10 books like The Reckoning of Boston Jim

By Claire Mulligan,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Reckoning of Boston Jim. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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To the Bright Edge of the World

By Eowyn Ivey,

Book cover of To the Bright Edge of the World

Ivey’s novel imagines a magical realist mystery and adventure in the rocky and forbidding country where she herself lives, up a steep dirt road in Alaska’s backcountry. Like her first novel, The Snow Child, which was an international phenomenon, this story is thick with metaphor. But this second book is more mature, as well as hauntingly written and absolutely compelling and resistant to being put down. I read it while at a remote Alaska cabin myself, and I felt surrounded by the spirits she describes, as if transported back to that period, just before the indigenous world was trampled by White newcomers, when the land and trees themselves still had the ability to exchange form with humans. 

To the Bright Edge of the World

By Eowyn Ivey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked To the Bright Edge of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDWARD STANFORD TRAVEL WRITING AWARDS 2016.

Set in the Alaskan landscape that she brought to stunningly vivid life in THE SNOW CHILD (a Sunday Times bestseller, Richard and Judy pick and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Eowyn Ivey's TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD is a breathtaking story of discovery set at the end of the nineteenth century, sure to appeal to fans of A PLACE CALLED WINTER.

'A clever, ambitious novel' The Sunday Times

'Persuasive and vivid... what could be a better beach read than an Arctic adventure?' Guardian


'Stunning and intriguing... the reader finishes…


Ravensong - A Novel

By Lee Maracle,

Book cover of Ravensong - A Novel

Coupled with Celia’s Song which extends this family saga, this story painted a picture for me about Indigenous history and the interconnected issues on the coast such as the environment, colonization, justice, and transformation. Maracle’s prose reads like poetry, and yet what I found most remarkable was the storytelling. She effortlessly twines together past and present, human and non-human worlds, breaking many rules of Western narrative tradition. Rarely do you run across a book where equal attention is paid to both form and theme. This one does, and it encouraged me to reflect on literary conventions deeply embedded into my subconscious and then ask myself why and, most importantly, how we tell stories.

Ravensong - A Novel

By Lee Maracle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ravensong - A Novel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set along the Pacific Northwest Coast in the 1950s, Ravensong tells the story of an urban Native community devastated by an influenza epidemic. Stacey, a 17-year-old Native girl, struggles with the clash between white society's values and her family's traditional ways, knowing that her future lies somewhere in between. Celia, her sister, has visions from the past, while Raven warns of an impending catastrophe before there is any reconciliation between the two cultures. In this passionate story about a young woman's quest for answers, author Lee Maracle speaks unflinchingly of the gulf between two cultures: a gulf that Raven says…


Greenwood

By Michael Christie,

Book cover of Greenwood

I love generational sagas, and this novel explores several generations of the Greenwood family, from the 1930s into the future. Set primarily on a remote island off the coast of British Columbia, Greenwood explores the passions and bonds and stories that arc through families, as well as the fate and interconnectedness of the West Coast forests, their destroyers and their preservers. The novel reminded me of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and of Richard Powers’ The Overstory, and maybe speaks even more truly and uniquely. Michael Christie is an insightful and gifted storyteller.

Greenwood

By Michael Christie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The truth is that all family lines, from the highest to the lowest, originate somewhere, on some particular day. Even the grandest trees must've once been seeds spun helpless on the wind, and then just meek saplings nosing up from the soil.'

2038. On a remote island off the Pacific coast of British Columbia stands the Greenwood Arboreal Cathedral, one of the world's last forests. Wealthy tourists flock from all corners of the dust-choked globe to see the spectacle and remember what once was. But even as they breathe in the fresh air and pose for photographs amidst the greenery,…


Kolea

By Russell Cahill,

Book cover of Kolea

This novel is like a wild ride on the ocean. I loved how it took me into the Indigenous communities in the Hawai’ian Islands prior to contact with Europeans and revealed their longstanding links to the Pacific coast of North America. There’s an epic story, and it’s chock full of marvelous detail about culture, food, clothing, migration, and worldview, and even explores the nature of time. However, what most struck me was considering what it would be like to orient my thinking to the sea and its rhythms instead of the land. It shifted the way I see the place I live.   

Kolea

By Russell Cahill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To paradise they sailed—

There once was a world where hula dancers were experts at spear fighting, where a blind warrior taught his students healing arts...

where adventure ruled—

...as well as savage fighting. And where young people could build and sail a canoe on voyages to unknown lands.

where danger waited...

That world was Hawai’i.

The illegitimate child of Maui’s King, Kolea, is spirited away to Molokai and raised in seclusion by a mysterious Hula Dancer and a blind warrior. Trained as a warrior, he is pursued by his evil half-brother.

A daring escape in a voyaging canoe leads…


Westward the Women

By Nancy Wilson Ross,

Book cover of Westward the Women

I have collected a lot of nonfiction focused on the women’s experiences in the Old West – there are many such books available now. But, when Nancy Wilson Ross published this book in 1944, there weren’t any.  Can you imagine that?

Ross writes about women in all walks of life, from missionaries to outlaws to farmers and ranchers. She writes mainly about white women and Native Americans, though some of her attitudes will feel a little dated to modern readers. But that just means that this book is as much a window into the ideas of the 1940s as it is into the lives of women in the 1800s, which I find fascinating.

Westward the Women

By Nancy Wilson Ross,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WESTWARD THE WOMEN is a book about women of every kind and sort, from nuns to prostitutes, who participated in the greatest American adventure—pioneering across the continent. Not only does the material represent half-forgotten history—which the author garnered from attics, libraries, state historical museums, and the reminiscences of Far Western Old-timers—but it is unique in presenting the woman’s side of the story in this major American experience.

With dramatic clarity the author of FARTHEST REACH has written the intimate and human stories of certain outstanding personalities among these pioneer women; the Maine blue-stocking pursuing her studies of botany and taxidermy…


Boneshaker

By Cherie Priest,

Book cover of Boneshaker: A Novel of the Clockwork Century

Boneshaker is set in an alternate Seattle where a rampant machine unearthed toxic gas that turns people into zombies, and the only way to contain this disaster was to wall off the city. What I love about Boneshaker is how people remain defiantly close to the city and move on with their lives despite the toxic rain, the zombies clawing on the walls, and, even more so, the people who take it further and travel through the ruins of the once great city in an airship, or, if they’re daring, on foot. 

Better pack your guns and your wits when exploring this cityscape!

Boneshaker

By Cherie Priest,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the start of the Civil War, a Russian mining company commissions a great machine to pave the way from Seattle to Alaska and speed up the gold rush that is beating a path to the frozen north. Inventor Leviticus Blue creates the machine, but on its first test run it malfunctions, decimating Seattle's banking district and uncovering a vein of Blight Gas that turns everyone who breathes it into the living dead. Sixteen years later Briar, Blue's widow, lives in the poor neighborhood outside the wall that's been built around the uninhabitable city. Life is tough with a ruined…


Cass Turnbull's Guide to Pruning

By Cass Turnbull,

Book cover of Cass Turnbull's Guide to Pruning: What, When, Where & How to Prune for a More Beautiful Garden

This book perfectly demystifies the art of pruning trees and shrubs for even the most apprehensive gardener. Turnbull’s conversational style and matter-of-fact presentation of all you need to know to do it right and not wreck your plants, has been a fan favorite for years. I recommend it to my gardening students that may find the Brown/Kirkham pruning book a bit on the dry side. Cass makes pruning sound fun, and important, blending her horticultural knowledge and skill with a keen political sensibility that stresses the ethics of doing things the right way for the health and well-being of your plants.  

Cass Turnbull's Guide to Pruning

By Cass Turnbull,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cass Turnbull's Guide to Pruning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This 3rd Edition of Cass Turnbull's Guide to Pruning covers more than twenty additional plants in three new chapters. The result is the new definitive guide for the home gardener with friendly, expert advice from Cass Turnbull, founder of Seattle's PlantAmnesty, whose mission is "to end the senseless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs caused by mal-pruning." Nothing about pruning is obvious. In fact, most of it is downright counterintuitive. People try to prune plants like they cut lumber or hair. But that doesn't work to get what they want. Your plants are actually telling you how they want…


A Wolf Called Wander

By Rosanne Parry, Mónica Armiño (illustrator),

Book cover of A Wolf Called Wander

I adored this book! Not only was I astounded at the believable way the author expertly tells a tale from a wolf’s perspective (no small feat to be realistic here) but it’s also based on the true story of the actual wolf OR-7. I was fascinated to be drawn into this journey and world. And the scrumptious illustrations throughout are icing on the cake. 

A Wolf Called Wander

By Rosanne Parry, Mónica Armiño (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Wolf Called Wander as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller

The wolf star, brightest of all in the summer sky, shines over my home ground. I know every hidden lake and rocky ridge, but if my pack is not in the mountains, then it is no home to me. I feel a howl deep inside, but dare not let it out.

Swift lives with his pack in the mountains, until one day his home and family are lost. Alone and starving, Swift must make a choice: stay and try to eke out a desperate life on the borders of his old hunting grounds, or strike…


Something Worth Doing

By Jane Kirkpatrick,

Book cover of Something Worth Doing: A Novel of an Early Suffragist

Jane Kirkpatrick, a New York Times bestselling writer of over 35 books, specializes in fictionalizing true stories of prominent women in history who are often unknown to today’s readers. Something Worth Doing, a historical novel, brings to life the story of Abigail Scott Duniway, an early suffragist and pioneer in the 19th century Pacific Northwest. As a married woman and mother of eight living children, Kirkpatrick weaves together Dunn's challenges as a newspaper publisher, primary breadwinner, and national speaker fighting for the rights of women and the vote. 

Kirkpatrick, a psychologist, illustrates the universal pulls between career and family in a male-dominated sphere. One of my favorite genres is historical fiction and Kirkpatrick backs her novels with significant historical research.  

Something Worth Doing

By Jane Kirkpatrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1853, Abigail Scott was a 19-year-old school teacher in Oregon Territory when she married Ben Duniway. Marriage meant giving up on teaching, but Abigail always believed she was meant to be more than a good wife and mother. When financial mistakes and an injury force Ben to stop working, Abigail becomes the primary breadwinner for her growing family. What she sees as a working woman appalls her, and she devotes her life to fighting for the rights of women, including their right to vote.

Following Abigail as she bears six children, runs a millinery and a private school, helps…


Same-Sex Affairs

By Peter Boag,

Book cover of Same-Sex Affairs: Constructing and Controlling Homosexuality in the Pacific Northwest

This book was essential background for my trilogy. What I like most is its descriptions of the different sex practices of the different homosexual “types”—lower/working class men (“trade” or “wolves”) preferred anal intercourse with boys or young men (“punks” or “lambs”); upper class men preferred oral sex with “queens” or “fairies.” Focusing on the Pacific Northwest of the USA, Boag does great research into criminal and court records, which were some of the only records of these “aberrant” activities. A bonus is Boag’s tracing of the influence of the Oscar Wilde trial (1895) on attitudes in the Western USA.

Same-Sex Affairs

By Peter Boag,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Same-Sex Affairs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the turn of the twentieth century, two distinct, yet at times overlapping, male same-sex sexual subcultures had emerged in the Pacific Northwest: one among the men and boys who toiled in the region's logging, fishing, mining, farming, and railroad-building industries; the other among the young urban white-collar workers of the emerging corporate order. Boag draws on police logs, court records, and newspaper accounts to create a vivid picture of the lives of these men and youths - their sexual practices, cultural networks, cross-class relations, variations in rural and urban experiences, and ethnic and racial influences.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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