100 books like Through the Shadowlands

By Brian Sibley,

Here are 100 books that Through the Shadowlands fans have personally recommended if you like Through the Shadowlands. 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 Friend

MJ Werthman White Author Of An Invitation to the Party

From my list on aging, family, and relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, our public library in the basement of the Methodist church became my second home. However, I considered any visit a bitter disappointment that didn’t result in one or two dog stories in the stack I signed out. Big Red, Old Yeller, Lassie, Lad a Dog, Call of the Wild, White Fang (the occasional wolf was also okay), I loved them all. That experience has continued to affect the adult I’ve become. As I’ve turned to reading, and writing, stories of family, relationships, and, lately, of aging, it’s become clear to me that I’ve never found a story that wasn’t improved by the appearance of a good dog.

MJ's book list on aging, family, and relationships

MJ Werthman White Why did MJ love this book?

In Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend a terrible event (a dear friend and mentor’s suicide) results in the unnamed narrator’s acceptance, out of a sense of responsibility, of an unwanted burden (the heartbroken Great Dane, Apollo−the narrator admitting she is more of a cat person).

I love that by book’s end, that obligation turns out to be a precious gift that assuages both their griefs, serving to connect them to the departed one they both loved. Along the way we, lucky readers, get to eavesdrop on the literary discourse of an agile mind attempting to parse the unparsable as the narrator, a writer herself, addresses both the lost (her mentor) and the found (the dog).

Does the dog die? Don’t ask and I won’t tell.

By Sigrid Nunez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog.

WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD * A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD

'A true delight: I genuinely fear I won't read a better novel this year' FINANCIAL TIMES

'Loved this. A funny, moving examination of love, grief, and the uniqueness of dogs' GRAHAM NORTON

'Delicious' SUNDAY TIMES 100 BEST SUMMER READS

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has…


Book cover of Oh William!

Joan D. Heiman Author Of Life with an Impossible Person: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Transformation

From my list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom handed me one of those little girl diaries with a lock and key when I was in third grade. I wrote my heart into those diaries until I needed more space and shifted to regular-sized notebooks. Writing is my way to know myself and make sense of my life. The journal I kept in the last months of my husband’s life helped me reassemble the trauma-blurred memories of his dying, and then, it supported my emotional rebirth during the year of intense grieving. It is with surprise and delight that I hear from readers who say I articulate their innermost emotions related to love and loss.

Joan's book list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner

Joan D. Heiman Why did Joan love this book?

Even though the marriage in Oh William! ends in divorce while my marriage ended (without my consent) in my husband’s untimely death, the book brought me back to the unconventional nature of my marriage. Elizabeth Strout’s uncanny ability to say much in a single sentence had me traveling back in time and heart to the many moments that made our marriage. The tendernesses and fears, the deep trust and insecurities that quietly but forcefully bound us together made up the subtle mysteries of our uncommon relationship. What makes people move apart yet remain forever close, as in Lucy Barton and her ex-husband, William, or what holds two people together when there are many factors that might drive them apart, as in my marriage? These questions made reading this book a thought-provoking and enriching experience.

By Elizabeth Strout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband - and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of…


Book cover of Love Medicine

Anna Bliss Author Of Bonfire Night

From my list on historical stories with interfaith love stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

After graduating with a BA in English, I moved to England to pursue a master’s in Literature and Visual Culture. My focus was on women artists working in London during the Blitz and I wrote my dissertation on Lee Miller, who went on to photograph (and doggedly publish) the liberation of German concentration camps. Later I worked in arts administration and marketing, and didn’t start writing my debut novel until I was thirty-five. My work is inspired by my favorite authors from the 1940s: Elizabeth Bowen, Patrick Hamilton, and Penelope Fitzgerald. I’m also drawn to historical fiction about ordinary people in difficult social conditions, especially when there’s a love story involved.

Anna's book list on historical stories with interfaith love stories

Anna Bliss Why did Anna love this book?

I used to moderate a book club for museum members at what is now the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Love Medicine was chosen by one of our exhibition artists. This astonishing debut is a masterwork about family, poverty, and passion.

The book is set where my grandparents came from, Minnesota and the Dakotas, and illustrates how settlers from Europe (my ancestors) continued to disrupt and destroy Native lives well into the 20th century. Ojibwe spiritual beliefs and Catholicism tangle as tightly as the characters that embody them. Spanning from 1934 to 1985, this novel should not be missed by anyone interested in Native American history.

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“The beauty of Love Medicine saves us from being completely devastated by its power.” — Toni Morrison

Set on a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation, Love Medicine—the first novel from master storyteller and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich—is an epic story about the intertwined fates of two families: the Kashpaws and the Lamartines.

With astonishing virtuosity, each chapter of this stunning novel draws on a range of voices to limn its tales. Black humor mingles with magic, injustice bleeds into betrayal, and through it all, bonds of love and family marry the elements into a tightly woven whole that pulses…


Book cover of Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through: A Love Story

Maggie Kast Author Of Side by Side but Never Face to Face: A Novella & Stories

From my list on finding or losing love in old age.

Why am I passionate about this?

Widowed at age fifty and now eighty-four, I know first hand the search for love in late life. I have three adult children and can't avoid bringing baggage to any new relationship, whether with humans or the cats I adore. Coming to writing seriously only after my husband’s death, I remain fascinated by questions of craft, how the story is told (as my recommendations show), and I’ve published several essays on aspects of that subject. My first career in dance, my conversion to Catholicism, and my psychoanalytic therapy have been major parts of my life and play significant roles in my memoir, my novel, and my more recent novella and stories.

Maggie's book list on finding or losing love in old age

Maggie Kast Why did Maggie love this book?

This true story of love and lasting marriage in later life is told by the husband and wife in alternating first-person voices. Ingrained habits of social and personal life and relationships with both parents and children all create stumbling blocks as the two lovers strive to create a unified way of life. I admire this book for its frank and vivid presentation of the pitfalls that can threaten a union of two individuals who meet in late middle age, already well set on their paths. In its presentation of problems and solutions, this book offers the most “self-help” of these five recommendations.

By Jill Robinson, Stuart Shaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jill Robinson, the author of Bed/Time/Story and Past Forgetting, and her husband, Stuart Shaw, share their true story about finding love when they both had lost faith in romance.

When Stuart and Jill first met, neither felt ready for love. Stuart was recovering from the alcoholism that had wrecked his marriage and ravaged his career. Jill was recovering from a second failed marriage and believed she was done with love forever.

But then, in a crowded Connecticut diner, Jill caught Stuart's eye and shot him a look that she knew would draw him in. What follows is a sexy journey…


Book cover of Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Jenni L. Walsh Author Of A Betting Woman: A Novel of Madame Moustache

From my list on women paving their way in a man’s world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written ten books for children and adults inspired by women throughout history, ones about American outlaws, war-time heroes, resistance groups, and activists. I enjoy learning, researching, and shining a spotlight on the women who shape our world today. In A Betting Woman, the presence of three names for a single woman intrigued me. I wondered how one name bled into the next and how life winded to a seemingly unappealing nickname, given to Eleanor after she’d taken a man’s last dime during a card game. Still, Eleanor kept the moniker for over a decade as she carried on. I hope you’ll enjoy her story, along with the other strong women featured on this list!

Jenni's book list on women paving their way in a man’s world

Jenni L. Walsh Why did Jenni love this book?

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is the improbable love story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis. And, at the novel’s onset, their coupling truly feels improbable. While in an unhappy marriage, Joy is very much married. She has young children. Joy has health issues. Joy and C.S. Lewis are separated by a body of water. Yet, Joy is also a very tenacious woman, which also included Joy inserting herself into conversations and places women at that time didn’t frequent. I wholly respect how Joy creates a new life for herself.

By Patti Callahan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestseller! Meet the brilliant writer, fiercely independent mother, and passionate woman who captured the heart of C.S. Lewis and inspired the books that still enchant and change us today.

When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis-known as Jack-she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn't holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford professor and the beloved writer of The Chronicles of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters.

Embarking on the adventure of her…


Book cover of A Grief Observed

Eve Joseph Author Of In the Slender Margin: The Intimate Strangeness of Death and Dying

From my list on grief to normalize mourning and confirm you're not going crazy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was eleven when my brother died in a car accident and, although I didn’t know it at the time, this experience shaped me in ways I couldn’t anticipate. Many years later, when I began working as a social worker at a local hospice, I realized that I was drawn to the work as a way to finally grieve that early loss. As I helped people navigate their own losses I found myself feeling my own grief for the first time. It wasn’t until I started writing about the hospice work that I found my brother again. I am powerfully drawn to the parallels between writing and the work of dying. 

Eve's book list on grief to normalize mourning and confirm you're not going crazy

Eve Joseph Why did Eve love this book?

This short book by the renowned author of The Chronicles of Narnia is a classic, and essential, book on grief.

Having found love late in life Lewis was devastated when his wife died a short time after their marriage. He rails at God and in a now-famous passage writes that no one ever told him that grief feels so much like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in my stomach, the same restlessness…

People who are mourning will recognize the rawness of grief and the need to find meaning in what feels meaningless. Lewis writes from inside the experience of grief and carves a path for the reader to understand his or her own experiences. 

By C. S. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Grief Observed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The perennial classic: this intimate journal chronicling the Narnia author's experience of grief after his wife's death has consoled readers for half a century with its 'sensitive and eloquent' magic (Hilary Mantel)

'An intimate, anguished account of a man grappling with the mysteries of faith and love ... Elegant and raw ... A powerful record of thought and emotion experienced in real time.' Guardian

'Raw and modern ... This unsentimental, even bracing, account of one man's dialogue with despair becomes both compelling and consoling ... A contemporary classic.' Observer

'A source of great consolation ... Lewis deploys his genius for…


Book cover of Till We Have Faces

Ketsia Lessard Author Of On Duty

From my list on classic literature that won’t bore you silly.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Montréal, Québec, Canada. French is my first language, but I learned to master English in my teens. My mother taught me to read early and I became a bookworm in primary school. I began writing personal stories at ten and decided to study literature in the hope of perfecting my craft. Unfortunately, so many of the program’s books felt dull and irrelevant to me. But once in a while, an inspiring work of universal quality would come up, and I began building my collection. The books I recommend here are dear to my heart and motivated me to keep reading and writing. 

Ketsia's book list on classic literature that won’t bore you silly

Ketsia Lessard Why did Ketsia love this book?

Lewis is mostly known by children for The Chronicles of Narnia and by adults for his brilliant essays on Christianity. Till We Have Faces is what I would consider his most captivating work of fiction for adults. It is, most of all, the story of a bitter, ugly woman, a type of heroine we rarely encounter in literature. Orual, the eldest of three sisters and very protective of the youngest, is heartbroken when her beloved Istra is sent out to the mountain as a human sacrifice to a mysterious entity feared by her people. A highly symbolic tale, Lewis’ creative retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth is nonetheless accessible to most readers as the human elements are extremely poignant and relatable.

By C. S. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Till We Have Faces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fascinated by the myth of Cupid and Psyche throughout his life, C. S. Lewis reimagines their story from the perspective of Psyche's sister, Orual.

'I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer . . . Why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?'

Till We Have Faces is a brilliant examination of envy, betrayal, loss, blame, grief, guilt, and conversion. In this, his final - and most mature and masterful - novel, Lewis reminds us of our…


Book cover of The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity

Barrie Wilson Author Of Searching for the Messiah: Unlocking the "Psalms of Solomon" and Humanity's Quest for a Savior

From my list on early Christianity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Barrie is an historian specializing in early Christianity. Today we now know that there were many different movements within the first few centuries, each claiming to be Christian. James’ Jewish group differed from Paul’s Christ religion and both differed from Gnostic Christianity which saw Jesus as a teacher of insight. None was dominant. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic writings add an intriguing overlay. The books selected are those that open up new ways of understanding the historical development of Christianity. Each in its own way has created a paradigm shift.

Barrie's book list on early Christianity

Barrie Wilson Why did Barrie love this book?

If we only had Paul to rely on for our knowledge of Jesus’ life, all we’d know is that he was born, was Jewish, had brothers and died. Written by a British academic, The Mythmaker is a break-through book that shows how Paul created Christianity by developing a mythology/theology about the significance of the death of Jesus as a Christ. Maccoby’s thought is further developed in my book, How Jesus Became Christian (2008) that demonstrates how different Paul’s religion was from that of Jesus.

By Hyam Maccoby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Argues that Jesus Christ never broke away from Judaism and that the Christian religion was founded by Paul


Book cover of The Source

Sam Foster Author Of Beardstown

From my list on creating civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

Beardstown is my ancestral home. I grew up, sitting on my grandfather’s knee and listening to stories of great floods, huge winter storms, steamboat trade up and down the river, and even ancient tales of the Iroquois annihilating the Mascouten and the long-forgotten Indian mounds. It has been such a joy to be able to compile all those ancient memories into one pretty good story.

Sam's book list on creating civilization

Sam Foster Why did Sam love this book?

Michener’s fifty-year-old novel focuses on a natural spring that becomes a tell – one civilization stacked on top of another from the beginning of time. It is the spring that makes life. If it is life that creates civilization and then destroys it and then comes back to the water to create yet another. The eternal and lasting thing is the water. Michener makes a beautiful story of the civilizations that come and go and stack on top of one another. 

The town is a new civilization created, the founder believes, from wilderness. But it is not so. The spot he choose was previously occupied by indigenous natives and they took it from the natives there before them. How could I not love Michener’s story? It is the same as mine just 5,000 years earlier.

By James A. Michener,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his signature style of grand storytelling, James A. Michener transports us back thousands of years to the Holy Land. Through the discoveries of modern archaeologists excavating the site of Tell Makor, Michener vividly re-creates life in an ancient city and traces the profound history of the Jewish people—from the persecution of the early Hebrews, the rise of Christianity, and the Crusades to the founding of Israel and the modern conflict in the Middle East. An epic tale of love, strength, and faith, The Source is a richly written saga that encompasses the history of Western civilization and the great…


Book cover of Shared Stories, Rival Tellings: Early Encounters of Jews, Christians, and Muslims

John Tolan Author Of Faces of Muhammad: Western Perceptions of the Prophet of Islam from the Middle Ages to Today

From my list on making you realize you don’t know what religion is.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the 1980s, I was living in Spain, teaching high school. On weekends and vacations, I traveled throughout the country, fascinated with the remnants of its flourishing medieval civilization, where Jews, Christians, and Muslims mingled. When I later became a historian, I focused on the rich history of Jewish-Christian-Muslim contact in Spain and throughout the Mediterranean. I also wanted to understand conflict and prejudice, particularly the historical roots of antisemitism and islamophobia in Europe. I have increasingly realized that classical religious texts need to be reread and contextualized and that we need to rethink our ideas about religion and religious conflict.

John's book list on making you realize you don’t know what religion is

John Tolan Why did John love this book?

In this book, Robert Gregg focuses on the narratives around a number of key figures in the sacred history of the Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They are “shared stories” because these various writers agreed on most (but not all) of the biographical details of these figures. Indeed, the “rival tellings” often reflect intimate knowledge of each other: the Jewish stories about Mary and Jesus are implicit responses to (and refutations of) Christian beliefs, and the Mary of the Qur’an is a rebuke to both Christian and Jewish versions. Retelling and reinterpreting these stories is a key activity in the construction and delineation of communities of the faithful, whether defined broadly (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) or in their narrower components (ascetic movements within each of the three traditions, rival Christian churches, Sunnism vs Shiism, etc.). If telling stories can be a way to build bridges, it is also, as Gregg shows, a…

By Robert C. Gregg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

While existing scholarship informs us about early contact between Christians, Muslims, and Jews, the nature of that interaction, and how it developed over time, is still often misunderstood. Robert Gregg emphasizes that there was both mutual curiosity, since all three religions had ancestral traditions and a commanding God in common, and also wary competitiveness, as each group was compelled to sharpen its identity against the other two. Faced with the overlap of
many scriptural stories, they were eager to defend the claim that they alone were God's preferred people.

In Shared Stories, Rival Tellings, Gregg performs a comparative investigation of…


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