100 books like The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Here are 100 books that The Road fans have personally recommended if you like The Road. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

TP Wood Author Of 77° North

From the list on stirring your heart and imagination.

Who am I?

It’s Saturday, 5 p.m. If you could peer back in time to the late ’60s, you’d find me plunked in front of our new colour RCA Victor, a Swanson TV dinner steaming before me, and the theme…da-da-DAAA-da-da-da-da-DAAAA, announcing my favourite show: Star Trek. I absorbed the logic of Mr. Spock, the passion of Dr. McCoy, and the fantastical world of Klingons, wormholes, and warp drives. Add to that a degree in history and English, and it set the stage for my passion to read and write in genres of science fiction and magical realism. I hope you find these books as stimulating and thought-provoking as I did.  

TP's book list on stirring your heart and imagination

Why did TP love this book?

Man’s Search for Meaning is a chronicle of twentieth-century evil, and how one man overcame it.

Viktor Frankl’s grisly ordeal in four Nazi death camps, and his capacity to survive their horrific conditions, is a mind-numbing account of our darkest period in history. This ninety-three-page narrative exposes an unparalleled genocide, and the power of the human spirit to transcend insurmountable odds.

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

36 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.

Into the Wild

By Jon Krakauer,

Book cover of Into the Wild

M. R. Reed Author Of Enthrall

From the list on doing what is right when others are against you.

Who am I?

I’m drawn to the idea of doing what you think is right when others are against you because I’ve always felt the desire to row against the current and just do my own thing. I tend to avoid following the crowd because oftentimes I simply don’t agree with them. Am I being purposely difficult? Maybe. But I fear a society that goes with the flow simply because it’s easier and it doesn’t require them to think for themselves. It’s okay to listen to other people, but before you make any major decisions, ask yourself a question: Is this right for me?

M. R.'s book list on doing what is right when others are against you

Why did M. R. love this book?

Here’s my confession: I hated Chris McCandless by the time I finished this book. I hated his cockiness and lack of respect for the power of the wilderness.

But you know what I give him credit for? His ability to leave his life of privilege and the courage to go out into the world and forge his own destiny. He did what he thought was best for him despite the pushback he received from his friends and family.

I think I hated him so much because I wanted him to succeed, and he doomed himself through his own hubris. 

By Jon Krakauer,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Into the Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Krakauer’s page-turning bestseller explores a famed missing person mystery while unraveling the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

"Terrifying... Eloquent... A heart-rending drama of human yearning." —New York Times

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all…

The Second World War

By Antony Beevor,

Book cover of The Second World War

Adam Nevill Author Of Lost Girl

From the list on Armageddon.

Who am I?

I'm continually asked why I write horror. But I wonder why every writer isn't writing horror. Not a day passes without me being aghast at the world and my own species, the present, past and future. Though nor do I stop searching for a sense of awe and wonder in the world either. My Dad read ghost stories to me as a kid and my inner tallow candle was lit. The flame still burns. Horror has always been the fiction I have felt compelled to write in order to process the world, experience, observation, my imaginative life. I've been blessed with a good readership and have entered my third decade as a writer of horrors. In that time two of my novels have been adapted into films and the British Fantasy Society has kindly recognised my work with five awards, one for Best Collection and four for Best Novel. I'm in this for the long haul and aim to be creating horror on both page and screen for some time to come.

Adam's book list on Armageddon

Why did Adam love this book?

It's too easy to dismiss the Second World War. To relegate that epochal conflict into realms of ancient history, action films, kitset models, unread Father's day gifts, and black & white footage. But we all live through the consequences of this epic global struggle. This was the last time western civilisation brought itself close to destruction and it was a close call. 60 million lives were lost and no one died easily. The war was also raging just shy of 80 years ago. In the scheme of human history, that's recent.

Beevor's history of the global conflict - and it was global - is a page-turning affair. Vivid, engaging, heartbreaking, shocking. Really fine storytelling and a first class history, encompassing the great conflicts of east and west (China's experience of the war is much overlooked in the west but not in these pages). I found myself engrossed by this monumental…

By Antony Beevor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian.

The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from…

The Stranger

By Albert Camus,

Book cover of The Stranger

Daniel Damiano Author Of Graphic Nature

From the list on exploring solitary characters.

Who am I?

As both a playwright and novelist, I tend to gravitate to complex characters with an internal struggle. Graphic Nature, my second novel, touches upon a particular character, Edmond de Capitoir, who while considering himself a well-meaning member of society, has kept himself at arm’s length from life in many ways – not the least of which is due to his commitment to his profession as an executioner in 1913 France. Much of the work I've recommended touches upon these similar protagonists who are somehow emotionally closed off and perhaps have developed a certain guilt about their actions by what they experience through the course of these stories – even a need for love.

Daniel's book list on exploring solitary characters

Why did Daniel love this book?

Camus’ 1942 classic short novel, The Stranger, focuses on a protagonist who, not unlike other protagonists in this list, has certain emotional limitations.  However, in the character of Meursault, Camus’ main character has a particular desensitization from tragic events in his life, which culminates when he is tried for shooting a man, otherwise referred to in the book as “the Arab”. 

The emotional removal that Meursault exhibits throughout this unusual and engaging character study becomes the ultimate focus of his trial, as others reflect on his emotional disconnection from various aspects of his life, including his own mother’s funeral, to which he had displayed little more than apathy. 

The Stranger is astonishing in its depiction of a traditionally “unlikable” character who nevertheless we follow in the hopes of some sort of catharsis.  

By Albert Camus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the intrigue of a psychological thriller, The Stranger—Camus's masterpiece—gives us the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach. With an Introduction by Peter Dunwoodie; translated by Matthew Ward.

Behind the subterfuge, Camus explores what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd" and describes the condition of reckless alienation and spiritual exhaustion that characterized so much of twentieth-century life. 

“The Stranger is a strikingly modern text and Matthew Ward’s translation will enable readers to appreciate why Camus’s stoical anti-hero and ­devious narrator remains one of the key expressions of…

Book cover of The War of the Worlds

Timothy Knapman Author Of The Book of Blast Off!: 15 Real-Life Space Missions

From the list on making space exploration a blast for kids.

Who am I?

As a kid I loved space, and devoured science fiction (Doctor Who was my favorite). Now I’m a grown-up, I write books for kids - 70 so far and counting. (My latest picture book is called Sometimes I Am Furious, illustrated by Joe Berger.) The Book of Blast Off! is my second book about space (the first one was just called Space – not the most imaginative title, it’s true). I love writing non-fiction for kids because, unlike grown-ups, you can’t blind them with science. You have to know what you’re talking about so you can explain things clearly. They’re the best audience and you want to be worthy of them.

Timothy's book list on making space exploration a blast for kids

Why did Timothy love this book?

This is a bit of a cheat too, because it’s not about us exploring space, it’s about creatures from space coming to Earth – in the classic tale of a Martian invasion.

Wells writes beautifully – and the book isn’t too long – but it’s maybe a bit much for readers of my book right now. I include it because I hope they’ll read it when they’re older. It had a big impact on me as a 10-year-old because the Martians land – and start their campaign of conquest and destruction – in the little corner of Surrey, England, where I grew up.

Writing at the height of empire, Wells was, in part, inviting us Brits to imagine what it would be like if, for once, a technologically superior power invaded us.

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The War of the Worlds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

But planet Earth was not only being watched - soon it would be invaded by monstrous creatures from Mars who strode about the land in great mechanical tripods, bringing death and destruction with them. What can possibly stop an invading army equipped with heat-rays and poisonous black gas, intent on wiping out the human race? This is one man's story of that incredible invasion, from the time the first Martians land near his home town, to the destruction of London. Is this the end of human life on Earth?


By Jared Diamond,

Book cover of Collapse

Mordecai George Sheftall Author Of Blossoms In The Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze

From the list on how culture makes us do self-destructive things.

Who am I?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I woke up expecting to spend that day – and the rest of my academic career – leisurely studying the interplay of culture and individual temperament in second language acquisition. As the rest of that terrible day unfolded, however, my research up to that point suddenly seemed very small and almost decadently privileged. Recruiting the rudimentary cultural anthropology toolbox I had already amassed, I took a deep breath and plunged into the rabbit hole of studying the role of culture in human conflict. Twenty-two years later, using my Japan base and relevant language skills, my research has focused on the Japanese experience in World War II.

Mordecai's book list on how culture makes us do self-destructive things

Why did Mordecai love this book?

Have you ever encountered an idea in a book that made such a lasting impression on you that, almost like the “flashbulb” memory of a life – or world-changing event, you can remember the exact circumstances of where you were when you first read it?

Jared Diamond’s Collapse – which I picked up at an airport bookshop as “light reading” for a long flight – ended up providing me with just such an experience. The book holds that culture can fatally inure us, like so many slowly (and initially comfortably) boiling frogs, to the existential threat of environmental destruction, particularly in the context of the overexploitation of natural resources.

Diamond’s account of the last days of Easter Island civilization is particularly harrowing, and has haunted me ever since.

By Jared Diamond,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive is a visionary study of the mysterious downfall of past civilizations.

Now in a revised edition with a new afterword, Jared Diamond's Collapse uncovers the secret behind why some societies flourish, while others founder - and what this means for our future.

What happened to the people who made the forlorn long-abandoned statues of Easter Island?
What happened to the architects of the crumbling Maya pyramids?
Will we go the same way, our skyscrapers one day standing derelict and overgrown like the…

The Uninhabitable Earth

By David Wallace-Wells,

Book cover of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

Lewis H. Ziska Author Of Greenhouse Planet: How Rising CO2 Changes Plants and Life as We Know It

From the list on climate and plants, from forests to farms.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated with plants. Their shapes, their colors, their beauty, even the plants that are known to be harmful to humans (poison ivy, puncture vine) had appeal to me. Plants are, by far, the most prolific, the biggest, the oldest, the most complex of organisms. And yet, as a pre-med student, classes on botany were never recommended. Sad. These books delve into the complexity, the wonder of plants, and how they interact with humans. From the sheer poetic pronouncements of Michael Pollan to the straightforward prose of Richard Manning, here is a chance to see the breadth and depth; our rewards and struggles with the plant kingdom.  

Lewis' book list on climate and plants, from forests to farms

Why did Lewis love this book?

A well-written erudite work that explores all aspects of civilization relative to the degree and rate of global warming. It illustrates a broad and compelling narrative of all the plant aspects, from Hunger to Policy. It uses language that is incredibly descriptive, and very relatable to bring the impact of climate change home to readers who may be unfamiliar with all of the complexities of climate change.

By David Wallace-Wells,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Uninhabitable Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'An epoch-defining book' Matt Haig
'If you read just one work of non-fiction this year, it should probably be this' David Sexton, Evening Standard

Selected as a Book of the Year 2019 by the Sunday Times, Spectator and New Statesman
A Waterstones Paperback of the Year and shortlisted for the Foyles Book of the Year 2019
Longlisted for the PEN / E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

It is worse, much worse, than you think.

The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says…

The Blade Itself

By Joe Abercrombie,

Book cover of The Blade Itself

M. J. Kuhn Author Of Among Thieves

From the list on where no one is 'the good guy'.

Who am I?

I love a book where the good guys are pure-hearted and the bad guys are evil, but there's something so fascinating about a story where the lines of good and evil blur and bend. I firmly believe that everyone is the hero in their own story… and everyone is the villain in at least one other person’s story. My Tales of Thamorr duology features multiple heists and hijinks, and every member of our crew has plans to betray their fellows. My goal in writing stories where no one is the ‘good guy’ is to create a reading experience where you want to root for everyone and no one at the same time.

M. J.'s book list on where no one is 'the good guy'

Why did M. J. love this book?

In my opinion, any discussion of morally gray books and morally gray heroes is incomplete without the Lord of Grimdark himself, Joe Abercrombie.

The Blade Itself is the first book in the First Law trilogy. The story follows several points of view, including a murderous north man, a pompous soldier, and, my personal favorite, a snarky torturer. If you’re looking for a story where knights in shining armor win the day and the bad guy gets his just desserts, this isn’t the series for you.

But if you want characters so real they feel like they could walk right out of the page, expertly-paced action, and complex political machinations, check these books out! 

By Joe Abercrombie,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Blade Itself as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.

Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior…

The Ministry for the Future

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Book cover of The Ministry for the Future

Nick Fuller Googins Author Of The Great Transition

From the list on ward away your global warming anxiety.

Who am I?

I was working installing solar panels in rural Maine when I first had the idea to write a climate crisis novel. I grew up in the woods of New England, and have always loved nature, but I was feeling pretty despondent about global warming. I started to wonder: what would it feel like to be part of a mass mobilization installing solar, wind, and so on, to save the planet? Those were the seeds of the novel. When I’m not writing, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I worry about the planet my students will inherit, and if I’m doing enough to make that world as hopeful as possible.

Nick's book list on ward away your global warming anxiety

Why did Nick love this book?

I read this novel when I was about three-quarters finished with my novel, and was just blown away by the attention to detail, possibilities, and hope between the pages.

This is another hopeful near-future novel, in which humanity is trying its best to overcome the worst of climate change. Unlike my novel, however, which is told from the perspective of one family, Ministry for the Future is a truly global story, with dozens and dozens of narrators, many unnamed, who give us snapshots everywhere from the Arizona border to Antarctica to Switzerland to India, all coalescing into what becomes a global movement to try to save the planet.

This novel is a little lighter on plot, but fascinating as a menu of hopeful options and possibilities for what could be done if humanity really got its act together. 

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Ministry for the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


“The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —Jonathan Lethem
"If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future." —Ezra Klein (Vox)

The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite…

Wolf Hall

By Hilary Mantel,

Book cover of Wolf Hall

James B. Conroy Author Of The Devils Will Get No Rest: FDR, Churchill, and the Plan That Won the War

From the list on making history live and breathe.

Who am I?

History has enthralled me from a very young age, drawn as a child as I was to Vikings, cowboys and Indians, medieval knights, ancient conquerors, and mythological gods. After practicing law in Boston for 38 years, I retired to write history full time, not to string dates and facts together in a powder-dry mix but to try to breathe life into the vibrant men and women who enlivened their times and can shed a timeless light on the challenges of ours. Hard work though it is, I have never been so satisfied with life.

James' book list on making history live and breathe

Why did James love this book?

A longtime diet of tasty historical novels having left me entertained and lazy, my first look at volume one of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, a blacksmith’s son who rose to precarious power as King Henry VIII’s ruthless fixer and lost his head for his trouble, was not a case of love at first sight.

It is not a passive read. For me, it took a second trip to Chapter One to discover that Wolf Hall is a work of art. Given the focus it deserves, it brings to vivid life a terrifying world of 16th-century intrigue and proto-totalitarianism, densely populated with scheming complex characters and treacherous maneuvers.

I found it artfully wrought, beautifully written, worthy of its Booker Prize, and brewed to be sipped, not gulped.

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Wolf Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Man Booker Prize Shortlisted for the the Orange Prize Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award

`Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good' Daily Mail

'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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