist - the first thing I’ll recommend to friends, family, or clients is the best book for their dilemma!

Claudia's book list on completely transforming your life

Why did Claudia love this book?

J.R.R. Tolkien's masterful storytelling is unmatched, and The Lord of the Rings weaves together moral dilemmas and profound philosophical ideas seamlessly, encouraging me to contemplate the nature of power, the importance of preserving the natural world, and the significance of individual choices.

The book's themes of heroism, friendship, sacrifice, and the struggle between good and evil resonate deeply. In addition, each of his characters feels like an aspect of oneself; the introspection it inspires is brilliant!

The Lord of the Rings instills a sense of wonder, ignites the imagination, and imparts timeless wisdom, which heavily transformed my perspective on life, my values, and my understanding of the human condition.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

52 authors picked The Lord of the Rings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of…

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of The Road

Peter Kalu Author Of One Drop

From the list on bleak urban futures that give you a sense of hope.

Who am I?

I spent most of my childhood hiding under the table reading science fiction and fantasy books to avoid having to communicate with the weird people claiming to be my family up in the world above. After a while, the local library turned me away saying they had no more books left on those shelves, so I started writing my own. I like a mix of urban themes like in Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and dystopias like George Orwell’s 1984. That said, I love most futurist novels that have a love story at their centre, because despite everything I’m a romantic.

Peter's book list on bleak urban futures that give you a sense of hope

Why did Peter love this book?

This is a straight whisky of a dystopian novel. The prose is stark, all bones, no flesh, and the story fizzes along with a simple ‘journey’ plot. What you get along the way is skeletal poetry, honed so finely, so sparsely, so skillfully.

The prose is stripped of ornamentation, floridity, anything that detracts from the deep magnetism of this father and son’s quest through a dystopian wilderness. You end the novel breathless, praying this scenario never comes to pass, and in awe of McCarthy’s storytelling skills.

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…

A Game of Thrones

By George R. R. Martin,

Book cover of A Game of Thrones

Uri Gatt Author Of Winds of Strife

From the list on morally grey characters.

Who am I?

Growing up in the Middle East, I’ve met all kinds of moral ambiguity. There’s a lot to say about it. How both sides think they’re right, how the ends justify the means and all that. Then there are the consequences. Even the winners often lose things. So I’ve set out to write about grey characters! About people who do bad things for the greater good, and how their life turns up after. And if you like the trope as much as I do, check the recs!

Uri's book list on morally grey characters

Why did Uri love this book?

This is a multiplayer chess game, each side with their own agenda. Some play for love, others for revenge, others just to survive. 

It’s a treat to cheer for one side, only to find out we chose wrong. No side is pure good, and no side is pure evil. They’re all just people, and it’s impossible to cheer for only one person when in each chapter, someone else does something amazing or terrible.

The best part about this book is the wisdom. Every character clings to their own principles, and the author chooses the best words to describe these principles. Like, a dwarf who’s principle is “Never forget what you are. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.” 

Words to live by.

By George R. R. Martin,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Game of Thrones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HBO's hit series A GAME OF THRONES is based on George R R Martin's internationally bestselling series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. A GAME OF THRONES is the first volume in the series.

'Completely immersive' Guardian

'When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground'

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

From the fertile south, where heat breeds conspiracy, to the vast and savage eastern lands, all the way to the frozen…

The Dispossessed

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of The Dispossessed

Nick Fuller Googins Author Of The Great Transition

From the list on ward away your global warming anxiety.

Who am I?

I was working installing solar panels in rural Maine when I first had the idea to write a climate crisis novel. I grew up in the woods of New England, and have always loved nature, but I was feeling pretty despondent about global warming. I started to wonder: what would it feel like to be part of a mass mobilization installing solar, wind, and so on, to save the planet? Those were the seeds of the novel. When I’m not writing, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I worry about the planet my students will inherit, and if I’m doing enough to make that world as hopeful as possible.

Nick's book list on ward away your global warming anxiety

Why did Nick love this book?

This is the grandmother of all great utopian fiction, my favorite science-fiction novel by my favorite science-fiction author, and the number-one source of inspiration for my book.

The novel opens on a moon (not ours) where a utopian anarchist society has long existed, but is now under threat from a host of antagonists on the mother planet. The novel is masterful because it is both enormous in scope (covering entire economies and political structures) but also extremely intimate (following one man, one relationship, one family).

The novel does not have to do with the climate crisis, or Earth, but I’m including it here because of the role it played in my writing; when I set out to write a climate crisis utopia, The Dispossessed was absolutely instrumental, offering me a blueprint on how to build tension and make a utopia personal. Most of all, it will give you so much…

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the very best must-read novels of all time - with a new introduction by Roddy Doyle

'A well told tale signifying a good deal; one to be read again and again' THE TIMES

'The book I wish I had written ... It's so far away from my own imagination, I'd love to sit at my desk one day and discover that I could think and write like Ursula Le Guin' Roddy Doyle

'Le Guin is a writer of phenomenal power' OBSERVER

The Principle of Simultaneity is a scientific breakthrough which will revolutionize interstellar civilization by making possible instantaneous…


By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

Kim Alexander Author Of The Sand Prince

From the list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of epic fantasy and paranormal romance, and my obsession is writing about the fashion, food, language, and social politics of the worlds I create. World building is vital if you intend to create a lived-in backdrop for your story, but intricate, elaborate world building will only take you so far. You (the author) must have a cast of characters equally well developed. I’ve tried to take lessons away from every book I’ve read and every author I’ve interviewed and worked to balance characters to fall in love with against places that feel absolutely alive. Their joy/terror/love/hate/experience becomes the readers. It’s that combination that makes a book unforgettable.

Kim's book list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there

Why did Kim love this book?

Well, I suppose a few words have been devoted to Dune already, but I’m going to chime in!

I read Dune the first time as a teenager, and found some of it (Paul’s adventures, everything to do with Jessica) exciting and engrossing. On the other hand, some of it I couldn’t puzzle out—mostly politics. Now, that’s my favorite part! Honestly, I got my first and most vital lesson in world building from Dune, and it remains a huge influence on my writing.

What does it smell like, this new world? What happens if you get caught outside in a storm? What do your clothes look like and do they mark you as an outsider? What do you eat and when? And so on, ad infinitum. And I loved the quotes that open the chapters, so much that I created my own book-within-a-book just so I could similarly quote it.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

47 authors picked Dune as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…

The Three-Body Problem

By Cixin Liu, Ken Liu (translator),

Book cover of The Three-Body Problem

Nicholas Agar Author Of Dialogues on Human Enhancement

From the list on how technology could change humanity.

Who am I?

I’m a New Zealand philosopher who’s written a lot about the human enhancement debate. Philosophers are well known for their willingness to defend unpopular conclusions against all critics. Sometimes they engage in what I call “philosophical shit-stirring". You may think that’s a profanity but it’s actually a technical term. I’ve advocated some deliberately unpopular shit-stirring conclusions in the past. One of these is liberal eugenics - the idea that you can turn an evil like eugenics into something good by prefacing it with the feel-good term “liberal”. These dialogues are the beginning of a philosophical stock-take on what we should or might become.

Nicholas' book list on how technology could change humanity

Why did Nicholas love this book?

I’m awed by Chinese sci-fi author Liu Cixin’s imaginative daring in depicting barely conceivable challenges to humanity. Cixin takes us from a China making first contact with an alien civilization through an increasingly bewildering series challengings into a barely comprehensible future.

Humanity has faced some nasty surprises of late. Cixin’s series is a breathtakingly imagined depiction of futures in which the real challenges are not those we’ve been expecting and preparing for, but barely imagined ones. One of the themes of my book is that we must make the most of our species’ imaginative resources if we are to cope with the future’s surprises. If humanity follows the path of radical enhancement we’re going to have to prepare for a lot of the crazy weirdness described by Cixin.

Netflix is releasing a series based on the novel. Please let them capture some of the craziness of Cixin’s imagination.

By Cixin Liu, Ken Liu (translator),

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Three-Body Problem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Read the award-winning, critically acclaimed, multi-million-copy-selling science-fiction phenomenon - soon to be a Netflix Original Series from the creators of Game of Thrones.

1967: Ye Wenjie witnesses Red Guards beat her father to death during China's Cultural Revolution. This singular event will shape not only the rest of her life but also the future of mankind.

Four decades later, Beijing police ask nanotech engineer Wang Miao to infiltrate a secretive cabal of scientists after a spate of inexplicable suicides. Wang's investigation will lead him to a mysterious online game and immerse him in a virtual world ruled by the intractable…

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury,

Book cover of Fahrenheit 451

James Bailey Blackshear Author Of The Last Day Before Forever

From the list on technological advances having a double-edged sword.

Who am I?

I have been hooked on fantastic tales since I picked up my first Marvel Comic book. I was in on the beginning of The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and the Hulk. Gamma rays and human angst are a powerful combination, even for an eight-year-old. From there I gobbled up the Doc Savage series before moving on to more popular books like The Exorcist and The Godfather. I have been writing since I was ten. My first publication came decades later. Non-fiction works on the history of the Southwest. Yet recently I returned my to roots, rediscovering Bradbury, Dick, and Herbert. That is when the eight-year-old boy woke up and wrote The Last Day Before Forever. 

James' book list on technological advances having a double-edged sword

Why did James love this book?

In the dystopian future that Bradbury creates, technology has eliminated the need for books.

We are not smarter in this future without history or literature, in fact, we are dumber, relying on meaningless entertainment to fill the intellectual void created by the written word’s eradication. Many successful science fiction authors are masters of the craft of writing, but Bradbury is on another level.

His stark vision of the future is propelled by ordinary characters living in extraordinary times, with each setting painted with beautiful prose that is both prophetic and thought provoking. The Dewey Decimal System has no hold on where one can find literature in a bookstore, nor do the critics.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Fahrenheit 451 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The hauntingly prophetic classic novel set in a not-too-distant future where books are burned by a special task force of firemen.

Over 1 million copies sold in the UK.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic…

Book cover of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Guy Morpuss Author Of Black Lake Manor

From the list on speculative crime.

Who am I?

I grew up reading the crime and thriller books on my parents’ bookshelves. As a teenager I got into science fiction, reading everything I could. Speculative crime fiction mixes the best of both genres. You twist one aspect of the real world, add a dead body, and play with the consequences. I have written two novels that do this: in my first, I imagined a world in which five people share a body, and one of them is trying to kill the others; in my second, a killer who can turn back time. I love books that toy with reality in this way, and read all that I can.

Guy's book list on speculative crime

Why did Guy love this book?

For me speculative fiction is about twisting one aspect of the real world, and then playing with the consequences. I love the way that Philip K Dick does this.

Some of his ideas seem absurd, but as a reader you quickly buy into them. This is not a traditional crime novel in any sense, but is about a bounty hunter tracking down escaped androids. As he confronts questions about his own humanity, it raises ethical issues for the reader as to what it is to be human.

Like all Dick’s works it is clever, entertaining, and thought-provoking.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the eagerly-anticipated new film Blade Runner 2049 finally comes to the screen, rediscover the world of Blade Runner . . .

World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn't 'retiring' them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal - the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life.

Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill six Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard's world things were…

A Clockwork Orange

By Anthony Burgess,

Book cover of A Clockwork Orange

Jane Gilmartin Author Of The Mirror Man

From the list on science fiction that use an invented drug.

Who am I?

When I wrote The Mirror Man, I found that I needed a “tool” that would allow me to work within the world I had created. Specifically, I needed a way for a person’s consciousness to be transferred into the empty mind of a clone. I created Meld (a nod to the Vulcan Mind Meld in Star Trek). The drug took on a life of its own. I devised different ways to use it, touched on illegal street use, and it grew to a larger societal presence in the novel. Meld also encapsulates the essence of what I was exploring: What would it feel like to see yourself exactly as others see you? 

Jane's book list on science fiction that use an invented drug

Why did Jane love this book?

This is the book that got me into Science Fiction in the first place and it remains, perhaps, my favorite novel. The setting is a near-future dystopian society where a subculture of young, roving gangs control the streets through extraordinarily violent antics (ultra-violence). This violent behavior is enhanced by “milk plus,” a drink laced with synthetic drugs available at the Korova Milk Bar, which is where we first encounter our main character, Alex, a 15-year-old gang leader.

When Alex is arrested for murder, he is selected to undergo an experimental therapy (The Ludovico Technique) designed to wean him off violent behavior forever, after which his sentence will be commuted. During these treatments, he is injected with (yet another) drug called Serum 114. This drug induces extreme nausea while he is made to watch horribly violent films. Utterly changed, Alex is released back onto the streets to a world in which…

By Anthony Burgess,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Clockwork Orange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Anthony Burgess's influential nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, a teen who talks in a fantastically inventive slang that evocatively renders his and his friends' intense reaction against their society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess's introduction, "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

On Writing

By Stephen King,

Book cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Melanie Deziel

From the list on how writers can avoid being replaced by AI.

Who am I?

Professionally, I’ve been a journalist, author, speaker, marketer, adjunct professor, consultant, startup founder, and more; but at my core, I’m a storyteller and a lifelong student. I read voraciously about creativity, writing, media, marketing, psychology, and design, and I’m fascinated by drawing connections between these things. (I’m still allowed to say “read” when I mostly consume audiobooks, right?) I’m currently focused on helping other creators and storytellers master their craft, refine their big ideas, and figure out their unique differentiators, through The Creator Kitchen, the mastermind program I run with fellow creator Jay Acunzo.

Melanie's book list on how writers can avoid being replaced by AI

Why did Melanie love this book?

This book is a mix of memoir and advice, taking you inside the life, mind, and writing processes of one of the most successful fiction writers of our time. It’s an oldie-but-a-goodie, having come out in 2000, but the advice on craft is timeless.

Much like Everybody Writes, this book also serves as a great case study in making your writing distinctive and leaning into your lived experiences when you write. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of the horror genre, but I’d wager that this quick read is almost as compelling and thrilling as many of his other works. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked On Writing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Twentieth Anniversary Edition with Contributions from Joe Hill and Owen King


Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the…

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