100 books like The Shock of the Fall

By Nathan Filer,

Here are 100 books that The Shock of the Fall fans have personally recommended if you like The Shock of the Fall. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Last House on Needless Street

Kelley Skovron Author Of No Filter

From my list on deliciously dark horror novels that are more sad than scary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of over 15 novels written for kids, teens, and adults across several genres. The thing all my books have in common is that they are sad and they are dark. My most recent novel is my most distilled, compressed delivery of deliciously dark sadness yet! Oddly, I'm rarely sad in real life. My daughter suggested that I write books to get the darkness out of my head and onto the page, which I think is very insightful (she is my kid, after all). I enjoy the beauty in the breakdown, I savor the sublime catharsis of tragedy, and I want to share that perspective with everyone.

Kelley's book list on deliciously dark horror novels that are more sad than scary

Kelley Skovron Why did Kelley love this book?

I really don't know how Catriona Ward manages to balance the languid sadness and unrelenting tension so well.

Ward's profound empathy for every single character, no matter how flawed, is what twists your heart. At the same time, you feel as though you're on a roller coaster barreling at breakneck speed through pitch-black tunnels.

I wasn't always sure I understood what was going on from moment to moment, and that seems very much by design because, wow, what a twist! And the deeply felt depiction of the characters never made me feel like I was truly lost. I will indulge a great deal of mystery as long as it is presented by such a steady and skillful hand.

By Catriona Ward,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Last House on Needless Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The buzz...is real. I've read it and was blown away. It's a true nerve-shredder that keeps its mind-blowing secrets to the very end." ―Stephen King

Winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel!
A World Fantasy Award Finalist!
An Indie Next Pick! A LibraryReads Top 10 Pick!
A Library Journal Editors' Pick! STARRED reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly!
Named one of the "50 Best Horror Books of All Time" by Esquire!

"Brilliant....[a] deeply frightening deconstruction of the illusion of the self." ―The New York Times

Catriona Ward's The Last House on Needless Street is a shocking…


Book cover of Before I Go to Sleep

Mallika Narayanan Author Of In the Dark I See You

From my list on Suspense/thriller books with great plot twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer of suspense/thrillers and psychological thrillers, I’ve always loved thrillers and suspense books where I can’t guess the ending. And this list of books is additionally close to my heart because of the way they made me feel when I read them: breathless; restless to know how they were going to end; and most of all, they made me think about and question the psychology of the characters. I hope you will like them as much as I did!

Mallika's book list on Suspense/thriller books with great plot twists

Mallika Narayanan Why did Mallika love this book?

This book kept me on the edge of my seat, biting my nails, and err… made me forget to go to sleep. This book to me is the epitome of books that make you go wait, what??

I want to highlight the menacing ambiance and constant edge in the tone of the story by giving the character such vulnerability that made me squirm. I loved the pacing of this story as the main character is hurled from the one bad situation into another.

Yet again, this book taught me to re-think assumptions, because it proved all of them wrong. I love the uniqueness of this trope especially when it first came out but the originality of it captivated me entirely.

By S.J. Watson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Before I Go to Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Mesmerising and unsettling . . . The best debut thriller for years' Sunday Times

Now a major film starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong

Over 7 million copies sold worldwide
____________

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.

____________

Readers are obsessed with Before I Go To Sleep:

***** 'A genius plot with an incredible twist. Before…


Book cover of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Richard Scrimger Author Of At the Speed of Gus

From my list on neurodivergent voices, quirky, heartbreaking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t count the number of conversations where I’ve been asked to slow down, or take a breath, or talk in a straight line. My neurodivergent heroes are versions of me: me if I were an alien, or a dying old lady, or a zombie. Gus is the closest I’ve come yet to writing my true self. He’s just me. I want readers who identify with Gus to feel seen and accepted and those who don’t—to understand what it’s like to live like this. And, just maybe, to have a little fun along the way. 

Richard's book list on neurodivergent voices, quirky, heartbreaking

Richard Scrimger Why did Richard love this book?

I love story remixes: new takes on an existing genre. This book takes a conventional mystery plotline and gives it bright new coloring thanks to the narrator’s autism.

As is often the case with neurodivergent folks, Christopher doesn’t know much about the world, but he understands himself. A quiet masterpiece. No sentimentality, thank heavens.

By Mark Haddon,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year

'Outstanding...a stunningly good read' Observer

'Mark Haddon's portrayal of an emotionally dissociated mind is a superb achievement... Wise and bleakly funny' Ian McEwan

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the…


Book cover of Elizabeth Is Missing

Vered Neta Author Of Things We Do For Love

From my list on the light side of Alzheimer’s.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like the Bach sisters in my novel Things We Do For Love, my sisters and I have cared for our mother, who battles Alzheimer's. Witnessing her transformation from a vibrant powerhouse to someone resembling the Walking Dead has been heart-wrenching. Despite the emotional rollercoaster, this journey has deeply connected us with our mother. Delving into the depths of her being has been a privilege, offering profound insights into her true essence. This challenging experience has unfolded as a disguised blessing. In this journey, we've discovered the beauty of unconditional love that binds our family together. It reflects the central question of my novel: What truly makes a happy family?

Vered's book list on the light side of Alzheimer’s

Vered Neta Why did Vered love this book?

This book inspired me to write my own account of dealing with my mum’s Alzheimer’s.

This darkly comic yet gripping novel reveals the humorous aspects of the disease. Maud, an eighty-year-old who grapples with forgetting even the cup of tea she just made or recognising her own daughter, surprisingly unravels a seventy-year-old mystery.

The story delicately weaves warm and uplifting moments with touches of comedy, anxiety, and sheer terror that arise when one realises the advancing years and the struggle to be heard in a society that often overlooks the elderly. The portrayal of dementia in this novel is both sympathetic and profoundly moving, capturing the emotional complexity of the experience.

Maud's character is both exasperating and compelling, embodying the kind of older protagonist I yearn to encounter more in literature.

By Emma Healey,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Elizabeth Is Missing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR BBC DRAMA
A SUNDAY TIMES TOP FIVE BESTSELLER

How do you solve a mystery when you can't remember the clues?

Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.

But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to…


Book cover of Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

Stephen Trimble Author Of The Mike File: A Story of Grief and Hope

From my list on families struggling with mental health.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’d been writing for forty years before I could write about the biggest story in my life. My 25 non-fiction books about the American West—landscape, Native peoples, conservation—are a joy to research, photograph, and create. But I had unfinished emotional business: my mentally ill brother who left home when I was six, never to return. After everyone in my family was gone, it was finally safe. I began to recreate my brother’s life, reveling in research. I know how to do that. Opening myself emotionally to the heart of my family story took far longer. Empathy is a choice, and I’ve made my choice.

Stephen's book list on families struggling with mental health

Stephen Trimble Why did Stephen love this book?

Robert Whitaker’s books inform my work. Both Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic provided crucial policy background as I searched for my brother's personhood. Whitaker’s deep research and ferocious insistence that we rethink psychiatric care guided me into the world of mental illness, the history of treatment, and the controversy over forcing medication on unwilling people. I sympathize with Whitaker and the people who believe anti-psychotics make things worse. But I also meet many with diagnoses who believe in the mantra, “take your meds.” Best practices cannot be one-size (pill)-fits all. I end my own book by imagining the best possible world for mental health treatment—guided both by Whitaker and his most vehement critic, E. Fuller Torrey.

By Robert Whitaker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Schizophrenics in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world's poorest countries. In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are just old medicine in new bottles, and that we as a society are deeply deluded about their efficacy. The widespread use of lobotomies in the 1920s and 1930s gave way in the 1950s to electroshock and a wave of new drugs. In what is perhaps Whitaker's most damning revelation, Mad in America examines how drug companies in the 1980s and 1990s skewed their studies to prove that…


Book cover of Valis

Jeff Hopp Author Of Legend of the Mind

From my list on science fiction written by Philip K. Dick.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professional artist and musician, and I owe a huge debt to Philip K. Dick. I started to read his works at a very young age (I believe I’ve read most everything he’s written at least twice), and my love of his work has continued throughout my life and he has been the greatest inspiration to my music, writing, and art. I felt so influenced and indebted that a created a comic book to honor him and to tell my stories and ideas that have populated my imagination as a result of his books.

Jeff's book list on science fiction written by Philip K. Dick

Jeff Hopp Why did Jeff love this book?

I consider myself a very spiritual person and I believe that it is a person’s responsibility to question what it means to be spiritual in order to better understand one’s own faith.

As I am, Philip K. Dick was obviously obsessed with wanting spiritual answers. Valis is very entertaining, but it also made me question all that I believe in a way that expanded and made my spirituality stronger.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It began with a blinding light, a divine revelation from a mysterious intelligence that called itself VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System). And with that, the fabric of reality was torn apart and laid bare so that anything seemed possible, but nothing seemed quite right.

It was madness, pure and simple. But what if it were true?


Book cover of The Memory Palace

Karen Harmon Author Of Where Is My Happy Ending?: A Journey of No Regrets

From my list on mental health, addiction, and families.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have the expertise for this topic because I was raised in a loving home with a mother who struggled with bipolar disorder. At times my life was hilariously adventurous or heart-wrenchingly sad. Given little direction, I married an alcoholic and then went on to work at a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. I have fallen on hard times, but at the age of thirty-two, as a single mother collecting welfare, I managed to grief, heal and dig myself out, creating a rewarding life. I am optimistic, and I try to find humour in all things, especially after the tears and healing have subsided. My writing has brought me tremendous healing and joy.

Karen's book list on mental health, addiction, and families

Karen Harmon Why did Karen love this book?

A harrowing and beautiful tale of two sisters growing up with a paranoid schizophrenic mother. The author describes a fine line between gentle artistic creativity and debilitating mental illness. The reader will come away with a better understanding of how deeply children are affected growing up in a dysfunctional and traumatic environment. A mother's love and a journey to forgiveness teach us the complex meaning of love.

By Mira Bartok,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, two sisters confront schizophrenia in this New York Times bestselling poignant memoir about family and mental illness. Through stunning prose and original art, The Memory Palace captures the love between mother and daughter, the complex meaning of truth, and one family’s capacity for forgiveness.

*A Washington Post Best Book of the Year *
*The National Book Critics Circle Award Winner for Best Autobiography*

“People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you’ve been through,” Mira Bartók is told at her mother’s memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship…


Book cover of No One Cares about Crazy People: My Family and the Heartbreak of Mental Illness in America

JoEllen Notte Author Of In It Together: Navigating Depression with Partners, Friends, and Family

From my list on helping you talk about mental health.

Why am I passionate about this?

According to my mother, my first words were, “what’s that?” and I believe that’s indicative of the level of curiosity with which I try to approach life. That curiosity led me to write books about how we can better love ourselves and each other when depression is gumming up the works. Talking about mental illness is hard, and I aim to make it easier. I’m not a doctor or therapist. I am best described as a “sex writer with a theatre degree” and I like to say my work focuses on sex, mental health, and how none of us are broken.  

JoEllen's book list on helping you talk about mental health

JoEllen Notte Why did JoEllen love this book?

It can be incredibly frustrating to try to talk about how broken the mental healthcare system is (especially in the United States). Most people have no frame of reference for it.

Similarly the impact mental illness can have on family and loved ones is, for many, uncharted territory. Enter No One Care About Crazy People.

Powers expertly weaves the history of mental healthcare in America together with the story of his family’s battles with schizophrenia. The result is a heartbreaking and beautiful and horrifying and eye-opening book that leaves you better equipped to have those frustrating conversations. 

I’m not going to lie to you, this is a hard one to read. It hurts. That said, it is one of my all-time favorite books.

By Ron Powers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked No One Cares about Crazy People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Extraordinary and courageous . . . No doubt if everyone were to read this book, the world would change."---New York Times Book Review

New York Times-bestselling author Ron Powers' critically acclaimed narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons' battles with schizophrenia.

From the centuries of torture of "lunatiks" at Bedlam Asylum to the infamous eugenics era to the follies of the anti-psychiatry movement to the current landscape in which too many families struggle alone to manage afflicted love ones, Powers limns our fears and myths about mental…


Book cover of I Know This Much Is True

Deborah Kasdan Author Of Roll Back the World: A Sister's Memoir

From my list on startling encounters with mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

When my older sister died, I felt a pressing need to tell her story. Rachel was a strong, courageous woman, who endured decades in a psychiatric system that failed her. She was a survivor, but the stigma of severe mental illness made her an outcast from most of society. Even so, her enduring passion for poetry inspired me to write about her. I sought out other people’s stories. I enrolled in workshops and therapy. I devoured books and blogs by survivors, advocates, and family members. Everything I read pointed to a troubling rift between the dominant medical model and more humane, less damaging ones. This list represents a slice of my learning.

Deborah's book list on startling encounters with mental illness

Deborah Kasdan Why did Deborah love this book?

Before my sister became so ill, people used to say we looked alike. But ours was just a resemblance. In this novel, Dominick looks exactly like his brother, who has schizophrenia. Dominick encounters his identical twin every time he looks in a mirror. And he is terrified.

I first read this book 25 years ago and inhaled every one of the intertwined subplots in its 900 + pages. Recently, I re-read the “story within the story,” a memoir by Dominick’s grandfather. I became fascinated by his story about the Sicilian market where one chicken transforms into two whole ones—a bit of magical realism about twinning, schizophrenia, and hope. I too excavated old family documents to understand why my sibling suffered so much.

By Wally Lamb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Know This Much Is True as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller and Oprah Book Club selection

"Thoughtful . . . heart-wrenching . . . . An exercise in soul-baring storytelling—with the soul belonging to 20th-century America itself. It's hard to read and to stop reading, and impossible to forget."  — USA Today

Dominick Birdsey, a forty-year-old housepainter living in Three Rivers, Connecticut, finds his subdued life greatly disturbed when his identical twin brother Thomas, a paranoid schizophrenic, commits a shocking act of self-mutilation. Dominick is forced to care for his brother as well as confront dark secrets and pain he has buried deep within himself—a journey…


Book cover of The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays

Alexander Kriss, Ph.D. Author Of Borderline: The Biography of a Personality Disorder

From my list on understanding misunderstanding mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before I trained to be a clinical psychologist, I was drawn to questions about how the human mind works and what it means to suffer and to heal. Even now, after having digested countless academic papers and books on these subjects, I continue to gravitate toward fiction, memoir, and popular nonfiction that grapples with the complexities of mental illness and psychotherapy without the jargon and insularity of many professional texts. These are some of my favorites—I hope you find them as illuminating as I did.

Alexander's book list on understanding misunderstanding mental illness

Alexander Kriss, Ph.D. Why did Alexander love this book?

When a friend first handed me her copy of Esmé Weijun Wang’s book, I imagined it would sit unread on my shelf for a long time. Given how much time I spend in my professional life working with people with severe mental illness, I assumed Wang’s personal account of her struggle to find a diagnosis and effective, compassionate treatment would be redundant for me.

I was so, so, so wrong. I read nearly the entire essay collection in one sitting—it is stunning, somehow scholarly and deeply personal at the same time. The book is required reading for anyone who wants to better understand one of the least understood diagnoses in the history of psychiatry.

By Esmé Weijun Wang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esme Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the "collected schizophrenias" but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community's own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in schizophrenia, dark comedy, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about schizophrenia, dark comedy, and presidential biography.

Schizophrenia Explore 52 books about schizophrenia
Dark Comedy Explore 275 books about dark comedy
Presidential Biography Explore 19 books about presidential biography