100 books like The Smell of Rain on Dust

By Martín Prechtel,

Here are 100 books that The Smell of Rain on Dust fans have personally recommended if you like The Smell of Rain on Dust. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Hugh Warwick Author Of Cull of the Wild: Killing in the Name of Conservation

From my list on animals and nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved animals—my adopted parents were not particularly interested, but when I met my biological mother in my mid-30s, I found out where it came from! That innate passion has driven my life. Writers like Jane Goodall were the gatekeepers—showing me the way forward and giving me permission to study and care. We need to learn more about nonhuman animals and the ecosystems that we share to better understand how to redress the damage we have caused. And while facts are important, stories are even more so. Each of these authors manages to weave both together with such great skill.

Hugh's book list on animals and nature

Hugh Warwick Why did Hugh love this book?

I have guru-phobia, so I had avoided this book because so many people I knew were declaring it one of the best books ever and that Robin Wall Kimmerer was wonderful. Stupid, right?! But then I read it and could understand.

More than reading and listening to it, I met the author at a literary festival and was even more impressed by her gentle wisdom. She writes about the importance of reciprocity—about the rest of life being just as important as we are. Her work merges wonderfully with Jane Goodall’s, and I would recommend reading them in tandem. 

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

48 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…


Book cover of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Dr. Caroline Brookfield Author Of The Reluctant Creative: 5 Effortless Habits to Expand Your Comfort Zone

From my list on trying new things even if you are scared.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was driven to become a veterinarian for as long as I could remember. Then, in high school, I developed a love of performance. I felt stuck. Should I choose art or science? I chose science, and despite a great career, I felt like something was missing. When I reconnected with my creativity through stand-up comedy, entrepreneurship and other non-artistic creative outlets, I found out what I had been missing. Why do we drop creativity for science? It was a common story. I dove into the research on creativity, and was blown away by how a bit of creativity can make us happier, more resilient, and make workplaces more effective.

Dr.'s book list on trying new things even if you are scared

Dr. Caroline Brookfield Why did Dr. love this book?

In this book, I loved the way the author explains the creative process and what it takes to engage your muse and catch ideas. In a different way from The War Of Art, I learned what holds us back from expressing ourselves creatively and how we can overcome this fear of being seen.

Elizabeth Gilbert shares stories and philosophies about how to be more creative every day in a funny and optimistic way.

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process - and showing us all just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create…


Book cover of Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature

Day Schildkret Author Of Hello, Goodbye: 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration, and Change

From my list on nature, art, and ritual.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to discover the healing power of art, nature, and ritual while I was grieving the loss of my father a decade ago. I would go to the park and make impermanent and symmetrical art from found twigs, flowers, pine cones, berries, and leaves as a way to ground, heal my broken heart, and make sense of a chaotic time. Since then, I‘ve made over a thousand nature altars, written a book about it (Morning Altars), and have taught tens of thousands of people around the world to make meaning in their lives through a creative collaboration with the natural world. It still amazes me that something so simple and impermanent can bring such wonder and resilience.

Day's book list on nature, art, and ritual

Day Schildkret Why did Day love this book?

Goldsworthy is the grandfather of impermanent nature art, creating one-of-a-kind ephemeral sculptures out of snow and ice, stone and twigs, leaf and bark. This book carries the quiet intensity of his art that lives at the edge of decay and change. The book wove me into a world of understanding the impermanence in nature through the lens of art being created on the precipice of change. He sculpts spiraling ice crystals just at the time in the morning when the temperature would permit and builds stone structures at the edge of the water, just before the tide would come in and carry it away. Enchanting art, magical photography, a genius in our midst.

By Andy Goldsworthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Illustrates outdoor sculptures created with a range of natural materials, including snow, ice, leaves, rock, clay, stones, feathers, and twigs


Book cover of The Lost Spells

Day Schildkret Author Of Hello, Goodbye: 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration, and Change

From my list on nature, art, and ritual.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to discover the healing power of art, nature, and ritual while I was grieving the loss of my father a decade ago. I would go to the park and make impermanent and symmetrical art from found twigs, flowers, pine cones, berries, and leaves as a way to ground, heal my broken heart, and make sense of a chaotic time. Since then, I‘ve made over a thousand nature altars, written a book about it (Morning Altars), and have taught tens of thousands of people around the world to make meaning in their lives through a creative collaboration with the natural world. It still amazes me that something so simple and impermanent can bring such wonder and resilience.

Day's book list on nature, art, and ritual

Day Schildkret Why did Day love this book?

A wise man once said to me, “if you can say it, you can see it." This magical book of art, poetry, and nature is a response to the removal of nature words such as “acorn,” “wren,” and “dandelion,” from a children’s dictionary. His gorgeous writing encourages us to wonder at the forgotten and to behold the ordinary by uttering nature words as a conjuring thing. During a time of environmental loss, grief, and forgetting, McFarlane lets us fall in love again with the greater-than-human world through language and therefore, to renew our capacity to marvel at the living landscape and our own inner landscape. 

By Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lost Spells as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Beautiful books make unforgettable gifts. This pocket-sized treasure is the perfect gift for fans of nature, language and rich artwork, adult and child alike!

Kindred in spirit to The Lost Words but fresh in its form, The Lost Spells introduces a beautiful new set of natural spell-poems and artwork by beloved creative duo Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.

Each "spell" conjures an animal, bird, tree or flower -- from Barn Owl to Red Fox, Grey Seal to Silver Birch, Jay to Jackdaw -- with which we share our lives and landscapes. Moving, joyful and funny, The Lost Spells above all…


Book cover of Everyday Madness: On Grief, Anger, Loss and Love

Susie Orbach Author Of Bodies

From my list on contemporary memoirs by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Memoirs have crept up on me as favorites. I could list many more. Please let me! As a psychoanalyst, I listen to the pains and struggles of individuals trying to become more at ease with themselves. They engage with their demons and try to make sense of how to manage the way their personal history has created their worldview and how to expand it enough to enter a present. Memoirs are another way of addressing such struggles. They have an elegance and a universality that emerges out of their individual stories. We learn about the other and we learn about ourselves.

Susie's book list on contemporary memoirs by women

Susie Orbach Why did Susie love this book?

Lisa’s husband dies as he is being treated for cancer. She writes about the first year after in which grief, madness, confusion, isolation, and fury coincide with Britain’s beginning Brexit madness. Nothing can be made sense of and yet we need words to express what’s happening. And then words provide for consoling and managing.

By Lisa Appignanesi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'You will find all of life in this' Deborah Levy

After the death of her partner of thirty-two years, Lisa Appignanesi was thrust into a state striated by rage and superstition in which sanity felt elusive. Then, too, the cultural and political moment seemed to collude with her condition: everywhere people were dislocated and angry.

In this electrifying and brave examination of an ordinary enough death and its aftermath, Everyday Madness uses all Lisa Appignanesi's evocative and analytic powers to scrutinize her own and our society's experience of grieving. With searing honesty, lashed by humour, she navigates us onto the…


Book cover of Welcome to the Grief Club: Because You Don't Have to Go Through It Alone

Colin Campbell Author Of Finding the Words: Working Through Profound Loss with Hope and Purpose

From my list on helping cope with grief and loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve sat in many grief circles and listened to fellow grievers share their pain at being abandoned or misunderstood by their friends and families as they grieve. Often we suffer the secondary loss of community because our culture has not taught us how to grieve or how to be a friend to those in grief. My wife and I found some invaluable tools that helped us communicate our needs to our community, and keep them close on our grief journey. One of those tools is grief books. I’ve read dozens of them, and while everyone responds to grief books differently, I think these five books are the very best.

Colin's book list on helping cope with grief and loss

Colin Campbell Why did Colin love this book?

This book is a wonderful practical guide to grieving that is accompanied by charming illustrations from the author. This might make it sound child-like or cutsie, but it’s not at all.

It’s an honest and fierce guide that doesn’t use any cheesy aphorisms or simplistic clichés about grief. It tells it like it is, but with kindness and hope. It helped me feel not so alone.

By Janine Kwoh,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Welcome to the Grief Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the Grief Club--a place where one human who experienced a terrible loss, Janine Kwoh, is at the door to welcome other humans who are grieving. It is not an instruction manual, or a step-by-step playbook, or a memoir. It is, rather, a fresh, empathetic approach to all of the surprising, confusing, brutal, funny, and downright bizarre parts of grief. Combining her own experiences with grief--the author's partner died when both were in their late 20s--with what she learned from others in her "grief club," Kwoh uses brief writings and observations, hand-drawn illustrations, and diagrams to explore all the…


Book cover of The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss

James Withey Author Of How to Get to Grips with Grief: 40 Ways to Manage the Unmanageable

From my list on to get to grips with grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of the best-selling books How to Tell Depression to Piss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life BackHow to Tell Anxiety to Sod Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life Back, The Recovery Letters, and What I Do to Get Through. My sixth book will be, How to Smash Stress: 40 Ways to Manage the Unmanageable.

James' book list on to get to grips with grief

James Withey Why did James love this book?

He describes the death of his partner from alcoholism and the events leading up to it in an unflinchingly honest and moving way. It's raw and personal but that's what grief is. It's beautiful and respectful and shows how grief is both a shared experience and so completely individual at the same time. 

By Richard Coles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Immensely moving and disarmingly witty' Nigella Lawson
'Such a moving, tough, funny, raw, honest read' Matt Haig
'Beautifully written, moving and gut-wrenching, but also at times very funny' Ian Rankin
'Captures brilliantly, beautifully, bravely the comedy as well as the tragedy of bereavement' The Times
'Will strike a chord with anyone who has grieved' Independent

Whether it is pastoral care for the bereaved, discussions about the afterlife, or being called out to perform the last rites, death is part of the Reverend Richard Coles's life and work. But when his partner the Reverend David Coles died,…


Book cover of H is for Hawk

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?

I love this book for a number of reasons, perhaps chiefly because it’s so hard to pin down. What is it? Part memoir, part biography, part meditation on grief, part instructional guide to falconry.

Helen Macdonald interweaves her own story of dealing with her father’s death with a historical account of the tortured life of T. H. White (known best as the author of The Once and Future King). In juxtaposing these stories across time and space, we are able to see the blurred lines between bereavement, madness, and social isolation. I will hold forever in my mind Macdonald’s description of looking into her hawk’s eye and seeing nothing familiar, an alien consciousness—it helped to remind me that for all the complexity and diversity of the human species, our perspective is only one among the countless others with which we cohabitate on this planet.

By Helen Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked H is for Hawk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year

ON MORE THAN 25 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR LISTS: including TIME (#1 Nonfiction Book), NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine (10 Favorite Books), Vogue (Top 10), Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle (Top 10), Miami Herald, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top 10), Library Journal (Top 10), Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Slate, Shelf Awareness, Book Riot, Amazon (Top 20)

The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald's story of adopting and raising one of…


Book cover of We Can Never Leave This Place

Polly Hall Author Of Myrrh

From my list on capturing the experience of adoption.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was adopted as a baby, so I have first-hand experience of the emotions and challenges this presents. I am passionate about shining light on this often misunderstood and complex family trauma through my writing. My memoir Blood and Blood, an emotive exploration of the search for my birth relatives, was shortlisted for the Mslexia Prize. My research extends to fiction and non-fiction, where the psychological effects of adoption are referenced or highlighted. I am always keen to chat with fellow care-experienced people. I hope you find the books on this list helpful.

Polly's book list on capturing the experience of adoption

Polly Hall Why did Polly love this book?

If you haven’t already, READ ERIC LAROCCA NOW! I have devoured all his published work, and this one was so bleak, subversive, gothic, and intense… in fact, I’m sure a whole dictionary would never completely describe how it made me feel. 

He has a way of slicing through the viscera and injecting words into your bloodstream. Whenever I read any of his stories, I feel inspired as a horror writer to up my game and insert more gore into my own writing. Yet, he makes it look incredibly easy, almost as if he is writing poetry using his own bodily fluids. Perhaps he does!? Proceed with care…

By Eric Larocca,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Can Never Leave This Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"When you're given a gift, something else gets taken away."

A precocious young girl with an unusual imagination is sent on an odyssey into the depths of depravity. After her father dies violently, young Mara is surprised to find her mother welcoming a new guest into their home, claiming that he will protect them from the world of devastation and destruction outside their door.

A grotesque and thrilling dark fantasy, We Can Never Leave This Place is a harrowing portrait of inherited grief and familial trauma.


"We Can Never Leave This Place is the apocalyptic 21st century Grimm's fairy tale…


Book cover of I Miss You: Grief and Mental Health Books for Kids

Linda Matesa Author Of The Golden Bowl: A book to help children cope with grief

From my list on for grieving children to aid in recovery after loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was not intentionally set out to write books for children, but I was inspired to do so after struggling to face the challenges brought on by my illness—multiple brain tumors and surgeries. Creating messages through stories for children facing such hardship as a life-threatening illness, at times even brought me the reason I needed to keep fighting for my health and for my life.

Linda's book list on for grieving children to aid in recovery after loss

Linda Matesa Why did Linda love this book?

The book explains that death is a natural element of life and explains it in a comprehensible and easy way. It will be a good read for those who believe only in that which they see. The book also explains the importance of having someone to talk to after someone dies and dealing with the emotions.

I would suggest this book to young readers and families who do not believe in a Higher Power or do not know whether they believe it or not.

By Pat Thomas, Lesley Harker (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Miss 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?

This reassuring picture book explores the difficult issue of death for young children. Children's feelings and questions about this sensitive subject are looked at in a simple but realistic way. This book helps them to understand their loss and come to terms with it.

Notes for parents and teachers at the back of the book provide valuable advice for how to share this book with your child or class.

Written by a trained psychotherapist, journalist and parent, and illustrated by an experienced children's book artist, this is part of an acclaimed and successful series of picture-book non-fiction for Early Years.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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