100 books like The Madness Vase

By Andrea Gibson,

Here are 100 books that The Madness Vase fans have personally recommended if you like The Madness Vase. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Lynne Malcolm Author Of All In The Mind: Fascinating, inspiring and transformative stories from the forefront of brain science

From my list on psychology of the human experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a science journalist and broadcaster with a degree in Psychology and a deep passion and fascination for people, their behavior, and the workings of the human mind.  For nine years, I produced and presented the popular Australian ABC radio program and podcast, All in the Mind, in which I explored a range of topics, including neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, cognitive science, mental health, and human behavior. I’ve received numerous media awards and contributed to media award judging panels. All in the Mind - fascinating, inspiring, and transformative stories from the forefront of brain science is my first book. I continue to write and communicate about the topics I am inspired by. 

Lynne's book list on psychology of the human experience

Lynne Malcolm Why did Lynne love this book?

I found this book inspiring because it takes a different perspective on treating trauma, which is the basis of so many mental health problems. The author draws on his decades of experience treating people who are haunted by their stressful experiences. I love his clear explanation that when people are deeply traumatized by war, disaster, or abuse, their reality is distinctly different from those around them, and it’s like they live on another planet.

He uses stories and case studies to explain his view that the most powerful way to treat psychological trauma is not through the mind but through the body. I love his compassionate stories about how he has successfully helped children and adults heal, not through triggering talk therapy but by using play, yoga, and other physical therapies. His approach may be unconventional, but I admire his dedication and passion for healing deep trauma. 

By Bessel Van Der Kolk,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Body Keeps the Score as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestseller

"Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding and treating traumatic stress and the scope of its impact on society." -Alexander McFarlane, Director of the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies

A pioneering researcher transforms our understanding of trauma and offers a bold new paradigm for healing in this New York Times bestseller

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der…

Book cover of The Book Thief

Michele DeMarco Author Of Holding Onto Air: The Art and Science of Building a Resilient Spirit

From my list on transforming your mental and spiritual health.

Why am I passionate about this?

Officially, I’m an award-winning author and specialist in the fields of psychology, trauma, and spirituality. I’m also a professionally trained therapist, clinical ethicist, and researcher. Ultimately, I’m an ardent believer that the same life that brings us joy also (sometimes) brings us pain. More importantly, that every aspect of life has a role to play in making us who we are today and who we’ll be tomorrow. We don’t always have control over the events in life, but the script we live by is ours to write—and write it we must, as only we can. I’m also a three-time heart attack survivor.

Michele's book list on transforming your mental and spiritual health

Michele DeMarco Why did Michele love this book?

Markus Zusak’s book is definitely not for the faint of heart or those easily bored: its narrator is Death, and the book is over 500 pages long. Not really the kind of book you’d think of for those aged 12 and up (as it’s listed). But it is one that really ought to be universally read.

The book follows two young children battling for survival in Nazi Germany. Entropy hangs in the air like Death’s shadow. Life’s harsh realities—like evil, heartache, pain, and mortality—are ever-present. In Max's (the young boy) dreams, he is boxing with Hitler and lands a punch, knocking the Fuhrer down, but soon he’s overtaken by the crowd.

This is one of the reasons I appreciate this book: winners sometimes lose; bad things happen to good people. And yet, the response to this existential injustice isn’t to become a mere survivor, victim, or martyr. It’s to…

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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


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


Book cover of The Way of Kings

E.A. Field Author Of IRL

From my list on fantasy and sci-fi to take you on an adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on fantasy stories, with Tolkien being the first author I can really remember loving. I have read widely in the genre and love to explore the subgenres of fantasy as well. I have a great group of writing partners and readers who discuss the fantasy and sci-fi genres with me at length. I think all great fantasy stories have some element of what it is to love or be loved and find a place in the world. I am an avid traveler as well and often dream up stories in far away places. 

E.A.'s book list on fantasy and sci-fi to take you on an adventure

E.A. Field Why did E.A. love this book?

What fantasy recommendation would be complete without Brandon Sanderson?

It took me a while to get through this series but well worth the thick books! Sanderson creates such lush world building and intense characters that it’s hard not to get swept up into the story. I like his unique magic system and has the feel of an old-world epic fantasy.

The Way of Kings is the first in the series, not yet finished, and the characters are so well drawn and relatable you can’t help but get invested in their struggles. 

By Brandon Sanderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, Book One of the Stormlight Archive begins an incredible new saga of epic proportion.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and…

Book cover of Legendborn

Dorothy McFalls Author Of The Last Moonlight Dragon

From my list on romantic fantasy novels to escape troubling times.

Why am I passionate about this?

I rediscovered my love of romantic fantasies when my mother went into the hospital, and I needed a place to go to escape the horror of watching a parent’s health fail. I not only buried myself in reading fantasies filled with magical love stories, I started writing them again. Throughout my life, I’ve reached for fantasy novels whenever life got tough. As a child, I would read nearly every fantasy I could find. As an adult, my tastes have changed, and I’m looking for fantasy novels with a romantic twist. But still, it’s the heroine overcoming adversity despite the worst odds that gives me hope and comfort exactly when I need it.

Dorothy's book list on romantic fantasy novels to escape troubling times

Dorothy McFalls Why did Dorothy love this book?

Legendborn is a King Arthur tale set in modern-day Georgia. With that description, how could I not love this book?

Tracy Deonn is a master at blending Southern folk traditions and African lore with Arthurian legends. I fell in love with Bree, the typical Southern teenager starting out at UNC-Chapel Hill. She has magic, but it’s not the same magic as the mages who are gearing up for a magical war.

The tale is a clash of magical cultures topped off with a Romeo and Juliet romance. It grabbed me from the first page, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

By Tracy Deonn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Instant New York Times Bestseller!
Winner of the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe for New Talent Author Award

Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy reinvents the King Arthur legend and “braids together Southern folk traditions and Black Girl Magic into a searing modern tale of grief, power, and self-discovery” (Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles).

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill…

Book cover of Notes of a Crocodile

Shawna Yang Ryan Author Of Green Island

From my list on an otherworldly Taiwan.

Why am I passionate about this?

The ghostly/magical and Taiwan are two of my major interests—I have written about both in my fiction. After living in Taiwan for a few years and getting to know my mother’s side of the family, I gained an appreciation for its complicated history, riveting politics, and the energy of daily life there. Its confluence of people and histories has made it a unique cultural amalgam and these books capture the way folk religion and the spiritual/magical are wedded into the bustling contemporary urban life of Taiwan. I hope you find yourself as enchanted and intrigued by these stories as I have been!

Shawna's book list on an otherworldly Taiwan

Shawna Yang Ryan Why did Shawna love this book?

This affecting and disturbing novel about a group of queer friends in late-80s Taiwan was ahead of its time in content, form, and vision. Premised on the idea of a collection of notebooks, the text incorporates multiple literary forms, and the “otherworldly” element is in Qiu’s use of the crocodile as a literalized metaphor for queer identity. A sobering and captivating read. 

By Qiu Miaojin, Bonnie Huie (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Notes of a Crocodile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize Longlisted for the PEN Translation Prize A New York Times Editors' Choice
The English-language premiere of Qiu Miaojin's coming-of-age novel about queer teenagers in Taiwan, a cult classic in China and winner of the 1995 China Times Literature Award.

An NYRB Classics Original

Set in the post-martial-law era of late-1980s Taipei, Notes of a Crocodile is a coming-of-age story of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan's most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, this cult classic is a…

Book cover of Women

Ore Agbaje-Williams Author Of The Three of Us

From my list on very, very messy relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m genuinely fascinated by human nature and why we behave the way we do, the things that make us act within or out of character, and at what point they become a part of who we are rather than just a lapse in judgment or an isolated incident. Relationships in particular fascinate me because of the way they force us to reckon with our behavior towards ourselves and other people. I love seeing how writers explore and examine those relationships, whether before, after, or during them, and how they allow their characters to move through those moments. Often, despite how far-fetched some of the scenarios may feel, I find myself within their pages.

Ore's book list on very, very messy relationships

Ore Agbaje-Williams Why did Ore love this book?

I rarely read books more than once, but this is one of the few that gets an exception based on its sharpness and ability to show its reader the highs and lows of a new, intoxicating, and hidden relationship.

The protagonist, as far as she knows, is straight, that is until she meets Finn. What happens then is what happens when you know that something is bad for you from the very beginning, but you pursue it anyway. So beautifully and painfully written but impossible to put down.

By Chloe Caldwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A beautiful read / a perfect primer for an explosive lesbian affair / an essential truth' Lena Dunham

'I have meditated repeatedly on what it was about Finn that had me so dismantled.'

A young woman moves from the countryside to the city.
Inexplicably, inexorably and immediately, she falls in love with another woman for the first time in her life.
Finn is nineteen years older than her, wears men's clothes, has a cocky smirk of a smile - and a long-term girlfriend.
With precision, wit and tenderness, Women charts the frenzy and the fall out of love.

Book cover of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

David Ciminello Author Of The Queen of Steeplechase Park

From my list on quirky wisdom filled love stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up queer and Italian in suburban New Jersey in the late 1960s and early 70s, it was the passionate love of food and family that got me through the tough times. I learned to cook from my mother and my grandmothers. I gardened and picked tomatoes with my grandfathers. There was always a pot of simmering tomato gravy and magic meatballs on the stove. My mother’s chicken parmigiana, my paternal grandmother’s homemade ravioli, my maternal grandmother’s stuffed clams, my great aunt’s baked chicken. As a writer, it became my mission to share these secret family recipes and the loving life lessons that saved me.

David's book list on quirky wisdom filled love stories

David Ciminello Why did David love this book?

Through a series of tall tales told by an impish old lady to a lost, lonely woman visiting a nursing home, Fannie Flagg whisks the reader back to the deep south circa 1929 to an off-beat love story between two women who run a cozy café, and a rich mystery that gives the lost woman the courage to make heroic changes in her life.

This delectable book was a huge inspiration for me when writing my debut novel. I love how the wisdom-filled folk-tale-like chapters are quilted together to tell a larger story. And, like my own book, it contains a bucket full of tasty recipes!

By Fannie Flagg,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a now-classic novel about two women: Evelyn, who’s in the sad slump of middle age, and gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode, who’s telling her life story. Her tale includes two more women—the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth—who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, offering good coffee, southern barbecue, and all kinds of love and laughter—even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present will never be quite the same again.
Praise for Fried Green Tomatoes at…

Book cover of Scorched Grace: A Sister Holiday Mystery

Rob Osler Author Of Devil's Chew Toy

From my list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first book love was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The game between author and reader that centers a whodunit has always delighted me. The breadcrumb trail of clues, the misdirection, the inevitable I should have seen it! are my jam. Now an author of whodunits—I have one series published and a second on the way, along with several short stories – I read mysteries with greater scrutiny—in admiration and with a selfish desire to learn from other authors’ envious talents. Each of the books on my list excited me for their excellent storytelling. In the end, I found them just plain entertaining. I hope you do too!

Rob's book list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths

Rob Osler Why did Rob love this book?

A tatted, gold-toothed Catholic nun without a filter who solves crimes? Yes, please!

Thank you, Margot Douaihy, for conjuring a devilishly entertaining amateur sleuth with an almighty irreverence for playing by the rules. I love this book for its quirky-and-them-some cast of characters, smart and sassy dialogue, and clever plot that unfolded to keep me at the edge of the pew.

Praise be that Sister Holiday (the book’s hero) is fronting a series! I am hooked!

By Margot Douaihy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sister Holiday, a chain-smoking, heavily tattooed, queer nun, puts her amateur sleuthing skills to the test in this "unique and confident" debut crime novel (Gillian Flynn).

When Saint Sebastian's School becomes the target of a shocking arson spree, the Sisters of the Sublime Blood and their surrounding New Orleans community are thrust into chaos.

Patience is a virtue, but punk rocker turned nun Sister Holiday isn't satisfied to just wait around for officials to return her home and sanctuary to its former peace, instead deciding to unveil the mysterious attacker herself. Her investigation leads her down a twisty path of…

Book cover of Exalted

Julia Argy Author Of The One

From my list on women grinding their way through late capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a novelist with my debut, The One, out in April 2023. I’m interested in stories about the role of gender, technology, and privacy in our contemporary culture. We spend so many hours at work, yet often the literature we read spends so little time discussing what that experience is actually like. As I wrote my own novel with a narrator flailing so aimlessly through her early post-grad years that she ends up on a reality dating show, I craved other books that tackled what it was like to have to earn a living at the forefront of the text, rather than a nebulous character detail in the background. 

Julia's book list on women grinding their way through late capitalism

Julia Argy Why did Julia love this book?

Exalted follows two women, Emily, an Internet astrologer, and Dawn, a lesbian waitress looking for a connection of any sort.

Dorn’s writing is sharp and funny as she tracks the way that both women are forced to scrape together a living. I love to see a character at work, and Emily’s wry sense of humor as she manipulates viral trends and conjures somewhat bogus readings is a powerful engine for the story.

As the novel progresses, the main characters’ lives begin to overlap, and you begin to wonder whether some destinies are really written in the stars as any good astrologer would insist. 

By Anna Dorn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A brutally funny and observant ride through astrology culture, love, and self-discovery." —NYLON's Most Anticipated Books of 2022

"A depressed Millennial astrologist, a self-hating lesbian with a rage (and drinking) problem, and profound questions of connection and destiny make Exalted an unforgettable read. Clear your schedule and consult your horoscope because Anna Dorn's novel will make you cackle and gasp, and you won't be able to put it down."
—Edan Lepucki

Emily Forrest runs Exalted, the hottest astrology account on Instagram, from her studio apartment in Los Angeles. Burned out on meme-making and listicles, Emily’s passion for astrology is waning…

Book cover of The Price of Salt: Or Carol

Mari SanGiovanni Author Of Greetings From Jamaica, Wish You Were Queer

From my list on LGBTQ+ books that are also movies (…or should be).

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was young and just figuring out the whole gay thing, I had to cross state lines to see the one gay movie and smuggle out the one library book I was too afraid to check out. In the 1970s and 80s I grew up knowing I was part of a group that was rarely talked about, aside from jokes. I've enjoyed so many stories that didn't represent me. If the struggle is real, I want to see, hear, and feel the whole messy bunch of it. I like the uncomfortable process of writing, and make promises that I later break: I can always tone this part down later…and then I never do.

Mari's book list on LGBTQ+ books that are also movies (…or should be)

Mari SanGiovanni Why did Mari love this book?

Groundbreaking at the time, simply because it featured a happy ending between two women…what a concept! Seems like this should not have been a tall order, yet, in 1952, it was a revolutionary idea that a lesbian love story would not end with tragedy which was the recipe of the day if a writer dared to write about forbidden love. 

If you are addicted to push/pull in romance stories where the stakes are high but the characters are willing to jump higher, you may fall in love with this book. 

The novel was mesmerizing and lovingly translated into film. Hollywood learned that if you want a straight audience to easily imagine how a woman who had been living a straight life previously (though not authentically) could fall for another woman, simply cast Cate Blanchett in the film and, boom, everyone gets it.

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Price of Salt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Therese is just an ordinary sales assistant working in a New York department store when a beautiful, alluring woman in her thirties walks up to her counter. Standing there, Therese is wholly unprepared for the first shock of love. Therese is an awkward nineteen-year-old with a job she hates and a boyfriend she doesn't love; Carol is a sophisticated, bored suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce and a custody battle for her only daughter. As Therese becomes irresistibly drawn into Carol's world, she soon realizes how much they both stand to…

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