100 books like The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Here are 100 books that The Hobbit fans have personally recommended if you like The Hobbit. 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 World Without Us

Kevin Herbst Author Of The End of Heroes

From my list on SF&F for spring.

Why am I passionate about this?

Starting with Tolkien’s novels as a child, I’ve devoured countless SF&F stories. My love of the genre, particularly high fantasy, combined with the irritatingly fashionable trend of so many fantasy authors to stop writing their stories partway through and leave we readers high and dry, motivated me to start writing, to see if I could create something that I was missing as I hunted for new material to read. As an intense hater of winter, spring always signified to me a time of hope, of new growth, of opportunity, of the ending of difficulty, and the start of a time when all things were possible. 

Kevin's book list on SF&F for spring

Kevin Herbst Why did Kevin love this book?

Much SF&F literature has explored the concept of what the world might look like with fewer (or no) humans.

Weisman’s well-researched book imagines how our environment would recover; how nature might take back control without humans around to continue wrecking it.

He imagines the primacy of nature in a fascinating way and manages to avoid the normative language that might be off-putting, drawing the reader into a place that might as well be 1000 light years away from Earth.

By Alan Weisman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The World Without Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Revised Edition with New Afterword from the Author

Time #1 Nonfiction Book of the Year

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

Over 3 million copies sold in 35 Languages

"On the day after humans disappear, nature takes over and immediately begins cleaning house - or houses, that is. Cleans them right off the face of the earth. They all go."

What if mankind disappeared right now, forever... what would happen to the Earth in a week, a year, a millennium? Could the planet's climate ever recover from human activity? How would nature destroy our huge cities and our…


Book cover of The Odyssey

Sylvia Kelso Author Of Everran's Bane

From my list on journeys in them.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I wanted to be either a chook (chicken) farmer or an archaeologist. In high school, my Latin teacher gave me a copy of The Hobbit and changed my passion to travel, which, for Australians, mostly means, Overseas. In second year University, The Lord of the Rings cemented that longing, and I have "travelled" Overseas almost annually ever since. But a long research trip for a historical novel taught me that the best travel is a journey: travel with a purpose. And whether or not I'm on a plane, train, bus, or foot myself, some of my favourite reading has always been books with journeys at their heart. 

Sylvia's book list on journeys in them

Sylvia Kelso Why did Sylvia love this book?

Journeys are most often linear – Here to There – or circular – "There and Back Again." The Odyssey is actually a return leg in the most traumatic and perennial circular journey: going to war, and then, getting back. "Wily" (in modern terms, read, "sneaky," "trickster")  Odysseus left Troy a famous warrior, but takes seven years to get home. The fabulous episodes of that journey, the Cyclops, the Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, Circe, and Calypso, the wreck in Phaeacia that leaves him bereft even of clothes, have grounded the Western imagination. But the concluding little things – the recognition scenes, the dog that dies, and the nurse who doesn't – push that epic past into a close, human Now.

By Homer, T.E. Shaw (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Homer's epic chronicle of the Greek hero Odysseus' journey home from the Trojan War has inspired  writers from Virgil to James Joyce. Odysseus  survives storm and shipwreck, the cave of the Cyclops  and the isle of Circe, the lure of the Sirens' song  and a trip to the Underworld, only to find his  most difficult challenge at home, where treacherous  suitors seek to steal his kingdom and his loyal  wife, Penelope. Favorite of the gods, Odysseus  embodies the energy, intellect, and resourcefulness  that were of highest value to the ancients and that  remain ideals in out time.

In this  new…


Book cover of Life After Life

Sam Taylor Author Of The Two Loves of Sophie Strom

From my list on making the impossible feel real.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved stories that rearrange reality in some simple, allusive way, including movies like Groundhog Day or The Truman Show. They remind me of a quote about Italo Calvino that I first read when I was a teenager and have loved ever since: ‘He holds a mirror up to life, then writes about the mirror.’ I tend not to be attracted to stories that simply depict reality and even less so to stories that completely abandon reality for an invented fantasy world. All my favorite fictions take place somewhere in between, in the blending of the real and the impossible. 

Sam's book list on making the impossible feel real

Sam Taylor Why did Sam love this book?

It always seemed unfair to me that not only do we get just one life, but we only get to live it once. So I fell in love with this novel from the moment I read its premise: Ursula Todd is born and dies and is born again… and again… and again.

I love that she doesn’t remember her previous lives except as vague intuitions that help her avoid making the same mistakes twice–and I also love that avoiding those mistakes often means she makes other (often fatal) mistakes. I found this book funny, moving, and thought-provoking, but what I love most about it is the way its down-to-earth, realistic style allowed me to fully inhabit the impossible conceit at its heart. 

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…


Price of Vengeance

By Kurt D. Springs,

Book cover of Price of Vengeance

Kurt D. Springs

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Teacher Cook Barista Guardian

Kurt's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Liam was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Taken in by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, Liam finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. Then, Liam discovers that a traitor, responsible for his birth parents' deaths, had murdered his beloved foster parents. Will the price he has to pay in his quest for vengeance prove to be an even more unbeatable foe?

Price of Vengeance

By Kurt D. Springs,

What is this book about?

"From the cover to the opening pages, Price of Vengeance grabs the reader and takes them on a wild ride. Fasten your seat belts for this book." -S. J. Francis, author of Shattered Lies

What is the Price of Vengeance? One could understand why Liam was angry. He was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Taken in by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a…


Book cover of The Once and Future King

David L. Robbins Author Of War of the Rats

From my list on love and war and describing both battlefields.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve penned (so far) seventeen novels, most set during some historical conflict or other, all of them revolving around intense personal relationships (loyalty, love, betrayal, those sorts of profound truths). I tend to read the sorts of books I wish to write. I also teach creative writing at a university (VCU); I tell my students that if they want to really know what a character is made of, shoot at them or have them fall in love. In my own work, I do both.

David's book list on love and war and describing both battlefields

David L. Robbins Why did David love this book?

Maybe this is cheating, but it’s still a book set during a war, albeit a fantastical one.

But come on: Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, Nimue, Pellinore, Gawain, Mordred, the Round Table–I may never have read a more powerful scene (or seen such, in the play) as when Arthur cheers for Lancelot to ride and save Guinevere from a fire which Arthur himself set!

Moving, with great, classic prose typical of the time and White’s contemporaries C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. 

By T. H. White,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Once and Future King as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Voyager Classics - timeless masterworks of science fiction and fantasy.

A beautiful clothbound edition of The Once and Future King, White's masterful retelling of the Arthurian legend.

T.H. White's masterful retelling of the Arthurian legend is an abiding classic. Here all five volumes that make up the story are published together in a single volume, as White himself always wished.

Here is King Arthur and his shining Camelot, beasts who talk and men who fly; knights, wizardry and war. It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad; the masterpiece of fantasy by which all others are…


Book cover of The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Robert B. Marks Author Of Re: Apotheosis

From my list on writing for new (and even established) fiction writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing is in my blood – my grandmother wrote poetry, my mother writes novels, and over the last twenty-plus years I’ve written just about everything (and now I teach writing at my local university). I’ve loved stories for as long as I can remember. While my fiction career may be newly revived, I spent over 20 years as a pop culture commentator, poking at the minutia of the stories I love. I think stories may be one of the most important things in our culture – they inspire us, they brighten our day, they bring us to tears, and sometimes when we are lost they show us the way.

Robert's book list on writing for new (and even established) fiction writers

Robert B. Marks Why did Robert love this book?

This will be one of my more controversial picks – there are plenty of people who disagree with Campbell as a folklorist, a mythographer, and with his depiction of the Hero’s Journey. But, what is important about Campbell is his exploration of why the elements that appear in stories have the impact they do on our psyche, and how they fit together. One may not agree with all of Campbell’s conclusions, but I don’t think there’s a writer out there who won’t benefit from his exploration of the subject. I know I did.

By Joseph Campbell,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Hero with a Thousand Faces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joseph Campbell's classic cross-cultural study of the hero's journey has inspired millions and opened up new areas of research and exploration. Originally published in 1949, the book hit the New York Times best-seller list in 1988 when it became the subject of The Power of Myth, a PBS television special. The first popular work to combine the spiritual and psychological insights of modern psychoanalysis with the archetypes of world mythology, the book creates a roadmap for navigating the frustrating path of contemporary life. Examining heroic myths in the light of modern psychology, it considers not only the patterns and stages…


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 my list on completely transforming your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Claudia Amendola Alzraa 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. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

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…


Book cover of A Game of Thrones

Teresa M. Schulz Author Of Barbed Wire and Daisies

From my list on thriller/suspense escapism with strong female protagonists, full of grit, sass, and humour.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always had a wicked imagination and loved to tell stories. Unfortunately, this had me naively believing in fairy tales and happy endings. Cinderella has a lot to answer for. My kind heart and trusting nature were a magnet for bad men, and boy, did I suffer because of it. The term “Viking Berserker” comes to mind. This is why I have a passion for reading about strong women. I’ve learned (through reading books – such as those on my recommended list) that to survive, you have to have hope for a better future, and inspiring people – within inspiring stories – can often give you that hope.

Teresa's book list on thriller/suspense escapism with strong female protagonists, full of grit, sass, and humour

Teresa M. Schulz Why did Teresa love this book?

A medieval world with dire wolves, dragons, and John Snow.

But seriously, Daenerys was a favourite of mine in that series. I have mentioned earlier that I love when the underdog wins – well I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but in my mind, that young woman who came from a place of being bullied by her crazy brother, pursued by a vengeful enemy on the iron throne, challenged by Dothraki, and judged by almost everyone else, grew in confidence, strength and courage to become a force to be reckoned with. She earned the title "Mother of Dragons."

There were several other strong females in this series: Arya, Sansa, Catelyn, Brienne, and Ygritte, to name a few. At times, the story is a bit gruesome and not for the faint-hearted – but definitely a good series to read.

By George R. R. Martin,

Why should I read it?

17 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…


Book cover of Dune

Jean Gilbert Author Of Shifters

From my list on science fiction books that suck you into their world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have prosopagnosia, Face Blindness. I can’t recognize my face, let alone anyone else. Not being able to remember people makes for a lonely existence. Ever since I was little, I created worlds inside my head. These were places where I could control what happened when the real world felt lonely and out of control. Discovering books that created worlds I could immerse myself in was life-changing for me. It was like finding my lost tribe. Science fiction became a comfortable home, becoming a science fiction writer was a natural progression. I still get excited when I find a book that sucks me into its world.

Jean's book list on science fiction books that suck you into their world

Jean Gilbert Why did Jean love this book?

I was a young teenager the first time I read this book. At the time, I didn’t understand all that was going on, but I knew I liked the story and the world. But as an adult, all the underlying tensions and the deeper story touched something deep within me. I think it has to do with the struggle to survive and how to cope in a hostile environment–man and planet alike.

The idea that something so simple as a worm on a seemingly insignificant desert planet affected the whole universe fascinated me. If I had the power Paul Atreides had, would I have made the same difficult choices he had made? Probably. And that’s what scares me the most.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

56 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…


Book cover of The Book Thief

Jesse Maas Author Of Not for the Faint of Heart

From my list on fiction books that capture the meaning of simply being human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about writing books that put good into the world and highlight meaningful and inspiring themes, which, in turn, means I am also passionate about reading books that do the same. I love to write and read books that leave the reader feeling like there is still good in the world, even when it seems to be very dark around us. If people read my books or any on this list, I sincerely hope they feel encouraged and inspired and enjoy them as much as I do.

Jesse's book list on fiction books that capture the meaning of simply being human

Jesse Maas Why did Jesse love this book?

My husband first recommended this book to me, and when he described it, he said it was written from the perspective of death, and I was not very interested in learning more about what exactly that meant. It took me years to finally follow his recommendation, and when I did, I was greatly surprised.

This historical fiction novel is very different than the others on this list, but it is inspiring all the same. Its unique narrative perspective challenges readers to think about life from a different point of view, and I thoroughly enjoyed the thought-provoking challenge.

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked The Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Life affirming, triumphant and tragic . . . masterfully told. . . but also a wonderful page-turner' Guardian
'Brilliant and hugely ambitious' New York Times
'Extraordinary' Telegraph
___

HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT…


Book cover of The Fifth Season

Duncan Hubber Author Of Notes from the Citadel: The Philosophy and Psychology of A Song of Ice and Fire

From my list on The best philosophical fantasy novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic at the University of Queensland whose research areas include horror films, screen trauma theory, the cinematic representation of urban spaces, and the collision of romanticism and postmodernism in fantasy literature. My first book, POV Horror: The Trauma Aesthetic of the Found Footage Subgenre, was adapted from my PhD thesis. I am an avid member of the A Song of Ice and Fire fandom, and my second book represents over a decade of talking and writing about George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, having grown out of conversations in forums, podcasts, symposiums, and fan conventions, as well as my own background in literary analysis and research.

Duncan's book list on The best philosophical fantasy novels

Duncan Hubber Why did Duncan love this book?

The Fifth Season is set in a world plagued by intermittent climate catastrophes and inhabited by a group of people called orogenes, who possess the ability to control energy and, therefore, thwart these catastrophes.

It follows two talented oregenes named Syenite and Alabaster, who are forced by the ruling class to marry and undertake a dangerous mission together. Jemisin’s story is a riveting exploration of environmental ethics, transhumanism, and the concept of the Anthropocene. She challenges her characters and readers to consider their responsibility for the earth and the other organisms that share it. She also depicts the role that social oppression plays in the exploitation and destruction of the environment.

By N. K. Jemisin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this "intricate and extraordinary" Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)

This is the way the world ends. . .for the last time.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land…


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