100 books like The Lover

By Marguerite Duras, Barbara Bray (translator),

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

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Book cover of Dubliners

David W. Berner Author Of The Islander

From my list on the essence of the Irishman’s melancholic emotions.

Who am I?

Dugan was my grandmother’s maiden name. Her family was from County Wexford, Ireland near Rosslare on the island’s east coast. In recent years I have extensively studied my Irish heritage and have discovered much about my family, and about the DNA running through my own Irish blood. The inquiry has revealed much about my love of storytelling, good conversation, and generally about the way I move through the world. As a writer of several books of personal narrative and fiction, I have tried to write books that capture a certain emotion, and now through my own ancestral discoveries, I understand how those emotions and familial ties are so tightly linked. 

David's book list on the essence of the Irishman’s melancholic emotions

David W. Berner Why did David love this book?

What can one say about this classic? It is the quintessential story of old Dublin.

Published in 1914, the collection of fifteen short stories takes the reader on a journey through middle-class Ireland, touching on Irish nationalism and country pride, but also on the forces that were slowing changing Ireland at the time. The stories move chronologically from boyhood to manhood and culminate with what some critics say is the finest short story ever written, “The Dead.”

This story, like many others in Dubliners is both a meditation on everyday urban life and a study of human relationships, including how we live with our memories, our heritage, and how we find ways to manifest our personal emotions.

By James Joyce,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A definitive edition of perhaps the greatest short story collection in the English language

James Joyce's Dubliners is a vivid and unflinching portrait of "dear dirty Dublin" at the turn of the twentieth century. These fifteen stories, including such unforgettable ones as "Araby," "Grace," and "The Dead," delve into the heart of the city of Joyce's birth, capturing the cadences of Dubliners' speech and portraying with an almost brute realism their outer and inner lives. Dubliners is Joyce at his most accessible and most profound, and this edition is the definitive text, authorized by the Joyce estate and collated from…


Book cover of River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze

Brett Dakin Author Of Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos

From my list on books about living abroad in Asia.

Who am I?

Right after college, I lived abroad in Asia, in the small, landlocked country of Laos. A key theme of the book is the role of the U.S. in the world. During the Vietnam War, Laos was subject to a massive bombing campaign by the U.S., and decades later, the country was still coping with the effects. As unexploded bombs continued to kill people every year, how would my colleagues and neighbors react to an American living among them? The book is mainly about the joys of navigating another culture, and while Laos is unique, I’ve read a lot of books about living abroad in Asia, and common themes certainly emerge.

Brett's book list on books about living abroad in Asia

Brett Dakin Why did Brett love this book?

I love just about anything Peter writes, but this book is special; it’s his first, about his stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in China in the late 1990s, just about the time I moved to Laos. It was a great inspiration to me: the perfect combination of personal memoir and cultural insight.

Bonus: Peter continues to write for the New Yorker magazine about his students from all those years ago and what they are up to today.

By Peter Hessler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Peter Hessler went to China in the late 1990s, he expected to spend a couple of peaceful years teaching English in the town of Fuling on the Yangtze River. But what he experienced - the natural beauty, cultural tension, and complex process of understanding that takes place when one is thrust into a radically different society - surpassed anything he could have imagined. Hessler observes firsthand how major events such as the death of Deng Xiaoping, the return of Hong Kong to the mainland, and the controversial consturction of the Three Gorges Dam have affected even the people of…


Book cover of From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey

Rory MacLean Author Of Under the Dragon: Travels in a Betrayed Land

From my list on Myanmar from someone who has traveled throughout it.

Who am I?

Rory MacLean is one of Britain's most innovative travel writers. His books – which have been translated into a dozen languages — include UK top tens Stalin's Nose and Under the Dragon as well as Pravda Ha Ha and Berlin: Imagine a City, "the most extraordinary work of history I've ever read" according to the Washington Post which named it a "Book of the Year". Over the years he has travelled throughout Burma – apart from when banned by the military government for his writings – coming to know it as a deeply-wounded and fractured golden land of temple bells, be-medalled generals who enrich themselves through drug deals and ever-optimistic men and women who fight on to restore its ‘democratic transition’.

Rory's book list on Myanmar from someone who has traveled throughout it

Rory MacLean Why did Rory love this book?

"Nearly every night I dream of the Shan State, of Mandalay, of the jungle. The landscapes of my dreams resemble real ones, yet they shift like images on silver screens…" Pascal Khoo Thwe’s mesmerizing biography stretches from his grandmother’s creation stories to civil war and a chance conversation about James Joyce which leads to a new life in Britain. A minor masterpiece.

By Pascal Khoo Thwe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked From the Land of Green Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The astonishing story of a young man's upbringing in a remote tribal village in Burma and his journey from his strife-torn country to the tranquil quads of Cambridge.

In lyrical prose, Pascal Khoo Thwe describes his childhood as a member of the Padaung hill tribe, where ancestor worship and communion with spirits blended with the tribe's recent conversion to Christianity. In the 1930s, Pascal's grandfather captured an Italian Jesuit, mistaking him for a giant or a wild beast; the Jesuit in turn converted the tribe. (The Padaung are famous for their 'giraffe women' - so-called because their necks are ritually…


Book cover of A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East

Idanna Pucci Author Of The Lady of Sing Sing: An American Countess, an Italian Immigrant, and Their Epic Battle for Justice in New York's Gilded Age

From my list on far-flung places and times.

Who am I?

Early in life, I felt the presence of a “guardian angel” who would take my hand and accompany my mind to imagine distant cultures. I grew up in Florence, and in our history, there were so many tales of people coming from afar, and of Florentines traveling across deserts and oceans. And as time passed, I would be drawn to beautifully written true stories which opened windows onto different epochs and dramas of life in both near and far-flung places of the world.

Idanna's book list on far-flung places and times

Idanna Pucci Why did Idanna love this book?

Warned by a Hong-Kong fortune-teller not to risk flying for a whole year, the author – a vastly experienced Far East war and revolutions correspondent of the German Der Spiegel – took what he called “the first step into an unknown world.” It turned out to be one of the most extraordinary years he ever spent: he was marked by death and instead he was reborn. Geography expanded under his feet. Magnificently written in the best traditions of travel literature. A full immersion into the invisible world and belief systems that shape Southeast Asian cultures.

By Tiziano Terzani,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Fortune-Teller Told Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Warned by a fortune-teller not to risk flying, the author - a seasoned correspondent - took to travelling by rail, road and sea. Consulting fortune-tellers and shamans wherever he went, he learnt to understand and respect older ways of life and beliefs now threatened by the crasser forms of Western modernity.

William Shawcross in the Literary Review praised Terzani for 'his beautifully written adventure story... a voyage of self-discovery... He sees fortune-tellers, soothsayers, astrologers, chiromancers, seers, shamans, magicians, palmists, frauds, men and women of god (many gods) all over Asia and in Europe too... Almost every page and every story…


Book cover of Iron & Silk

Brett Dakin Author Of Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos

From my list on books about living abroad in Asia.

Who am I?

Right after college, I lived abroad in Asia, in the small, landlocked country of Laos. A key theme of the book is the role of the U.S. in the world. During the Vietnam War, Laos was subject to a massive bombing campaign by the U.S., and decades later, the country was still coping with the effects. As unexploded bombs continued to kill people every year, how would my colleagues and neighbors react to an American living among them? The book is mainly about the joys of navigating another culture, and while Laos is unique, I’ve read a lot of books about living abroad in Asia, and common themes certainly emerge.

Brett's book list on books about living abroad in Asia

Brett Dakin Why did Brett love this book?

Another inspiration for me was Mark’s first book, about his experience in the 1980s teaching English and studying martial arts in China. One of the first books to explore life in China after the reforms that followed the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, this book has become a classic.

A few years after this book was published, he even starred in a film adaptation! I’m a little old to do that now.

By Mark Salzman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Iron & Silk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This large print edition recounts the true adventures of a young martial arts student in China. Told as a series of lightly sketched episodes, the book allows the reader a glimpse of Chinese culture largely unaccessible to foreigners.


Book cover of Survival in the Killing Fields

James Taing Author Of Under the Naga Tail: A True Story of Survival, Bravery, and Escape from the Cambodian Genocide

From my list on surviving impossible odds.

Who am I?

Since arriving as a refugee in America, my father, Mae Bunseng has always wanted to tell his story. It would take many decades later for me, as I was coming of age, to consider what exactly my father had lived through. I was shocked at what he told me and knew his story had to be told. Thus over a decade ago I worked with my him to what eventually became Under the Naga Tail. In addition to this book, along the way, a short documentary called Ghost Mountain was created and released on PBS, which is accessible for streaming here. The film would win the best documentary at the HAAPI Film Festival.

James' book list on surviving impossible odds

James Taing Why did James love this book?

Haing Ngor, is still only one of three Asian actors to win an Oscar, received in 1985 for Best Supporting Actor in his portrayal of journalist Dith Pran for the film, The Killing Fields. Remarkably Haing Ngor himself was a survivor of the genocide in Cambodia, a trained Doctor at the time before the Khmer Rouge enacted their devastating atrocities upon the country. He would only survive torture by pretending to be an uneducated taxi driver. This book will leave you in awe and inspired, as it did for me, of Haing Ngor’s life. He resettles in America, doing jobs cleaning latrines to suddenly finding himself becoming Hollywood famous overnight. He was an important voice in the advocacy of human rights, until he, unfortunately, passed away in 1996.

By Haing Ngor, Roger Warner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Survival in the Killing Fields as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an autobiographical account of life in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, written by the Oscar-winning actor from "The Killing Fields", whose own experiences under the Khmer Rouge were more shocking than those of Dith Pran, the character he played. The Khmer Rouge, led by Maoist fanatics, laid waste to the social fabric of Cambodia, forcing the entire population into agricultural labour camps and murdering those they considered bourgeois or intellectual. As a doctor, Haing S. Ngor was a special target of the Khmer Rouge; his family was wiped out, his wife died from starvation in his arms, and…


Book cover of A Doll's House

Núria Añó Author Of The Salon of Exiled Artists in California

From my list on female anti-heroes.

Who am I?

Núria Añó is a Spanish novelist and biographer. She writes on authors like Elfriede Jelinek, Patricia Highsmith, Salka Viertel, Alexandre Dumas fils, Franz Werfel or Karen Blixen. Her writing centers on the characters’ psychology, often through the use of anti-heroes. The characters stand out most about her work; they are more relevant than the topic itself. With an introspection, a reflection, not sentimental, but feminine, she finds a unique balance between the marginal worlds of parallels. Her novels deal with important social and current themes like injustice or lack of communication between individuals.

Núria's book list on female anti-heroes

Núria Añó Why did Núria love this book?

A controversial play because of its end. Nora Helmer is the main character, a Norwegian married woman, wife of a bank manager, and a mother of three. Her life elapses day after day without opportunities for self-fulfillment in the last decades of the 19th century. I can’t say this female character is a feminist for its time, because she lives in a world full of laws made by men; so, in this sense she is like a doll, a superficial and wasteful person, and she changes slowly from act to act; she feels empty, she contemplates killing herself and at the end of the play Nora leaves her husband and family trying to escape from a stifling male-dominated society. Although this play was not intended written as a feminist, it has a great historical value in this field. If after reading you try to imagine what kind of life…

By Henrik Ibsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the best-known, most frequently performed of modern plays, A Doll's House richly displays the genius with which Henrik Ibsen pioneered modern, realistic prose drama. In the central character of Nora, Ibsen epitomized the human struggle against the humiliating constraints of social conformity. Nora's ultimate rejection of a smothering marriage and life in "a doll's house" shocked theatergoers of the late 1800s and opened new horizons for playwrights and their audiences.
But daring social themes are only one aspect of Ibsen's power as a dramatist. A Doll's House shows as well his gifts for creating realistic dialogue, a suspenseful…


Book cover of The Piano Teacher

Núria Añó Author Of The Salon of Exiled Artists in California

From my list on female anti-heroes.

Who am I?

Núria Añó is a Spanish novelist and biographer. She writes on authors like Elfriede Jelinek, Patricia Highsmith, Salka Viertel, Alexandre Dumas fils, Franz Werfel or Karen Blixen. Her writing centers on the characters’ psychology, often through the use of anti-heroes. The characters stand out most about her work; they are more relevant than the topic itself. With an introspection, a reflection, not sentimental, but feminine, she finds a unique balance between the marginal worlds of parallels. Her novels deal with important social and current themes like injustice or lack of communication between individuals.

Núria's book list on female anti-heroes

Núria Añó Why did Núria love this book?

Elfriede Jelinek has many anti-heroines in novels and plays, but I pick Erika Kohut, a repressed Austrian piano teacher who in her late thirties is still living under the power of her stifling elderly mother. Vienna, the city of music and great composers like Franz Schubert, is seen not only through the Vienna Conservatory but inside peep-shops that Erika frequently visits to escape from her mother. Although she is a masochist and self-mutilates, she begins a relationship with Walter, a new student, and gives him the instructions through an atypical letter. Jelinek's work makes me feel many things, not only due to her stories and characters but also the depth of her writing! The importance of her voices in novels and plays is extraordinary, her prose is satirical and very critical. She looks at their characters psychologically, from the deep of human behavior.

By Elfriede Jelinek, Joachim Neugroschel (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of Elena Ferrante's Top 40 Best Books by Women

Erika Kohut teaches piano at the Vienna Conservatory by day. By night she trawls the city's porn shows while her mother, whom she loves and hates in equal measure, waits up for her. Into this emotional pressure-cooker bounds music student and ladies' man Walter Klemmer.

With Walter as her student, Erika spirals out of control, consumed by the ecstasy of self-destruction. A haunting tale of morbid voyeurism and masochism, The Piano Teacher, first published in 1983, is Elfreide Jelinek's Masterpiece.

Jelinek was awarded the Nobel Prize For Literature in 2004…


Book cover of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Mo Moulton Author Of The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and Her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women

From my list on fans of Dorothy L. Sayers.

Who am I?

I got hooked on mystery novels as a kid reading the Encyclopedia Brown stories. Something about the combination of a great story and a puzzle to solve is irresistible to me.  As a historian, I’m interested in communities, and especially how people understood themselves as being part of the new kinds of economic, political, and cultural communities that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century. When I learned about Dorothy L. Sayers’ lifelong writing group, the wryly named ‘Mutual Admiration Society’, I was thrilled at the chance to combine my professional interests with my personal passion for detective fiction. 

Mo's book list on fans of Dorothy L. Sayers

Mo Moulton Why did Mo love this book?

This book is a wild ride, start to finish, and there is nothing I could write that would prepare any reader for it. I wasn’t prepared when I picked it up.

It opens with a conventional-enough discovery of a murder victim. From there, there’s astrology, William Blake, animal rights, mushroom foraging, feminism, violence, beauty, and small-town politics in an overwintering resort town on the Polish-Czech border.

The narrator’s voice is utterly unique: if she walked into my house, I’d know her right away. And I’d be slightly alarmed and thrilled, exactly how I felt while reading this transcendent, angry, funny novel. Like Sayers, Tokarczuk writes with sly, smart humour; she adds, in a way I think Sayers would have appreciated, a pulsing undercurrent of rage at injustice.

By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (translator),

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD, Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Olga Tokarczuk returns with a subversive, entertaining noir novel. In a remote Polish village, Janina Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. She is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she's unconventional, believing in the stars; and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, Duszejko becomes involved in the investigation. By…


Book cover of Possession

Essie Fox Author Of The Fascination

From my list on inspirational and eerie Gothic.

Who am I?

As a writer of dark historical novels, I'm always drawn to other books that reflect my gothic themes. I think this interest first began when I read Wuthering Heights, soon afterwards studying the Victorian Sensation novels at university. These vividly described and densely plot-driven stories, often with shocking twists and vivid casts of characters, would thrill and entrance me. Afterwards I'd look out for any newly published books by contemporary writers dealing with similar ideas. I can't describe how it felt when I wrote one myself and saw it on the bookshop shelves. 

Essie's book list on inspirational and eerie Gothic

Essie Fox Why did Essie love this book?

I read this when it was published in 1990, and I've lost count of how many times I've read the novel since.

It is a big complex read in which some modern-day academics chase a treasure hunt of clues to discover the truth about the secret love affair of a famed Victorian writer. Meanwhile, in the past, through the devices of poems and letters we watch that love affair unfold with all its tragic consequences.

Both literary and intellectual, this compelling story of secrets, lies, and mysteries has a wonderful cast. 

By A.S. Byatt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets. Following a trail of letters, journals and poems they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time.

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE


5 book lists we think you will like!

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