100 books like The Year 1000

By Robert Lacey, Danny Danziger,

Here are 100 books that The Year 1000 fans have personally recommended if you like The Year 1000. 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 The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

John Sunderland Author Of On My Way to Jorvik: a humorous memoir of how a boy with a vision became a radical designer

From my list on books by descriptive popularists with humour.

Who am I?

I’m a storyteller. I studied graphic design, animation, and film and became the title designer of Yorkshire Television’s game show 3*2*1 and directed an art-directed film and animation for British television and cinema. I was the Project Designer of the original Jorvik Viking Centre (1984). By 2008 I designed and built 25 award-winning cultural heritage centres and completed 150 international consultancies, producing and directing my exhibition documentaries. I learned how important writing was to my work. When it came down to it, whatever technique I used in the telling, there was always the story behind it as the way to transport the audience into a mentally immersive experience.

John's book list on books by descriptive popularists with humour

John Sunderland Why did John love this book?

I love Cape Cod and I was fortunate to live on the edge of the sea between 1997-2003. Skillfully written by one of America’s greatest writers of the natural habitat, it transports you to a place. It reminds me of what it felt like to live far out in Cape Cod on the North Atlantic at its furthest reach on the east coast of the United States. Living there for several years and spending time in nature with the sea, beach, dunes, and my bicycle, I learned to love its moods, wildlife, and great sense of mystery. I totally identified with this man’s extraordinary experience and how it was years ago. A wonderfully descriptive book that helps you experience with all your senses what it’s like to live next to the sea alone. 

By Henry Beston,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Outermost House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The seventy-fifth anniversary edition of the classic book about Cape Cod, "written with simplicity, sympathy, and beauty" (New York Herald Tribune)

A chronicle of a solitary year spent on a Cape Cod beach, The Outermost House has long been recognized as a classic of American nature writing. Henry Beston had originally planned to spend just two weeks in his seaside home, but was so possessed by the mysterious beauty of his surroundings that he found he "could not go."

Instead, he sat down to try and capture in words the wonders of the magical landscape he found himself in thrall…


Book cover of The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women

Patricia Bracewell Author Of The Steel Beneath the Silk

From my list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia.

Who am I?

Ever since childhood I’ve been fascinated by the history of England, and fifteen years ago I made the decision to write a series of novels set before the Norman Conquest. Since then I’ve immersed myself in the history of that period and made numerous visits to the locations where I set my novels. I’ve been frustrated though by the enormous gaps in the historical records of that time, in particular the lack of information about the women. Because of that I am drawn to the work of authors who, like me, are attempting to resurrect and retell the lost stories of those remarkable women. 

Patricia's book list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia

Patricia Bracewell Why did Patricia love this book?

Recent genetic research on the human remains of a 10th-century Viking grave excavated in 1878 in Birka, Sweden, rocked the world of Viking studies when it determined that the warrior buried with numerous weapons and two horses was not male, but female. I loved how this author imagines what that woman’s life might have been like. She also suggests that the woman buried in the Birka grave was merely one of many female Viking warriors, offering data drawn from archaeological finds, from historical accounts, from language studies, and from the sagas to support the theory that ‘shield maids’ really did exist. I had been dubious about the possibility of female Vikings, but the arguments presented in this book are too compelling. Reading it changed my mind. Now I’m a believer.

By Nancy Marie Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra, Brown lays to rest the hoary myth that Viking society was ruled by men and celebrates the dramatic lives of female Viking warriors

“Once again, Brown brings Viking history to vivid, unexpected life―and in the process, turns what we thought we knew about Norse culture on its head. Superb.” ―Scott Weidensaul, author of New York Times bestselling A World on the Wing

"Magnificent. It captured me from the very first page." ―Pat Shipman, author of The Invaders

In 2017, DNA tests revealed to the collective shock of many scholars that a Viking warrior…


Book cover of My Family and Other Animals

Ayser Salman Author Of The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in

From my list on new worlds that made me feel less like an outsider.

Who am I?

I was born in Iraq, and grew up mostly in the Southern United States—with a brief stint in Saudi Arabia. My father taught me the importance of books and reading. And I found it was the best way to escape from the constant fish-out-of-water feeling that followed me through my nomadic childhood. I grew up, and grew out of those feelings… most of the time. But I never outgrew reading and I still love when a book sucks me in and makes me lose myself completely. These are a few of those books. 

Ayser's book list on new worlds that made me feel less like an outsider

Ayser Salman Why did Ayser love this book?

I was nine and still getting used to life in America after moving from Iraq five years prior, when my family moved us to Saudi Arabia. Scared and lonely, I felt more like an outsider than ever before and reading became my solace. I discovered this hilarious book and instantly fell in love with it; mainly because it depicted the author’s dysfunctional British family during their time living abroad in Corfu. In addition to the humor that naturally comes from “fish out of water” stories, it was the first time I’d read a literary account about a family as colorful as mine. It encouraged me to view my family not as a source of annoyance (as I’d been doing prior to that point) but as a source of entertainment.

By Gerald Durrell,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked My Family and Other Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiration behind ITV's hit family drama, The Durrells.

My Family and Other Animals is Gerald Durrell's hilarious account of five years in his childhood spent living with his family on the island of Corfu. With snakes, scorpions, toads, owls and geckos competing for space with one bookworm brother and another who's gun-mad, as well as an obsessive sister, young Gerald has an awful lot of natural history to observe. This richly detailed, informative and riotously funny memoir of eccentric family life is a twentieth-century classic.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics…


Book cover of Notes from a Small Island

Karen Gershowitz Author Of Wanderlust: Extraordinary People, Quirky Places, and Curious Cuisine

From my list on making you want to travel.

Who am I?

I’ve been traveling since age seventeen when I boarded a plane and headed to Europe on my own. Over the next three years I lived in London, took weekend jaunts across the continent, and became completely bitten by the travel bug. Since then, I’ve traveled to more than 95 countries. I’ve lost and gained friends and lovers and made a radical career change so that I could afford my travel addiction. Like my readers, I am an ordinary person. Through travel I’ve learned courage and risk-taking and succeeded at things I didn’t know I could do. My goal in writing is to inspire others to take off and explore the world.

Karen's book list on making you want to travel

Karen Gershowitz Why did Karen love this book?

Shortly after it was first published, I picked this book up in the bookstore at Heathrow on my way home from a business trip. I spent the entire flight glued to it and laughing out loud.

This was Bryson’s first travel book and one that changed my perception of what travel writing could be. It is perceptive, irreverent, and focuses on the small, often quirky, details that make travel so interesting. I am now a huge fan of all of Bryson’s books, but this was the one that got me hooked.

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Notes from a Small Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1995, before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire to move back to the States for a few years with his family, Bill Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite; a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named…


Book cover of Ice Land

Patricia Bracewell Author Of The Steel Beneath the Silk

From my list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia.

Who am I?

Ever since childhood I’ve been fascinated by the history of England, and fifteen years ago I made the decision to write a series of novels set before the Norman Conquest. Since then I’ve immersed myself in the history of that period and made numerous visits to the locations where I set my novels. I’ve been frustrated though by the enormous gaps in the historical records of that time, in particular the lack of information about the women. Because of that I am drawn to the work of authors who, like me, are attempting to resurrect and retell the lost stories of those remarkable women. 

Patricia's book list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia

Patricia Bracewell Why did Patricia love this book?

In this genre-bending novel the author weaves Norse myth with a tale set in the very real world of early medieval Iceland. Her descriptions of the landscape are wondrous, and her portrayal of the lives and culture of the early settlers of Iceland ring true. I loved how she quite successfully brought the Norse gods and one particular goddess down to earth. I am not as knowledgeable about the Nordic gods and their stories as I would like to be. This novel was a terrific way to begin a journey of discovery taking me in that direction.

By Betsy Tobin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A beautiful epic of love, longing, redemption, and enchantment in the tradition of Marion Zimmer Bradley?s The Mists of Avalon

Iceland, AD 1000
Freya knows that her people are doomed. Warned by the Fates of an impending disaster, she must embark on a journey to find a magnificent gold necklace, one said to possess the power to alter the course of history. But even as Freya travels deep into the mountains of Iceland, the country is on the brink of war. The new world order of Christianity is threatening the old ways of Iceland?s people, and tangled amidst it all…


Book cover of Hild

Kate Heartfield Author Of The Valkyrie

From my list on transporting you to a foggy valley in medieval Europe.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by the way history feels inherently uncanny, as we inhabit the same places as people long dead. I suppose that’s why the novels I write tend to be in historical settings, and they tend to have a speculative twist. For much of my working life, I was a journalist, so I love the research part of writing historical fiction. I tend to be drawn to old stories, and I especially love looking at those stories from angles I haven't seen before. Two of my novels bookend the European Middle Ages: The Valkyrie, set in the 5th century CE, and The Chatelaine, set in the 14th century CE.

Kate's book list on transporting you to a foggy valley in medieval Europe

Kate Heartfield Why did Kate love this book?

I’m a sucker for any story about a real woman in history.

Hild is the story of Hilda of Whitby, whom we meet as a child in 7th-century Britain. It's a novel that revels in language and sensory detail, when it comes to both the natural world and the human one. It is particularly interested in relationships between women.

This novel puts us into the mindset of a girl growing up in an age of political ferment, in the context of a whole set of traditions and stories, and helps us understand why she makes the choices she does.

By Nicola Griffith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hild is born into a world in transition. In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods' priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief. Hild is the king's youngest niece. She has the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world - of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing human nature and predicting what will happen next - that can seem uncanny, even…


Book cover of The Lost Queen

Patricia Bracewell Author Of The Steel Beneath the Silk

From my list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia.

Who am I?

Ever since childhood I’ve been fascinated by the history of England, and fifteen years ago I made the decision to write a series of novels set before the Norman Conquest. Since then I’ve immersed myself in the history of that period and made numerous visits to the locations where I set my novels. I’ve been frustrated though by the enormous gaps in the historical records of that time, in particular the lack of information about the women. Because of that I am drawn to the work of authors who, like me, are attempting to resurrect and retell the lost stories of those remarkable women. 

Patricia's book list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia

Patricia Bracewell Why did Patricia love this book?

So many brilliant authors have explored the Arthurian legends that I had trouble believing that there could be more to say. Signe Pike, though, researched the earliest appearance of the legend of Merlin and traced it, surprisingly, to 6th-century Scotland where she set this tale. Merlin and his sister are given their early Celtic names, Lailoken and Languoreth and there is a Scottish/Celtic feel to the book that evokes that historical time and place. I was particularly moved by Pike’s exploration of the dilemma of the peace-weaving queen, forced to choose between loyalty to her birth family and loyalty to the family into which she married. Sadly, that was the bitter fate of many peace-weaving brides as rival tribes vied against each other for power and ultimate control.  

By Signe Pike,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Outlander meets Camelot” (Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers) in the first book of an exciting historical trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a powerful and, until now, tragically forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legendary character of Merlin.

Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of The Lost Queen, a tale of conflicted loves and survival set against the cinematic backdrop of ancient Scotland, a magical land of myths and superstition inspired by the beauty of the natural world. One of the most powerful early medieval queens in British…


Book cover of Untold Stories

John Sunderland Author Of On My Way to Jorvik: a humorous memoir of how a boy with a vision became a radical designer

From my list on books by descriptive popularists with humour.

Who am I?

I’m a storyteller. I studied graphic design, animation, and film and became the title designer of Yorkshire Television’s game show 3*2*1 and directed an art-directed film and animation for British television and cinema. I was the Project Designer of the original Jorvik Viking Centre (1984). By 2008 I designed and built 25 award-winning cultural heritage centres and completed 150 international consultancies, producing and directing my exhibition documentaries. I learned how important writing was to my work. When it came down to it, whatever technique I used in the telling, there was always the story behind it as the way to transport the audience into a mentally immersive experience.

John's book list on books by descriptive popularists with humour

John Sunderland Why did John love this book?

Alan Bennett is another master storyteller and I’m proud to say from my home county and local city where I spent the days of my 20s finding my way. Alan can spin and craft the most engaging stories out of life and common events that pass most of us by. He’s one of my hero writers. I aspire to get anywhere close to his skill, tinctured as he is with his own unique Yorkshire-ness and ironic sense of observational humour. 

By Alan Bennett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here, at last, is the astonishing sequel to Alan Bennett's classic Writing Home, in a beautiful hardback edition. Untold Stories contains significant previously unpublished work, including a poignant memoir of his family and of growing up in Leeds, together with his much celebrated diary for the years 1996-2004, and numerous other exceptional essays, reviews and comic pieces. Bennett, as always, is both amusing and poignant, whether he's discussing his modest childhood or his work with figures such as Maggie Smith, Thora Hird and John Gielgud. Since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s Alan Bennett has delighted audiences…


Book cover of Shadow on the Crown

Joanna Courtney Author Of Blood Queen

From my list on historical real-life female protagonists.

Who am I?

I am a historical fiction writer, specializing in ancient history through a female perspective. My first series, The Queens of the Conquest, follows the wives of the men fighting to be King of England in 1066 for a vitally neglected take on a key year. My second, Shakespeare’s Queens, revisits three of the bard’s greatest female characters via the real historical figures who inspired them. I love the way fiction can lift facts, settings, and cultures into something hopefully more vibrant than a straightforward history lesson and aim to offer the best possible time travel for readers. I believe the books on this list do that beautifully.

Joanna's book list on historical real-life female protagonists

Joanna Courtney Why did Joanna love this book?

As a writer fascinated by the period around 1066, I’ve long been intrigued by Emma of Normandy – a woman whose marriage to King Aethelred ‘the Unready’ and, after him, to King Cnut could be said to have started England on the path to the Norman conquest. It was a joy, therefore, to find this gutsy, involving, and utterly convincing novel about her life. Queen Emma is a woman who truly demonstrates that there has always – even in the seemingly most misogynistic of times – been space in history for determined women with the self-belief to step up and claim the power they deserve and Patricia Bracewell’s novel vividly brings to life both the woman and the times.

By Patricia Bracewell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in England when Vikings are on the brink of invasion, this is an epic tale of seduction, war, and unrequited love from an outstanding new voice in historical fiction

In 1002 AD Emma, a young Norman girl, must take her place as bride to England's King AEthelred, a ruler who is looking for nothing more than a political pawn to protect his shores and bear his next child. But Emma soon realises that her new role comes with danger: the seductive Elgiva, mistress to the King, will stop at nothing in her battle for the circlet of gold.

Amidst…


Book cover of Aethelstan: The First King of England

MJ Porter Author Of Son of Mercia

From my list on that led to my obsession with Saxon England.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of novels set in Saxon England. I studied the era at both undergraduate and graduate levels and never meant to become a historical fiction writer. But I developed a passion to tell the story of the last century of Early England through the eyes of the earls of Mercia, as opposed to the more well-known, Earl Godwin. I’m still writing that series but venture further back in time as well. I might have a bit of an obsession with the Saxon kingdom of Mercia. I’m fascinated by the whole near-enough six hundred years of Saxon England before the watershed moment of 1066, after which, quite frankly, everything went a bit downhill. 

MJ's book list on that led to my obsession with Saxon England

MJ Porter Why did MJ love this book?

Aethelstan is an engrossing account of king Aethelstan, lauded as the first crowned king of ‘England,’ something his father, and more importantly, his grandfather, King Alfred, was unable to lay claim to. It’s a thorough examination of all that’s known about Aethelstan during his reign. It’s rare to get a book dedicated to any one single king before the reign of Æthelred II, who was Aethelstan’s great, great-nephew, and reigned thirty years later. The work shows just how much can be gleaned about historical figures during this period by experts in the field, who know how to unpick all the complicated details and present them to readers in an engaging format.

By Sarah Foot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"AEthelstan was perhaps the most important king of tenth-century England, but we know very little about him, and he has no modern biography. Sarah Foot triumphantly fills this gap, and adds to the richness of our understanding of the period in a way that few others have managed."-Chris Wickham, author of The Inheritance Of Rome

The powerful and innovative King AEthelstan reigned only briefly (924-939), yet his achievements during those eventful fifteen years changed the course of English history. He won spectacular military victories (most notably at Brunanburh), forged unprecedented political connections across Europe, and succeeded in creating the first…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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