100 books like To the Bright Edge of the World

By Eowyn Ivey,

Here are 100 books that To the Bright Edge of the World fans have personally recommended if you like To the Bright Edge of the World. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Into the Wild

M. R. Reed Author Of Enthrall

From my list on doing what is right when others are against you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m drawn to the idea of doing what you think is right when others are against you because I’ve always felt the desire to row against the current and just do my own thing. I tend to avoid following the crowd because oftentimes I simply don’t agree with them. Am I being purposely difficult? Maybe. But I fear a society that goes with the flow simply because it’s easier and it doesn’t require them to think for themselves. It’s okay to listen to other people, but before you make any major decisions, ask yourself a question: Is this right for me?

M. R.'s book list on doing what is right when others are against you

M. R. Reed Why did M. R. love this book?

Here’s my confession: I hated Chris McCandless by the time I finished this book. I hated his cockiness and lack of respect for the power of the wilderness.

But you know what I give him credit for? His ability to leave his life of privilege and the courage to go out into the world and forge his own destiny. He did what he thought was best for him despite the pushback he received from his friends and family.

I think I hated him so much because I wanted him to succeed, and he doomed himself through his own hubris. 

By Jon Krakauer,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Into the Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Krakauer’s page-turning bestseller explores a famed missing person mystery while unraveling the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

"Terrifying... Eloquent... A heart-rending drama of human yearning." —New York Times

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all…


Book cover of Ravensong - A Novel

Peggy Herring Author Of Anna, Like Thunder

From my list on pacific northwest history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a transplant to the west coast of North America, I’m always on the lookout for books that capture aspects of the history of this region and help me understand my new home. For me, the books on this list have shed light on different communities, worldviews, and a complicated past. Besides, I am a pushover for epic stories that span generations and geographies and teach me new ways of thinking and looking at the world.

Peggy's book list on pacific northwest history

Peggy Herring Why did Peggy love this book?

Coupled with Celia’s Song which extends this family saga, this story painted a picture for me about Indigenous history and the interconnected issues on the coast such as the environment, colonization, justice, and transformation. Maracle’s prose reads like poetry, and yet what I found most remarkable was the storytelling. She effortlessly twines together past and present, human and non-human worlds, breaking many rules of Western narrative tradition. Rarely do you run across a book where equal attention is paid to both form and theme. This one does, and it encouraged me to reflect on literary conventions deeply embedded into my subconscious and then ask myself why and, most importantly, how we tell stories.

By Lee Maracle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set along the Pacific Northwest Coast in the 1950s, Ravensong tells the story of an urban Native community devastated by an influenza epidemic. Stacey, a 17-year-old Native girl, struggles with the clash between white society's values and her family's traditional ways, knowing that her future lies somewhere in between. Celia, her sister, has visions from the past, while Raven warns of an impending catastrophe before there is any reconciliation between the two cultures. In this passionate story about a young woman's quest for answers, author Lee Maracle speaks unflinchingly of the gulf between two cultures: a gulf that Raven says…


Book cover of Greenwood

Eva Silverfine Author Of How to Bury Your Dog

From my list on our connections with the natural environment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I grew up in New York City, from a young age I was drawn to the natural world, particularly through gardening and camping trips. Eventually I studied biology in college and earned a Master’s researching stream ecology. I also always imagined myself a writer. For years my writing was solely in letters and journals, but during my Master’s I started a novel featuring an immature mayfly in the stream (it was somewhat autobiographical). Ecology is all about the connection of organisms to their environment and to one another, and I think this perspective of connectedness has embedded itself deeply in my writing and my life.

Eva's book list on our connections with the natural environment

Eva Silverfine Why did Eva love this book?

I particularly love books that combine the trifecta of engaging story; interesting, complex characters; and good writing with real substance (as in, I stop to think about the content). Greenwood has all of these.

The writing is particularly lyrical—I could fill this space with beautiful quotes. The author takes the reader through four generations of a family, with each generation intimately connected to trees in different ways—from lumbermen to environmental activist to woodcraftsman to botanist.

And as the author “takes a core” through a family tree, the story captures both the characters’ relationships to one another as well as to the world in which they live. I cannot recommend this book enough!

By Michael Christie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The truth is that all family lines, from the highest to the lowest, originate somewhere, on some particular day. Even the grandest trees must've once been seeds spun helpless on the wind, and then just meek saplings nosing up from the soil.'

2038. On a remote island off the Pacific coast of British Columbia stands the Greenwood Arboreal Cathedral, one of the world's last forests. Wealthy tourists flock from all corners of the dust-choked globe to see the spectacle and remember what once was. But even as they breathe in the fresh air and pose for photographs amidst the greenery,…


Book cover of The Reckoning of Boston Jim

Peggy Herring Author Of Anna, Like Thunder

From my list on pacific northwest history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a transplant to the west coast of North America, I’m always on the lookout for books that capture aspects of the history of this region and help me understand my new home. For me, the books on this list have shed light on different communities, worldviews, and a complicated past. Besides, I am a pushover for epic stories that span generations and geographies and teach me new ways of thinking and looking at the world.

Peggy's book list on pacific northwest history

Peggy Herring Why did Peggy love this book?

Packed with detail about Victoria, Vancouver Island, and the Gold Rush days in British Columbia, I thought this book was engaging, epic, funny (wait until the camels appear—and the wake!), and a real page-turner. I swooned over the descriptions of the landscape and would go so far as to say the land and sea, so alive in this book, should be considered a character. I was so profoundly invested in the fates of Jim, Dora, and Eugene, that I almost missed how cunningly the novel took on gender, class, and race, illuminating so many of the contemporary issues dogging us here on the coast.  

Book cover of Kolea

Peggy Herring Author Of Anna, Like Thunder

From my list on pacific northwest history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a transplant to the west coast of North America, I’m always on the lookout for books that capture aspects of the history of this region and help me understand my new home. For me, the books on this list have shed light on different communities, worldviews, and a complicated past. Besides, I am a pushover for epic stories that span generations and geographies and teach me new ways of thinking and looking at the world.

Peggy's book list on pacific northwest history

Peggy Herring Why did Peggy love this book?

This novel is like a wild ride on the ocean. I loved how it took me into the Indigenous communities in the Hawai’ian Islands prior to contact with Europeans and revealed their longstanding links to the Pacific coast of North America. There’s an epic story, and it’s chock full of marvelous detail about culture, food, clothing, migration, and worldview, and even explores the nature of time. However, what most struck me was considering what it would be like to orient my thinking to the sea and its rhythms instead of the land. It shifted the way I see the place I live.   

By Russell Cahill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To paradise they sailed—

There once was a world where hula dancers were experts at spear fighting, where a blind warrior taught his students healing arts...

where adventure ruled—

...as well as savage fighting. And where young people could build and sail a canoe on voyages to unknown lands.

where danger waited...

That world was Hawai’i.

The illegitimate child of Maui’s King, Kolea, is spirited away to Molokai and raised in seclusion by a mysterious Hula Dancer and a blind warrior. Trained as a warrior, he is pursued by his evil half-brother.

A daring escape in a voyaging canoe leads…


Book cover of The Pull of the Stars

Dianne Scott Author Of Final Look: A Christine Lane Mystery

From my list on Canadian novels with intriguing female characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

All of my recommended books feature female protagonists with complex lives. They are layered with friends, families, work, and romantic challenges. They are not superheroes. Yet they are. They all find a way to do the hard thing in difficult circumstances and at great personal peril. And that’s what bravery is. It’s not Captain Marvel coming in to save the world. It’s a woman with responsibilities and problems who digs deep to act with integrity. And she may not get accolades. Her act may be unseen. But she does it. And I love reading about these everyday women with grit.

Dianne's book list on Canadian novels with intriguing female characters

Dianne Scott Why did Dianne love this book?

This book sticks the reader in the middle of a maternity ward in poverty and flu-stricken Dublin circa 1918. I was totally rooting for nurse Julia Powers, an experienced maternity nurse who works long, thankless shifts trying to keep women and their babies alive.

The lack of medicine, staffing, and money is appalling as women enter the hospital to give birth. Yet through empathy, determinism, and quick thinking, Julia, her trainee, and her patients find ways to help each other. It’s a tour de force in female friendship, intelligence, and problem-solving and an indictment of the medical incompetency of male physicians.

It illuminates a cross-section of Dublin citizens struggling with poverty, the Great Flu, and the aftermath of a horrendous war. I found the story moving, gripping, and somehow hopeful.

By Emma Donoghue,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Dublin, 1918, a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu is a small world of work, risk, death, and unlooked-for love, in "Donoghue's best novel since Room" (Kirkus Reviews).

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this…


Book cover of Great Circle

Penny Haw Author Of The Woman at the Wheel

From my list on historical fiction on women who follow their dreams.

Why am I passionate about this?

My maternal grandmother was an unconventional woman and a feminist in every way that matters. Although she was raised according to Victorian norms when girls were expected to remain in patriarchal shadows, she was fiercely independent. She was my hero and encouraged me to forge my own future. She also nurtured in me a love of reading and writing, which led to me becoming a journalist and author. My grandmother and I shared a great love of animals. It’s no coincidence that my debut historical fiction, The Invincible Miss Cust is based on the true story of Britain and Ireland’s first female veterinary surgeon. I’m intrigued by strong, interesting women driven to follow their dreams.   

Penny's book list on historical fiction on women who follow their dreams

Penny Haw Why did Penny love this book?

Great Circle tells the story of Marian Graves who, born in 1914, falls in love with flight at a young age and, despite difficult circumstances, is determined to chart her own course in life as one of the world’s earliest female aviators.

I loved Marian’s passion for planes and flying and her determination to circumnavigate the world by flying over the North and South Poles. It’s an epic novel, which weaves in the present-day story of actor, Hadley Baxter who is cast to play Marian in a film about her disappearance in Antarctica.

I thoroughly enjoyed following the lives of the two very driven, liberated, and adventurous women, and was particularly fascinated—sometimes gobsmacked—by the history of female aviation. 

By Maggie Shipstead,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Great Circle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK • The unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost: an “epic trip—through Prohibition and World War II, from Montana to London to present-day Hollywood—and you’ll relish every minute” (People).

After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There--after encountering a pair of barnstorming pilots passing through town in beat-up biplanes--Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At fourteen she…


Book cover of Writers & Lovers

Virginia Pye Author Of The Literary Undoing of Victoria Swann

From my list on a woman writer finding her own voice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love novels that show female characters finding their way in life, and especially women who use writing to help themselves to grow and evolve. Finding my own voice through writing has been my way of staking my claim in the world. It hasn’t always been easy for us to tell our stories, but when we do, we’re made stronger and more complete. The protagonist of my novel The Literary Undoing of Victoria Swann fights hard to tell her own story. I know something about being held back by male-dominated expectations and Victoria’s situation could easily take place today. But when women writers finally find their voices, the works they create are of great value. 

Virginia's book list on a woman writer finding her own voice

Virginia Pye Why did Virginia love this book?

Lily King’s Writers & Lovers is set in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1997, where my own novel takes place a century earlier. It’s a fictional coming-of-age story of a young woman who tries to write her way into adulthood.

Casey Peabody works as a waitress in Harvard Square, spends time with her aspiring writer friends, walks along the Charles River, and sits for hours at her desk trying to write, all of which I did in those same places at her same age and often with the same sense of longing—and which, incidentally, Victoria Swann does, too, albeit while wearing a floor-length skirt and using a fountain pen.

Casey, Victoria, and I, (and I assume Lily King herself), were not alone: so many people I’ve met over the years have spent time in their twenties hanging out around Harvard Square, anxious and waiting to become the grown-ups we hoped to be.…

By Lily King,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Writers & Lovers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today
Emma Roberts Belletrist Book Club Pick
A New York Times Book Review’s Group Text Selection

"I loved this book not just from the first chapter or the first page but from the first paragraph... The voice is just so honest and riveting and insightful about creativity and life." —Curtis Sittenfeld 

An extraordinary new novel of art, love, and ambition from Lily King, the New York Times bestselling author of Euphoria

Following the breakout success of her critically acclaimed and award-winning novel Euphoria, Lily King returns with another instant New York Times bestseller:…


Book cover of Denali's Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America's Wildest Peak

Michael Engelhard Author Of Arctic Traverse: A Thousand-Mile Summer of Trekking the Brooks Range

From my list on Alaska adventure (that are not Into the Wild).

Why am I passionate about this?

I followed the call of the North from Germany to Alaska in 1989—too much Jack London in my formative years, you might say. After living in a cabin without running water and getting a degree in anthropology in Fairbanks, I drifted into the world of wilderness guiding and outdoors instructing, which for the next twenty-five years determined the course of my life. Human-powered travel, on foot or skis, by raft, canoe, or kayak, has fascinated me ever since. At the same time I became immersed in wildlife and natural history, which, despite threats to the Arctic, still largely play out as they did thousands of years ago.

Michael's book list on Alaska adventure (that are not Into the Wild)

Michael Engelhard Why did Michael love this book?

No list like this would be complete without a great mountaineering book.

The story of North America’s deadliest climbing disaster, in 1967, serves as a reminder how quickly even well-planned adventure can turn into tragedy. Hall, the five-year-old son of the park's superintendent at the time of the events he describes, puts you squarely into the boots and onto the crampons of these mountaineers.

Having climbed Denali myself once, with a buddy, under atrocious conditions, this book again brought home the fact that small decisions can have unforseen, lethal consequences, especially on a mountain that brews its own weather. I have seen snow and clouds roll in and blanket the view within thirty minutes, up there in the “death zone.”   

By Andy Hall,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Denali's Howl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1967, twelve young men ascended Alaska's Mount McKinley-known to the locals as Denali. Engulfed by a once-in-alifetime blizzard, only five made it back down.

Andy Hall, a journalist and son of the park superintendent at the time, was living in the park when the tragedy occurred and spent years tracking down rescuers, survivors, lost documents, and recordings of radio communications. In Denali's Howl, Hall reveals the full story of the expedition in a powerful retelling that will mesmerize the climbing community as well as anyone interested in mega-storms and man's sometimes deadly drive to challenge the…


Book cover of Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home

G. Elizabeth Kretchmer Author Of The Damnable Legacy

From my list on for escaping to Alaska.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a huge fan of Alaska—a landscape of unforgiving weather patterns, inaccessible terrain, savage animals, and undeniable pristine beauty. I’m also a nature lover and spend as much time outdoors as possible, often hiking and marveling at spectacular vistas like those found in The Damnable Legacy. But I’m also an avid observer of the human race and am fascinated by all sorts of behaviors: why we pursue our passions, how we love and grieve, and whether we can really change who we are at the core. 

G.'s book list on for escaping to Alaska

G. Elizabeth Kretchmer Why did G. love this book?

The initial hook in Still Points North was, for me, the opening and its description of the 4-seat plane that the author often flew in with her father. I flew in one when I went to Denali for field research for my novel, and it became not just one of those memories I’ll never forget but also experiential data for my book. I also appreciated how the author so eloquently describes the landscape, comparing and contrasting life in the wilderness with life on the East Coast. But what most impressed me was her revelation, which coincides with the experiences of my novel’s protagonist, that relationships can sometimes be more frightening and challenging than Alaska’s natural savagery.

By Leigh Newman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Part adventure story, part love story, part homecoming, Still Points North is a page-turning memoir that explores the extremes of belonging and exile, and the difference between how to survive and knowing how to truly live.

Growing up in the wilds of Alaska, seven-year-old Leigh Newman spent her time landing silver salmon, hiking glaciers, and flying in a single-prop plane. But her life split in two when her parents unexpectedly divorced, requiring her to spend summers on the tundra with her “Great Alaskan” father and the school year in Baltimore with her more urbane mother.

Navigating the fraught terrain of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in American Indians, homesteading, and exploration?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about American Indians, homesteading, and exploration.

American Indians Explore 225 books about American Indians
Homesteading Explore 34 books about homesteading
Exploration Explore 47 books about exploration