100 books like The Voyage of the Narwhal

By Andrea Barrett,

Here are 100 books that The Voyage of the Narwhal fans have personally recommended if you like The Voyage of the Narwhal. 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 The Making of the English Working Class

Kenneth L. Campbell Author Of The History of Britain and Ireland: Prehistory to Today

From the list on British and Irish history with a wide range of topics.

Who am I?

I have a Ph.D. in British history and have taught a variety of courses on the topic for the past 40 years. Since first visiting Scotland on a study tour in 1981, I have been to Britain and Ireland both multiple times and have spent extended periods of time there. From Shakespeare to the Beatles, from the Norman Conquest to the Second World War, from Roman Britain to Brexit, I have found each period of British and Irish history endlessly fascinating and sharing my passion with students and readers has been one of the great joys of my life. 

Kenneth's book list on British and Irish history with a wide range of topics

Why did Kenneth love this book?

Having first read this 1963 classic of English historiography in graduate school, Thompson’s masterpiece gets better every time I re-read it.

Although primarily considered a work of social history, I love the way Thompson interweaves political, cultural, intellectual, religious, and social history throughout the text. This book focuses on the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and shows the resilience of conservative ideas during a period shaped by the Industrial, American, and French Revolutions, as well as the Napoleonic Wars and their aftermath.

In an age when many books go out of date within a decade or two, this classic will likely endure and be read 200 years from now for the insights it provides into working-class culture during one of the outwardly bleakest periods of labor history. 

By E.P. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Making of the English Working Class as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fifty years since first publication, E. P. Thompson's revolutionary account of working-class culture and ideals is published in Penguin Modern Classics, with a new introduction by historian Michael Kenny

This classic and imaginative account of working-class society in its formative years, 1780 to 1832, revolutionized our understanding of English social history. E. P. Thompson shows how the working class took part in its own making and re-creates the whole-life experience of people who suffered loss of status and freedom, who underwent degradation, and who yet created a cultured and political consciousness of great vitality.


'A dazzling vindication of the…

The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Book cover of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

Richard Paul Author Of We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program

From the list on race and racism in America during the time of the space program.

Who am I?

I am a long-time public radio documentary producer who now creates podcasts and conducts research for Smithsonian traveling exhibitions. After producing five documentaries on various sociological aspects of the space program, I was named the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Verville Fellow in Space History in 2014. My 2010 documentary Race and the Space Race (narrated by Mae Jemison) was the first full-length exploration of the nexus between civil rights and the space program, and the Fellowship allowed me to expand the story into a book. 

Richard's book list on race and racism in America during the time of the space program

Why did Richard love this book?

I wrote my book because I heard a talk. Glen Asner of the Pentagon Historical Office spoke at a 2006 conference on the Societal Impact of Spaceflight. There, he championed the use of social history to interpret that impact.

Social history was once derided as “pots and pans” history, he said. Instead, it should be harnessed to tell the story of NASA employees who used “their equal status within a federal institution to reshape local institutions and conceptions of race.” The Warmth of Other Suns unlocked the way to do that for me. It takes the stories of the millions who travelled north during The Great Migration and finds ways to personalize them.

This book was a lodestar for me, as I labored to do something similar. 

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Warmth of Other Suns as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this beautifully written masterwork, the Pulitzer Prize–winnner and bestselling author of Caste chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official…

Flight Behavior

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Book cover of Flight Behavior

Jake Bittle Author Of The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration

From the list on modern society’s relationship with nature.

Who am I?

My name is Jake Bittle, and I’m a staff writer at the environmental magazine Grist, where I cover climate change and energy. I’m also the author of The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration, published by Simon & Schuster. In that book I try to explore how human beings interact with nature, and how we try to control nature by building a systematic and inflexible society. This is a theme that has always captivated me, ever since I moved as a teenager to a Florida subdivision built on the edge of a swamp, and it’s something I’m always on the lookout for in fiction as well as nonfiction.

Jake's book list on modern society’s relationship with nature

Why did Jake love this book?

One of the first contemporary novels to take climate change seriously, and still one of the best.

The plot concerns a woman who finds millions of Monarch butterflies living in the valley near her Tennessee home, only to discover once scientists arrive that they have been driven from their native home farther south by the accelerating pace of global warming.

The novel takes a strong political stance but still manages to avoid becoming didactic, a real achievement when you consider how polarizing a subject climate change has become.

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The flames now appeared to lift from individual treetops in showers of orange sparks, exploding the way a pine log does in a campfire when it is poked. The sparks spiralled upward in swirls like funnel clouds. Twisters of brightness against grey sky."

On the Appalachian Mountains above her home, a young mother discovers a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature: the monarch butterflies have not migrated south for the winter this year. Is this a miraculous message from God, or a spectacular sign of climate change. Entomology expert, Ovid Byron, certainly believes it is the latter. He ropes in…

Zinky Boys

By Svetlana Alexievich,

Book cover of Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War

Laura Mason Author Of The Last Revolutionaries: The Conspiracy Trial of Gracchus Babeuf and the Equals

From the list on giving human faces to history.

Who am I?

I’m a historian whose love of the subject was first nourished by my mother. She treated historical events as a source of good stories, discussed historical figures as if talking about people we knew personally, and introduced me to historical fictions that immersed me in vanished worlds. I still read historical fiction, to which I’ve added mountains of history proper. The nonfiction histories I most love insist that the past matters, and they make visible how seemingly abstract events touched the lives of ordinary people.

Laura's book list on giving human faces to history

Why did Laura love this book?

Alexievich is equal parts therapist, poet, and historian. She elicits deeply personal memories through oral histories that she artfully weaves into a portrait of vast events. The accounts gathered in this history of the Soviet Union’s ten-year war against Afghanistan give voice to soldiers’ memories of the country they were asked to defeat, which defeated them instead, and parents’ memories of sons killed or otherwise destroyed in battle. I read this book after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, which initiated an equally brutal, mindless, and losing war, and I find sad new relevance in this book as I learn of Russian soldiers being shipped home from Ukraine in the same kinds of zinc coffins that gives this book its title.

By Svetlana Alexievich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From 1979 to 1989 a million Soviet troops engaged in a devastating war in Afghanistan that claimed 50,000 casualties-and the youth and humanity of many tens of thousands more. Creating controversy and outrage when it was first published in the USSR-it was called by reviewers there a "slanderous piece of fantasy" and part of a "hysterical chorus of malign attacks"-Zinky Boys presents the candid and affecting testimony of the officers and grunts, nurses and prostitutes, mothers, sons, and daughters who describe the war and its lasting effects. What emerges is a story that is shocking in its brutality and revelatory…


By Michael Palin,

Book cover of Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages, and the Greatest Naval Mystery of All Time

Katie Daysh Author Of Leeward

From the list on to get lost at sea with.

Who am I?

I’m an author of queer historical fiction and I love to explore stories set on the sea. I adore the drama of it, the beauty, the awe, the timelessness, and the wild backdrop that allows characters to confront themselves and their journeys. Having lived by the sea all my life on an island rich with nautical and smuggling history, it has never been far away from me. I like to read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction; both have strongly influenced my own writing. The books on this list capture the diverse reasons I am drawn to sea tales!

Katie's book list on to get lost at sea with

Why did Katie love this book?

As well as the characters who populate nautical stories and the sea itself, ships have such a vivid voice.

This non-fiction book follows HMS Erebus from her early journey to Antarctica to her eventual disappearance in the Canadian Arctic. I have a small obsession with polar exploration and this book captures the drama, the terror, and the mystery of it.

Michael Palin’s sensitivity to the historical issues and the real figures is very moving, especially the moment when the primary documents stop and all that is left to tell these men’s tales is a note in a desolate cairn.

I want to also sneakily recommend AMC’s adaptation of Dan Simmons’s The Terror, a TV show based on these events, which has some of my favourite writing in any piece of media.

By Michael Palin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER: the remarkable true story of the exploration ship featured in The Terror

In the early years of Queen Victoria's reign, HMS Erebus undertook two of the most ambitious naval expeditions of all time.

On the first, she ventured further south than any human had ever been. On the second, she vanished with her 129-strong crew in the wastes of the Canadian Arctic, along with the HMS Terror.

Her fate remained a mystery for over 160 years.

Then, in 2014, she was found.

This is her story.
Now available: Michael Palin's North Korea Journals

Arctic Dreams

By Barry Lopez,

Book cover of Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape

Bill Murray Author Of Out in the Cold: Travels North: Adventures in Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Canada

From the list on to understand the high north.

Who am I?

There’s nothing like personal experience. You have to read the literature, it’s true. That’s how we’ve all met here at Shepherd. But you have to roll up your sleeves and get down to visiting, too, if you want to write about travel. I first approached the Arctic in 1991 and I return above sixty degrees north every year, although I must confess to a secret advantage; I married a Finn. We spend summers at a little cabin north of Helsinki. I know the region personally, I keep coming back, and I invite you, whenever you can, to come up and join us!

Bill's book list on to understand the high north

Why did Bill love this book?

Barry Lopez was a nature writer and environmentalist.

He died on Christmas day 2020, and although we are fortunate to have his valedictory book Horizon, published when his traveling days were pretty well behind him, Arctic Dreams is the real deal, with Lopez as raconteur, but practitioner too, thoroughly in his element.

Lopez writes about exploration and the aurora, animals and the weather, ice and myth and survival and joy. He’s effortless. You’ll learn more than you knew there was to know about the high north, and the pleasure is in the learning.

If you must cut to the chase with these five books, Arctic Dreams is the book, because Barry Lopez got things right.

By Barry Lopez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'A master nature writer' (New York Times) provides the ultimate natural, social and cultural history of the Arctic landscape.

The author of Horizon's classic work explores the Arctic landscape and the hold it continues to exert on our imagination.


Lopez's journey across our frozen planet is a celebration of the Arctic in all its guises. A hostile landscape of ice, freezing oceans and dazzling skyscapes. Home to millions of diverse animals and people. The stage to massive migrations by land, sea and air. The setting of epic exploratory…

Book cover of The Discovery of Slowness

Carl Honoré Author Of In Praise of Slow: Challenging the Cult of Speed

From the list on slowness.

Who am I?

Writer, broadcaster, speaker. I used to be stuck in fast forward, rushing through life instead of living it. I finally realised I needed to slow down when I started speed reading bedtime stories to my son: my version of Snow White had just three dwarves in it! I went on to slow down – and became, in the words of CBC Radio, “the world's leading evangelist for the Slow Movement.”

Carl's book list on slowness

Why did Carl love this book?

A gripping novel based on the life and death of John Franklin, a 19th century Arctic explorer. Franklin was by nature slow, and therefore out of step with the times. At school, other kids teased him for never having a ready comeback. Later, slowness became his superpower, a source of deep thinking, care, and wisdom. Franklin was an early avatar of the Slow movement!

By Sten Nadolny,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Framing the life of the nineteenth-century explorer Sir John Franklin, this novel explores not only the adventures of his career, but also enters a world where the quality of life is considered in "slow motion", where ordinary experience becomes wholly new and unexpected.

Finding Franklin

By Russell A. Potter,

Book cover of Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-Year Search

John Wilson Author Of North with Franklin: The Lost Journals of James Fitzjames

From the list on the Lost Franklin Expedition.

Who am I?

I have been a Franklin geek for three decades and five of my fifty published novels and non-fiction books excavate the story of the greatest disaster in Arctic history. Reading Fitzjames’ letters for my first book introduced me to a friend I would have enjoyed going for a beer with and one of the greatest thrills of my life was waking one morning in September, 2014 to learn that the wreck of Fitzjames’ ship, Erebus, had been discovered. I am still excited to live in a time when the mystery might finally be solved—perhaps Fitzjames’ original journal lies amid the water-logged timbers off the shore where so many died.

John's book list on the Lost Franklin Expedition

Why did John love this book?

Well illustrated and written in compelling and accessible prose, Finding Franklin is a wonderful, timely introduction to the expedition and to the extraordinary hold that the mystery of its disappearance has held on the Arctic imagination for more than a century-and-a-half. Potter is a leading expert on all things Franklin and has been intimately involved in the recent remarkable discoveries around King William Island. There are few better companions at this exciting time when it seems the answers to the mystery are at our fingertips.

By Russell A. Potter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 2014 media around the world buzzed with news that an archaeological team from Parks Canada had located and identified the wreck of HMS Erebus, the flagship of Sir John Franklin's lost expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Finding Franklin outlines the larger story and the cast of detectives from every walk of life that led to the discovery, solving one of the Arctic's greatest mysteries. In compelling and accessible prose, Russell Potter details his decades of work alongside key figures in the era of modern searches for the expedition and elucidates how shared research and ideas have led to…

Frozen in Time

By Owen Beattie, John Geiger,

Book cover of Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition

Guy Crosby Ph.D Author Of Cook, Taste, Learn: How the Evolution of Science Transformed the Art of Cooking

From the list on history and future of agriculture, food, and cooking.

Who am I?

Since childhood I've been fascinated with the beauty of organic molecules. I pursued this passion in graduate school at Brown University and through a postdoctoral position at Stanford University. My professional career began at a startup pharmaceutical company in California, which evolved into research positions in agriculture and food ingredients. After 30 years I retired as a vice-president of research and development for a food ingredients company. I developed a passion for food and cooking and subsequently acquired a position as the science editor for America’s Test Kitchen, which I held for over 12 years. Today at the age of 80 I still write and publish scientific papers and books about food, cooking, and nutrition.

Guy's book list on history and future of agriculture, food, and cooking

Why did Guy love this book?

An absolutely riveting account of the tragic attempt of Captain John Franklin of England to discover a northwest passage to Asia in 1845-1848. The account is told by a professor of Anthropology who discovered the frozen bodies of three sailors on the expedition that were literally frozen in time when their two ships were ice-bound 138 years ago. The two sunken ships were discovered only recently in 2014. It is now believed that food poisoning from improperly canned food may have been the cause of the tragic fate of the crew of 125 men.

By Owen Beattie, John Geiger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Frozen in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A remarkable piece of forensic deduction.”—Margaret Atwood 

The internationally-bestselling account of the Franklin’s doomed Arctic expedition, and the thrilling scientific investigation that spurred the decades-long hunt for its recovery—now with a new afterword on the discovery of its lost ships: Erebus and Terror.

“Chilling . . . will keep you up nights turning pages.”—The Chicago Tribune

In 1845, Sir John Franklin and his men set out to “penetrate the icy fastness of the north, and to circumnavigate America.” And then they disappeared. The truth about what happened to Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic expedition was shrouded in mystery for more than a…

All the White Spaces

By Ally Wilkes,

Book cover of All the White Spaces

Amy Goldsmith Author Of Those We Drown

From the list on spooky ships.

Who am I?

I’ve always lived by the coast and have a healthy respect for the sea and a mortal fear of everything within it. It’s truly terrifying to me that around 80% of the ocean is unexplored – what is down there? This fear partly inspired me to write Those We Drown, my YA horror debut set aboard a cruise ship and featuring a splash of oceanic horror.

Amy's book list on spooky ships

Why did Amy love this book?

In All the White Spaces, WWI has just ended and we follow stowaway Jonathan Morgan to Antarctica, where he hopes to fulful his older brother’s dreams of adventure and exploration.

When the ship gets stuck in the frozen Weddell Sea, the crew is forced into the icy wilderness of the South Pole. As they prepare to spend the winter there, they find something terrible waiting for them in the frozen wasteland.

A chilling ghost story exploring themes of identity, If you loved Dan Simmon’s The Terror, you will love this. 

By Ally Wilkes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Bram Stoker Award nominee

“Some of the best survival horror we’ve read in years, with a uniquely menacing adversary at its heart.” —Vulture,The Best Horror Novels of 2022
“Epic.” —Esquire,The 22 Best Horror Books of 2022

Something deadly and mysterious stalks the members of an isolated polar expedition in this haunting and spellbinding historical horror novel, perfect for fans of Dan Simmons’s The Terror and Alma Katsu’s The Hunger.

In the wake of the First World War, Jonathan Morgan stows away on an Antarctic expedition, determined to find his rightful place in the world of men. Aboard the expeditionary…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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