100 books like The Paper Palace

By Miranda Cowley Heller,

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

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The Outermost House

By Henry Beston,

Book cover of The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

John Sunderland Author Of On My Way to Jorvik: a humorous memoir of how a boy with a vision became a radical designer

From the list on books by descriptive popularists with humour.

Who am I?

I’m a storyteller. I studied graphic design, animation, and film and became the title designer of Yorkshire Television’s game show 3*2*1 and directed an art-directed film and animation for British television and cinema. I was the Project Designer of the original Jorvik Viking Centre (1984). By 2008 I designed and built 25 award-winning cultural heritage centres and completed 150 international consultancies, producing and directing my exhibition documentaries. I learned how important writing was to my work. When it came down to it, whatever technique I used in the telling, there was always the story behind it as the way to transport the audience into a mentally immersive experience.

John's book list on books by descriptive popularists with humour

Why did John love this book?

I love Cape Cod and I was fortunate to live on the edge of the sea between 1997-2003. Skillfully written by one of America’s greatest writers of the natural habitat, it transports you to a place. It reminds me of what it felt like to live far out in Cape Cod on the North Atlantic at its furthest reach on the east coast of the United States. Living there for several years and spending time in nature with the sea, beach, dunes, and my bicycle, I learned to love its moods, wildlife, and great sense of mystery. I totally identified with this man’s extraordinary experience and how it was years ago. A wonderfully descriptive book that helps you experience with all your senses what it’s like to live next to the sea alone. 

By Henry Beston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The seventy-fifth anniversary edition of the classic book about Cape Cod, "written with simplicity, sympathy, and beauty" (New York Herald Tribune)

A chronicle of a solitary year spent on a Cape Cod beach, The Outermost House has long been recognized as a classic of American nature writing. Henry Beston had originally planned to spend just two weeks in his seaside home, but was so possessed by the mysterious beauty of his surroundings that he found he "could not go."

Instead, he sat down to try and capture in words the wonders of the magical landscape he found himself in thrall…

The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak,

Book cover of The Book Thief

Annie Lyons Author Of The Air Raid Book Club

From the list on WW1 and 2 fiction featuring brilliant female characters.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved history. When I wrote The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett in 2019, I particularly enjoyed writing Eudora’s flashback scenes set during the Second World War and decided, in my wisdom, to write a novel entirely set during that time. After a lot of research (disappearing down the occasional rabbit hole), I began to write The Air Raid Book Club, creating a cast of female characters who show quiet courage and incredible resilience as they support their community by forming a book club during the course of the war. It was a joy to write and I hope readers derive similar joy from reading it and the books I’ve recommended!

Annie's book list on WW1 and 2 fiction featuring brilliant female characters

Why did Annie love this book?

Sometimes as a writer you read books that make you think, ‘I wish I’d thought of that’ and so it is with The Book Thief.

For me, the idea of casting death as a character is brilliant but to portray him as the narrator, and one with a sense of humour too is genius. Through his eyes we are able to see not just the horror but the humanity of the people living in Nazi Germany and particularly the main character, Liesel. She is a smart young girl reeling from personal tragedy and fascinated by words.

She steals books that are threatened with destruction to read with Max, the Jewish man hidden by her foster parents. Powerful and original, it tells you everything you need to know about love, death, and humanity.

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked The Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

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 Movement of Stars

Katherine Sherbrooke Author Of Leaving Coy's Hill

From the list on the real lives of kick-ass women.

Who am I?

I was never much of a history student. Facts and figures rarely stick in my brain until I have a character—their feelings, hopes, fears, and dreams—to pair them with, so I rely a lot on historical fiction to understand different places and times. I’m also a believer that our culture too often serves up the impression that marginalized people have forever hopelessly struggled, held back by those in power. But there are so many true stories that reveal the opposite, in this case, women fighting for their dreams and winning! I aim to bring these stories to light in a way that keeps the pages turning. 

Katherine's book list on the real lives of kick-ass women

Why did Katherine love this book?

Maria Mitchell, raised as a Nantucket Quaker, was the first woman to discover and name a new comet, no easy task in the 1840s when women were not meant to study astronomy, let alone when her only instrument was a small telescope on an island roof. Brill takes artistic license with Mitchell’s story, adding nuance and detail likely outside the scope of her research, and delivers a riveting tale of a woman determined to live her dreams, no matter how high the barriers to achieving them.  

By Amy Brill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Amy Brill's The Movement of Stars tells a story of illicit love and extraordinary ambition.

It is 1845, and Hannah Gardner Price dreams of a world infinitely larger than the small Quaker community where she has lived all 25 years of her life - for, as an amateur astronomer, she secretly hopes to discover a comet and win the King of Denmark's prize for doing so.

But she can only indulge her passion for astronomy as long as the men in her life - her father, brother and family friends - are prepared to support it, and so she treads…


By Mary Oliver,

Book cover of Upstream: Selected Essays

Deirdre Heekin Author Of An Unlikely Vineyard: The Education of a Farmer and Her Quest for Terroir

From the list on wine, love, and landscape.

Who am I?

I am a winegrower, farmer, writer, photographer, and pop-upeuse. I fell in love with food and wine while living and working in Italy, then returned stateside to create an homage to the people and place that embraced us and taught us so much. That endeavor--the restaurant osteria pane e salute opened with my chef husband Caleb Barber—was where I curated the wine program and became passionate about wines farmed artfully. I began working as a winegrower in 2007, a personal landscape experiment that led me down the rabbit hole of growing and making wine from hybrid varieties focused on regenerative viticulture and low intervention winemaking.

Deirdre's book list on wine, love, and landscape

Why did Deirdre love this book?

Mary Oliver, as a poet and an essayist, writes with a lyric sword. Upstream is a collection of essays that reflect her willingness to lose herself in the mysteries and intricacies of the natural world. In this work, Oliver contemplates the joy of her work, her passionate eye for observation, her ability and responsibility to write and think about the flora and fauna, the flowers, the grass, the water, the sky, and how they connect us to the natural world, to each other, and to ourselves.

The sheer power of her writing and command of language has always drawn me in, what pushes me as a person, a farmer, and a writer to give into the “stream” of our consciousness, to stop and observe, but to also keep moving forward with the power of words and my experience of the world around me.

By Mary Oliver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of O, The Oprah Magazine's Ten Best Books of the Year

The New York Times bestselling collection of essays from beloved poet, Mary Oliver.

"There's hardly a page in my copy of Upstream that isn't folded down or underlined and scribbled on, so charged is Oliver's language . . ." -Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air

"Uniting essays from Oliver's previous books and elsewhere, this gem of a collection offers a compelling synthesis of the poet's thoughts on the natural, spiritual and artistic worlds . . ." -The New York Times

"In the beginning I was so young and such…

Seating Arrangements

By Maggie Shipstead,

Book cover of Seating Arrangements

Lauren Edmondson Author Of Wedding of the Season

From the list on wild family weddings.

Who am I?

Weddings are stressful for even the most functional of families. I should know—it took me nearly two years to plan my own! The process of manufacturing the big day, and attending to all the trappings of the wedding industrial complex, really brings out our best and our worst. In my most recent novel, I found that a big, splashy wedding provided such a fun and fascinating way to explore the tensions and enduring love within families, friends, and couples. If done right, plots involving weddings can smash tired “bridezilla” and “monster-in-law” tropes. As we enter the summer wedding season, I hope this list of books keeps you laughing and loving! 

Lauren's book list on wild family weddings

Why did Lauren love this book?

No one does family dysfunction in beautiful places like Maggie Shipstead.

In this novel, she sweeps us to a fictional island in New England (I imagined Martha’s Vineyard), and into the Van Meter family who, for all their wealth, have the communication skills of elementary school kids at recess.

Part comedy of manners, part dramatic exploration of our very human obsessions and anxieties, you’ll want to read this book with a lobster roll and a gin and tonic nearby.  

By Maggie Shipstead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling author of Great Circle

'Joyously good' DAILY MAIL

'A ferociously clever comedy of manners' GUARDIAN

'A wise, sophisticated and funny novel about family, fidelity, class and crisis' MARIE CLAIRE

'A well-observed, hilarious, yet moving novel' WOMAN & HOME

New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize and 2012 L.A. Times First Novel Prize

The Van Meters have gathered at their family retreat on the New England island of Waskeke to celebrate the marriage of daughter Daphne to an impeccably appropriate young man. The weekend is full of lobster and champagne, salt…

The Time Traveler's Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

Paul Burman Author Of The Snowing And Greening Of Thomas Passmore

From the list on time-bending that turn reality inside-out.

Who am I?

I’m the author of three novels, several short stories and quite a few articles about writing and literature. While I’ve haven’t aimed to write for a specific genre—all three of my novels are different in this respect—my plots usually focus on a mystery. I enjoy novels with strong, credible characters, which are based in a recognisable, everyday reality, but where bizarre events can turn the world upside down.

Paul's book list on time-bending that turn reality inside-out

Why did Paul love this book?

I enjoy the occasional romance, but often want something more than a traditional linear structure with predictable character trajectories, and The Time Traveler’s Wife won me over completely.

Not only does it play with the concept of time, pitting two characters in a relationship with one another at various non-sequential points in their lives (Henry meets Clare when she’s six and he’s thirty-six, they get married when she’s twenty-two and he’s thirty!), but it does it oh-so-convincingly. What’s more, it tells a superb love story at the same time—one of the best.

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Time Traveler's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a series on HBO starring Rose Leslie and Theo James!

The iconic time travel love story and mega-bestselling first novel from Audrey Niffenegger is "a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time" (Chicago Tribune).

Henry DeTamble is a dashing, adventurous librarian who is at the mercy of his random time time-traveling abilities. Clare Abshire is an artist whose life moves through a natural sequential course. This is the celebrated and timeless tale of their love. Henry and Clare's passionate affair is built and endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap…

A Little Life

By Hanya Yanagihara,

Book cover of A Little Life

Catherine Adel West Author Of The Two Lives of Sara

From the list on the strengths of found family.

Who am I?

Catherine Adel West was born and raised in Chicago, IL where she currently resides. She graduated with both her Bachelor and Master of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois - Urbana. Her debut novel, Saving Ruby King, was published in June 2020. Her work is also published in Black Fox Literary Magazine, Five2One, Better than Starbucks, Doors Ajar, 805 Lit + Art, The Helix Magazine, Lunch Ticket, and Gay MagazineThe Two Lives of Sara is her sophomore novel.

Catherine's book list on the strengths of found family

Why did Catherine love this book?

A both excruciating and hopeful look into the bonds between four men: JB, Jude, Malcolm, and Willem, this phenomenal book delves into the love, hate, trauma, and acceptance filtered through male friendships. From young adulthood into manhood, Yanagihara takes us through the huge moments and small intimate moments shaping these lifelong relationships ultimately defining these characters and guiding them throughout their lives.

By Hanya Yanagihara,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Little Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2015
Shortlisted for the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction 2016
Winner of Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2016
Finalist for the US National Book Awards 2015

The million copy bestseller, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted,…

The Pact

By Jodi Picoult,

Book cover of The Pact

Rochelle B. Weinstein Author Of When We Let Go

From the list on tugging on every one of your heartstrings.

Who am I?

Not only am I the author of seven women’s fiction novels, I’m a voracious reader who believes she was raised by Judy Blume and Sidney Sheldon. In our broken home, reading was an escape, a salve for the wound, a place where I felt heard and understood. My novels touch on deep emotions—real and relatable. If I don’t capture that feeling when I’m reading through my drafts, I dig deeper. And that’s the thing about a great book, that gut punch, that slide under my skin, I get you. There’s no better read than the one that pulls the heartstrings and gives you all the feels.    

Rochelle's book list on tugging on every one of your heartstrings

Why did Rochelle love this book?

The Pact was one of those books that made me want to become a writer. Picoult captured a controversial topic amongst young lovers and friends, and she did it with compassion and heart. I felt in my bones…I need to write a book like that. And that’s what I strive to do: to make readers feel. To make them think. To leave them wondering: what would I do in a similar situation? And mostly, opening their eyes to all the different sides to a single story, and seeing themselves…and the growth that’s possible. The Pact tells a great story, but the complexities of our lives are the real takeaway. 

By Jodi Picoult,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Picoult is a master manipulator, weaving gripping, dramatic plotlines. We defy you not to be gripped.' Glamour

For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from takeaways to school drop-offs. So it's no surprise when teenagers Chris and Emily, soul mates since they were born, start dating.

When the late-night call comes in from hospital, no one is prepared for the appalling truth: Emily has died from a gunshot wound to the head as part of an apparent suicide pact. The gun holds a single unspent bullet…

That Quail, Robert

By Margaret Stanger,

Book cover of That Quail, Robert

Elizabeth Gehrman Author Of Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man Who Brought It Back from Extinction

From the list on birds and life.

Who am I?

I never had a particular interest in birds until I heard about David Wingate and the cahow; I’m just a reporter who was smitten by a compelling story. I often write about science and the environment, as well as travel and other topics, for publications including the Boston Globe, Archaeology, and Harvard Medicine, and while working on Rare Birds I got hooked on these extraordinary creatures and the iconoclastic obsessives who have become their stewards in the Anthropocene era. You don’t have to care about birds to love their stories — but in the end, you will.

Elizabeth's book list on birds and life

Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Originally published in 1966, this charming illustrated tale continues to sell briskly. Written by the neighbor of a Cape Cod doctor who finds a quail egg abandoned in his yard and warms it with a table lamp until it hatches, it tells of how Robert, as the bird (later discovered to be female) is dubbed, imprints on “his” adopted family, who quickly realize that “far from having a bird in captivity, we were helplessly and hopelessly ensnared and enamored.” What follows is an interspecies love story between the “highly sociable,” housetrained, telephone-answering, sauerkraut-devouring fluffball and the humans she never ceases to beguile.

By Margaret Stanger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The acclaimed story of the little bird that won the nation’s heart

He’ll never live, the neighbors all said. But Robert, the abandoned quail chick would prove them wrong. Born on a kitchen counter in a house on Cape Cod, raised in a box surrounded by a lamb’s wool duster and a small lamp, Robert’s life began auspiciously.

Beginning with a Bash

By Alice Tilton,

Book cover of Beginning with a Bash

Angela M. Sanders Author Of Witch upon a Star

From the list on screwball mysteries from the golden age of detection.

Who am I?

Between humor and pathos, I lean humor. Even the saddest, most shocking events—murder, for instance—can be wrapped in kookiness. Combine this outlook with my love of old things (I’m sitting on a 1920s Chinese wedding bed and drinking from an etched Victorian tumbler at this very moment), and you’ll understand why I’m drawn to vintage screwball detective fiction. Although my mystery novels are cozies, I can’t help but infuse them with some of this screwball wackiness. I want readers to laugh, of course, but also to use my stories as springboards to see the hilarity and wonder in their own lives. 

Angela's book list on screwball mysteries from the golden age of detection

Why did Angela love this book?

Golden Age mystery aficionados know Phoebe Atwood Taylor’s humorous Cape Cod mysteries, but they may not be familiar with the even more hilarious—in my opinion, anyway—mysteries she wrote as Alice Tilton.

A friend lent me Tillton’s The Left Leg. As soon as I’d read its last page, I was on the hunt for the rest of them.

Beginning with a Bash is the first in Tilton’s series starring Leonidas Witherall, a boys’ school headmaster, radio detective story writer, and dead ringer for William Shakespeare.

These mysteries read more like capers, with Witherall ricocheting around Boston as he stumbles over corpses, eludes gangsters, dons disguises, and deals with impudent children and persistent dogs. Guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.

By Alice Tilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beginning with a Bash as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Tilton, Alice, Taylor, Phoebe Atwood

5 book lists we think you will like!

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