10 books like The Shadow Knows

By Diane Johnson,

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

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Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Book cover of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals

Hartman is one of those academic writers who write like novelists or poets; this is a good thing, because her material is the history of the marginalized, people pushed to the margins of history, so that often the only traces left of them are some entries in police or workhouse or hospital records. How to make those records speak and live again? Daringly, Hartman allows herself the poetic license to imagine in the gaps and silences. What results is a Black history/story that renders visible the unrecorded anarchic rebellions of Black women at the turn of the century, seeking out new and joyful possibilities for life. An incredible achievement.

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beautifully written and deeply researched, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law. They cleaved to and cast off lovers, exchanged sex to subsist, and revised the meaning of marriage. Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live. They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading…


Last Days at Hot Slit

By Andrea Dworkin,

Book cover of Last Days at Hot Slit: The Radical Feminism of Andrea Dworkin

I didn’t read Last Days of Hot Slit in time to include it in my own book about sexual violence. In truth, I could have (barely; it was published just before I finished). But I felt comfortable with my aversion to Dworkin, a crusader against assault who had found common cause with conservative activists. And Dworkin was a self-defeating font of vituperation, wasn’t she? Well, no. She was in fact altogether brilliant. Fateman’s wonderfully lucid, deeply researched introduction and the careful selection she and Scholder made of Dworkin’s surprisingly wide-ranging work, demonstrate the force and courage not just of this radical feminist’s writing, but also of her character. She was dauntless.

Last Days at Hot Slit

By Andrea Dworkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last Days at Hot Slit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selections from the work of radical feminist author Andrea Dworkin, famous for her antipornography stance and role in the feminist sex wars of the 1980s.

Radical feminist author Andrea Dworkin was a caricature of misandrist extremism in the popular imagination and a polarizing figure within the women's movement, infamous for her antipornography stance and her role in the feminist sex wars of the 1980s. She still looms large in feminist demands for sexual freedom, evoked as a censorial demagogue, more than a decade after her death. Among the very first writers to use her own experiences of rape and battery…


Memories of the Future

By Siri Hustvedt,

Book cover of Memories of the Future

An audaciously experimental novelist, Siri Hustvedt is also a highly respected scholar of neuroscience who is not afraid to bring the philosophy of mind into her fiction. In Memories of the Future, she adroitly employs some revisionist art history as well. And there is a breathtakingly vivid evocation of the sensory lag that occurs with trauma. But what grabbed me first and unrelentingly in this novel is its evocation of a time and place—New York in the 1970s (the then scruffy Upper West Side, to be exact)—and of the social and sexual perplexities it produced for young women. The protagonist negotiates independence and loneliness, courage—and memory—both true and false, and men safe and otherwise. I wish I’d known her then

Memories of the Future

By Siri Hustvedt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A provocative, wildly funny, intellectually rigorous and engrossing novel, punctuated by Siri Hustvedt's own illustrations - a tour de force by one of America's most acclaimed and beloved writers.

Fresh from Minnesota and hungry for all New York has to offer, twenty-three-year-old S.H. embarks on a year that proves both exhilarating and frightening - from bruising encounters with men to the increasingly ominous monologues of the woman next door.

Forty years on, those pivotal months come back to vibrant life when S.H. discovers the notebook in which she recorded her adventures alongside drafts of a novel. Measuring what she remembers…


The Right to Sex

By Amia Srinivasan,

Book cover of The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century

Srinivasan is clearly an amazing teacher, deeply attentive to her students, and extraordinarily honest and open herself. It is evident her honesty is reciprocated. Much of this book is based on reports from the classroom, and as a longtime educator myself, I was awed by her ability to engage in remarkably fruitful discussions about irresolvable questions of desire and consent. Writing with grace and precision, she explores a terrain in which gender, race, class, and sex overlap, with emphasis on how that terrain looks to people new at navigating it.  

The Right to Sex

By Amia Srinivasan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Laser-cut writing and a stunning intellect. If only every writer made this much beautiful sense.”
—Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women

“Amia Srinivasan is an unparalleled and extraordinary writer—no one X-rays an argument, a desire, a contradiction, a defense mechanism quite like her. In stripping the new politics of sex and power down to its fundamental and sometimes clashing principles, The Right to Sex is a bracing revivification of a crucial lineage in feminist writing: Srinivasan is daring, compassionate, and in relentless search of a new frame.”
—Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self Delusion

Thrilling, sharp, and…


The Easter Parade

By Richard Yates,

Book cover of The Easter Parade

I’m both inspired and depressed by this book. Yes, the book itself is on the depressing side, but what truly saddens me about it is that I’ll never write as well as Richard Yates. He packs so much into this 57,000-word work that it almost defies logic. Still, he’s an inspiration as a writer, and I will always use him as a guidepost. No one’s ever going to confuse me with Michael Jordan, either, but I’m still going to shoot hoops (poorly) in my driveway.

The Easter Parade

By Richard Yates,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Easter Parade, first published in 1976, we meet sisters Sarah and Emily Grimes when they are still the children of divorced parents. We observe the sisters over four decades, watching them grow into two very different women. Sarah is stable and stalwart, settling into an unhappy marriage. Emily is precocious and independent, struggling with one unsatisfactory love affair after another. Richard Yates's classic novel is about how both women struggle to overcome their tarnished family's past, and how both finally reach for some semblance of renewal.


Prince Charming Isn't Coming

By Barbara Huson,

Book cover of Prince Charming Isn't Coming: How Women Get Smart about Money

The number one fear for women in divorce tends to be money, since a woman’s standard of living often falls significantly post-divorce. Barbara Stanny, a journalist and the daughter of H&R Block founder Richard Bloch, found herself in financial straits after her then-husband gambled away their money, left her with a massive tax bill, and fled the country. She had to learn to make and manage her own money to support her three children and has since become a financial educator. This book is critical for any woman who is worried about her finances in divorce. Stanny tackles both financial literacy and the psychology of money in this powerful and practical read.

Prince Charming Isn't Coming

By Barbara Huson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prince Charming Isn't Coming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A guide for women explains how to get smart about money by sharing the practical advice and insights that financially successful women use to get ahead. 15,000 first printing. Tour.


Crackpots

By Sara Pritchard,

Book cover of Crackpots

I laughed out loud reading Sara Pritchard’s Crackpots, the story of spunky Ruby Reese and her complicated coming-of-age. This book was a huge influence on the structure of my own novel. Pritchard plays with chronology and point of view in a way that made me think, wow, I didn’t know you could do that. And then, ooh, I want to do that. Lyrical, detailed, and hilarious, this ranks as one of my all-time faves.

Crackpots

By Sara Pritchard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When we first meet Ruby Reese she’s a spunky kid in a cowgirl hat, tap dancing her way through a slightly off-kilter 1950s childhood. With an insomniac mother and a demolitions-expert father, her entire family is what the residents of her small town would call "a bunch of crackpots." Despite the dramas of her upbringing, Ruby matures into a creative, introspective, and wholly beguiling woman. But her adulthood is marked by complex relationships and romantic missteps -- three unsuitable marriages, dramatic crushes, the complicated love between siblings. As Sara Pritchard deftly guides us through Ruby's story, from the present to…


Stranger in the Shogun's City

By Amy Stanley,

Book cover of Stranger in the Shogun's City: A Japanese Woman and Her World

The fascinating tale of Tsuneno’s journey from respectable daughter and sister in a family of Buddhist priests to a hand-to-mouth existence in Edo—now Tokyo—could well have been titled “down and out in the city.” And she chose her fate. A fiery, headstrong woman, she endured three marriages that all ended in divorce, and when confronted with the possibility of a fourth, she ran away from her home in the storied snow country region along the Japan Sea to try her luck working as a maid. She detailed her adventures and her demands for money and clothes in letters to her brother, letters that Stanley has used to wonderful effect in recreating not only Tsuneo as an individual but also the world of people on the margin among whom she lived.  

Stranger in the Shogun's City

By Amy Stanley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stranger in the Shogun's City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2020 **

A vivid, deeply researched work of history that explores the life of an unconventional woman in Edo - now known as Tokyo - and a portrait of a great city on the brink of momentous change

The daughter of a Buddhist priest, Tsuneno was born in 1804 in a rural Japanese village and was expected to live a life much like her mother's. But after three divorces - and with a temperament much too strong-willed for her family's approval - she ran away to make a life for herself in one…


Things We Didn't Talk about When I Was a Girl

By Jeannie Vanasco,

Book cover of Things We Didn't Talk about When I Was a Girl: A Memoir

The best memoirs, to me, are not only records of past events. They are also the record of a writer grappling with how best to tell the story. Jeannie Vanasco takes this idea to an entirely new level in this brilliant meta-memoir that not only chronicles a sexual assault she experienced in college, but also her present-day investigation into her rapist’s memories of the event, his motives, and his present-day thoughts about what happened. This book challenged me to think in new ways—not only about sexual assault, but also about the ways we remember it and write about it. 

Things We Didn't Talk about When I Was a Girl

By Jeannie Vanasco,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Things We Didn't Talk about When I Was a Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Editors’ Choice and Best Book of the Year at TIME, Esquire, Amazon, Kirkus, and Electric Literature


Jeannie Vanasco has had the same nightmare since she was a teenager. It is always about him: one of her closest high school friends, a boy named Mark. A boy who raped her. When her nightmares worsen, Jeannie decides—after fourteen years of silence—to reach out to Mark. He agrees to talk on the record and meet in person.


Jeannie details her friendship with Mark before and after the assault, asking the brave and urgent question: Is it possible for a…


The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women

By Valerie Young,

Book cover of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It

Regardless of your gender, this book will help you overcome the insecurity and self-doubt we all feel sometimes that holds us back. It provides clarity and understanding combined with practical steps so you can walk confidently into your full potential. This book made me recognize when I am holding myself back or worse—self-sabotaging—so that I can adjust my behavior to go after what I want. Not only has this book helped me personally, but I have recommended it more times than I can count, and the feedback is so meaningful and positive. It’s made a huge difference in my career and I think everyone can benefit from the lessons Dr. Young has to offer.

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women

By Valerie Young,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel—and act—as bright and capable as others already know you are with this award-winning book by Valerie Young.  

It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this. It’s just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake.
 
If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you’re not…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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