82 books like Things Unsaid

By Diana Y. Paul,

Here are 82 books that Things Unsaid fans have personally recommended if you like Things Unsaid. 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 Glass Castle

Robin van Eck Author Of Rough

From my list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream.

Why am I passionate about this?

Someone once said I can’t believe you didn’t end up in a ditch with a needle in your arm. It sounds harsh, but they meant it with love. In spite of my broken home, familial dysfunction, trauma, and bad decisions, I found a way to be okay and share my life experiences through words and stories rather than a bottle. I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization specializing in developing authors who want to publish and use writing for therapy and healing. I live in Calgary, AB, Canada, with my teenage daughter and act as the emotional support human for an anxious dog. 

Robin's book list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream

Robin van Eck Why did Robin love this book?

This is quite possibly my favourite memoir ever written. It made me laugh, cry and scream. Never have I seen such a clearly dysfunctional family that didn’t even realize they were dysfunctional.

I loved them because they embraced life no matter what and hated them because they didn’t see how bad what they were doing to one another was. Full of elements and emotions from my own childhood, this book made me feel deeply and emotionally.  

By Jeannette Walls,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.

This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents.

At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane,…


Book cover of Little Fires Everywhere

Kylie Orr Author Of The Eleventh Floor

From my list on losing yourself in motherhood (the good and the bad).

Why am I passionate about this?

As the mother of four children, I have observed over the last twenty years how women are viewed and often judged under a stifling patriarchal lens. Writing about motherhood in all its glorious colours has been one way for me to channel my frustrations. Stories that reach out to women and give them a voice when they feel unheard are vital. In a world where appearances and facades are taking over our social media feeds, where filters blur out the rough edges of our lives, I’m more determined than ever to write female characters who are raw and flawed but also valued as an integral part of an evolving society.

Kylie's book list on losing yourself in motherhood (the good and the bad)

Kylie Orr Why did Kylie love this book?

Any book set in suburban life with a dark underbelly has me hooked.

I loved the themes of privilege, race, and motherhood within the context of suburban life. I also enjoyed the contrast between such different ways to parent: a wealthy and seemingly perfect family compared to a nomadic and unconventional mother-daughter duo.

I think the story also raised some interesting questions about the intricacies of motherhood and, of course, how we always feel the weight of the choices we make as mothers and the impact of those choices on our lives and the lives of our children. Not to mention, what a great title!

By Celeste Ng,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Little Fires Everywhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller!

"Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." -Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and A Slow Fire Burning

"To say I love this book is an understatement. It's a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears." -Reese Witherspoon

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Our Missing Hearts comes a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their…


Book cover of At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life

Heidi McCrary Author Of Chasing North Star

From my list on family dysfunction to read while drinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to say I had a colorful childhood. With a mentally unstable mother who bred children as a hobby, I was part of a band of siblings that lived life pretty free-range. It made for dark, but arguably, entertaining times. If you came from an abnormally normal childhood and can’t relate, I’m not sure we can be friends. Escaping with a book and glass of wine is balanced living, and I’ve given tips on the best wine selections to go with the following books featuring dysfunctional families. But just between you and me, any wine will do.

Heidi's book list on family dysfunction to read while drinking

Heidi McCrary Why did Heidi love this book?

While I have never dreamed of living in the middle of nowhere (that’s why they call it nowhere), I do know that many people dream of trading the chaos of city living for a more tranquil life in the country. Wade Rouse was one of those poor blokes who, with his partner, decided to move from the big city to the deep woods located just south of the artsy town of Saugatuck Michigan. Rouse’s snarky depiction of life in redneck country is laugh-out-loud funny and not the least bit insulting to those living the simpler lifestyle. OK, it actually is, but hey, it’s funny!

Best read with a medium body Pinot Noir.

By Wade Rouse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We all dream about it, but Wade Rouse actually did it. Discover his journey to live the simple life in this hilarious memoir. 

Finally fed up with the frenzy of city life and a job he hates, Wade Rouse decided to make either the bravest decision of his life or the worst mistake since his botched Ogilvie home perm: to uproot his life and try, as Thoreau did some 160 years earlier, to "live a plain, simple life in radically reduced conditions."

In this rollicking and hilarious memoir, Wade and his partner, Gary, leave culture, cable, and consumerism behind and…


Book cover of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Francesca Spencer Author Of Welcome to the State of Kuwait

From my list on capturing culture through observation and humour.

Why am I passionate about this?

Funny stuff happens all the time in my wafty, solo-travelling life. Sometimes that funny stuff will only become apparent after the proverbial dust has settled and I’m no longer in imminent danger or at my wit’s end: the hilarity of a situation reveals itself when I’m telling the story. Travelling alone puts you in a vulnerable position of being open to ‘the moment’ far more so than when you are travelling with someone else. I get a sense of place and people and write about what happens true to my voice which is intrinsically connected to my funny bone—an intention to capture culture through accurate observation and tragi-comic humour. 

Francesca's book list on capturing culture through observation and humour

Francesca Spencer Why did Francesca love this book?

I borrowed Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim from a friend years back, and instantly fell in love with David Sedaris. 

I could have picked any book by Mr. Sedaris - they are all brilliant and have been hugely influential in my writing journey—but I vividly remember reading the chapter "Six to Eight Black Men", which beautifully illustrates a Dutch Christmas cultural tradition and shows it up in all its whacky weirdness, solely through storytelling and observation. Alone in my bedroom, I remember having to put the book down because I was howling with laughter. 

David Sedaris is the master of pinpointing the ludicrous, seemingly without effort or trying to be funny. 

He is one of my heroes. I think I became a bit obsessed.

By David Sedaris,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters. He goes on vacation with his family. He gets a job selling drinks. He attends his brother's wedding. He mops his sister's floor. He gives directions to a lost traveler. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn't it? In his newest collection of essays, David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives -- a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the…


Book cover of Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life

Dawn Huebner Author Of The Sibling Survival Guide: Surefire Ways to Solve Conflicts, Reduce Rivalry, and Have More Fun with Your Brothers and Sisters

From my list on for siblings who squabble.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Child Psychologist and Author turned Parent Coach who often hears about the bickering, put-downs, jealousy, and conflict sapping families with multiple children. Telling them to “cut it out” clearly does nothing. Kids need not only the skills (how to talk, how to listen, how to manage feelings and resolve conflict) but also the motivation to use them, a combination I have spent my career thinking about, writing about, and teaching. All of the books I have written, and all that I recommend, include this winning combination of skills and motivation with the aim of helping children live happier lives.

Dawn's book list on for siblings who squabble

Dawn Huebner Why did Dawn love this book?

This one is for parents, not kids, but I included it because what parents do (or don’t do), say (or don’t say) is such an important part of the equation when it comes to sibling rivalry. Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings teaches the basics of Emotion Coaching (introduced in Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by the same author), then walks readers through using this approach with multiple children. Grounded in brain science, pairing firm limits with genuine empathy, parents who take the time to learn/practice this way of parenting will undoubtedly see a significant reduction in sibling squabbles, and in conflict more broadly.

By Dr. Laura Markham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Popular parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham, author of PEACEFUL PARENTS, HAPPY SIBLINGS, has garnered a large and loyal readership around the world, thanks to her simple, insightful approach that values the emotional bond between parent and child. As any parent of more than one child knows, though, it’s challenging for even the most engaged parent to maintain harmony and a strong connection when competition, tempers, and irritation run high.
 
In this highly anticipated guide, Dr. Markham presents simple yet powerful ways to cut through the squabbling and foster a loving, supportive bond between siblings, while giving each child the vital…


Book cover of How to Kill Your Family

Linda Kay Silva Author Of Nothing Fair About It

From my list on novels about life changing experiences and adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of creative writing who knows when readers stop feeling, they stop reading. We all want to feel, to live vicariously. To experience the unimaginable. I’ve lived large. I’ve raced on the back of an ostrich, rode an elephant through the jungles of Thailand, raced catamarans in the Caribbean, and danced with the Shaka Zulu in Africa. The best books are those that feel like memories…that touch us…that make us feel.

Linda's book list on novels about life changing experiences and adventures

Linda Kay Silva Why did Linda love this book?

I love a sassy, bright, independent female protagonist, and that’s what I got with Grace Bernard. I love dysfunctional family dynamics, but Grace’s point of view had me laughing out loud. Funny villains are my jam, and Bella delivers one in the middle of a shitstorm that had me reading into the middle of the night.

By Bella Mackie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Kill Your Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'I loved this book' RICHARD OSMAN

'Funny, sharp, dark and twisted' JOJO MOYES

'Chilling, but also laugh-out-loud funny. Another corker' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

They say you can't choose your family. But you can kill them.

Meet Grace Bernard.
Daughter, sister, serial killer...
Grace has lost everything.
And she will stop at nothing to get revenge.

------------------------------

'Funny and furious and strangely uplifting. Grace is a bitter and beguiling anti-hero with a keen eye for social analysis - even in her most grisly deeds, you never stop rooting for her' PANDORA SYKES

'Deliciously addictive...brilliantly executed' i PAPER…


Book cover of Del-Del

Philippa East Author Of I'll Never Tell

From my list on dark psychology in thriller fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before becoming a psychological thriller writer I trained as a Clinical Psychologist, and I continue to practice as a therapist alongside my writing. Clinical Psychologists work in the field of mental health, bringing me into regular contact with the more difficult, distressed, or disturbed aspects of human psychology. Similarly, my novels typically explore the darker sides of what it means to be human, including themes of guilt, loss, fractured relationships, and trauma. The books on my list delve into this compelling and fascinating territory, and have inspired me as both a psychologist and a storyteller.

Philippa's book list on dark psychology in thriller fiction

Philippa East Why did Philippa love this book?

I first read this YA novel as a teenager and have never forgotten it.

The book has long been out of print in the UK, but a few years ago, I laboriously tracked down an Australian ex-library copy to re-read. I was fascinated to realise the book actually falls into the (psychological) horror genre (having thought I hated horror after being traumatised as a kid by Nightmare on Elm Street!). I could also now see how, at heart, it is also a heartbreaking family drama.

Del-Del later became a huge inspiration for my debut novel Little White Lies, a psychological thriller about a family desperately struggling with the miraculous return of their teenage daughter Abigail following her abduction seven years previously.

By Victor Kelleher, Peter Clarke (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Del-Del as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A teenage girl in Sydney, Australia, records how her family is devasted by her older sister's death and by the bizarre behavior of her gifted younger brother, who seems to be possessed by a coldly unfeeling entity.


Book cover of A Thousand Steps

Janet Fix Author Of The Broken Soul

From my list on intriguing whodunits.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writer, reader, editor, reviewer, publisher… those are all parts of me. With a lifetime of experience in the “words” industry, I have a pretty good handle on what makes a book not just good, but hot. I say this with the understanding that each reader brings their own histories to the reading experience, and what one person may like, another may not. Nonetheless, I offer you my professional and personal favorites in the mystery/thriller/suspense categories. It is my sincere hope that you find these books as addictive as I’d found them. Superb and clever writing, engaging characters, unpredictable plots—yes, please! Though I occasionally step outside my comfort zone, I'm consistently drawn back to these categories. 

Janet's book list on intriguing whodunits

Janet Fix Why did Janet love this book?

The cover made me buy it, and the writing made me love it. An unexpected amateur sleuth, a mere teenager trying to find his missing sister, is the crux of this story filled with captivating characters and constant go-go-go. The entire plot blew my mind with its twists and tensions and completely unexpected angles. I highly recommend this revered mystery/thriller/suspense novel set during the Age of Aquarius—1968 in Laguna Beach, California. 

By T. Jefferson Parker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Los Angeles Times Bestseller!

A Thousand Steps is a beguiling thriller, an incisive coming-of-age story, and a vivid portrait of a turbulent time and place by three-time Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestselling author T. Jefferson Parker.

Laguna Beach, California, 1968. The Age of Aquarius is in full swing. Timothy Leary is a rock star. LSD is God. Folks from all over are flocking to Laguna, seeking peace, love, and enlightenment.

Matt Anthony is just trying get by.

Matt is sixteen, broke, and never sure where his next meal is coming from. Mom’s a stoner, his deadbeat…


Book cover of The Anti-Cool Girl

Richard Glover Author Of Flesh Wounds

From my list on weird families and how to survive them.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian writer and journalist. I’ve written several humour books, as well as a history of Australia in the 1960 and 1970s called The Land Before Avocado. I also write for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Washington Post and present a radio show on ABC Radio Sydney. Of the books I’ve written, the one that’s closest to my heart is my memoir Flesh Wounds.

Richard's book list on weird families and how to survive them

Richard Glover Why did Richard love this book?

Rosie is one of Australia’s most compelling young writers. Her book came out at the same time as mine, so my wife read it straight after my book. Afterward, she picked up my book and said: “You really are just a middle-class whinger.” Ok, it was said with a smile, but she had a point. Rosie’s parents were so much worse than mine—jaw-droppingly awful—yet it’s brilliant how Rosie shrugs off any urge for self-pity.

By Rosie Waterland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Brutal, brave, hilarious - a full-frontal memoir about surviving the very worst that life can throw at you. Rosie Waterland has never been cool. Growing up in housing commission, Rosie was cursed with a near perfect, beautiful older sister who dressed like Mariah Carey on a Best & Less budget while Rosie was still struggling with various toilet mishaps. She soon realised that she was the Doug Pitt to her sister's Brad, and that cool was not going to be her currency in this life. But that was only one of the problems Rosie faced. With two addicts for parents,…


Book cover of The Latecomer

Shawn Nocher Author Of The Precious Jules

From my list on families and the secrets we keep from one another.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about family, inspired by the exquisitely flawed one I dwell within. Loving my children is the easiest and hardest thing I have ever done in that it was easy to fall in love with them the moment they came into this world but the accountability to that love can be staggering. The same can be said for my siblings. I hope my novels and stories help readers examine the ways we are all tethered to one another. My writing is where I try to untangle all of that. It’s about the ties that bind and how we choose to wear those bindings, especially in times of crisis. 

Shawn's book list on families and the secrets we keep from one another

Shawn Nocher Why did Shawn love this book?

It’s hard for me to imagine a family where the siblings are more uninterested in one another than the Oppenheimer triplets in this novel. But I do love a twin story (am, in fact, fascinated by the twin thing) so triplets really intrigued me. These siblings, however, are determined to disengage from one another and stalk off into their solo adulthood. And they manage to do so with just enough hubris to make a mess of it. But can we ever really cut the ties that bind? Thankfully—probably not. 

By Jean Hanff Korelitz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Latecomer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*A New York Times Notable Book of 2022*
*A Washington Post Notable Work of Fiction*
*An NPR Best Book of the Year*

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Latecomer is a layered and immersive literary novel about three siblings, desperate to escape one another, and the upending of their family by the late arrival of a fourth.

The Latecomer follows the story of the wealthy, New York City-based Oppenheimer family, from the first meeting of parents Salo and Johanna, under tragic circumstances, to their triplets born during the early days of IVF.…


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