100 books like The Reading List

By Sara Nisha Adams,

Here are 100 books that The Reading List fans have personally recommended if you like The Reading List. 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 News of the World

John Hough Jr. Author Of The Sweetest Days

From my list on love stories that are even better than the movie.

Who am I?

Genre fiction and Robert Louis Stevenson aside, I can’t imagine loving a novel that has no strong thread, or threads, of love running through it. Fiction is written to entertain, it is true, but fiction’s higher aim is to put us in touch with our own humanity—our capacity to love, and to feel loss. We write to make people feel, and a powerful evocation of love will do that. I wouldn’t write a novel with no romantic love at its center, but I work hard too at love between siblings, friends, children, and parents. 

John's book list on love stories that are even better than the movie

John Hough Jr. Why did John love this book?

Another adventure novel that will keep you turning pages. The grizzled Captain Kidd, veteran of the War of 1812, finds himself obligated to take Joanna, an 11-year-old white girl who was captured when a baby and raised by Kiowas from Kansas to her family in Texas. The journey is long and hazardous, and by the time it is over, the old man and the frightened feral girl who spoke no English are devoted to each other. 

By Paulette Jiles,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked News of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust. In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his…


Book cover of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Heather Hepler Author Of We Were Beautiful

From my list on when you’re feeling your worst.

Who am I?

I have bad days. At times there have been a lot of bad days. I’m alone, caring for someone, working, scooping the cat box, and mopping the floors. Sometimes it can all feel a little sad and hopeless, like I am alone in the world. Stories are where I go when I’m happy. When I want adventure, mystery, or romance. But they are mostly where I go when I want to feel like I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes. I can see that it’s not just me. I’m not alone.

Heather's book list on when you’re feeling your worst

Heather Hepler Why did Heather love this book?

Eleanor is completely relatable to me on my worst days. She’s neurotic and judgmental and favors predictability.

Reading this made me feel a little less bad about myself when all I do is lie on the couch and read and eat cookies for dinner. It also helped me to see that sometimes all you need is one person to love you for everything to change.

By Gail Honeyman,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

"Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!" -Reese Witherspoon

No one's ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of…


Book cover of The Midnight Library

Heather Hepler Author Of We Were Beautiful

From my list on when you’re feeling your worst.

Who am I?

I have bad days. At times there have been a lot of bad days. I’m alone, caring for someone, working, scooping the cat box, and mopping the floors. Sometimes it can all feel a little sad and hopeless, like I am alone in the world. Stories are where I go when I’m happy. When I want adventure, mystery, or romance. But they are mostly where I go when I want to feel like I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes. I can see that it’s not just me. I’m not alone.

Heather's book list on when you’re feeling your worst

Heather Hepler Why did Heather love this book?

I often lie awake at night wondering what my life would be like if I had married my college boyfriend, kept swimming in college, moved to France, or became a professional pastry chef. In the wee hours of the night, all of these things seem like they would lead to a better path than I’m on now.

This book made me see that every choice is just that, one choice, but it’s one that leads to another and another. Some are good, and some aren’t, but it doesn’t help to lie awake staring at my ceiling and wishing it could be different. 

By Matt Haig,

Why should I read it?

32 authors picked The Midnight Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestselling WORLDWIDE phenomenon

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction | A Good Morning America Book Club Pick | Independent (London) Ten Best Books of the Year

"A feel-good book guaranteed to lift your spirits."-The Washington Post

The dazzling reader-favorite about the choices that go into a life well lived, from the acclaimed author of How To Stop Time and The Comfort Book.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of…


Book cover of Fragile Beasts

Darlene Jones Author Of When the Sun was Mine

From my list on friendship between young people and seniors.

Who am I?

When I was a kid on the farm in Saskatchewan, I had a handful of books to read and re-read and read yet again. No television, no radio—just books. Then we moved to the city and I discovered the bookmobile, but I could only take out three books at a time. Deciding was torture. From bookmobile to library to bookstore to e-reader. Life is good. With all that reading, I knew I had to write a novel. I finally did. One became seven. How on earth did that happen? Re-reding my books I realized that teens play significant roles in all my novels. I’m a retired teacher—go figure!

Darlene's book list on friendship between young people and seniors

Darlene Jones Why did Darlene love this book?

I liked this book so much, I read it twice. What made it so good? O’Dell’s mastery of creating “real” people. I cared about them. I wanted to be in the story with them such was the power of her writing—a captivating story with an unusual set of characters, their lives intersecting in unexpected ways. Spain, the US, bulls and bullfighters, an old lady, a couple of teen brothers, a dysfunctional family, love and hate, baseball…

By Tawni O'Dell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When their hard-drinking, but loving, father dies in a car accident, teenage brothers Kyle and Klint Hayes face a bleak prospect: leaving their Pennsylvania hometown for an uncertain life in Arizona with the mother who ran out on them years ago. But in a strange twist of fate, their town’s matriarch, an eccentric, wealthy old woman whose family once owned the county coal mines, hears the boys’ story. Candace Jack doesn’t have an ounce of maternal instinct, yet for reasons she does not even understand herself, she is compelled to offer them a home.

Suddenly, the two boys go from…


Book cover of Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen

Darlene Jones Author Of When the Sun was Mine

From my list on friendship between young people and seniors.

Who am I?

When I was a kid on the farm in Saskatchewan, I had a handful of books to read and re-read and read yet again. No television, no radio—just books. Then we moved to the city and I discovered the bookmobile, but I could only take out three books at a time. Deciding was torture. From bookmobile to library to bookstore to e-reader. Life is good. With all that reading, I knew I had to write a novel. I finally did. One became seven. How on earth did that happen? Re-reding my books I realized that teens play significant roles in all my novels. I’m a retired teacher—go figure!

Darlene's book list on friendship between young people and seniors

Darlene Jones Why did Darlene love this book?

I was guilted into buying the book when I went to Glen’s book signing event. He’s a friend. After the reading, I noticed that everyone in attendance had one or more copies of his books along with their credit cards in their hands. I felt obligated to buy a copy. The book sat on my shelf for several weeks until guilt forced me to take it down and read. I finished the book that night, and reread it the next day. I recommend it all the time.  

By Glen Huser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At 15, Tamara has survived the foster care system through brains, will, and attitude. Now close to getting out, she dreams of being a model. First, though, there's high school to get through, along with her teacher's latest community project volunteering at the local seniors home. Tamara doubts she can endure either the residents or the smells. Then she's assigned to Jean Barclay a cranky, wealthy, and extremely frail former schoolteacher. As the two warily size each other up, they realize each is the key to achieving their own very different goals. Miss Barclay wants to attend Wagner's Ring Cycle…


Book cover of Akin

Darlene Jones Author Of When the Sun was Mine

From my list on friendship between young people and seniors.

Who am I?

When I was a kid on the farm in Saskatchewan, I had a handful of books to read and re-read and read yet again. No television, no radio—just books. Then we moved to the city and I discovered the bookmobile, but I could only take out three books at a time. Deciding was torture. From bookmobile to library to bookstore to e-reader. Life is good. With all that reading, I knew I had to write a novel. I finally did. One became seven. How on earth did that happen? Re-reding my books I realized that teens play significant roles in all my novels. I’m a retired teacher—go figure!

Darlene's book list on friendship between young people and seniors

Darlene Jones Why did Darlene love this book?

I felt sorry for Noah even as I laughed at his predicament. He’s about to celebrate his eightieth birthday in Nice. Then he learns he’s responsible for his eleven-year-old great nephew. Noah refuses to give up his trip and takes the boy along. The ensuing adventures of this unlikely pair take Noah and the reader on a wild ride through Nice and back to WWII as they search for the answers Noah needs. 

By Emma Donoghue,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Akin is a tender tale of love, loss and family, from Emma Donoghue, the international bestselling author of Room.

'If Room forced home truths on us, about parenthood, responsibility and love, Akin deals with similar subject matter more subtly, but in the end just as compellingly' - Guardian

A retired New York professor's life is thrown into chaos when he takes his great-nephew to the French Riviera, in hopes of uncovering his own mother's wartime secrets.

Noah is only days away from his first trip back to Nice since he was a child when a social worker calls looking for…


Book cover of The Language of Flowers

Heather Hepler Author Of We Were Beautiful

From my list on when you’re feeling your worst.

Who am I?

I have bad days. At times there have been a lot of bad days. I’m alone, caring for someone, working, scooping the cat box, and mopping the floors. Sometimes it can all feel a little sad and hopeless, like I am alone in the world. Stories are where I go when I’m happy. When I want adventure, mystery, or romance. But they are mostly where I go when I want to feel like I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes. I can see that it’s not just me. I’m not alone.

Heather's book list on when you’re feeling your worst

Heather Hepler Why did Heather love this book?

I love the idea that there is someone out there who perfectly understands you. Even when I’m cranky, or when I’m making references to obscure bands, or when I’m not making a lot of sense, but I am clearly emotional.

This book introduced me to two people who love each other but can’t communicate well except through flowers. 

By Vanessa Diffenbaugh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A flower is not a flower alone; A thousand thoughts invest it'

All over the world, flowers are an integral part of human culture whether it is the perfect table centre for a wedding, a beautiful bouquet for a birthday, a message of thanks, or to pay one's respect at a funeral. But, while everyone knows that red roses signify love, few may realise that an entire language of flowers exists with every bloom, folliage and plant having a particular emotion attached, be it hazel for reconcilliation, wisteria for welcome or ivy for fidelity. This unique language was created by…


Book cover of The Wonder

Heather Hepler Author Of We Were Beautiful

From my list on when you’re feeling your worst.

Who am I?

I have bad days. At times there have been a lot of bad days. I’m alone, caring for someone, working, scooping the cat box, and mopping the floors. Sometimes it can all feel a little sad and hopeless, like I am alone in the world. Stories are where I go when I’m happy. When I want adventure, mystery, or romance. But they are mostly where I go when I want to feel like I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes. I can see that it’s not just me. I’m not alone.

Heather's book list on when you’re feeling your worst

Heather Hepler Why did Heather love this book?

I can be cynical. I can refuse to see the miraculous even when it’s right in front of me. I don’t want to be like this, but I’m a skeptic. But what if I let myself believe something surprising, beautiful, and impossible?

This book made me want to believe in miracles, prayer, faith, and one person’s ability to change everything. 

By Emma Donoghue,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a Netflix film starring Florence Pugh: In this “old-school page turner” (Stephen King, New York Times Book Review) by the bestselling author of Room, an English nurse is brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle—a girl said to have survived without food for months—and soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired…


Book cover of The Cold Blue Blood

Jill Brock Author Of Pennywise

From my list on humorous mysteries to make you smile.

Who am I?

Born and raised in New York City, my plans to become an artist got sidetracked by an interest in psychology. While in school, I graduated college, majoring in Fine Arts and Psychology, combining my two interests. I continued my education as a Graphic Designer at The School of Visual Arts. I worked as a freelance graphic artist for a while before starting a career in the creative arts therapies. While I enjoy a dark, brooding, suspenseful mystery, sometimes I need a little humor to round out those dark edges. Despite some bad things happening in the world, most people do silly, goofy, and often stupid things and you have to laugh.

Jill's book list on humorous mysteries to make you smile

Jill Brock Why did Jill love this book?

Though David Handler’s The Cold Blue Blood plays out much like a traditional whodunit, it has a dash of East Coast humor. The Berger and Mitry Mysteries have been one of my favorites for years. Handler’s strong descriptive style, unique characters, and colorful book titles always had me searching for the next installment. Handler’s main character, Mitch Berger, a New York City film critic, plays the perfect fish out of water, now living on a wealthy private island called Big Sister. A dead body in his garden introduces him to his other partner in crime, Lieutenant Desiree Mitry. This odd couple is both charming and disarming as they sleuth through the snobs of Big Sister.

By David Handler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mitch Berger, a top film critic with a major New York newspaper at a surprisingly young age, has become almost a recluse since his wife died one year ago. He spends his time secluded in his apartment or in the dark recesses of a screening room. Although he continues to dazzle moviegoers and the film elite with his criticisms, his editor and good friend is alarmed about him. As a scheme to pull him out of the doldrums of his grief, she gives him a non-film assignment - to do a color story on the wealthy and social homeowners on…


Book cover of The Fisherman

Brandon R. Grafius Author Of Lurking Under the Surface: Horror, Religion, and the Questions that Haunt Us

From my list on horror and religion.

Who am I?

I’ve been a fan of horror since I got sucked into Scooby-Doo as a three-year-old. When I started my academic career, I kind of kept that passion tucked inside as something to be embarrassed about – after all, I wanted to do serious work, and horror movies aren’t serious, right? Graduate school made me rethink that assumption, and pushed me towards seriously considering the engagement of horror and religion. I wrote my dissertation on a chapter of the Book of Numbers as a slasher narrative, and I haven’t looked back since.

Brandon's book list on horror and religion

Brandon R. Grafius Why did Brandon love this book?

Langan’s novel is gripping from the start, and weaves a beautifully tangled web of stories-within-stories.

But it’s in the novel’s conclusion, where the whole universe breaks open, that it becomes truly jaw-dropping. After I finished reading it, I was thinking not only about the book I had just read – but about what it implied about the universe, and my place in it.

By John Langan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman's Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing, and of something more, a possibility too fantastic to be true. When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other's company and a shared passion for fishing, hear rumors of the Creek, and what might be found there, the remedy to both their losses, they dismiss it as just another fish story. Soon, though, the men find themselves drawn into a tale as deep and old as the Reservoir. It's…


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