100 books like The Woman Who Fell from the Sky

By Joy Harjo,

Here are 100 books that The Woman Who Fell from the Sky fans have personally recommended if you like The Woman Who Fell from the Sky. 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 Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

Jennifer Lang Author Of Places We Left Behind: A Memoir-in-Miniature

From my list on home and why it isn’t obvious for everyone.

Why am I passionate about this?

For my first 18 years, I slept in the same room (opposite my parents) in the same house (116 Monticello Avenue) in the same city (Piedmont) in the same state (CA) in the same country (USA), but soon after leaving for college in Evanston, IL, I pined for elsewhere and ended up peripatetic. That peripateticness plagued me, as a woman/wife/mother. While growing our family, my French husband and I moved: Israel to France to California to New York to Israel to New York to Israel. Finally, in my early fifties, I understood home is more about who you are than where you live. 

Jennifer's book list on home and why it isn’t obvious for everyone

Jennifer Lang Why did Jennifer love this book?

This book combines compressed prose with nonfiction truth-telling but it isn’t linear or a complete story as much as a snapshot of Fennelly’s childhood, home life, and keen observations.

This book showed me that the quality of writing trumps the quantity of words. Short and sparse, when well written, can find a place on a bookshelf and shine.  

By Beth Ann Fennelly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Heating & Cooling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 52 micro-memoirs in genre-defying Heating & Cooling offer bright glimpses into a richly lived life, combining the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of non-fiction into one heartfelt, celebratory book. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a wife, mother, writer and deeply original observer of life's challenges and joys.

Some pieces are wistful, some wry and many reveal the humour buried in our everyday interactions. Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs shapes a life from unexpectedly illuminating moments and awakens us to…


Book cover of Bright Dead Things: Poems

Ellis Elliott Author Of A Break in the Field

From my list on poetry to feed your distracted self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a dance teacher all of my adult life, and a poetry and word-lover even longer. I love the economy of language, immediacy, and the promise of surprise in poetry. In middle age, I returned to writing just as my body began its slow rebellion, with the added shifts of remarriage and step-parenting a severely disabled son. I went back to grad school and wrote my first book, drawing on the experience of confronting change, just as these recommended poets have done. Each of these poets has a very different story, but what they have in common outweighs their differences, and because of that we are able to see ourselves in their writing.

Ellis' book list on poetry to feed your distracted self

Ellis Elliott Why did Ellis love this book?

I love the gorgeous, lyrical language Limón uses to sort out loss, own her power, and the power of the “huge beating genius machine” of the heart.

Limón uses imagery so visceral I can touch it, and examines the light and dark of womanhood when she declares, “…the largeness of me, the hot/gore of my want and wants, wants to disarm/the fixedness of this”. I like that what she writes is understandable, but never easy. Limón currently serves as our nation’s Poet Laureate.  

By Ada Limon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bright Dead Things examines the chaos that is life, the dangerous thrill of living in a world you know you have to leave one day, and the search to find something that is ultimately "disorderly, and marvelous, and ours." A book of bravado and introspection, of 21st century feminist swagger and harrowing terror and loss, this fourth collection considers how we build our identities out of place and human contact--tracing in intimate detail the various ways the speaker's sense of self both shifts and perseveres as she moves from New York City to rural Kentucky, loses a dear parent, ages…


Book cover of Perfect Black

Ellis Elliott Author Of A Break in the Field

From my list on poetry to feed your distracted self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a dance teacher all of my adult life, and a poetry and word-lover even longer. I love the economy of language, immediacy, and the promise of surprise in poetry. In middle age, I returned to writing just as my body began its slow rebellion, with the added shifts of remarriage and step-parenting a severely disabled son. I went back to grad school and wrote my first book, drawing on the experience of confronting change, just as these recommended poets have done. Each of these poets has a very different story, but what they have in common outweighs their differences, and because of that we are able to see ourselves in their writing.

Ellis' book list on poetry to feed your distracted self

Ellis Elliott Why did Ellis love this book?

This collection teaches me as well, by taking me into the experience of growing up in the Black, rural Appalachian South.

The poems are part memoir, as in writing about the experience of her mother visiting her where she lived with her grandparents, “(We) held hands like we thought/mothers & daughters should/but neither of us knew for sure.” 

They are also part love song to home-cooking, “Every morning of my childhood, my grandmother, who stood a little/ under five feet tall, donned an apron and cooked breakfast. Slow. Precise./ Deliberate. She equated food with love, and she cooked with both a fury/ and a quiet joy.” 

And finally, they are part Black feminist manifesto, “My black body is a boulder, a stop sign. Sometimes i think my body is/ graceful, a song of freedom. Sometimes i think it is something that every/ eye casts away. I must concentrate if i…

By Crystal Wilkinson, Ronald W. Davis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the foreword:

"In Perfect Black, Crystal Wilkinson walks us back down the road she first walked as a girl, wanders us through the trees that lined the road where she grew up, where her sensibilities as a woman and a writer were first laid bare. In one of the first poems that opens the collection she is a woman looking back on her life, on the soil and mountains that first stamped the particular sound of her voice and she is deeply inquisitive about how it all fell into place: "The map of me can't be all hills& mountains…


Book cover of Odes

Ellis Elliott Author Of A Break in the Field

From my list on poetry to feed your distracted self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a dance teacher all of my adult life, and a poetry and word-lover even longer. I love the economy of language, immediacy, and the promise of surprise in poetry. In middle age, I returned to writing just as my body began its slow rebellion, with the added shifts of remarriage and step-parenting a severely disabled son. I went back to grad school and wrote my first book, drawing on the experience of confronting change, just as these recommended poets have done. Each of these poets has a very different story, but what they have in common outweighs their differences, and because of that we are able to see ourselves in their writing.

Ellis' book list on poetry to feed your distracted self

Ellis Elliott Why did Ellis love this book?

This book embraces both the conventional and the campy. Odes is unafraid to take an unflinching look at an aging female body, and when I say “unflinching”, I mean poems like, "Ode to the Hymen" or "Blow Job Ode".

She also addresses conventional subjects in her poems, such as her sister, buttermilk, and the wind. Odes definitely pushes boundaries, but does so with consummate skill, so that you feel both highly literary and a little dirty at the same time.

She doesn’t just talk about obvious body parts, either. In "Ode to Wattles", she writes, “…I love to be a little/disgusting, to go as far as I can/into the thrilling unloveliness/of an elder woman’s aging.” 

 

By Sharon Olds,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • An intimate collection of poems that “picks up where Stag’s Leap left off, which is to say that it contains some of the best and most ingenious poems of her career.” —The New York Times

Opening with the powerful and tender “Ode to the Hymen,” Sharon Olds addresses and embodies, in this age-old poetic form, many aspects of love and gender and sexual politics in a collection that is centered on the body and its structures and pleasures. The poems extend parts of her narrative as a daughter, mother, wife, lover, friend, and poet of conscience…


Book cover of Grandmothers of The Light: A Medicine Woman's Sourcebook

Kim Antieau Author Of Church Of The Old Mermaids

From my list on bringing the mythic realm into our modern world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Michigan where I was outdoors in the woods most of the time, running around with my imaginary friends. I built an entire world in my imagination where girls and women were powerful and ruled the world. I wrote stories about that world, and I’ve never stopped writing or reading myths, folklore, and fairy tales. Stories are the best way to bring the mythic and hidden realms of our existence out into the open. When I catch a glimpse of other worlds through storytelling, it always feels healing. It gives me hope that there is more to our existence than what we ordinarily see.

Kim's book list on bringing the mythic realm into our modern world

Kim Antieau Why did Kim love this book?

This is Paula Gunn Allen’s modern-day retelling of many Native American tales. They feature talking animals, shape-shifting bears, and creation stories. Here, we see how the underneath comes to the surface in wondrous and awe-inspiring ways. The ordinary walks with the extraordinary. In fact, the ordinary is extraordinary. Allen sees power in these tales for women, and that’s what I loved about this book. These stories are part of a female shamanic tradition; they are in many ways medicinal. 

By Paula Gunn Allen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This extraordinary collection of goddess stories from Native American civilizations across the continent, Paula Gunn Allen shares myths that have guided female shamans toward an understanding of the sacred for centuries.


Book cover of Sally in Three Worlds: An Indian Captive in the House of Brigham Young

Zeese Papanikolas Author Of An American Cakewalk: Ten Syncopators of the Modern World

From my list on about borders you haven’t read.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in Salt Lake City in the 1950s I was very soon aware that I was living in a world of borders, some permeable and negotiable, and some almost impossible to cross. It was a city of Mormons and a city of those who weren’t; a city of immigrants like my grandparents, and about whom my mother wrote (and wrote well); and a Jim Crow town where Black men and women couldn’t get into the ballroom to hear Duke Ellington play. Finally, it was a city haunted by its Indian past in a state keeping living Indians in its many bleak government reservations. What to make of those borders has been a life-long effort.

Zeese's book list on about borders you haven’t read

Zeese Papanikolas Why did Zeese love this book?

Sally is the moving account of the true story of a captive Indian girl who lived in the house of Brigham Young as a servant and cook, a “wild” woman who had been “tamed” by her civilized captors. When she had almost forgotten her own language Sally was sent off to a Mormon village as the wife of a Pahvant Ute chief in order to “civilize” the local surrounding Indians. Sally’s story asks us what these seemingly simple words “wild” and “tame” really mean, and to think about what they can hide.

By Virginia Kerns,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this remarkable and deeply felt book, Virginia Kerns uncovers the singular and forgotten life of a young Indian woman who was captured in 1847 in what was then Mexican territory. Sold to a settler, a son-in-law of Brigham Young, the woman spent the next thirty years as a servant to Young's family. Sally, as they called her, lived in the shadows, largely unseen. She was later remembered as a 'wild' woman made 'tame' who happily shed her past to enter a new and better life in civilization.

Drawing from a broad range of primary sources, Kerns retrieves Sally from…


Book cover of Reproduction on the Reservation: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Colonialism in the Long Twentieth Century

Rickie Solinger Author Of Reproductive Justice: An Introduction

From my list on why we need reproductive justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

Reproductive justice – reproductive rights – reproductive self-determination – this has been my passion for decades. I’m a historian. The most important thing I’ve learned is how reproductive bodies have always been racialized in the United States, from 1619 to the present day. Circumstances and tactics have changed over time, but lawmakers and others have always valued the reproduction of some people while degrading the reproduction of people defined as less valuable – or valueless – to the nation. Throughout our history, reproductive politics has been at the center of public life.  As we see today. I keep writing because I want more and more of us to understand where we are – and why. 

Rickie's book list on why we need reproductive justice

Rickie Solinger Why did Rickie love this book?

This book is a first. Theobald gives us a really interesting and comprehensive history of pregnancy, birthing, motherhood -- and activism -- on the Crow Reservation in Montana. She explains the interventions of the federal government, for example, via coercive sterilization and child removal, and provides rich accounts of family, tribal, and inter-tribal resistance -- and claims of self-determination -- in the face of these interventions.

By Brianna Theobald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This pathbreaking book documents the transformation of reproductive practices and politics on Indian reservations from the late nineteenth century to the present, integrating a localized history of childbearing, motherhood, and activism on the Crow Reservation in Montana with an analysis of trends affecting Indigenous women more broadly. As Brianna Theobald illustrates, the federal government and local authorities have long sought to control Indigenous families and women's reproduction, using tactics such as coercive sterilization and removal of Indigenous children into the white foster care system. But Theobald examines women's resistance, showing how they have worked within families, tribal networks, and activist…


Book cover of Well-Behaved Indian Women

Mansi Shah Author Of The Direction of the Wind

From my list on highlighting the range of Indian voices in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent my life as an avid reader, but I hadn’t seen my culture represented in many books, so I began writing the stories that I wished had existed on the shelves when I was younger. It took until my forties for my books to be published, and for me to start finding stories by other Indian authors like me, but better late than never! As someone who has lived in multiple countries and traveled to more than 70 others, I’m no stranger to writing about and searching for places that feel like home, and each of these books helped bring a piece of home to me.

Mansi's book list on highlighting the range of Indian voices in America

Mansi Shah Why did Mansi love this book?

I was in my forties, the first time I ever read a novel about a Gujarati American family, and this was the one. I was on a beach in Mexico, experiencing for the first time what it felt like to see my comfort foods, my family’s mannerisms, and my culture’s ideologies represented in a book. The story is told from the perspective of three generations of women in a family and it made me think about my own relationships with my mother and grandmother, and what secrets each of them may be carrying because nothing is ever as simple as it seems. 

By Saumya Dave,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Well-Behaved Indian Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A sparkling debut.”—Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author 

From a compelling new voice in women's fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams.

Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little "writing hobby." But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran's life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart.

Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children…


Book cover of Hatter Fox

David Hight Author Of An Unlikely Messiah

From my list on fiction that examine the human condition.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m just a guy, a normal guy who enjoys thinking and writing about things that can nudge humanity along towards peace. If everybody thought just a little bit about it, we’d have it.

David's book list on fiction that examine the human condition

David Hight Why did David love this book?

Hatter Fox is one of those rare stories which causes me to lose my sense of self.

There is no who am I, how am I, or why am I, none of that matters, all that matters is the story. This story is so real, and shows so accurately what can happen to young minds when they are raised in an oppressive, prejudiced environment.

Hatter Fox also exemplifies the true power of fiction, in that it allows us to shed a tear. We steel ourselves against the harsh realities of life, and do not weep for the downtrodden, but for fictional characters, we are free to feel our sorrows.

By Marilyn Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A young doctor struggles to save an alienated and vengeful Navajo girl from imprisonment and self-destruction


Book cover of Perma Red

Russell Rowland Author Of In Open Spaces

From my list on by women writers in the west.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have published seven books, all set in the West, including an anthology, West of 98: Living and Writing the New American West, that features writers from every state west of the Mississippi. For four years now, I have been doing a podcast called Breakfast in Montana, where my partner Aaron Parrett and I discuss Montana books. I also published a book in 2016 called 56 Counties, where I traveled to every county in Montana and interviewed people about what it means to live in this state. So I have a good feel for the people of this region and for the books they love. 

Russell's book list on by women writers in the west

Russell Rowland Why did Russell love this book?

And another Montana writer, Debra Magpie Earling grew up in Spokane, and is a member of the Salish tribe. Her 2002 debut novel, Perma Red, became an immediate classic. It’s the story of Louise White Elk, a young woman living on the reservation in the 1940s who is determined to avoid the trap of becoming the possession of a man. A challenge for any woman during that time period, but especially for a native woman living in a place with few options. Earling’s prose is elegant but tough, and that would be a pretty apt description of her main character as well as Louise makes a valiant effort to fight off the powerful men trying to take control of her life. 

By Debra Magpie Earling,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bold, passionate, and more urgent than ever, Debra Magpie Earling's powerful classic novel is reborn in this new edition.

On the Flathead Indian Reservation, summer is ending, and Louise White Elk is determined to forge her own path. Raised by her Grandmother Magpie after the death of her mother, Louise and her younger sister have grown up into the harsh social and physical landscape of western Montana in the 1940s, where Native people endure boarding schools and life far from home. As she approaches adulthood, Louise hopes to create an independent life for herself and an improved future for her…


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