88 books like The Light in the Forest

By Conrad Richter,

Here are 88 books that The Light in the Forest fans have personally recommended if you like The Light in the Forest. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Sympathizer

Devin Murphy Author Of The Boat Runner

From my list on books with super shady characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a total sucker for people who are so complicated I can’t get a read on them. This love comes from growing up without any extended family. When I heard little bits of my parents’ pasts, it felt like the world got more interesting, and I wanted to dig in to know everything there was to know about what shaped them and, by proxy, what shaped me. I’m drawn to shady characters who don’t want to give up the goods, as they present a joyful challenge by withholding mystery, and those types of characters are the ones I love to read and write about.

Devin's book list on books with super shady characters

Devin Murphy Why did Devin love this book?

I’ve never encountered such a duplicitous and complicated character as the Captain. Having to survive life in Vietnam before and during America’s entry into the war, and after as an immigrant in America, I kept thinking I understood why the character behaved the way he did. His actions made sense. Then I’d get what I thought was a glimpse at his heart and intentions and know I had him all wrong, only to turn the page and see a completely different facet of him again.

Over and over his past and present and desires for the future kept morphing him. The stunning thing about this story is I totally understood why he would be this complex as each section doled out enough clues how someone like him could be so strange and malleable and twisted up in the most odd and fascinating ways. 

By Viet Thanh Nguyen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain:…


Book cover of Stranger in a Strange Land

John Walters Author Of The Misadventures of Mama Kitchen

From my list on celebrating the psychedelic sixties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became a young man near the end of the sixties, and I have always been enthralled by the era's various idiosyncrasies, both good and bad. For instance, I loved the complex yet pleasant rock music and the freewheeling lifestyle. On the downside, the war in Vietnam cast its pall over the times, and I narrowly escaped being drafted and sent off to Southeast Asia. Overall, it was an era in which good and evil were starkly defined, and many people were attempting to create a better, more peaceful world. There is still much we can learn from this time.

John's book list on celebrating the psychedelic sixties

John Walters Why did John love this book?

Although this book is ostensibly set in the future, countercultural enthusiasts of the sixties were quick to claim it for their own, with its references to transcendental enlightenment, out-of-body experiences, communal living, and free sex.

It became a best-selling phenomenon as contemporary young people reacted positively to its iconoclastic attitudes. That's what happened to me, too, when I came across the book shortly before the move to the Bay Area that opened my eyes to the reality of the psychedelic sixties.

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Stranger in a Strange Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The original uncut edition of STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Hugo Award winner Robert A Heinlein - one of the most beloved, celebrated science-fiction novels of all time. Epic, ambitious and entertaining, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND caused controversy and uproar when it was first published and is still topical and challenging today.

Twenty-five years ago, the first manned mission to Mars was lost, and all hands presumed dead. But someone survived...

Born on the doomed spaceship and raised by the Martians who saved his life, Valentine Michael Smith has never seen a human being until the day a…


Book cover of The Orenda

Robert Downes Author Of The Wolf and The Willow

From my list on Indians at first contact with Europeans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written seven books, all along the theme of adventure in one way or another, but my best-known work is that of my novels of the Ojibwe Indians. As a child, I grew up on a farm where my dad discovered scores of arrowheads and artifacts while plowing the fields. This was a deep revelation for me as to the extent of Indian culture and how little we know of its people. In my books, Windigo Moon and The Wolf and The Willow, I try to bring the world of the 1500s and its Native peoples to life.

Robert's book list on Indians at first contact with Europeans

Robert Downes Why did Robert love this book?

Grounded in historical fact, The Orenda (The Magic) tells the story of Jesuit missionaries caught up in the war between the Wendats (Hurons) and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) living on the shores of Lake Huron in the mid-1600s. It’s a very dark book, with its depictions of ritual torture not for the squeamish, but it perfectly captures the time and culture of two very different civilizations, grappling to understand one another. Bowden does an excellent job of capturing the thoughts and outlook of the Wendat war chief Bird, and the French missionaries struggling to Christianize his village.

I loved this book because it helped me to understand the Indians’ way of thinking and their outlook on the world.

By Joseph Boyden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE LIBRIS AWARD — FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR

In the wilds of seventeenth-century North America, the lives of a Jesuit missionary, a young Iroquois girl, and a great warrior and elder statesman of the Huron Nation become entwined.

The Huron have battled the Iroquois for generations, but now both tribes face a new, more dangerous threat from another land. Uneasy alliances are made and unmade, cultures and beliefs clash in the face of precipitous change, and not everyone will survive the march of history. Joseph Boyden’s magisterial novel tells this story of blood and hope, suspicion and…


Book cover of Hanta Yo: An American Saga

Robert Downes Author Of The Wolf and The Willow

From my list on Indians at first contact with Europeans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written seven books, all along the theme of adventure in one way or another, but my best-known work is that of my novels of the Ojibwe Indians. As a child, I grew up on a farm where my dad discovered scores of arrowheads and artifacts while plowing the fields. This was a deep revelation for me as to the extent of Indian culture and how little we know of its people. In my books, Windigo Moon and The Wolf and The Willow, I try to bring the world of the 1500s and its Native peoples to life.

Robert's book list on Indians at first contact with Europeans

Robert Downes Why did Robert love this book?

Largely forgotten now, this was a huge bestseller when it was published in 1978. Based on stories drawn from the Winter Count of the Lakota Sioux (a record of pictographs depicting notable events of the year), this novel tells the story of two Sioux families living on the Great Plains prior to the arrival of white settlers.

Running 1009 pages, Hanta Yo is surely one of the most singular books in all of literature in that author Hill worked with a Sioux elder to translate her manuscript into the Siouan language and then back into English. I love the book because it offers a deep dive into the thoughts of the Sioux people and their way of life. Only at the end of the book do they encounter the troubles attendant to the white culture.

By Ruth Beebe Hill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Partially based on fact, this multigenerational saga follows the lives of two Indian families, members of the Mahto band of the Teton Sioux, before the arrival of the white man


Book cover of People of the Longhouse

Robert Downes Author Of The Wolf and The Willow

From my list on Indians at first contact with Europeans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written seven books, all along the theme of adventure in one way or another, but my best-known work is that of my novels of the Ojibwe Indians. As a child, I grew up on a farm where my dad discovered scores of arrowheads and artifacts while plowing the fields. This was a deep revelation for me as to the extent of Indian culture and how little we know of its people. In my books, Windigo Moon and The Wolf and The Willow, I try to bring the world of the 1500s and its Native peoples to life.

Robert's book list on Indians at first contact with Europeans

Robert Downes Why did Robert love this book?

No list of historical fiction depicting the Indians’ way of life would be complete without the inclusion of a book by the Gears, who’ve written many novels of Native life years before the arrival of European explorers.

I like this book because it’s a bit of a retelling of Hansel and Gretel set in the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) culture. Two young children are among many captured by a witch and bound for an uncertain fate. The book delves into the widespread fear of witches in many Indian cultures and also offers a glimpse of life among the Haudenosaunee, who famously lived in large agricultural communities, dwelling in longhouses surrounded by palisades.

By W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O'Neal Gear,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked People of the Longhouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Six hundred years ago in what would become the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, five Iroquois tribes were locked in bitter warfare. From the ashes of violence, a great Peacemaker was born…

Young Odion and his little sister, Tutelo, live in fear that one day Yellowtail Village will be attacked. When that day comes and Odion and Tutelo are marched away as slaves, their only hope is that their parents will rescue them.

Their mother, War Chief Koracoo, and their father, Deputy Gonda, think they are tracking an ordinary war party herding captive children to an enemy village. Koracoo…


Book cover of Beyond the Far Horizon: Adventures of a Fur Trader

Robert Downes Author Of The Wolf and The Willow

From my list on Indians at first contact with Europeans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written seven books, all along the theme of adventure in one way or another, but my best-known work is that of my novels of the Ojibwe Indians. As a child, I grew up on a farm where my dad discovered scores of arrowheads and artifacts while plowing the fields. This was a deep revelation for me as to the extent of Indian culture and how little we know of its people. In my books, Windigo Moon and The Wolf and The Willow, I try to bring the world of the 1500s and its Native peoples to life.

Robert's book list on Indians at first contact with Europeans

Robert Downes Why did Robert love this book?

This fictional account of the life of an English fur trader is a sentimental favorite for me out of my respect for historian Charles Cleland.

Cleland tells the story of Alexander Henry who was captured by the Odawa Indians during the attack on Fort Michillimackinac in 1763. Henry lived among the Indians through the seasons, giving an eye-witness account of their lives as hunter-gatherers. Cleland is better as a historian than a novelist, but this is still a fun read and would also be a good book on any Young Adult list.

By Charles Cleland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beyond the Far Horizon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beyond the Far Horizon is based upon the true life story of Alexander Henry, abrave and adventurous young man who, as a fur trader, dared to risk his life andfortune on the vast lakes and in dark forests of the Great Lakes frontier. Henryslife, far from the comforts of the American colonies he left behind, was so dangerousthat he was no stranger to the threat of death. As he pursued his fur trade venture duringthe years between 1760 and 1765, he nearly drowned, starved, and froze to death, andon several occasions, barely escaped being killed by hostile Indians. He was…


Book cover of Middlesex

Eric Schlich Author Of Eli Harpo's Adventure to the Afterlife

From my list on dysfunctional family novels about mythmaking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a debut novelist who loves a good family drama. I’m a fiction professor at the University of Memphis, where I teach a course on the dysfunctional family novel featuring books on this list. I’m also an atheist, a bisexual, and a father to a one-year-old—all of which influenced my book. In addition to the novel, I’ve written a story collection called Quantum Convention. My stories have aired on Public Radio International’s Selected Shorts and appeared in American Short Fiction, Gulf Coast, and Electric Literature, among other journals. I also have a new essay up at Lit Hub about channeling my bisexuality through queer characters.

Eric's book list on dysfunctional family novels about mythmaking

Eric Schlich Why did Eric love this book?

When it comes to family sagas turned myth, it’s hard to top Calliope Stephanides tracing the passage of the hermaphroditic gene—transforming Callie into Cal—through three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family.

An epic origin story that moves from Asia Minor to Detroit, Michigan, complete with incest and a nuanced exploration of gender identity. It also has one of my all-time favorite novel openings ever. “Sing now, O Muse, of the recessive mutation on my fifth chromosome!”

By Jeffrey Eugenides,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974.'

So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and her truly unique family secret, born on the slopes of Mount Olympus and passed on through three generations.

Growing up in 70s Michigan, Calliope's special inheritance will turn her into Cal, the narrator of this intersex, inter-generational epic of immigrant life in 20th century America.

Middlesex won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.


Book cover of Being There

Daniel Damiano Author Of Graphic Nature

From my list on exploring solitary characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

As both a playwright and novelist, I tend to gravitate to complex characters with an internal struggle. Graphic Nature, my second novel, touches upon a particular character, Edmond de Capitoir, who while considering himself a well-meaning member of society, has kept himself at arm’s length from life in many ways – not the least of which is due to his commitment to his profession as an executioner in 1913 France. Much of the work I've recommended touches upon these similar protagonists who are somehow emotionally closed off and perhaps have developed a certain guilt about their actions by what they experience through the course of these stories – even a need for love.

Daniel's book list on exploring solitary characters

Daniel Damiano Why did Daniel love this book?

Chance is an illiterate gardener with childlike social limitations who, nevertheless, through being forced to move from the residence he has known for much of his adult life, is let out into the world and, thus, stumbles into the life of a respected political advisor (Rand).

As a result of this association, his scant vocabulary and phrasing eventually becomes mistaken for wisdom – and soon he becomes somewhat of a media phenomenon, despite his mental limitations rendering him incapable of any real awareness of being so.  A truly inspiring idea, depicting in a unique and humorous way how celebrity can so often be created by happenstance, and what the results of it can be.

By Jerzy Kosinski,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Being There as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The hero of this astonishing novel is called Chance - he may be the man of tomorrow. Flung into the real world when his rich benefactor dies, Chance is helped on his life journey by Elizabeth Eve, the young, beautiful, resourceful wife of a dying Wall Street mogul. Accidentally launched into a world of sex, money, power - and national television - he becomes a media superstar, a household name, the man of the hour - and, who knows, perhaps the next President of the United States of America.


Book cover of Braddock's Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution

Jason Cherry Author Of Pittsburgh's Lost Outpost: Captain Trent's Fort

From my list on the French and Indian War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in western Pennsylvania where my dad loved history and always tried to stop at any battlefield or historic sign that happened to be within his field of vision. My mom was a passionate researcher of our family ancestry and I spent our childhood looking in cemeteries for specific names and gravestones. When I was ten years old, we joined a living history reenactment group that portrayed everyday life in the 1750s, and I was immediately hooked. I began researching about our group known as “Captain William Trent’s Company” and after almost thirty years of living and breathing summer weekends at 18th Century historic sites, the pages of Pittsburgh’s Lost Outpost: Captain Trent’s Fort came to life. I picked these five books because I want future readers to be transported like I was when I first read them.

Jason's book list on the French and Indian War

Jason Cherry Why did Jason love this book?

Every author, when writing nonfiction about a particular time period, always hopes that one day readers will read their book and will declare it the best book written on the subject. For me, Dr. Preston’s book was the “mic drop” about a certain disaster in the backwoods of western Pennsylvania in the summer of 1755 that changed the life of a young George Washington and history altogether. His vast research on the battle inspired me to uncover every detail as I began my own journey in writing my first nonfiction book.

By David L. Preston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Braddock's Defeat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On July 9, 1755, British regulars and American colonial troops under the command of General Edward Braddock, commander in chief of the British Army in North America, were attacked by French and Native American forces shortly after crossing the Monongahela River and while making their way to besiege Fort Duquesne in the Ohio Valley, a few miles from what is now Pittsburgh. The long line of red-coated troops struggled to maintain cohesion and discipline as Indian
warriors quickly outflanked them and used the dense cover of the woods to masterful and lethal effect. Within hours, a powerful British army was…


Book cover of Indian Paths of Pennsylvania

Jason Cherry Author Of Pittsburgh's Lost Outpost: Captain Trent's Fort

From my list on the French and Indian War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in western Pennsylvania where my dad loved history and always tried to stop at any battlefield or historic sign that happened to be within his field of vision. My mom was a passionate researcher of our family ancestry and I spent our childhood looking in cemeteries for specific names and gravestones. When I was ten years old, we joined a living history reenactment group that portrayed everyday life in the 1750s, and I was immediately hooked. I began researching about our group known as “Captain William Trent’s Company” and after almost thirty years of living and breathing summer weekends at 18th Century historic sites, the pages of Pittsburgh’s Lost Outpost: Captain Trent’s Fort came to life. I picked these five books because I want future readers to be transported like I was when I first read them.

Jason's book list on the French and Indian War

Jason Cherry Why did Jason love this book?

This book is unique because it shows the reader how you can walk in the footsteps and travel like those trekking across Pennsylvania in the early 18th Century where there were no interstates or turnpikes, but instead, indigenous paths that influenced the roadways we know today. It also gave me a visual where I could experience firsthand what a traveler saw when he or she walked this route.

By Paul A. W. Wallace,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Indian Paths of Pennsylvania as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its original publication in 1965, Indian Paths of Pennsylvania has remained the standard volume for charting the foot trails forged and followed in Pennsylvania by Native Americans, documenting an era of interaction between Indians and European settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries. With the advent of European settlement, the Indian trails that laced the wilderness were so well-situated that there was little reason to forsake them until the age of the automobile. The trails that traverse the mountains “kept the level” so well that they remain an engineering curiosity. Equally as remarkable are the complexity of the system…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Pennsylvania, the French and Indian War, and American Indians?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Pennsylvania, the French and Indian War, and American Indians.

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