10 books like True Grit

By Charles Portis,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like True Grit. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Never Cry Wolf

By Farley Mowat,

Book cover of Never Cry Wolf

Ketsia Lessard Author Of On Duty

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Ketsia's favorite books.

Why did Ketsia love this book?

Farley Mowat once declared: “I never let facts get in the way of a good story.” I have read Never Cry Wolf as fiction many times, even though its author pretended it was factual. As a writer interested in Canada’s north, Mowat’s universe is an obvious choice for me. The inclusion of Inuit characters is also quite appealing. In this book, a naturalist studies Arctic wolves in a makeshift camp in northern Manitoba and deals with the ridiculous expectations of the bureaucrats who sent him out there to fend for himself. He discovers that contrary to public opinion, wolves are not responsible for the decimation of caribou herds, humans are. Some elements are exaggerated for comic effect, and as one of Canada’s best storytellers, Mowat delivers on laughs. 

By Farley Mowat,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Never Cry Wolf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Maxim Gorky, born Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov in 1868 to the low stratum of Russian society, rose to prominence early in life as a writer and publicist. Gorky, who did not have a formal education, became famous in his country and abroad. Writing could not satisfy the rebellious Gorky who soon became involved in revolutionary movements. After a short period with the populist/narodnik movement, Gorky became disillusioned with the peasant class, and, instead, he chose the nascent class of workers as the vehicle for change. It is as if Gorky and capitalism arrived in Russia together. In his view the intelligentsia…

Book cover of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

Jim Carr Author Of Femme Fatale

From the list on Cold War spies and secret agents.

Who am I?

When the war ended, we all felt the horrors of war were finally over. My cousins were back from Europe, and all seemed at peace once again. We were wrong. A few years later I was a young journalist editing stories about Soviet-held Berlin and how Russia stopped the West from sending food and even coal to residents in West Berlin. That was just the beginning.

Jim's book list on Cold War spies and secret agents

Discover why each book is one of Jim's favorite books.

Why did Jim love this book?

“But it’s the world, it’s gone mad.” It sums up a spy world in Alec Leamas finds himself turfed from his position by British Intelligence for a string of failures in Soviet-held East Berlin.

Ultimately, he joins East Berlin’s Intelligence only to make one desperate to escape from them. It was a world of agents and double agents with no end in sight.

I like the book for its fast pace and incredible character sketches that made them come alive in their triumphs and failures and memorable long after you finish the book.

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Spy Who Came in From the Cold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Our Kind of Traitor; and The Night Manager, now a television series starring Tom Hiddleston.

The 50th-anniversary edition of the bestselling novel that launched John le Carre's career worldwide

In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse-a desk job-Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered…

News of the World

By Paulette Jiles,

Book cover of News of the World

John Hough Jr. Author Of The Sweetest Days

From the list on love stories that are even better than the movie.

Who am I?

Genre fiction and Robert Louis Stevenson aside, I can’t imagine loving a novel that has no strong thread, or threads, of love running through it. Fiction is written to entertain, it is true, but fiction’s higher aim is to put us in touch with our own humanity—our capacity to love, and to feel loss. We write to make people feel, and a powerful evocation of love will do that. I wouldn’t write a novel with no romantic love at its center, but I work hard too at love between siblings, friends, children, and parents. 

John's book list on love stories that are even better than the movie

Discover why each book is one of John's favorite books.

Why did John love this book?

Another adventure novel that will keep you turning pages. The grizzled Captain Kidd, veteran of the War of 1812, finds himself obligated to take Joanna, an 11-year-old white girl who was captured when a baby and raised by Kiowas from Kansas to her family in Texas. The journey is long and hazardous, and by the time it is over, the old man and the frightened feral girl who spoke no English are devoted to each other. 

By Paulette Jiles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust. In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his…

Code Name Verity

By Elizabeth Wein,

Book cover of Code Name Verity

Katherine Marsh Author Of The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine

From the list on historical fiction to read with middle schoolers.

Who am I?

Not only have I written six critically acclaimed novels for middle-grade readers, including three historical fictions, I am the parent of a tween and teen who is always looking for great read-alouds and read-alongs for my own family. I am a firm believer that this is a valuable way to encourage literacy and love of story as I wrote in a recent, much-discussed essay in The Atlantic. Having lived abroad, including as an exchange student and camper in the Soviet Union and for three years in Belgium, I am also a huge believer in expanding our own as well as our kids’ knowledge of history beyond our own borders, cultures, identities, and perspectives. 

Katherine's book list on historical fiction to read with middle schoolers

Discover why each book is one of Katherine's favorite books.

Why did Katherine love this book?

Elizabeth Wein’s young adult novel about female friends and aviators during World War II has a jaw-dropping twist.

But it’s also a fabulous introduction to both the larger war-time history—including in England and France--and the history of women in aviation and military/ intelligence roles.

This story is a great choice for families with girls, who get to see themselves as heroines, fighters, and adventurers—roles traditionally reserved for male protagonists.

By Elizabeth Wein,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Code Name Verity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.'

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, Code Name Verity is a bestselling tale of friendship and courage set against the backdrop of World War Two.

Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive. When a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France, she is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in…


By Madeline Miller,

Book cover of Circe

Kaighla Rises Author Of Evryn, The Light

From the list on remembering you’re 100% that bitch.

Who am I?

I am a writer, poet, and seeker, creating art that empowers women to choose their own destiny and live their truth, authentically. I’ve spent the better part of my life feeling powerless, victimized, and alone. For years, I lived in situations that demanded that I give up my power and subjugate myself to men in order to be respected and welcomed into my community. And then, after a period of extreme trauma, I learned how I had been brainwashed. So I have made it my life’s mission to spread this one message: you have all the power you will ever need, right now, within you. Claim it.

Kaighla's book list on remembering you’re 100% that bitch

Discover why each book is one of Kaighla's favorite books.

Why did Kaighla love this book?

If you, like me, were forced to read Homer’s Odyssey in high school, you may recall the famous story about the witch Circe, who turned Homer’s sailors into pigs. And you may have felt as I did: slay, queen. If so, then Circe, Madeline Miller’s sophomore novel, is the book for you. 

In Circe, Miller expounds on the scant details we have on the life of Circe—who, like so many women in mythology and literature only existed as side character in the main male character’s storyline—producing a sweeping, moving narrative of female empowerment.

I loved this book because I could see so much of myself in this story—from Circe as the unwanted child to Circe the rebellious young woman to Circe the sensualized siren to Circe the broken-hearted muse. In all the phases of her life, Circe learns to find her own way in a world that does…

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…

A Game of Thrones

By George R. R. Martin,

Book cover of A Game of Thrones

Uri Gatt Author Of Winds of Strife

From the list on morally grey characters.

Who am I?

Growing up in the Middle East, I’ve met all kinds of moral ambiguity. There’s a lot to say about it. How both sides think they’re right, how the ends justify the means and all that. Then there are the consequences. Even the winners often lose things. So I’ve set out to write about grey characters! About people who do bad things for the greater good, and how their life turns up after. And if you like the trope as much as I do, check the recs!

Uri's book list on morally grey characters

Discover why each book is one of Uri's favorite books.

Why did Uri love this book?

This is a multiplayer chess game, each side with their own agenda. Some play for love, others for revenge, others just to survive. 

It’s a treat to cheer for one side, only to find out we chose wrong. No side is pure good, and no side is pure evil. They’re all just people, and it’s impossible to cheer for only one person when in each chapter, someone else does something amazing or terrible.

The best part about this book is the wisdom. Every character clings to their own principles, and the author chooses the best words to describe these principles. Like, a dwarf who’s principle is “Never forget what you are. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.” 

Words to live by.

By George R. R. Martin,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Game of Thrones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HBO's hit series A GAME OF THRONES is based on George R R Martin's internationally bestselling series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. A GAME OF THRONES is the first volume in the series.

'Completely immersive' Guardian

'When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground'

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

From the fertile south, where heat breeds conspiracy, to the vast and savage eastern lands, all the way to the frozen…

Bloody Jack

By L. A. Meyer,

Book cover of Bloody Jack

Anna Jane Greenville Author Of The Girl Who Was a Gentleman

From the list on romance featuring tomboys.

Who am I?

Having climbed many a tree with the boys as a kid, I cannot stay away from a good gender-bender romance. The suspense, the humour of it, and the inevitable conclusion that not your appearance but your choices define who you are – a perfect combination in my opinion. Mix in a male counterpart who is supportive and understanding and I am hooked! So much so, that I have written a book about a girl who dressed up as a boy.

Anna's book list on romance featuring tomboys

Discover why each book is one of Anna's favorite books.

Why did Anna love this book?

Mary "Jacky" Faber, an orphaned street kid in early 19th century London, begins her adventures across the seven seas by dressing up as a ship's boy. Throughout the series she builds up quite the amazing resume that would put a Navy Seal to shame. And of course, there is a bit of romance here and there but the focus lies on Jacky sailing the world and kicking butt!

By L. A. Meyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas.
There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life--if only she doesn't get caught. . . .


By Garth Nix,

Book cover of Sabriel

C.E. Marshall Author Of Quadseers: Preposterous Journey

From the list on having your heart racing.

Who am I?

Books have been with me all my life as my father was a librarian and fed me books from an early age; I cannot remember being taught to read, I just could. Adventure and detective were my favourites. Then I found my local library and the horizons expanded; when I worked in a library there was the joy of being able to ‘stop’ a book I wanted to read but couldn't find. I graduated as a Biochemist and then got into computer programming. I completed my first novel in 1980 but put it away for thirty years before rewriting and publishing it. I got the writing bug and four more books followed as a series.

C.E.'s book list on having your heart racing

Discover why each book is one of C.E.'s favorite books.

Why did C.E. love this book?

I love magic and mystery and this book has plenty of it, along with a river of death. The first of three books, we meet the main characters here and become embedded in their world. Once started I couldn’t put this (or its sequels) down. I fall in line and live in the strange lands depicted here. Ride the river of death to bring back a lost soul. I became anxious about the fate of Sabriel and absorbed in a tale of a land I could never visit

By Garth Nix,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A stunning anniversary gift edition of the second in the bestselling Old Kingdom fantasy series.

Sabriel has spent most of her young life far away from the magical realm of the Old Kingdom, and the Dead that roam it. But then a creature from across the Wall arrives at her all-girls boarding school with a message from her father, the Abhorsen - the magical protector of the realm whose task it is to bind and send back to Death those that won't stay Dead. Sabriel's father has been trapped in Death by a dangerous Free Magic creature.

Armed with her…

Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry,

Book cover of Lonesome Dove

David Z. Pyke Author Of Rescuing Crockett

From the list on elements of historical adventure fiction.

Who am I?

My passion for historical adventure and Texas history stems from my heritage: I’m a native Texan related to one of the Alamo defenders. My great-great-great-great-great-granduncle, Isaac Millsaps, was one of the Immortal 32, the reinforcements from Gonzales who answered William Barret Travis's call for help, rode to San Antonio, and died in the Alamo on March 6, 1836. My relationship with words began in elementary school, where I read Beowulf and Dracula by the time I was 10 years old (probably explains a lot about me). I began writing for newspapers in 1975 and have been writing professionally ever since.

David's book list on elements of historical adventure fiction

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

I chose this for characters and setting. Larry McMurtry was one of the greatest American writers and a chronicler of life in Texas, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for Lonesome Dove, the story of two aging Texas Rangers on a final adventure together.

McMurtry immerses the reader in his world, but more importantly he immerses his characters in that world. The relationships are amazing: between characters who face deeply personal and tragic life-or-death decisions, but also between characters and the novel’s savage, lethal world.

McMurtry’s stories are character-driven slices of life, but authors of plot-driven books can learn from McMurtry when it comes to characters and their world.

By Larry McMurtry,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Lonesome Dove as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize winning novel is a powerful, triumphant portrayal of the American West as it really was. From Texas to Montana, it follows cowboys on a grueling cattle drive through the wilderness.

It begins in the office of The Hat Creek Cattle Company of the Rio Grande.
It ends as a journey into the heart of every adventurer who ever lived . . .

More than a love story, more than an adventure, Lonesome Dove is an epic: a monumental novel which embraces the spirit of the last defiant wilderness of America.

Legend and fact, heroes and outlaws,…

The Talented Mr. Ripley

By Patricia Highsmith,

Book cover of The Talented Mr. Ripley

Angela Lam Author Of No Amends

From the list on sociopaths and liars.

Who am I?

Why am I an expert on recommending books about sociopaths and liars? I unknowingly shared a life with one for five years. Shattered, I grappled with the aftermath of deception. How could I have been duped for so long? Through therapy and reading, I discovered many smart, compassionate people fall hard for the charismatic charm and convincing stories sociopaths tell to get whatever it is they want from whomever they want it. Without a conscious and incapable of feeling, they often latch onto someone with high morals and emotional intelligence in the hopes of learning how to mirror those attributes only to destroy the ones who love them the most.

Angela's book list on sociopaths and liars

Discover why each book is one of Angela's favorite books.

Why did Angela love this book?

Tom Ripley, the original sociopath upon whom many other literary characters are based, is both a sycophant and a social climber, eager to scale the heights of society at any cost, even murder.

His dubious sexual orientation coupled with his devil-may-care attitude leaves both the characters and the reader always guessing about his next move until it’s too late. I never saw the movie, but I enjoyed the book with its twists and turns in an era long before DNA, surveillance cameras, and forensics made catching criminals a lot easier.

Ripley is a chameleon and a charmer. Man or woman, you can’t help but fall under his spell…and become his next prey. Why is it that sociopaths are so seductive?

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Talented Mr. Ripley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's here, in the first volume of Patricia Highsmith's five-book Ripley series, that we are introduced to the suave Tom Ripley, a young striver seeking to leave behind his past as an orphan bullied for being a "sissy." Newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante, and Ripley begins a deadly game. "Sinister and strangely alluring"…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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