93 books like The Risk Pool

By Richard Russo,

Here are 93 books that The Risk Pool fans have personally recommended if you like The Risk Pool. 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 The Shining

HP Newquist Author Of Behemoth

From my list on horror masterpieces from a horror writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by scary movies, creature features, and books that tell tales of the strange and supernatural. Years later, my own books explored those things that scare us, from monsters of the deep and the ways we die to the mythology of blood. Research for those books led me into realms that explained why we fear the things we do. Many of those fears are found in horror novels, which provide an endless source of fright, release, and entertainment within their haunting pages. I can’t think of any other genre of writing that takes its readers on such a joyously terrifying ride.

HP's book list on horror masterpieces from a horror writer

HP Newquist Why did HP love this book?

Of all the horror novels I’ve read, which number in the hundreds, “The Shining” stands first among them. It’s hard to write a horror novel that has both great characters and a great plot, and King succeeded in doing both.

I don’t think there’s a moment in the entire book where he eases up on the tension, and impending horror lurks on every page. Of particular note, Chapter 36–“The Elevator”–may be the finest chapter of horror ever written. It’s a perfect example of the moment you find out the monsters in your head might be real.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before Doctor Sleep, there was The Shining, a classic of modern American horror from the undisputed master, Stephen King.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around…


Book cover of Portnoy's Complaint

Matthew Arnold Stern Author Of The Remainders

From my list on Jewish families in crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

Reseda, California plays an important part in my novels. I grew up there in a middle-class Jewish family, and we experienced the turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s. My parents got divorced, and my brother and I were raised by our working mom until she became paralyzed by a stroke. I found refuge in writing. I wrote The Remainders in 2016 during a tumultuous time when issues of family conflict, homelessness, and the growing cruelty of society came into focus. Still, I believe decency and compassion will prevail. The books I write and enjoy reading seek to find light in the darkest of circumstances.

Matthew's book list on Jewish families in crisis

Matthew Arnold Stern Why did Matthew love this book?

I stumbled onto this book at way too young of an age.

It’s vulgar, graphic, and crude—but one of the best expressions of Jewish anxiety and the sense of “otherness” I’ve read. It’s both funny and revealing. And with a return of sexual repression, male anxieties, and incel rage, this book is again relevant.

By Philip Roth,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Portnoy's Complaint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The most outrageously funny book about sex written' Guardian

Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933-)]:A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature.

Portnoy's Complaint tells the tale of young Jewish lawyer Alexander Portnoy and his scandalous sexual confessions to his psychiatrist.

As narrated by Portnoy, he takes the reader on a journey through his childhood to adolescence to present day while articulating his sexual desire, frustration and neurosis in shockingly candid ways.

Hysterically funny and daringly intimate, Portnoy's Complaint was an immediate bestseller upon its publication…


Book cover of The Cider House Rules

Julie F. Kay Author Of Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom

From my list on how reproductive rights are human rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author and human rights lawyer passionate about making reproductive rights accessible in law and in real life. My written work translates my legal cases into stories to engage readers in the fight to expand rights for all. My legal work leading the Abortion Coalition for Telemedicine seeks to make medication abortion legally available in all 50 states, regardless of a person’s ability to pay for it. I have 2 daughters and am always looking to learn from their experience in an ever-changing world and from a diverse range of other women making decisions about whether, when, and whom to have and raise children. 

Julie's book list on how reproductive rights are human rights

Julie F. Kay Why did Julie love this book?

A doctor colleague of mine said that this story made her decide to become an abortion provider.

This lively novel provides a wonderful time spent with an engaging and flawed doctor who is caring for children in an orphanage while also providing illegal abortion services for women in need. John Irving writes such engaging characters with humor about the heavy issues that play out in a bucolic New England town.

Today, as abortion is banned in so many parts of the US, and as we are having more honest conversations about the challenges of adoption, the book resonates even more. This book was made into a wonderful movie too–but the rule in our house is that you always have to read the book before you see the movie, no cheating. 

By John Irving,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The reason Homer Wells kept his name was that he came back to St Cloud's so many times, after so many failed foster homes, that the orphanage was forced to acknowledge Homer's intention to make St Cloud's his home.'

Homer Wells' odyssey begins among the apple orchards of rural Maine. As the oldest unadopted child at St Cloud's orphanage, he strikes up a profound and unusual friendship with Wilbur Larch, the orphanage's founder - a man of rare compassion and an addiction to ether. What he learns from Wilbur takes him from his early apprenticeship in the orphanage surgery, to…


Book cover of Townie: A Memoir

Chuck Augello Author Of A Better Heart

From my list on fathers and sons.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I started writing my novel A Better Heart, the focus was not on fathers and sons, but from the moment the narrator’s estranged father walked through the door, I knew their relationship would drive the story. As a reader, I enjoy following characters as they navigate the potholes of their lives, and family often present the biggest holes. Our primary relationships are with our parents, and their influence is a big part of who we become as adults. Exploring that bond often makes great fiction. My father died of cancer ten years ago. In writing about fathers and sons, perhaps I’m trying to imagine a different ending.          

Chuck's book list on fathers and sons

Chuck Augello Why did Chuck love this book?

As we grow into our lives, we become more like our fathers than we ever thought. This memoir is equal parts anger and love, Dubus II writing about growing up in rough working-class Massachusetts towns with a father, the well-known short story writer Andre Dubus, only a partial presence in his life. Dubus II’s rage is channeled through his fists as he assumes the roles of neighborhood brawler and family protector. Andre II is drawn to his father’s violent tendencies but also to the sensitive perception that helped Andre become an acclaimed writer. As he punches his way through life, Andre II learns to forgive, fusing aspects of his father’s character into his adult self.  

By Andre Dubus III,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their overworked mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and everyday violence. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash between town and gown, between the hard drinking, drugging, and fighting of "townies" and the ambitions of students debating books and ideas, couldn't have been more stark. In this unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Dubus shows us how he escaped the cycle of violence and found empathy in channeling…


Book cover of Ten Days in a Mad-House

Jerry Mitchell Author Of Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era

From my list on learning about investigative reporting.

Why am I passionate about this?

The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped get two people off Death Row. The author of Race Against Time, Mitchell is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit that exposes corruption and injustices, investigates cold cases, gives voice to the voiceless, and raises up the next generation of investigative reporters.

Jerry's book list on learning about investigative reporting

Jerry Mitchell Why did Jerry love this book?

Nellie Bly was one of the great muckraking reporters in American history. She pretends to be insane and is admitted to the “mad house.” Along the way, she exposes the horrible treatment of those suffering from mental illness, but of her treatment in a boarding home, where spoiled beef was served.

Many at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Roosevelt Island suffered no mental illness; they simply didn’t know how to speak English, she wrote. “I left the insane ward with pleasure and regret—pleasure that I was once more able to enjoy the free breath of heaven; regret that I could not have brought with me some of the unfortunate women who lived and suffered with me, and who, I am convinced, are just as sane as I was and am now myself.”

Her reporting led to a grand jury investigation and reforms inside the asylum.

By Nellie Bly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ten Days in a Mad-House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ten Days in a Mad-House (1887) is a book by American investigative journalist Nellie Bly. For her first assignment for Joseph Pulitzer's famed New York World newspaper, Bly went undercover as a patient at a notorious insane asylum on Blackwell's Island. Spending ten days there, she recorded the abuses and neglect she witnessed, turning her research into a sensational two-part story for the New York World later published as Ten Days in a Mad-House.

Checking into a New York boardinghouse under a false identity, Bly began acting in a disturbed, unsettling manner, prompting the police to be summoned. In a…


Book cover of It's Kind of a Funny Story

Nash Jenkins Author Of Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos

From my list on teenage sentimentality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I do not remember a time when I wasn’t captivated by stories about adolescence. This was the case when I myself was a teenager—when I sought in these overwrought sagas the sort of sentimental melodrama that eluded the banality of my own life—but curiously it’s no less true at thirty, for reasons that are fundamentally the same but somehow more urgent. Becoming an adult is an exercise in hardening; to grow up is to forget what it’s like to be beholden to one’s own autobiographical romance. The following titles offer a respite from the cynicism that is adulthood; as a writer and a human, I'm forever in their debt.

Nash's book list on teenage sentimentality

Nash Jenkins Why did Nash love this book?

This is another novel written expressly for teenagers, and all the better for it.

Inflected by the author’s own autobiographical experiences—like Craig, the novel’s narrator, Vizzini spent a week in a psychiatric hospital as a teenager—It’s Kind of a Funny Story was the first work of fiction I’d read that articulated the adolescent experience through the language of mental health. It was here that I learned “depression” isn’t an abstracted emotion but the very real neurochemical imbalance that impels Craig to call the suicide hotline after abandoning his SSRIs.

There’s an uncanny familiarity to the circumstances of Craig’s breakdown—namely in how he struggles to remain above water at a famously rigorous college preparatory high school—and a fundamental earnestness to his story’s confessions that gilds even its grimmest moments with a fifteen-year-old's sense of impressionable wonder.

By Ned Vizzini,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked It's Kind of a Funny Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?


Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life—which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job—Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does.  That’s when things start to get crazy.

At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and…


Book cover of Tending Roses

Myra Johnson Author Of The Soft Whisper of Roses

From my list on Christian true-to-life women dealing with life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a native of Texas who loves bluebonnets, big skies, and barbecue! With 25+ books in print, I write about imperfect characters who discover their inner strength as they lean on God and learn to trust each other and themselves. I’m fascinated by the dynamics of personalities and relationships, as well as the backstories that made the individuals who they are now. If you’re looking for stories of true-to-life characters growing deeper in faith while dealing with all the messiness human relationships entail, here are some novels you may enjoy.

Myra's book list on Christian true-to-life women dealing with life

Myra Johnson Why did Myra love this book?

When I read this book several years ago, I was just starting out in my writing career, and I remember thinking, If only someday I could write like this! Lisa Wingate has a beautiful way of eliciting emotion and empathy, of creating scenes and situations so true-to-life that she never fails to draw me in. Like all her books, Tending Roses takes a deeply honest look at human relationships—the good, the bad, and the in-between—and always with an underlying current of faith. Kate’s situation may be different from my own, but I could still relate to her feelings and struggles, her questions and doubts. That resonance—that connection—is what makes any story memorable.

By Lisa Wingate,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Friends and Before We Were Yours comes a heartfelt novel about the bonds of family and the power of second chances.

When Kate Bowman temporarily moves to her grandmother’s Missouri farm with her husband and baby son, she learns that the lessons that most enrich our lives often come unexpectedly. The family has given Kate the job of convincing Grandma Rose, who’s become increasingly stubborn and forgetful, to move off her beloved land and into a nursing home. But Kate knows such a change would break her…


Book cover of Overload: How to Unplug, Unwind, and Unleash Yourself from the Pressure of Stress

Karen Jensen Salisbury Author Of Why, God, Why ?: What to Do When Life Doesn't Make Sense

From my list on when you’re going through hard times.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a writer for most of my life, and when a publisher approached me to write a book, they asked me to write about how I managed to overcome the death of my husband at such a young age and move forward into a successful life. I meet people all the time who have had hard things happen, and I wanted to help them get past the pain. Hard times don’t have to be the end of the story! They can strengthen us and equip us to help others. That’s why I love books about how to keep going in times of trouble and overcome.  

Karen's book list on when you’re going through hard times

Karen Jensen Salisbury Why did Karen love this book?

I read this book in a particularly trying period in my life, when it just seemed like everything was going wrong. The title caught my eye because I sure did feel overloaded! Joyce helped me identify the worries in my life and offered practical, effective advice and scriptural wisdom I needed. I still grab it when I feel overwhelmed, and it helps me to manage stress. We all get stressed—from work, relationship challenges, financial trouble, or an overabundance of information. But Joyce shares inspiring insights from the Bible, and shows me how God’s strength can help me triumph over stress to achieve the joyful, peaceful life that God intends!

By Joyce Meyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As technology increases your accessibility, it becomes harder to mute the background noise of your life and receive God's guidance. Joyce Meyer calls this OVERLOAD, when the demands of your busy life become all-consuming and overwhelming. But to experience the joyful life God has planned, you must make time to focus on His Word. Then you'll receive His healing calmness and gain the strength to take on life's challenges, from physical ailments to problems in relationships. Through the practical advice and Scriptural wisdom in this book, you'll learn how to unplug and free yourself from burdens that weigh you down.…


Book cover of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World

Jones Loflin Author Of Juggling Elephants: An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done—Now!

From my list on when you are struggling with too much to do.

Why am I passionate about this?

Way back in 1994 I decided to build my career on the mission of helping people make better choices with their time. And my goal has always been to keep the solutions simple. I believe we have way too much in our lives that is complex and hard. While my primary work is as a keynote speaker, I have chosen to devote a significant amount of my professional hours to being a coach. I love helping people develop a plan for improvement that is aligned with their values and goals, and then walking with them through their season of change.

Jones' book list on when you are struggling with too much to do

Jones Loflin Why did Jones love this book?

I always love books that give me a clear plan to improve some aspect of my life. Comer’s book has four key principles that are easy to remember and apply every day. They include silence and solitude, Sabbath, simplicity, and slowing. My favorite quote from the book was, “For all the talk about hurry and overload, most of it is self-inflicted.”

By John Mark Comer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Who are you becoming? That was the question nagging pastor and author John Mark Comer. By outward metrics, everything appeared successful. But inwardly, things weren't pretty. So he turned to a trusted mentor for guidance and heard these words: 'Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life.' It wasn't the response he expected, but it continues to be the answer he needs.

Too often we treat the symptoms of toxicity in our modern world instead of trying to pinpoint the cause. A growing number of voices are pointing at hurry, or busyness as…


Book cover of God's Great Love for You

Natalee Creech Author Of Nothing: Nothing Can Separate You from God's Love!

From my list on children’s books about God’s love.

Why am I passionate about this?

“I am loved and forgiven. What a wonderful thing! I’m adopted as God’s own. I’m a child of the King!” I am an author who wants to help parents write important truths on their children’s hearts. Nothing is a book I wish I had written sooner, and would have loved to have read with my own children when they were little enough to hold in my lap. I hope these book recommendations help you share God’s love with your little ones, so that when they grow up they are sure of the promise that nothing can ever separate them from God’s love.

Natalee's book list on children’s books about God’s love

Natalee Creech Why did Natalee love this book?

This book is short, but it contains a powerful message for children: God created you and loves you - everywhere and always. Despite its economy of words, it can spark deep conversations. The text is a wonderful affirmation for children to take into their hearts. It can be savored, but can also be a quick read on those busy nights when parents are as tired as their listeners during storytime. (For reference, God’s Great Love for You is the same number of words as this recommendation.) 

By Rick Warren, Chris Saunders (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked God's Great Love for You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

God's Great Love

Created the entire universe

And everything in it

Including you.

God's Great Love for You, written by #1 New York Times bestselling author and respected pastor Rick Warren, takes children on a whimsical and heartfelt journey that lets them know God's love is with them wherever they go. With breathtaking illustrations by Chris Saunders, the simple yet poignant text comes alive as a child journeys to places far and near and discovers God's great love is perfect, and everywhere, and will never end.


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