100 books like The Way of the Samurai Musashi Book 1

By Eiji Yoshikawa,

Here are 100 books that The Way of the Samurai Musashi Book 1 fans have personally recommended if you like The Way of the Samurai Musashi Book 1. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Severance

Jinwoo Chong Author Of Flux

From my list on to cure (or rather validate) your post-capitalist malaise.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2017, I was laid off from my first job out of college, an experience that I think more young people are going through as we move further into an uncertain economic future. That experience formed the basis of my novel, which was published earlier this year. Afterwards, I met a lot of people, most of whom I didn’t know, who told me they’d resonated with the feeling of malaise captured by those first few chapters: of working jobs that seem to be dead ends, wondering if you’ll be here, at this desk, twenty years from now. It’s something most everybody can relate to but doesn't appear in novels nearly as much as it should.

Jinwoo's book list on to cure (or rather validate) your post-capitalist malaise

Jinwoo Chong Why did Jinwoo love this book?

Objectively, Severance fits into many lists, being a masterpiece of literary fiction, as well as a speculative, near-future puzzle, as well as an intimate and moving portrait of survival both physical and metaphorical.

But it’s also an office novel, one that through sheer coincidence depicted the surrealism of white collar office work while a deadly pandemic enacts devastating change across the planet at exactly the same time it was happening in reality. The book is one of my favorites of all time. Every read offers something different.

By Ling Ma,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Maybe it’s the end of the world, but not for Candace Chen, a millennial, first-generation American and office drone meandering her way into adulthood in Ling Ma’s offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire, Severance.

"A stunning, audacious book with a fresh take on both office politics and what the apocalypse might bring." ―Michael Schaub, NPR.org

“A satirical spin on the end times-- kind of like The Office meets The Leftovers.” --Estelle Tang, Elle

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY: NPR * The New Yorker ("Books We Loved") * Elle * Marie Claire * Amazon Editors * The Paris Review…


Book cover of Miss Sophie's Diary and Other Stories

Joe Milan Jr. Author Of The All-American

From my list on coming-of-age while Asian.

Why am I passionate about this?

The heights of American literature are crowded with coming-of-age tales like Huckleberry Finn and Catcher and the Rye. It’s probably because for us, as Americans, figuring out what it means to be American is something that isn’t as clear as what it means to be from another country with thousands of years of existence behind it. Yet, the stories I was given rarely had people who looked like me (Asian) or lived lives that weren’t solely defined as being “foreign.” These books tell coming-of-age stories in different ways that I wish I had read when I was coming up to broaden my own mind with what was possible.

Joe's book list on coming-of-age while Asian

Joe Milan Jr. Why did Joe love this book?

Ding Ling’s stories are bold.

In the title story, Ling grants us access to the diaries of Miss Sophie, a young woman living in Beijing ill with tuberculosis who grapples with her attraction to guys, gals, idiots, and the jealous–all while latticing these contradictions together through a diary. Sophie spouts sick burns like she’s made for Twitter.

And if that wasn’t enough, much of the other stories seem like autofiction, documenting her time as a communist revolutionary in jail, like how in “A Certain Night,” we see the protagonist in jail writing the story that comes later in the collection “From Night to Dawn.”

By Ding Ling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miss Sophie's Diary and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Ding Ling, W. J. F. Jenner


Book cover of Waylaid

Joe Milan Jr. Author Of The All-American

From my list on coming-of-age while Asian.

Why am I passionate about this?

The heights of American literature are crowded with coming-of-age tales like Huckleberry Finn and Catcher and the Rye. It’s probably because for us, as Americans, figuring out what it means to be American is something that isn’t as clear as what it means to be from another country with thousands of years of existence behind it. Yet, the stories I was given rarely had people who looked like me (Asian) or lived lives that weren’t solely defined as being “foreign.” These books tell coming-of-age stories in different ways that I wish I had read when I was coming up to broaden my own mind with what was possible.

Joe's book list on coming-of-age while Asian

Joe Milan Jr. Why did Joe love this book?

Waylaid is a bawdy coming-of-age novel about a Chinese American teenage boy working in his parents’ seedy motel – a vibrating bed kind of place – in New Jersey.

He broods about how to lose his virginity. He learns about the adult world from the patrons: Johns, sex workers, the families kicked out of their homes, and the rest of the down and out of American life. I gravitated to Waylaid because it isn’t wholesome yet doesn’t fall into the spirals of toxicity of a Bukowski poem.

It speaks to how sex is used to distract us from the working-class problems all around us, many of which our young are well aware of, but still holds onto this little flame of hope that even in such dark and down-and-out spots, we can find light.

By Ed Lin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Waylaid is the story of a Chinese American boy who struggles to grow up in the grip of an overcharged sexual environment. With a daily routine that involves renting out rooms to johns and hookers at his parents' sleazy hotel, the narrator loses his grip on concepts of friendship, family and childhood. As he pursues his all-consuming quest to lose his virginity, issues of race, class and sex cripple his sense of self-worth. It is a story told with a Gen-X-style bleak humor that doesn't pander to conventional notions of immigrant narrative. Waylaid doesn't cut a wide swath through Asian…


Book cover of Yellow: Stories

Joe Milan Jr. Author Of The All-American

From my list on coming-of-age while Asian.

Why am I passionate about this?

The heights of American literature are crowded with coming-of-age tales like Huckleberry Finn and Catcher and the Rye. It’s probably because for us, as Americans, figuring out what it means to be American is something that isn’t as clear as what it means to be from another country with thousands of years of existence behind it. Yet, the stories I was given rarely had people who looked like me (Asian) or lived lives that weren’t solely defined as being “foreign.” These books tell coming-of-age stories in different ways that I wish I had read when I was coming up to broaden my own mind with what was possible.

Joe's book list on coming-of-age while Asian

Joe Milan Jr. Why did Joe love this book?

When I really started writing, I sought out books with punchy prose that connected to some of my experiences.

Don Lee’s Yellow was one of the few books of short stories I found that did that. What’s cool about the title story “Yellow” is that it talks about an Asian guy who learns to box who is known to be sexy, and grapples with issues of courage.

Growing up as a young Asian guy, I was never handed a story about an Asian guy struggling to be a man like all other guys growing up in America. Reading this collection changed that and changed my own perceptions of what stories are possible when you’re coming to age as an Asian in America. 

By Don Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the Los Angeles Times noted in its profile of the author, "few writers have mined the [genre of ethnic literature] as shrewdly or transcended its limits quite so stunningly as Don Lee." Harking "back to the timeless concerns of Chekhov: fate, chance, the mystery of the human heart" (Stuart Dybek), these interconnected stories "are utterly contemporary,...but grounded in the depth of beautiful prose and intriguing storylines" (Asian Week). They paint a novelistic portrait of the fictional town of Rosarita Bay, California, and a diverse cast of complex and moving characters. "Nothing short of wonderful...surprising and wild with life" (Robert…


Book cover of The Glass Bead Game

Suzanne Heywood Author Of Wavewalker: A Memoir of Breaking Free

From my list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm fascinated by these books about coming of age because they all share elements of my own experience. While I was growing up, I was told by my parents that my life on board our boat Wavewalker was ‘privileged’ and that I was lucky not to live a ‘boring’ life like other children. It took me a long time to question this view, and even longer to find an escape. As an adult looking back, I now know that many of the things I was told by my parents were not true. That experience of growing up and discovering that what you have been told is not right is deeply disturbing, while also being liberating.

Suzanne's book list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out

Suzanne Heywood Why did Suzanne love this book?

This book describes a fictional coming of age in which a child starts to question the assumptions made by the adults around them – in this case the value of the Glass Bead Game of the title.

It is a brilliant piece of writing – so brilliant that it won the Nobel Prize for Literature. It not only (gloriously) chronicles the boy’s awakening, it also raises deeper questions about how society should be structured, and in particular whether it is right to support an elite who contribute little to the welfare of others. 

By Hermann Hesse, Clara Winston (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Glass Bead Game is an ultra-aesthetic game which is played by the scholars, creamed off in childhood and nurtured in elite schools, in the province of Castalia. The Master of the Glass Bead Game, Joseph Knecht, holds the most exalted office in Castalia. He personifies the detachment, serenity and aesthetic vision which reward a life dedicated to perfection of the intellect. But can, indeed should, man live isolated from hunger, family, children, women, in a perfect world where passions are tamed by meditation, where academic discipline and order are paramount? This is Herman Hesse’s great novel. It is a…


Book cover of American Fever

Farah Ali Author Of The River, the Town

From my list on growing up in unusual ways.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved reading about individuals and the ways they behave in extraordinary or unusual circumstances. Stories that are about a person growing up and coming to an understanding that the world around them is deeply flawed, and that they themselves are patched-up, imperfect creatures, fascinate me. I find myself observing people and the words they say. Those are the kinds of stories I write, about regular people stumbling along and discovering some truths about themselves.

Farah's book list on growing up in unusual ways

Farah Ali Why did Farah love this book?

The protagonist is a Pakistani girl moving from the urban city of Rawalpindi to a rural city in the US, as part of a program that places students abroad for a year in high school.

There were so many instances when I completely understood Hira, the way she talked about the US, about growing up in Pakistan, about language. Her adjusting to life far from home is complicated by her illness, a disease the perception of which further makes us question our prejudices about a place and its people.

By Dur E Aziz Amna,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A subversive debut' GUARDIAN

'Prose that dances with charge and potency' LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS

WINNER OF A 2023 ASIAN/PACIFIC AMERICAN AWARD FOR LITERATURE

On a year-long exchange programme, sixteen-year-old Hira must swap the bustle of urban Pakistan for church and volleyball practice in rural Oregon.

Stuck between two worlds, her experience of America is sometimes freeing, sometimes painful, often quite painful. And while she faces racism and Islamophobia, she also makes new friends and has her first kiss.

But when her new life is blown apart by a shocking health crisis, Hira's sense of belonging is overturned once…


Book cover of Bruiser

William Mark Habeeb Author Of Venice Beach

From my list on poignant coming-of-age about boys.

Why am I passionate about this?

My novel Venice Beach—like the five books I recommend here—has been classified as a “coming-of-age” novel, a classification that I have no quarrels with as long as it’s understood that coming-of-age is not regarded simply as a synonym for “adolescence” or “being a teenager.” The coming-of-age years—generally defined as between ages 12 and 18—are so much more than a period of life wedged between childhood and adulthood. Coming of age is a process, not a block of time; it is a hot emotional forge in which we experience so many “firsts” and are hammered, usually painfully, into the shapes that will last a lifetime. 

William's book list on poignant coming-of-age about boys

William Mark Habeeb Why did William love this book?

Bruiser is only nine years old, younger than most “coming of age” protagonists, but his anxiety-ridden family life in a Manhattan apartment has aged him. His father is a philanderer who rarely is home and often physically abusive when he is; his mother is a deeply depressed poet. Bruiser spends most of his time running around his Upper West Side neighborhood with a make-shift gang of older boysand has the bruises to show for it, hence his nicknameor hiding at the bottom of the clothes hamper when his parents are going at it. He befriends a 10-year-old girl, Darla, who lives across the courtyard with her drug-addled mother and who convinces him to run away with her. Their journey, which takes them first to West Virginia in search of Darla’s father and eventually to North Carolina, is the book’s magic. Both kids are pre-puberty, so it’s…

By Ian Chorao,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After spending another morning hiding in the clothes hamper eavesdropping on his miserable parents, Bruiser realizes it's time to change his life. It's New York City during the late 1970s, and in the middle of a chilly autumn night he takes to the open road with Darla, a kindred spirit who lives across the alleyway. Their flight from the mounting tensions of home -- an adventure dotted with frightening episodes and surprising revelations -- is a journey in search of liberation and emotional truth.

This is Bruiser's tale in his own words, captured by first-time novelist Ian Chorao with uncanny…


Book cover of The Edwardians

Margaux Vialleron Author Of The Yellow Kitchen

From my list on to make you hungry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a French-born, London-based novelist and food writer. As an author, I have nurtured my voice at the kitchen counter, where I find language loosens up and as a reader, cookbooks, food memoirs, and novels sit in one pile on my bedside table. Food is never not political and I find that its depiction is a wonderful narrative tool, for plot development with the setting of a meal or to portray a character through ingredients for examples. The relationship between food, culture, and writing is something I also explore with my podcast, book club, and culinary community The Salmon Pink Kitchen. Happy reading, and bon appétit! 

Margaux's book list on to make you hungry

Margaux Vialleron Why did Margaux love this book?

I devoured this modern classic comedy of manners like a good period drama. 

The novel follows the adolescent years of Sebastian, duke and heir of the country house Chevron, where his mother Lucy plots luncheons and indulges parties where alcohol, games, and affairs are the prime guests. The tone is witty and the food, from the ingredients on display to the behaviours of those who eat, is used as a powerful show of appearances.

By Vita Sackville-West,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An instant bestseller when it was published in 1930, this glittering satire of Edwardian high society features a privileged brother and sister torn between tradition and a chance at an independent life.

Sebastian is young, handsome, moody, and the heir to Chevron, a vast and opulent ducal estate. He feels a deep love for the countryside and for his patrimony, but he loathes the frivolous social world his mother and her shallow friends represent. At one of his mother’s decadent house parties, Sebastian meets two people who shake his sense of self: Leonard Anquetil, a lowborn arctic explorer, who questions…


Book cover of Lonely Castle in the Mirror

Milena Michiko Flašar Author Of Mr Kato Plays Family

From my list on diving into modern Japan from someone half Japanese.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone half-Japanese who grew up in Austria, I've spent the last few years making sense of my relationship to my mother’s homeland. My mother spoke Japanese to us children from an early age, and we spent many childhood summers with our grandparents in Okayama. Because of this, my mother's home feels intimate and familiar to me. But it is also distant and foreign, and it is precisely this unknown, the seemingly exotic and mysterious, that I hope to approach through reading. For me, Japan is a kind of poetic space I set my characters in. In my last three books Japan was both the setting and the secret protagonist.

Milena's book list on diving into modern Japan from someone half Japanese

Milena Michiko Flašar Why did Milena love this book?

It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen sometimes: you start a book only to find you simply can’t put it down. This was the case for me with Lonely Castle in the Mirror, a coming-of-age story.

At first glance the book seems like an entertainment novel with a fantasy element. Six teenagers slip through their respective bedroom mirrors and find themselves in a surreal castle with a mission to complete. Only at second glance does it become clear what this book is really about.

It is about loneliness and friendship, and about the painful process of growing up. None of the teenagers are really any good at forming relationships. And yet: by taking the risk and accepting commitments, the sense of responsibility within them grows, and they surpass themselves.

A magical parable. And who actually says that good literature can’t also be entertaining? It’s ideal when both happen at…

By Mizuki Tsujimura, Philip Gabriel (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lonely Castle in the Mirror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of BEFORE THE COFFEE GETS COLD, fairy tale and magic are weaved together in sparse language that belies a flooring emotional punch.

'Strange and beautiful. Imagine the offspring of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle with The Virgin Suicides' GUARDIAN
'Genuinely affecting. A story of empathy, collaboration and sharing truths' FINANCIAL TIMES

Translated by Philip Gabriel, a translator of Murakami
_______________________________

Would you share your deepest secrets to save a friend?

In a tranquil neighbourhood of Tokyo, seven teenagers wake to find their bedroom mirrors are shining.

At a single touch, they are pulled from their lonely lives to a…


Book cover of The Earthsea Trilogy

J.G. Harlond Author Of The Doomsong Sword

From my list on factual fantasy for coming-of-age Viking stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a Viking battlefield, in an English coastal village once raided then occupied by Norsemen. We had ancestors who lived on the Isle of Orkney, and in the Celtic south-west. From a young age, I read Norse and Celtic myths and legends, and went on to study history and philosophy – and then became an author. Now, I have family in Sweden and grandchildren of Ash and Elm. My list offers pure escapism, but also shows how our ancestors lived in an age with no electricity or compulsory schooling. It’s the wonderful combination of the ‘other world’ myths and history that I believe makes us who we are. 

J.G.'s book list on factual fantasy for coming-of-age Viking stories

J.G. Harlond Why did J.G. love this book?

This is pure, classic fantasy with dragons and wizards. Full of magic and gripping action scenes, including aerial battles between dragons, this is also a beautifully written coming-of-age story.

Le Guin’s world building is utterly believable; there are tense moments of human doubt and despair, evil antagonists, and a story that has kept me turning the pages for years – even though I know what is going to happen. Another example of top class, classic fantasy that offers more on each reading. 

By Ursula Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Exclusive 3-in-1 harcover book. Includes A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA: The windswept isles of Earthsea were famous for wizards, and the greatest of all was Ged, called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth. Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.THE TOMBS OF ATUAN: Chosen to serve the Ancient and Nameless Powers of the Earth, Tenar is taken away from her home and family to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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