100 books like The Kite Runner

By Khaled Hosseini,

Here are 100 books that The Kite Runner fans have personally recommended if you like The Kite Runner. 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 City of Thieves

Christie Nelson Author Of Beautiful Illusion

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

Why am I passionate about this?

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

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

Christie Nelson Why did Christie love this book?

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

By David Benioff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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

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


Book cover of Les Miserables

Sayed H. Rohani Author Of Wedding in the Sandcastle

From my list on exploring emotional conspiracies and the heavy toll they take on relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a man of principles. I have suffered from life's hardships and enjoyed its beauty. I have always been patient, modest, peaceful, and conscientious. I have written seventeen books, including fiction and nonfiction. My writings reflect social injustice, political corruption, and psychological dilemmas, focusing on aesthetic phenomena and universal qualities such as truth, justice, humanity, morality, freedom, beauty, and more. With this background, I am recommending the following five books because they display conspiratorial relationships between individuals, resulting in a heavy toll that impacts the relationships.

Sayed's book list on exploring emotional conspiracies and the heavy toll they take on relationships

Sayed H. Rohani Why did Sayed love this book?

This book portrays the emotional conspiracies involving rape, wild sex, cruelty, miseries, and the poverty-stricken French people during the 19th century. 

The book resonates with the life of the upper and lower classes of society. There is hatred between the gendarme Javert and Jean Valjean, a poor man. The gendarme is looking for any reason to put the poor man in jail, who has already been in jail for 17 years for stealing a loaf of bread. 

I love this book because you can compare life between the past and the present and find a lot of similarities between now and then, even though there is a considerable time difference between the two eras. 

It shows that kindness plays a vital role in changing humans. Though punishment was worsening and coarsening the behavior of Jean Valjean, Myriel, the bishop, treated him with kindness, changing his life thoroughly.

By Victor Hugo, Lee Fahnestock (translator), Norman Macafee (translator)

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Les Miserables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A SIX-PART MINISERIES ON MASTERPIECE ON PBS

The only completely unabridged paperback edition of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece—a sweeping tale of love, loss, valor, and passion.

Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose.

Within his dramatic story…


Book cover of Crime and Punishment

Sam Martin Author Of To John Love Lauri

From my list on questioning reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I look to books as an enlightening way to escape. I’ve always sought out things that paint the world in different hues than what is often presented in reality. When the lines between what you’re told and what it really is become blurry, I like to find the truth that is often available by reading between the lines. 

Sam's book list on questioning reality

Sam Martin Why did Sam love this book?

A classic must-read for anyone who is satiated by oxygen. I love the psychology of the main character. His decline after committing an atrocity is notable for its detail. The concern shown for him by his friends and family, who do not know the truth, feels natural and warranted in spite of the reader's knowledge.

Is it possible to feel empathy for someone who commits such an act? In a strange way, I found myself questioning my own biases on the topics of crime and punishment after reading this classic. 

By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Crime and Punishment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed by Washington Post Book World as “the best [translation] currently available" when it was first published, this second edition has been updated in honor of the 200th anniversary of Dostoevsky’s birth.

With the same suppleness, energy, and range of voices that won their translation of The Brothers Karamazov the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky offer a brilliant translation of Dostoevsky's astounding pyschological thriller, newly revised for his bicentenniel. 

When Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the tsars, commits an act of murder and theft, he sets into motion a story that is…


Book cover of The Mountains Sing

Betty Bolte Author Of Becoming Lady Washington

From my list on historical fiction about emotionally strong women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I “discovered” historical fiction when a teen and have devoured it ever since. When my parents took me to the Cowpens National Battlefield in South Carolina in 9th grade, I realized just how much I enjoyed learning about history in real life. I found that reading historical fiction breathed life into what can be a very dull read, so I wanted to bring history to life with my own words. Visiting historical properties has become a big passion of mine! Every trip I take includes a visit to some historical site or another. I’ve been writing historical fiction/romance/fantasy since the late 1990s.

Betty's book list on historical fiction about emotionally strong women

Betty Bolte Why did Betty love this book?

This story is set in Việt Nam and paints a clear picture of the people who lived there in the 1930-1980 timeframe of the story. The family faced hardships and tragedies, including being separated for several months when they were forced to flee for their lives. One thing I really appreciated was seeing the impact and impressions of the Việt Nam war on the people of that country. My brother fought over there—he was a Ranger in the Army—during that conflict and came home very different. In fact, he’s estranged himself from the family for the past 30+ years. Reading about the conflict from the other side gives me a clearer idea of what he might have seen or done that he never would tell me about.

By Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Years later in Ha Noi, her young granddaughter, Huong, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Viet Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai's first novel in English.


Book cover of Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Rosalyn W. Berne Author Of Waiting in the Silence

From my list on people who show moral courage.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an ethicist—a scholar and professor who thinks and writes about “right” and “wrong” in terms of human behaviors, actions, and relationships, especially where technology is involved. I went into this field because my first pregnancy was a baby girl named Zoe whose brain never developed (anencephaly). When I tried to do what I thought was right, arranging to have her organs donated, some thought it was wrong, and my efforts ultimately failed. In working through my grief, I wrote a SF novel about one woman’s struggles and strength in the face of a frightening use of technology. Books about enduring personal struggles with integrity remind me that this is part of life. 

Rosalyn's book list on people who show moral courage

Rosalyn W. Berne Why did Rosalyn love this book?

Trevor Noah is the funniest living comedian, and he is brilliant. Who would ever guess that his childhood was filled with so much trauma? Being set in Apartheid South Africa, I was able to keep a personal distance from the story. But it still touched and inspired me, perhaps because my own children are mixed race and had they been born there, I’d not have been allowed to marry or live with their father. Unimaginable. This autobiographical accounting of Trevor’s tormented life is a testimony to his inner strength. An average person from his background might be in prison or dead. But not Trevor. The question is why he made it through with such integrity and heart. He gives a lot of credit to his mother and I appreciate that.

By Trevor Noah,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Born a Crime as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE THURBER PRIZE

The compelling, inspiring, (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

One of the comedy world's brightest new voices, Trevor Noah is a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of the US hit show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his…


Book cover of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Shugri Said Salh Author Of The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert

From my list on bringing other cultures to life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am at heart a storyteller, with a special interest in archiving and weaving the tales of my people to give you insight into a culture that is quite different from yours. Like an archaeologist digging a forgotten world, I want to bring these stories to life in the form of words. After a long day of animal herding and chores, my family and I would sit by the fire in a vast, open desert covered in blackness, and share century-old stories. My big ears consumed these stories like a thirsty desert after a long drought, so I could one day share this library of wisdom with others.

Shugri's book list on bringing other cultures to life

Shugri Said Salh Why did Shugri love this book?

This memoir captures the journey of child soldiers during the civil war in Sierra Leone, and shows how once-innocent children with ordinary lives became killing machines in the hands of a ruthless rebel leader. Beah doesn't shy away from the gruesomeness of civil war, but there is beauty in how he weaves this memoir that reads like a novel. Though I am not usually a fan of books with a lot of violence, I was drawn to this one and could not put it down. I believe history is best learned from those who have first-hand experience. This is a one-of-a-kind book and to Beah’s credit, well-written as well. 

By Ishmael Beah,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Long Way Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this…


Book cover of Atonement

James B. Gilbert Author Of The Legacy

From my list on understanding and misunderstanding each other.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had two careers and two lives. Beginning as a historian of American culture, I have become a writer of fiction. That I have turned to fiction now is because I have so many of my own stories to explore and relate. And what I love most about writing novels and the short pieces I compose is the possibility to create living characters who sometimes surprise me with what they believe and do, but always, I know, emerge from the very deepest corners of my imagination and the issues that I feel compelled to examine and resolve.

James' book list on understanding and misunderstanding each other

James B. Gilbert Why did James love this book?

This amazing book reveals how a single mistaken perception, influenced by jealousy, envy, and the snobbery of social class, can wreak havoc on so many innocent lives.

McEwen writes with great delicacy and passion in constructing a story in which it becomes almost impossible to atone for a terrible accusation that cannot be rescinded. 

By Ian McEwan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl's imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a…


Book cover of We Need New Names

Ellen Banda-Aaku Author Of Patchwork

From my list on about childhood that make you cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Ellen Banda-Aaku a writer from Zambia and the UK. I have been writing – mainly for young adults - for many years. My latest YA book The Elephant Girl which I have co-authored with James Patterson is due in July 2022. A memorable book for me is one that haunts me long after I turn the last page even though it’s fiction. Whilst the books mentioned here are very different, I have linked them in that they have child protagonists who go through a lot of suffering through no fault of their own. That is what makes them tearjerkers.

Ellen's book list on about childhood that make you cry

Ellen Banda-Aaku Why did Ellen love this book?

Having lived in poverty and forced to grow up fast due to the hardship of life, what makes this book tragic is that when Darling the child protagonist arrives in the US, the land she dreamed of, she misses ‘home’ and her dreams don’t come true. Recommended for the author's narrative verve and its general overview of Zimbabwe through the lens of the less privileged. The lesson for me was that material comfort does not guarantee happiness. 

By NoViolet Bulawayo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We Need New Names as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013*

* US National Book Award 5 Under 35 *

* Winner of the Etisalat Prize 2014*

'To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in - who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?'

Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which…


Book cover of The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan

Grant Lock Author Of Shoot Me First: A Cattleman in Taliban Country. Twenty-Four Years in the Hotspots of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

From my list on Afghanistan and life in the land of the Taliban.

Why am I passionate about this?

To stop us from reopening a school for girls, a mob of angry and well-armed Pashtun men threatened to shoot my workers. I surprised myself. “If you are going to shoot my workmen, you will have to shoot me first!” My wife, Janna, and I bred cattle in outback Australia. On the weekends we played tennis. Yet, in 1984 we began a twenty-four-year adventure battling corruption, injustice, and disadvantage in the deserts, mountains, and cities of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I dug wells, built schools, and helped restore the eyesight of thousands of Afghans; until I myself became blind.

Grant's book list on Afghanistan and life in the land of the Taliban

Grant Lock Why did Grant love this book?

The three Pashtun virtues are hospitality, honor, and revenge. Pashtun hospitality epitomizes human warmth and generosity but Pashtun honor and revenge make a chilling and toxic cocktail. Christina Lamb gives a human face to the destruction wrought by the then unknown ultraconservative political and religious faction led by the one-eyed cleric, Mohammad Omar. Lamb was there before and after the tragedy. A great read. Will history repeat itself?

By Christina Lamb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Lamb’s long experience as a journalist is a solid stage upon which to build the story of her voyage through Afghanistan, told with a deep, loving honesty.” — Montreal Gazette (Canada)

A brilliant British war correspondent who has spent ten years in Afghanistan gives a first hand report on the war and its genesis.

Award-winning journalist Christina Lamb chronicles the human stories behind the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Lamb spent the last phase of the Soviet War in Pakistan, relying on her friendship with exiled Afghans to smuggle her in and out of Jalalabad. Many of these friends…


Book cover of The Bookseller of Kabul

Sayed H. Rohani Author Of Wedding in the Sandcastle

From my list on exploring emotional conspiracies and the heavy toll they take on relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a man of principles. I have suffered from life's hardships and enjoyed its beauty. I have always been patient, modest, peaceful, and conscientious. I have written seventeen books, including fiction and nonfiction. My writings reflect social injustice, political corruption, and psychological dilemmas, focusing on aesthetic phenomena and universal qualities such as truth, justice, humanity, morality, freedom, beauty, and more. With this background, I am recommending the following five books because they display conspiratorial relationships between individuals, resulting in a heavy toll that impacts the relationships.

Sayed's book list on exploring emotional conspiracies and the heavy toll they take on relationships

Sayed H. Rohani Why did Sayed love this book?

This book explores the universal themes of ignorance and political dictatorship. It shows how the Taliban conspired against the protagonist to harm him and destroy books. The Sultan, the protagonist, who stands for knowledge, is crushed by the Taliban and imprisoned because he is a distributor of books. 

The Sultan embodies the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge, perhaps as a teacher, librarian, or simply someone who believes in the power of education and free thought. His imprisonment by the Taliban underscores the conflict between enlightenment and oppression, as the Taliban seeks to suppress ideas and control the population through fear and ignorance.

My love for the book likely stems from the emotional impact of Sultan's plight, as I witness the injustice of a man being punished for his commitment to something as fundamental and noble as sharing knowledge. The narrative explores themes of resistance, resilience, and the enduring power of…

By Åsne Seierstad,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Bookseller of Kabul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This mesmerizing portrait of a proud man who, through three decades and successive repressive regimes, heroically braved persecution to bring books to the people of Kabul has elicited extraordinary praise throughout the world and become a phenomenal international bestseller. The Bookseller of Kabul is startling in its intimacy and its details - a revelation of the plight of Afghan women and a window into the surprising realities of daily life in today's Afghanistan.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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