10 books like The Riddle of the Sands

By Erskine Childers,

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

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Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens,

Book cover of Where the Crawdads Sing

In the backwoods of a beautiful and wild North Carolina coastal town, comes the tragic but triumphant world of the “Marsh Girl,” Kaya Clark. Left to fend for herself after being deserted by her parents, Kaya’s will to survive, as well as the overwhelming odds to rid herself of long-held stigmas, give voice to the fact that those who are marginalized are victimized as a result of it. As an author who writes the underdog-always-wins stories, this attracted me immediately, as did Owen’s writing, which puts the reader front and center into the ostracized heroine’s life. The storyline, the richly described setting, and her flawed but likable characters, has made this a must-read—and a re-read—for me.  

Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked Where the Crawdads Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

OVER 12 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
A NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

For years, rumours of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be…


The House in the Cerulean Sea

By TJ Klune,

Book cover of The House in the Cerulean Sea

Some books stick with you long after you close the cover. The House in the Cerulean Sea is one of those for me. It’s a deceptively simple story about a man whose job is to inspect orphanages. But when the orphans are a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist, things don’t go smoothly. The creatures come to life on the page in an exploration of the simple pleasures in life and the extraordinary measures we must take to safeguard the liberties of everyone, even those who resemble us the least. I know I will come back to this book time and again when I need something to lift my spirits. 

The House in the Cerulean Sea

By TJ Klune,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The House in the Cerulean Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not…


The Islanders

By Meg Mitchell Moore,

Book cover of The Islanders: A Novel

Personalities collide during a Block Island summer. While I enjoyed all three point-of-view characters, I laughed out loud at Anthony the author’s “head-writing;” he described a scene in front of him as if he were writing a novel. Tongue just slightly in cheek, I felt like Moore was poking fun at the novelist’s eye—while simultaneously using it as shorthand to show us Anthony’s view.

The Islanders came out only a few months before my book. Though both novels can be considered “beach reads,” they are each much more than just a fluffy happily-ever-after throwaway. An island makes a very convenient metaphor; for our lucky characters, it is actually their whole world—even if it’s not forever, or as long as it lasts, but “just for the summer.”

The Islanders

By Meg Mitchell Moore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"One of my own favorite writers." -Elin Hilderbrand

Named a Best Beach Read of Summer by Vulture, PureWow, She Reads and Women.com

J. Courtney Sullivan's Maine meets the works of Elin Hilderbrand in this delicious summer read involving three strangers, one island, and a season packed with unexpected romance, well-meaning lies, and damaging secrets.

Anthony Puckett was a rising literary star. The son of an uber-famous thriller writer, Anthony's debut novel spent two years on the bestseller list and won the adoration of critics. But something went very wrong with his second work. Now Anthony's borrowing an old college's friend's…


When We Believed in Mermaids

By Barbara O'Neal,

Book cover of When We Believed in Mermaids

I liked the premise of this one: Kit’s sister Josie was supposedly killed in a terrorist attack, but one night she sees her on a TV news report in faraway New Zealand.

We might all wonder what we would do if the chance to find and reunite with a lost loved one arose. Questions must be asked and answered: Why did she leave? How could she let us grieve all this time? What happens if I find her?

When We Believed in Mermaids

By Barbara O'Neal,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked When We Believed in Mermaids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller.

From the author of The Art of Inheriting Secrets comes an emotional new tale of two sisters, an ocean of lies, and a search for the truth.

Her sister has been dead for fifteen years when she sees her on the TV news...

Josie Bianci was killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. Gone forever. It's what her sister, Kit, an ER doctor in Santa Cruz, has always believed. Yet all it takes is a few heart-wrenching seconds to upend Kit's world. Live coverage of…


First You Have to Row a Little Boat

By Richard Bode,

Book cover of First You Have to Row a Little Boat: Reflections on Life & Living

Richard Bode’s pocket-sized memoir was given to me by a college friend, shortly after our graduation (as I write this, that was about three decades ago, and I still have this little book on my shelf within reach). It’s got water and sailing (both of which I love), but more importantly, it’s also chock-full of life lessons—without being preachy or overbearing. In the end, you realize that you can plot your own course, adapt to the shifts of wind and waves (Bode’s metaphor for life), and become your own hero.

First You Have to Row a Little Boat

By Richard Bode,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked First You Have to Row a Little Boat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

FIRST YOU HAVE TO ROW A LITTLE BOAT first hit shelves in the mid 1990s and has been inspiring readers ever since. Written by a grown man looking back on his childhood, it reflects on what learning to sail taught him about life: making choices, adapting to change, and becoming his own person. The book is filled with the spiritual wisdom and thought-provoking discoveries that marked such books as Walden, The Prophet, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. For nearly twenty years, it has enchanted and endeared sailors and non-sailors alike, but foremost, anyone who seeks large truths…


Mischief in Patagonia

By H. W. Tilman,

Book cover of Mischief in Patagonia

Bill Tilman was a war hero and an accomplished Himalayan climber – reaching 27,000 feet on Everest without oxygen in 1938 – who turned in later life to sailing as a means of accessing obscure mountain ranges. In 1956 he sailed his Bristol Channel pilot cutter (Mischief) from England to the Chilean channels and made the first successful crossing of the Patagonian ice cap. Tilman was likely not easy to get on with – he tolerates no women on board, and on this particular cruise we never learn the first name of his deputy – but his writing is erudite and amusingly self-deprecating. This narrative concludes with the dry comment: “Ships are all right – it's the men in them.” Tilman sailed to the very end. He disappeared at sea in 1977, in his eightieth year, en route to climb a remote island peak in Antarctica. Would that…

Mischief in Patagonia

By H. W. Tilman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'So I began thinking again of those two white blanks on the map, of penguins and humming birds, of the pampas and of gauchos, in short, of Patagonia, a place where, one was told, the natives’ heads steam when they eat marmalade.'

So responded H. W. ‘Bill’ Tilman to his own realisation that the Himalaya were too high for a mountaineer now well into his fifties. He would trade extremes of altitude for the romance of the sea with, at his journey’s end, mountains and glaciers at a smaller scale; and the less explored they were, the better he would…


Lila

By Robert M. Pirsig,

Book cover of Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals

I recommend the sequel to Pirsig’s more famous bestseller because I’ve never owned a motorcycle (and I find bicycle maintenance hard enough), but now I own a sailboat—where his second story is set—so when he describes hearing people walking on the cabin roof, or checking the knots on the mooring ropes, I know exactly what he means because I’ve experienced this. Some of his fans felt this sequel was a betrayal of the magical mysticism of undefined Quality he described in the first book. For me, although problematic, it was a necessary clarification and one I not only used for my academic work on a range of controversies from abortion to transgender but also in my life-coaching practice: to inspire holistic transformation on all levels of wellbeing. 

Lila

By Robert M. Pirsig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Phaedrus - a character familiar to readers of 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' - is sailing down the Hudson River when he meets Lila Blewitt, an unapologetically sexual, psychologically unstable woman whom a mutual friend warns him against. But Phaedrus is drawn to her physically, and interested in her intellectually, finding her a culture of one in whom he discerns an unexpected Quality. Sailing with him to Manhattan, where her mental state deteriorates further, Lila promps Phaedrus to explore conflicts of values, such as those between Native Americans and Europeans, or between the insane and the normal.


Float Plan

By Trish Doller,

Book cover of Float Plan

Ever dream of going on an epic sailing voyage? Even though I’ve only been sailing a few times, the lure of the open sea is hard to resist. In Float Plan, Anna embarks on a solo sailing trip through the Caribbean to honor her late fiancé, who always dreamed of taking this trip. But when she runs into trouble early on, she hires Keane—a cute Irish sailor—to help her out. As Anna and Keane travel though the Bahamas, visiting one gorgeous island after another, they slowly become friends, and then something more. Though this book does deal with grief and loss, it’s ultimately very uplifting, and the romance feels truly earned. I’ve never vacationed in this part of the world, but this book made me long to visit these islands and kick back with a tropical drink. 

Float Plan

By Trish Doller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since the loss of her fiance, Anna has been shipwrecked by grief - until a reminder goes off about a trip they were supposed to take together. Impulsively, Anna goes to sea in their sailboat, intending to complete the voyage alone.

But after a treacherous night's sail, she realises she can't do it by herself and hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned. As romance rises with the tide, they discover that it's never too late to chart a new course.

Trish Doller's…


Steering The Craft

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of Steering The Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story

Le Guin is a star in fiction’s firmament but in this book she’s also a wonderfully modest practitioner of the art of writing. She discusses the sound of your prose, naming characters, repetition, and point of view. I found her chapter on crowding and leaping especially helpful. Crowding is when you follow Keats’ advice to load every rift with ore; leaping is when you skillfully leave things out—two invaluable skills in fiction, and in life.  

Steering The Craft

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the celebrated Ursula K. Le Guin, "a writer of enormous intelligence and wit, a master storyteller" (Boston Globe), the revised and updated edition of her classic guide to the essentials of a writer's craft.

Completely revised and rewritten to address modern challenges and opportunities, this handbook is a short, deceptively simple guide to the craft of writing.

Le Guin lays out ten chapters that address the most fundamental components of narrative, from the sound of language to sentence construction to point of view. Each chapter combines illustrative examples from the global canon with Le Guin’s own witty commentary and…


All the Stars and Teeth

By Adalyn Grace,

Book cover of All the Stars and Teeth

All the Stars and Teeth, set in the Kingdom of Visida, a collection of islands, is a story with legends and history and dark truths that are uncovered along the way. It has mermaids, blood magic, sea monsters, and high-octane adventure that kept me turning the pages. It’s everything you would expect from an adventure set on the seas. The banter is actually funny, and the romance is a nice touch to the story. Amora, the protagonist, is sheltered and naive in the beginning but comes into her own and becomes a worthy leader. One of the most interesting aspects of All the Stars and Teeth was a mermaid straight out of scary legends, her fury a delight to read, and she certainly steals the scenes she is in.

All the Stars and Teeth

By Adalyn Grace,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Fierce and unrelenting…Do yourself a favor and get lost in this beautiful book!” — Tomi Adeyemi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Children of Blood and Bone

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest…


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