88 books like The Institute

By Stephen King,

Here are 88 books that The Institute fans have personally recommended if you like The Institute. 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 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 Hunger Games

Kim McMahill Author Of Refuge from the World

From my list on surviving post-apocalyptic alternate universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a small community surrounded by mountains and vast public land. I learned to ride a horse before riding a bike, and my dad taught me about recreating in remote areas. I didn’t think of those lessons as survival training, but in my novels, the skills I learned as a kid often save the characters’ lives. All the books on this list feature ordinary people doing extraordinary things to survive and, in some cases, protecting those they love. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Kim's book list on surviving post-apocalyptic alternate universe

Kim McMahill Why did Kim love this book?

I grew up in a small rural town where almost everyone fished, hunted, gardened, and enjoyed the simple things in life. Most of what I learned isn’t necessary to live in today’s world, but what if things changed and those able to live off the grid were the ones who survived? I love survival stories, especially about normal people doing extraordinary things to survive and protect those they love.

This book contains many of the themes I enjoy—survival against the odds, navigating complex relationships, and the oppressed rising up against the oppressor. This fast-paced novel begins with a seriously intense shock factor, a government sending children to fight to the death. After that, I couldn’t put it down.  

By Suzanne Collins,

Why should I read it?

47 authors picked The Hunger Games 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?

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...


Book cover of The Shining

Valentina Cano Repetto Author Of Sanctuary

From my list on horror books in which the setting is another character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fanatic of horror, especially Gothic horror since I was about eight years old when I read all of Poe’s short stories. It’s the genre I read most often and the one I’m dedicated to writing about. For me, the most effective horror novels have a setting that is as rich and fully developed as any of the characters. You can battle vampires, zombies, and all of the other delightful monsters out there, but how do you battle what’s trapped in the walls around you? How do you fight a home that hates you? Or one that loves you too much to let you go? It’s endlessly fascinating.

Valentina's book list on horror books in which the setting is another character

Valentina Cano Repetto Why did Valentina love this book?

There’s no list I can create in my head about haunting locations that doesn’t include this book. One of the most interesting aspects of horror novels that take place in a vivid setting is that they draw you in and both make you wish you could visit the location while at the same time thanking all that’s good and holy that you’re not there. That’s what The Shining did for me when I read it. 

The Overlook hotel is larger than life, treacherous, and inviting, and King does an incredible job at maintaining the high-pitched hum of tension from the moment the Torrances walk through its doors.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before Doctor Sleep, there was The Shining, a classic of modern American horror from the undisputed master, Stephen King.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around…


Conditions are Different After Dark

By Owen W. Knight,

Book cover of Conditions are Different After Dark

Owen W. Knight Author Of The Visitors

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Visionary Compassionate Imaginative Conspiracist Apophenia (or apophenic)

Owen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

In 1662, a man is wrongly executed for signing the death warrant of Charles I. Awaiting execution, he asks to speak with a priest, to whom he declares a curse on the village that betrayed him. The priest responds with a counter-curse, leaving just one option to nullify it.

Over four centuries later, Faith and James move to the country to start a new life and a family. They discover their village lives under the curse uttered by the hanged man. Could their arrival be connected? They fear their choice of new home is no coincidence. Unexplained events hint at threats or warnings to leave. They become convinced the village remains cursed despite their friends’ denials. Who can they trust, and who are potential enemies?

Conditions are Different After Dark

By Owen W. Knight,

What is this book about?

In 1660, a man is wrongly executed for signing the death warrant of Charles I. While awaiting execution, he asks to speak with a priest, to whom he declares a curse on the village that betrayed him. The priest responds with a counter-curse, leaving just one option to nullify it.
Over four centuries later, Faith and James move to the country to start a new life and a family. They learn that their village lives under the curse uttered by the hanged man. Could their arrival be connected?
Faith and James fear that their choice of a new home is…


Book cover of The Shadow War

Ethan Marek Author Of Tolerance Book One

From my list on aesthetic universes in science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I melted into the cinematic universe. And it was always the fantasies that made me feel wonderous. Star Wars, Skyrim, Fallout, Dune, The Hunger Games, you name it, they all sucked me in during the darkest times in life. That’s why I write, for the children and the young adults. I want them to experience my worlds to understand their own. I earned my BFA in Creative Writing at Full Sail University. I hope to translate my books into screenplays while my dream and goal is to watch my own story on the big screen with a bucket of popcorn in my hands.

Ethan's book list on aesthetic universes in science fiction

Ethan Marek Why did Ethan love this book?

The Shadow War is a historical fiction story that takes place in the majestic, horrific era of World War II. The word choices and story pace interested me with this story. For the chapter heads, the author used character names to jump from one to the next, and while I believe that’s used a lot in books, I formatted mine quite uniquely from others, transforming the pages into what feels like a cinematic marvel, all thanks to studying the formats of other books.

By Lindsay Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shadow War 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?

Inglourious Basterds meets Stranger Things in this dark and thrilling tale of power, shadow, and revenge set during World War II.

World War II is raging, and five teens are looking to make a mark. Daniel and Rebeka seek revenge against the Nazis who slaughtered their family; Simone is determined to fight back against the oppressors who ruined her life and corrupted her girlfriend; Phillip aims to prove that he's better than his worst mistakes; and Liam is searching for a way to control the portal to the shadow world he's uncovered, and the monsters that live within it--before the…


Book cover of Slender Man

Ethan Marek Author Of Tolerance Book One

From my list on aesthetic universes in science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I melted into the cinematic universe. And it was always the fantasies that made me feel wonderous. Star Wars, Skyrim, Fallout, Dune, The Hunger Games, you name it, they all sucked me in during the darkest times in life. That’s why I write, for the children and the young adults. I want them to experience my worlds to understand their own. I earned my BFA in Creative Writing at Full Sail University. I hope to translate my books into screenplays while my dream and goal is to watch my own story on the big screen with a bucket of popcorn in my hands.

Ethan's book list on aesthetic universes in science fiction

Ethan Marek Why did Ethan love this book?

Weird, right? The author of the story is unknown. Some may say it’s just a narrative of the main character’s story, but no one really knows the truth behind the mythical monster. Slender Man was a decent book, a very quick read too for four-hundred pages. While the story was slow, it pitched in its genre of suspense, mystery, and terror. We live in the real world, but we’re also living in a world of wonders. I’d recommend this story to anyone who loves mysteries and evil entities, even gamers who run around the worlds of Fallout and Skyrim.

By Anonymous,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

LAUREN BAILEY HAS DISAPPEARED.

As her friends and the police search for answers, Matt Barker begins to dream of trees and black skies and something drawing closer.

Through fragments of journals, blog posts and messages, a sinister, slender figure emerges and all divisions between fiction and delusion, between nightmare and reality, begin to fall.

The urban legend of the Slender Man has inspired short fiction, viral videos, and a feature film. Gathered from online
whispers, Matt's story reveals the true power of the internet's most terrifying creation.


Book cover of It

Robin Peguero Author Of One In The Chamber

From my list on friends guarding a killer secret.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a Spanish-speaking household, there was a saying: “Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.” That is, the company you keep says a lot about you. The sense of belonging that comes from being a part of a group is something we have chased since we were kids. I remember the close-knit friends’ group I joined in the eighth grade, and the core four of us are still best friends to this day (just about 25 years later!). I’m fascinated by what those strong bonds can make you do–including leading you to bend or break your moral compass. 

Robin's book list on friends guarding a killer secret

Robin Peguero Why did Robin love this book?

I love this book for three reasons: nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia. As a child, I read this coming-of-age story, which really spoke to me.

I don’t know what that says about me since it features a killer clown and a little boy getting snatched down a sewer drain (looking back, it was hardly age-appropriate). But I loved seeing how the characters changed from kids to adults–and what stayed exactly the same. It inspired me to imagine how I might turn out in adulthood, and that blissful, childlike wonder is something hard to recreate as we get older.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This tie-in edition will be available from 16 July

TIE IN TO A NEW MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, IT: CHAPTER 2, ADAPTED FROM KING'S TERRIFYING CLASSIC

27 years later, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back...

Derry, Maine was just an ordinary town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part, a good place to live.

It was a group of children who saw- and felt- what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes…


Book cover of Carrie

Megan Carle Author Of Walk Away to Win: A Playbook to Combat Workplace Bullying

From my list on bullies being put in their place.

Why am I passionate about this?

It’s taken me a while to feel comfortable calling myself an expert on workplace bullying. I mean, just because you experience something doesn’t necessarily make you an expert, right? What I am, though, is passionate about the subject of workplace bullying within the larger context of organizational health and workplace culture. I’m passionate about it because I experienced a workplace whose culture devolved into hostility, toxicity, and workplace bullying. I'm one of the 80 million US workers who have been affected by workplace bullying. That’s the size of two Californias or one Germany. And, it means one in two workers are contending with something that is known as “the Undiscussable.” So, let’s discuss it. 

Megan's book list on bullies being put in their place

Megan Carle Why did Megan love this book?

Leave it to the master of horror, Stephen King, to dream up the ultimate comeuppance story.

High school student Carrie is bullied relentlessly by her peers, both at school and outside its walls. Her mother’s treatment of her at home doesn’t help. But one day Carrie realizes she has supernatural powers that dwarf the “powers” her classmates think they wield over her.

I don’t condone what happens on prom night, of course, but anyone who’s ever been bullied will agree that the fantasy of turning the tables on your tormentor(s) can be…very satisfying.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stephen King's legendary debut, about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates, is a Classic. CARRIE is the novel which set him on the road to the Number One bestselling author King is today.

Carrie White is no ordinary girl.

Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis.

To be invited to Prom Night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie - the first
step towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues.

But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as she
is forced to exercise her…


Book cover of The Green Mile

J.G. Schwartz Author Of The Curious Spell of Madam Genova

From my list on making you believe in the paranormal.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 13, I paid 25 cents to see a mysterious fortune teller at a local carnival. She predicted I would marry a tall, handsome man, and then she paused and told me my next-door neighbor would soon break his arm. Within a week, my neighbor, Jack, dressed in his Superman costume, jumped off his roof and broke his arm. I was impressionable – and impressed. Since that time, I have been fascinated with fortune tellers and the magic that surrounds them as well as books based on magical realism and the paranormal. Oh, and by the way, I did marry a tall, handsome man.

J.G.'s book list on making you believe in the paranormal

J.G. Schwartz Why did J.G. love this book?

Be prepared. If you want a good cry, this book is for you, as it has one of the saddest endings of any novel I have read.

The Green Mile is the riveting and tragic story of John Coffee, a giant, gentle inmate with supernatural powers, condemned to death for the rape and murder of twin nine-year-old girls.

Coffee is a simple and kind man with a deathly fear of the dark. Your heart will break. Mine did. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Green Mile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephen King's iconic horror masterpiece. An international bestselling and highly acclaimed novel, a must-read for any horror fan, also a hugely successful film starring Tom Hanks.

The Green Mile: those who walk it do not return, because at the end of that walk is the room in which sits Cold Mountain penitentiary's electric chair. In 1932 the newest resident on death row is John Coffey, a giant black man convicted of the brutal murder of two little girls. But nothing is as it seems with John Coffey, and around him unfolds a bizarre and horrifying story.

Evil murderer or holy…


Book cover of The Apprentice Storyteller

Clayton Graham Author Of Milijun

From my list on otherworldly encounters with alien characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up I read a lot of science fiction: HG Wells, Isaac Asimov, John Wyndham; those kind of authors and their inspiring tales. In my early twenties, I penned a few short stories as I worked as an aeronautical engineer. Always being at the leading edge of technology certainly helped shape my dreams of the future. I have an interest in writing novels that place humankind within a universe [or multiverse] we are only just starting to understand. To date, I have written six novels, two of them extensive short story collections. They are light years from each other, but share the future adventures of mankind in an expansive universe as a common theme.

Clayton's book list on otherworldly encounters with alien characters

Clayton Graham Why did Clayton love this book?

I would describe this book as a future-mediaeval tale. It is beautifully written and a joy to read.

An exquisitely compiled tale that weaves fantasy and science fiction around the lives of Viola and her mysterious young apprentice, Jo. Storytellers both, they travel along a spirited trail, on land and in space, with each hiding their own secrets. 

A superb read that takes you into the lives of these outcasts on the run. Highly recommended.

By Astrid V. J.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Set amid an imaginative blend of sci-fi and fantasy, the novel’s fictional universe is vividly realized and will grab curious readers. The book works in thought-provoking themes that will further draw readers in." BookLife Prize

The Alchemist meets fantasy with a splash of space opera.
Viola Alerion, a renowned storyteller in the Haldrian Empire, wants to be left in peace. For years, she’s been hounded by her past, never to find a moment’s rest. Then she meets a boy who wants to become her apprentice. He refuses to take no for an answer, and she reluctantly yields, even though she…


Book cover of The House at the End of the World

Evan Purcell Author Of Followed by Fear

From my list on women on the run.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written an equal amount of horror and romance, including books, podcasts, and screenplays. I love both genres equally, but I’m most drawn to stories that strike a nice balance between the two. Danger makes the romance less cheesy, and romance gives the thriller side more meaning. As an ESL teacher who has worked everywhere, from Bhutan to Zanzibar, I also love discovering new places. Some of my favorite books take their characters to new locations, forcing them to discover the hidden dangers and pleasant surprises that every place has to offer.

Evan's book list on women on the run

Evan Purcell Why did Evan love this book?

As always, Dean Koontz uses short, propulsive chapters and tons of dangling questions to make his long novels feel short.

This book is definitely the most exciting of his more recent work, focusing on a woman on the run from a mysterious, tragic past who takes refuge on a tiny island with just as many secrets as she has.

I love how Koontz raises the stakes with each short chapter, withholding answers until he slaps you across the face with them. 

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The House at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon no one on Earth will have a place to hide in this novel about fears known and unknown by #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense Dean Koontz.

In retreat from a devastating loss and crushing injustice, Katie lives alone in a fortresslike stone house on Jacob's Ladder island. Once a rising star in the art world, she finds refuge in her painting.

The neighboring island of Ringrock houses a secret: a government research facility. And now two agents have arrived on Jacob's Ladder in search of someone-or something-they refuse to identify. Although an air of menace hangs…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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