100 books like The Post-Birthday World

By Lionel Shriver,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Life After Life

Sam Taylor Author Of The Two Loves of Sophie Strom

From my list on making the impossible feel real.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved stories that rearrange reality in some simple, allusive way, including movies like Groundhog Day or The Truman Show. They remind me of a quote about Italo Calvino that I first read when I was a teenager and have loved ever since: ‘He holds a mirror up to life, then writes about the mirror.’ I tend not to be attracted to stories that simply depict reality and even less so to stories that completely abandon reality for an invented fantasy world. All my favorite fictions take place somewhere in between, in the blending of the real and the impossible. 

Sam's book list on making the impossible feel real

Sam Taylor Why did Sam love this book?

It always seemed unfair to me that not only do we get just one life, but we only get to live it once. So I fell in love with this novel from the moment I read its premise: Ursula Todd is born and dies and is born again… and again… and again.

I love that she doesn’t remember her previous lives except as vague intuitions that help her avoid making the same mistakes twice–and I also love that avoiding those mistakes often means she makes other (often fatal) mistakes. I found this book funny, moving, and thought-provoking, but what I love most about it is the way its down-to-earth, realistic style allowed me to fully inhabit the impossible conceit at its heart. 

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…


Book cover of Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want

Chris Guillebeau Author Of Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in an Economy That Hates You

From my list on thinking differently and live unconventionally.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a curious writer and compulsive traveler. My lifelong goal is to communicate the message “You don’t have to live your life the way others expect.” From 2002-2015 I went to every country in the world, chronicling the journey on my blog The Art of Non-Conformity. At first I thought the blog would be just about travel, but along the way I began meeting lots of people interested in living unconventionally. Ever since, I've been writing books, hosting events, and avoiding traditional employment by any means necessary. 

Chris' book list on thinking differently and live unconventionally

Chris Guillebeau Why did Chris love this book?

It's no exaggeration to say this book changed my life. I read it when I was briefly home in the US during a four-year stint as an aid worker in West Africa. It caused me to think deeply about the next stage of life, which involved going to every country and eventually starting a blog that became a whole new career.

If you've read any other "life design" books in the past two decades, one way or another the authors were influenced by Barbara Sher. Go back to where it started!

By Barbara Sher, Annie Gottlieb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cindy Fox was a waitress. Now she’s a pilot. Peter Johnson was a truck driver. Now he’s a dairy farmer. Tina Forbes was a struggling artist. Now she’s a successful one. Alan Rizzo was an editor. Now he’s a bookstore owner.

What they have in common—and what you can share—are Barbara Sher’s effective strategies for making real changes in your life. This human, practical program puts your vague yearnings and dreams to work for you—with concrete results. You’ll learn how to

• Discover your strengths and skills
• Turn your fears and negative feelings into positive tools
• Diagram the…


Book cover of Never Let Me Go

Suzanne Heywood Author Of Wavewalker: A Memoir of Breaking Free

From my list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm fascinated by these books about coming of age because they all share elements of my own experience. While I was growing up, I was told by my parents that my life on board our boat Wavewalker was ‘privileged’ and that I was lucky not to live a ‘boring’ life like other children. It took me a long time to question this view, and even longer to find an escape. As an adult looking back, I now know that many of the things I was told by my parents were not true. That experience of growing up and discovering that what you have been told is not right is deeply disturbing, while also being liberating.

Suzanne's book list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out

Suzanne Heywood Why did Suzanne love this book?

I love Kazuo Ishiguro’s work and this is my favourite book of his.

Never Let Me Go is the fictional story of a childhood that initially seems acceptable, despite the early indications that something strange is going on. As the story proceeds, however, it becomes clear that this is a horrific world, one in which children are being grown for their organs.

But the power of the story for me is not the revelation itself but the way in which it is revealed, layer by layer, as the characters become older and more knowing. That experience of becoming aware that all is not right with your world, and then trying to come to terms with that, is something I can resonate with.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Never Let Me Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most acclaimed novels of the 21st Century, from the Nobel Prize-winning author

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense…


Book cover of Gloriana: or The Unfulfill'd Queen

Ian R. MacLeod Author Of Wake Up And Dream

From my list on alternative alternate history novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning English writer of what's broadly termed science fiction and fantasy, at least in the sense that most of my work features strange events and fantastic settings. But I'm also deeply drawn to naturalistic fiction and have often found that one of the best and most exciting ways to explore the thrillingly odd without losing touch with the believably real is to take a step sideways in history. Alternate history isn't just about the Nazis winning World War Two, and the Confederate American South defeating the Yankee North. A good, original alternate history can open up the traditional novel into fresh worlds and new vistas.

Ian's book list on alternative alternate history novels

Ian R. MacLeod Why did Ian love this book?

Moorcock might be best known for his sword-and-sorcery Elric novels, but he's also a writer of considerable daring and style. Gloriana tells of a Queen of Albion whose empire stretches from the great continent of Virginia to far Hindustan, and then on to Cathay beyond. Half-familiar figures and place names vie with pagan myths and strange ceremonies inside a palace so vast and rambling that every kind of wonder, and the darkest of secrets, have room to hide. The settings and the language are glorious, and the characters, and their schemes and machinations, come vibrantly alive. This is a vivid dream of an alternate queen and an alternate England.

By Michael Moorcock,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tiem and again, small numbers of Germans, civilian nad military, noble and ignoble, scheme to topple the Fuhrer, and on several occasions they came within minutes - or inches - of succeeding. Fest explores why they tried, why they found so little support either in Germany or outside it, and why they failed.


Book cover of Possession

Emily Matchar Author Of In The Shadow Of The Greenbrier

From my list on historical fiction with mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love historical settings and detail – I love coming away from a novel feeling like I’ve also learned something about the world. But I also like lots and lots of plot and intensity. Historical fiction slash mystery novels hit the spot just right. Though my own work thus far is more on the historical fiction side, I do try to plot it like a mystery, with lots of questions, revelations, and discoveries to be made as you go along.  

Emily's book list on historical fiction with mysteries

Emily Matchar Why did Emily love this book?

A gorgeous, extravagant dual-timeline historical mystery about late-20th-century academics researching a pair of (fictional) Victorian poets – did they or didn’t they?

If you like library settings, fictional documents (letters, poems – lots of poems), and a good dose of poking-fun-at-academia, you’ll love it. Yes, it is also a movie (though I can’t speak to it). 

By A.S. Byatt,

Why should I read it?

9 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


Book cover of A Wild Sheep Chase

Chris Guillebeau Author Of Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in an Economy That Hates You

From my list on thinking differently and live unconventionally.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a curious writer and compulsive traveler. My lifelong goal is to communicate the message “You don’t have to live your life the way others expect.” From 2002-2015 I went to every country in the world, chronicling the journey on my blog The Art of Non-Conformity. At first I thought the blog would be just about travel, but along the way I began meeting lots of people interested in living unconventionally. Ever since, I've been writing books, hosting events, and avoiding traditional employment by any means necessary. 

Chris' book list on thinking differently and live unconventionally

Chris Guillebeau Why did Chris love this book?

This was the book that set me off on a decade-long journey of reading (and re-reading) Murakami. Along with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, another favorite, I've re-read it at least twice.

So why is it about thinking differently? Because the book is written so differently! If you've read any recent speculative fiction, the author likely owes a debt to Murakami and his wondrous approach to narrative storytelling. You'll get lost in a bizarre, beautiful quest that takes on all sorts of twists and turns.

By Haruki Murakami,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Wild Sheep Chase as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Features a cast of bizarre characters, including a sheep with a mysterious star on its back, caught up in a Nietzschean quest for power.


Book cover of How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Chris Guillebeau Author Of Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in an Economy That Hates You

From my list on thinking differently and live unconventionally.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a curious writer and compulsive traveler. My lifelong goal is to communicate the message “You don’t have to live your life the way others expect.” From 2002-2015 I went to every country in the world, chronicling the journey on my blog The Art of Non-Conformity. At first I thought the blog would be just about travel, but along the way I began meeting lots of people interested in living unconventionally. Ever since, I've been writing books, hosting events, and avoiding traditional employment by any means necessary. 

Chris' book list on thinking differently and live unconventionally

Chris Guillebeau Why did Chris love this book?

A very early (published in 1908!) example of the personal development genre. Some of Bennett's recommendations may seem a little outdated now, but the concept of "you should work on improving yourself, and here's how" still feels fresh and original. 

A secret publishing dream of mine is to update this book and introduce it to a new generation of readers. But don't wait until I'm able to do that (or until someone beats me to it). Jump in now and read the original.

By Arnold Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2019 Reprint of 1910 Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition software. In the book, first published in 1908, Bennett addressed the large and growing number of white-collar workers that had accumulated since the advent of the Industrial Revolution. In his view, these workers put in eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, at jobs they did not enjoy, and at worst hated. They worked to make a living, but their daily existence consisted of waking up, getting ready for work, working as little as possible during the workday, going home, unwinding, going to…


Book cover of My Life as a Russian Novel: A Memoir

Chris Guillebeau Author Of Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in an Economy That Hates You

From my list on thinking differently and live unconventionally.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a curious writer and compulsive traveler. My lifelong goal is to communicate the message “You don’t have to live your life the way others expect.” From 2002-2015 I went to every country in the world, chronicling the journey on my blog The Art of Non-Conformity. At first I thought the blog would be just about travel, but along the way I began meeting lots of people interested in living unconventionally. Ever since, I've been writing books, hosting events, and avoiding traditional employment by any means necessary. 

Chris' book list on thinking differently and live unconventionally

Chris Guillebeau Why did Chris love this book?

Emmanuel Carrère just thinks differently! Sometimes described as the #1 non-fiction writer in France, this deeply personal memoir from him touched me with its sensitivity and embrace of awkwardness.

I don't know how else to describe it except to say: wow, this guy truly lives. I feel jealous of him as a writer, yet also different enough that it doesn’t really bother me. Instead, I just end up inspired.

By Emmanuel Carrere, Linda Coverdale (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Life as a Russian Novel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'As a writer, Carrere is straight berserk' Junot Diaz

In this non-fiction novel - road trip, confession, and erotic tour de force - Emmanuel Carrere pursues two consuming obsessions: the disappearance of his grandfather amid suspicions that he was a Nazi collaborator in the Second World War; and a violently passionate affair with a woman that he loves but which ends in destruction. Moving between Paris and Kotelnich, a grisly post-Soviet town, Carrere weaves his story into a travelogue of a journey inward, travelling fearlessly into the depths of his tortured psyche.


Book cover of The Return of the Native

J.E. Tolbert Author Of Arsalan the Magnificent

From my list on descriptions of the real world make it seem unreal.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, poet, and visual artist. These interests converge in my approach to literature. I think that visual and psychological descriptions of environments and circumstances are essential to enlivening the narrative and setting its tone. Often in modern literature this is diluted in favor of straightforward accounts. I believe that a story is never told with any complete objectivity but has a psychological context that must be highlighted. In addition, vivid visual descriptions greatly assist the reader in inhabiting the world of the story as seen from the characters’ points of view.

J.E.'s book list on descriptions of the real world make it seem unreal

J.E. Tolbert Why did J.E. love this book?

Of all the elements of this story, I feel the love triangle between Eustacia, Wildeve, and Clym is of secondary interest to the environment in which it takes place, which is the weird and lugubrious heathlands.

Perhaps I am unfamiliar with heaths; as far as I know, we don’t have any in the U.S. Hardy describes the British heathlands like the landscape of another planet. Largely flat with shallow hills and vales, it sometimes bursts with floral color, and depending on the weather, it can be beset with raking orange sunlight or gloomy palls of mist.

The locals are fond of lighting evening bonfires, and Hardy’s descriptions of the firelight dancing on their faces are mesmerizing and compellingly suggests an unbroken cultural link with Britain’s pagan past.    

By Thomas Hardy, Tony Slade (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Thomas Hardy's tragic vision of a love struggling to overcome prejudice and rejection, The Return of the Native is edited in Penguin Classics with an introduction by Penny Bouhmelha.

Against the lowering background of Egdon Heath, fiery Eustacia Vye passes her days, wishing only for passionate love. She believes that her escape from Egdon lies in marriage to Clym Yeobright, home from Paris and discontented with his work there. But Clym wishes to return to the Egdon community; a desire which sets him in opposition to his wife and brings them both to despair.

Based on the first edition of…


Book cover of Mate Choice: The Evolution of Sexual Decision Making from Microbes to Humans

Ingo Schlupp Author Of Male Choice, Female Competition, and Female Ornaments in Sexual Selection

From my list on mate choice – in animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an evolutionary ecologist with a lifelong fascination with mating behavior in animals, particularly fishes. The core of my doctoral thesis was trying to understand why some males mate with females of a different species, a behavior that I thought could not be adaptive. This was the starting point of my work on male mate choice, but also mate choice more generally. Originally from Germany, I have lived and worked in the US for a long time. Most of my work is on neotropical fishes so moving to America made sense.

Ingo's book list on mate choice – in animals

Ingo Schlupp Why did Ingo love this book?

I loved reading this book and I have used it in teaching. This is the most comprehensive book on mate choice. It will be defining the field for a long time. Rosenthal looks at everything that has to do with mate choice and provides an authoritative view of mate choice. He looks at the complexity of mate choice in its full range. If you look for the most complete book on mate choice, this is it.

By Gil Rosenthal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A major new look at the evolution of mating decisions in organisms from protozoans to humans The popular consensus on mate choice has long been that females select mates likely to pass good genes to offspring. In Mate Choice, Gil Rosenthal overturns much of this conventional wisdom. Providing the first synthesis of the topic in more than three decades, and drawing from a wide range of fields, including animal behavior, evolutionary biology, social psychology, neuroscience, and economics, Rosenthal argues that "good genes" play a relatively minor role in shaping mate choice decisions and demonstrates how mate choice is influenced by…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in choosing a mate, London, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about choosing a mate, London, and presidential biography.

Choosing A Mate Explore 17 books about choosing a mate
London Explore 789 books about London
Presidential Biography Explore 19 books about presidential biography