10 books like The Reading List

By Sara Nisha Adams,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Reading List. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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News of the World

By Paulette Jiles,

Book cover of News of the World

This is one of those stories about a career I would have never considered. After the Civil War, Captain Kidd travels to Texas doing live readings of newspapers. He is tasked with caring for an orphan who is reluctantly being transported to a family she does not remember. This tells a story of an individual, Joanne, lost between two cultures as a bond is created with the elderly and honorable Kidd. This holds a vivid description of the place and time.

News of the World

By Paulette Jiles,

Why should I read it?

6 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…

Fragile Beasts

By Tawni O'Dell,

Book cover of Fragile Beasts

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…

Fragile Beasts

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…

Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen

By Glen Huser,

Book cover of Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen

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.  

Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen

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…

Akin

By Emma Donoghue,

Book cover of Akin

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. 

Akin

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…


The Whisper Man

By Alex North,

Book cover of The Whisper Man: A Novel

Much like Thomas Harris, I find Alex North’s writing to be intoxicating. The way he constructs sentences that can actually create a tangible mood through the page is a true gift. This book is a slow burn mystery and I loved every page. Although not a direct influence as our books came out around the same time, my third thriller reminds me of that same slow and methodical pace that sets the mood and draws the reader in. His writing is brilliant and creepy and all the things that make reading scary books fun. I can’t recommend this one enough.

The Whisper Man

By Alex North,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The biggest new thriller of the year - pre-order the paperback now

"The best crime novel of the decade" Steve Cavanagh

You'll hear the whispers. And then you'll hear the screams...

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as 'The Whisper Man'.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and…


Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

By Max Porter,

Book cover of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

Difficult to categorize into a specific genre, Max Porter’s novel uses a tragi-comic approach to deal with how the grief of a husband and father of two sons is experienced using the metaphor of a crow. “Crow” is an anthropomorphic figure who represents grief in this short book. He talks to the husband, telling him that he will take him through the vestiges of grief until, as Crow finally states, “You don’t need me anymore.” The book ends with Crow bidding the bereaved husband/father goodbye. This book helped my understanding—along with several essays on the sad, dark, and comical aspects of grief.

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

By Max Porter,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Grief Is the Thing with Feathers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 NOVEL OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Winner of the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize and the Sunday Times/Peter, Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year award and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Goldsmiths Prize.

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family…

American Gods

By Neil Gaiman,

Book cover of American Gods

The old gods and new are on a collision course to a seemingly inevitable war and we’re taken along for the ride through the eyes of Shadow Moon, a recently widowed, small-time criminal, just released from jail. He hooks up with the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, working as a driver-cum-bodyguard-cum-odd job man, who guides him through the margins of a little-seen United States. Neil Gaiman’s novel of magical realism brilliantly sets up a world that we almost recognise as our own, but is somehow two clicks south of reality, weaving in the oddities of roadside attractions, with folklore and ancient stories to create a narrative that’s both a familiar hero’s journey and a wildly original campfire tale.

American Gods

By Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a STARZ® Original Series – Season 3 premiere in January 2021

“Pointed, occasionally comic, often scary, consistently moving and provocative….American Gods is strewn with secrets and magical visions.”—USA Today

Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text. A modern masterpiece from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman.

First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Washington Post) and as a modern phantasmagoria that “distills the essence of America” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is the story of Shadow—released from prison just days after…


The Cold Blue Blood

By David Handler,

Book cover of The Cold Blue Blood: A Berger and Mitry Mystery

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.

The Cold Blue Blood

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…


The Fisherman

By John Langan,

Book cover of The Fisherman

John Langan is renowned for turning horror on its head, picking apart its hoariest tropes, and reassembling them in fascinating new forms. The Fisherman is his most complete single work, massive in its scope if not its page count, and filled with imagery that sticks its barbs into your imagination and will not let go. It’s also poignant and always sensitive to the human emotions of its protagonists—even face to face with monsters. It’s the sort of story whose core conception becomes part of your mental framework, like Mordor or Gormenghast—read once, never forgotten. 

The Fisherman

By John Langan,

Why should I read it?

2 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…

To The Lighthouse

By Virginia Woolf,

Book cover of To The Lighthouse

I remember buying a Penguin paperback of To the Lighthouse at a Boy Scout book fair and being bowled over by the beauty of the prose. This is what a novel should be, I felt— a work of art. Here is a prose writer writing poetic prose of such lyrical beauty and still able to encapsulate the essence of life in something so simple as a protracted holiday visit to a lighthouse. In so doing Woolf captures the longing of a small boy by means of a stream of consciousness of painterly and lilting prose. It also trawls the memories of various characters under the watchful eyes of the aspiring artist Lily Briscoe as she ponders the meaning of life. Outlining her view of writing in her wonderful Writer’s Diary, Woolf claims she was merely a ‘sensibility,’ a conduit to the world. Nevertheless, to transfer such sensibilities to the…

To The Lighthouse

By Virginia Woolf,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Radiant as [To the Lighthouse] is in its beauty, there could never be a mistake about it: here is a novel to the last degree severe and uncompromising. I think that beyond being about the very nature of reality, it is itself a vision of reality.”—Eudora Welty, from the Introduction.The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Woolf constructs a remarkable, moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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