100 books like Trust Exercise

By Susan Choi,

Here are 100 books that Trust Exercise fans have personally recommended if you like Trust Exercise. 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 Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Jane De Suza Author Of When Impossible Happens

From my list on books to make you laugh when you’re trying to look serious.

Why am I passionate about this?

Out of all the flattering reviews of my books, my favourite is of a reader choking on her lunch. My book was about death. The reader, who survived, said it made her laugh so hard. I write about tough times by bringing out the it’s okay to smile now bits. The Midnight Years is about teen mental health, Happily Never After is about loneliness, and Flyaway Boy is about stereotyping. Making people laugh through tears is a tough task. Here are some books that cracked it.

Jane's book list on books to make you laugh when you’re trying to look serious

Jane De Suza Why did Jane love this book?

Fun home is what the author and her family call the funeral home they were raised in. I was drawn into this graphic memoir of the author’s relationship with her father, with disturbing themes of suicide, unaccepted gender identities, and domestic abuse.

The story manages to stay buoyant despite it all, and the observations are funny. The author’s ability to capture her most painful memories in bright light and intricate detail catapulted this read to the top for me. 

By Alison Bechdel,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Fun Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

DISCOVER the BESTSELLING GRAPHIC MEMOIR behind the Olivier Award nominated musical.

'A sapphic graphic treat' The Times

A moving and darkly humorous family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Alison Bechdel's gothic drawings. If you liked Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis you'll love this.

Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high-school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and the family babysitter. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is…


Book cover of Pizza Girl

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Author Of Margot Mertz Takes It Down

From my list on feminist perspectives, coming-of-age, and humor.

Why are we passionate about this?

Hi! We are writers currently living in Los Angeles after 18 years in New York. We wrote Margot Mertz after reading American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Online Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. It was the first time we heard of boys cultivating and curating non-consensual nude pics, effectively treating them like Pokemon cards. It was infuriating, especially when we realized there are no federal laws to protect victims of revenge porn at the time. So it became a focus of our work. We love a main character who’s angry but also funny, and desperately seeking change.

Carrie's book list on feminist perspectives, coming-of-age, and humor

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Why did Carrie love this book?

The logline sounds like the most depressing character study you’ll ever read. A story of a pregnant teenager, Jane, who lives with her mom after the death of her father. Jane spends her days delivering pizzas and her nights drinking beers alone in a shed behind their house. But thanks to the prose, and the pacing of the plotting, this book is both funny, engaging, and something of a psychological thriller. Especially when Jane becomes obsessed with one of her regulars, a stay-at-home mom. We marveled at Kyoung Frazier’s ability to put us in the head of Jane, in a way that we actually wanted to stay there.

By Jean Kyoung Frazier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Named a Vogue, Esquire, NPR, Marie Claire, and Refinery29 Best Book of the Year. Perfect for fans of Normal People and Fleabag

Great inventiveness, unfailing intelligence and empathy, and best of all a rare and shimmering wit' Richard Ford

A moving story about an unforgettable young woman trying to find her place in the world...

Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl, our dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all.

Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighbourhood.

As one woman…


Book cover of Does My Body Offend You?

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Author Of Margot Mertz Takes It Down

From my list on feminist perspectives, coming-of-age, and humor.

Why are we passionate about this?

Hi! We are writers currently living in Los Angeles after 18 years in New York. We wrote Margot Mertz after reading American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Online Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. It was the first time we heard of boys cultivating and curating non-consensual nude pics, effectively treating them like Pokemon cards. It was infuriating, especially when we realized there are no federal laws to protect victims of revenge porn at the time. So it became a focus of our work. We love a main character who’s angry but also funny, and desperately seeking change.

Carrie's book list on feminist perspectives, coming-of-age, and humor

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Why did Carrie love this book?

This is a YA novel told from the perspectives of two very different strong women. It’s part coming-of-age, part coming-of-action as they learn the best ways to affect change in their communities and how to voice their frustrations with the patriarchy. And we loved how it dealt with these issues in a nuanced and complex way that didn’t offer easy answers.

By Mayra Cuevas, Marie Marquardt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Does My Body Offend You? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A timely story of two teenagers who discover the power of friendship, feminism, and standing up for what you believe in, no matter where you come from. A collaboration between two gifted authors writing from alternating perspectives, this compelling novel shines with authenticity, courage, and humor.

Malena Rosario is starting to believe that catastrophes come in threes. First, Hurricane María destroyed her home, taking her unbreakable spirit with it. Second, she and her mother are now stuck in Florida, which is nothing like her beloved Puerto Rico. And third, when she goes to school bra-less after a bad sunburn and…


Book cover of Nobody's Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls

Kara Alaimo Author Of Over The Influence: Why Social Media is Toxic for Women and Girls - And How We Can Take it Back

From my list on what it’s like to be a woman in this sexist, misogynistic world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a communication professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a social media user, and a mom. After Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, I wrote an op-ed for CNN arguing that he’d won the election on social media, and I just never stopped writing. A few hundred op-eds and a book later, I’m still interested in what social media is doing to us all and the issues women are up against in our society. My book allowed me to explore how social media is impacting every single aspect of the lives of women and girls and exactly what we can do about it. I wrote it as a call to arms.

Kara's book list on what it’s like to be a woman in this sexist, misogynistic world

Kara Alaimo Why did Kara love this book?

I loved that, in addition to telling stories of her clients, Goldberg (an attorney) writes about how she herself became the victim of cyber abuse by a former boyfriend. I think hearing this from a smart, successful woman can help other victims overcome the tendency to blame themselves.

The stories Goldberg tells in her book make clear how life-destroying it is when nude images of a woman are posted online, whether because of so-called “revenge porn” or sextortion. I think this is only going to become a bigger problem because now, thanks to AI, it’s so easy to create nude deepfakes.

Accounts like Goldberg’s can help galvanize the laws we need to criminalize the sharing of nude images without consent.

By Carrie Goldberg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Nobody's Victim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nobody's Victim is an unflinching look at a hidden world most people don't know exists-one of stalking, blackmail, and sexual violence, online and off-and the incredible story of how one lawyer, determined to fight back, turned her own hell into a revolution.

"We are all a moment away from having our life overtaken by somebody hell-bent on our destruction." That grim reality-gleaned from personal experience and twenty years of trauma work-is a fundamental principle of Carrie Goldberg's cutting-edge victims' rights law firm.

Riveting and an essential timely conversation-starter, Nobody's Victim invites readers to join Carrie on the front lines of…


Book cover of The Raw Shark Texts

Matt Doyle Author Of Ailuros

From my list on creepy stories told in unique ways.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author of genre-bent stories and grew up with a love of dark tales. In particular, I was a fan of things that layered stories and linked their themes together, even if you didn’t necessarily notice initially. For example, the Alien franchise is a story of human survival, but also of corporate conspiracy. When I come across books that mix stories or add interesting structural elements, it instantly draws me in, so I set out to create exactly that with my release Ailuros. But I’m not alone in experimenting like that, so I hope you find some fun, scary releases you may not have known about in my list.

Matt's book list on creepy stories told in unique ways

Matt Doyle Why did Matt love this book?

While more literary than horror, the concept of a man with no memories being pursued by a shark made of words has plenty of creepiness to it! Here, the author uses different typographical sizes and structures to create pictures, and these tie into the themes of the book. It’s a straightforward read with a unique edge that helps make language more visual, and that makes it thoroughly compelling.

By Steven Hall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First things first, stay calm.

Eric Sanderson wakes up in a place he doesn't recognise, unable to remember who he is. All he has left are journal entries recalling Clio, a perfect love now gone. As he begins to piece his memories back together, Eric finds that he is being hunted by a creature that moves in language, that swims through the currents of human interaction.

With the help of his cynical cat Ian, Eric must search for the Ludovician, the force that is threatening his life, and Dr Trey Fidorus, the only man who knows the truth.


Book cover of The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage

Leslie Morgan Steiner Author Of The Naked Truth: A Memoir

From my list on to make you love being a woman.

Why am I passionate about this?

There is no place that I find more truth from women than in the books we write, especially memoirs. Starting with my mother, and continuing through my education at Harvard and Wharton, and workplaces including Johnson & Johnson and The Washington Post, women have always fascinated me. Women’s roles are changing rapidly, but not rapidly enough in many ways. From discovering our beauty and sexuality as adolescents to becoming mothers, to navigating the corporate or entrepreneurial climb, to aging while female…it’s all much richer and far more manageable when we tell the truth to each other rather than hiding behind a mask of perfectionism, false chumminess, or cattiness. 

Leslie's book list on to make you love being a woman

Leslie Morgan Steiner Why did Leslie love this book?

Cathi Hanauer and I were editors together at Seventeen Magazine in New York City in our 20s. She tried, unsuccessfully, to convince me not to leave the magazine to marry an abusive man. I obviously regretted not listening to her – but I did get great material to write my memoir. I read The Bitch in the House one snowy Christmas Day lying in front of the fireplace as my three young children played with their presents around me. I recognized myself in the essays about the experience of being female in America, and the book inspired me to corral 26 moms in my own essay collection. I’m forever grateful to Cathi for assembling a group of badass truthtellers with great stories to tell.

By Cathi Hanauer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Virginia Woolf introduced us to the “Angel in the House”, now prepare to meet... The Bitch In the House.

This e-book includes an exclusive excerpt from The Bitch is Back: Older, Wiser, and Getting Happier, a second collection of essays from nine of the contributors featured in The Bitch in the House and from sixteen captivating new voices.

Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate,…


Book cover of The Wild Ones

Natasha Deen Author Of The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad

From my list on kickbutt heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1980s when there wasn’t consideration for representation or diversity in literature or media. If I wanted to read about a Girl of Color, inevitably, she was a slave. If I wanted to watch a TV show featuring women (of any color), they were inevitably rescued in the climactic moment by a man. As such, I grew into a reader who loves kickbutt girls of all stripes. Give me a chance to cheer on a female who’s looking for her happy ending and not about to let the world dictate how she finds that happiness (and with whom), and boy, you got me!

Natasha's book list on kickbutt heroines

Natasha Deen Why did Natasha love this book?

I love this book so much, I blurbed it! In a world where women are often asked to be quiet, to make themselves small, Nafiza Azad’s unapologetically feminist book is breathtaking. Readers journey with Paheli and her collection of girls—the Wild Ones—helping to save girls from the pain they had to endure. On their journey, they seek Taraana, a boy with stars in his eyes, who once saved Paheli and now needs saving. While The Wild Ones is a fantasy, it is an unflinching look into the #MeToo movement, the tragedies and pain of being female, the saving grace of sisterhood, and the audacious power of resilience and hope.

By Nafiza Azad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wild Ones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

From William C. Morris Finalist Nafiza Azad comes a thrilling, feminist fantasy about a group of teenage girls endowed with special powers who must band together to save the life of the boy whose magic saved them all.

We are the Wild Ones, and we will not be silenced.

We are girls who have tasted the worst this world can offer. Our story begins with Paheli, who was once betrayed by her mother, sold to a man in exchange for a favor. When Paheli escaped, she ran headlong into Taraana-a boy with stars in his eyes, a boy as battered…


Book cover of The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships

Ellen Kirschman Author Of I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know

From my list on reads if you are married to a cop or love one.

Why am I passionate about this?

Back in 1977 the experiences and concerns of police families were invisible. Police officers were regarded as super-humans, unaffected by their day-to-day exposure to tragedy, cruelty, and stress. In my counseling job, I heard very different stories from their spouses. Ever since, it has been my mission to support police families and find ways to keep the job from damaging family life. It has taken more than two decades, but I am pleased and proud to say police families are no longer invisible. The books I picked are proof that the family behind the badge matters as much as the person wearing it.

Ellen's book list on reads if you are married to a cop or love one

Ellen Kirschman Why did Ellen love this book?

It is not easy to write a self-help book without sounding pompous or unrealistic. This is why The Dance of Intimacy became a model for my own self-help books.

Lerner’s writing is straightforward, personal, and practical. She is, as am I, an unabashed feminist who understands that strengthening and/or healing relationships require the participation of both partners. First published in 2009 I have recommended this wise book to hundreds of clients. 

By Harriet Lerner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Dance of Intimacy, the bestselling author of The Dance of Anger outlines the steps to take so that good relationships can be strengthened and difficult ones can be healed. Taking a careful look at those relationships where intimacy is most challenged--by distance, intensity, or pain--she teaches us about the specific changes we can make to achieve a more solid sense of self and a more intimate connectedness with others. Combining clear advice with vivid case examples, Dr. Lerner offers us the most solid, helpful book on intimate relationships that both women and men may ever encounter.


Book cover of Every Day

M.E. Corey Author Of Out of Blue Comes Green

From my list on coming-of-age self-deprecating narrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

Coming-of-age stories fascinate me because they are all so different. While we each experience many of the same events, each person’s story is unique. I like to read about how they first understood love or how they met their best friend. I like to try on their life for a bit, walk around in their shoes, and then return to my reality with the person I’ve worked so hard to become. The more I read other people’s stories of growing up, the more I feel we all harbor the same worries about ourselves and our future. We all struggle with similar problems while becoming who we’re meant to be.

M.E.'s book list on coming-of-age self-deprecating narrators

M.E. Corey Why did M.E. love this book?

I was completely enthralled by Levithan’s main character, A, and how they become a different person every day. The idea of falling in love or having a career or even pursuing an interest—a sport, an instrument, an art form—becomes impossible when you live a life like A does.

I related to the idea that A couldn’t present as an individual, that they could only be whoever they ended up being for the day. Starting over every 24 hours was worse than waking up every morning as the same wrong person. At least I had the benefits of making friends, learning guitar, and having a family. The story made me so sad for A’s loneliness yet made me feel much less alone.

By David Levithan,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Every Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day…


Book cover of Tin Man

Akiva Hersh Author Of The Magus and The Fool

From my list on what it means to be LGBTQ plus.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have known that I was gay since I was in second grade and kissed a boy on the playground. But that wasn’t the only way that I knew. Coaches, bullies, religion, and family warned me by namecalling, violence, and intimidation. It wasn’t until I was in college that I heard homosexuality portrayed in a positive light. Thank you, Walt Whitman. Then I saw The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert, and knew that I had to go on my own adventure in search of my gay tribe. Novels can be a tribe. I hope the books on my list give you a place to find acceptance and love.

Akiva's book list on what it means to be LGBTQ plus

Akiva Hersh Why did Akiva love this book?

Tin Man weaves the beauty and meaning of Van Gogh’s oeuvre into a background for a story that is written like poetry. Time is a main character who is sometimes kind, but mostly cruel. Separation, loss, and longing are themes that all people can relate to but when seen through the perspective of a character who identifies as LGBTQ+ it heightens and clarifies those human experiences in a way that draws a reader from any background deeper into an exploration of what the passing of time means and the consequences of ignoring the herald of each minute that ticks by.

By Sarah Winman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 COSTA NOVEL AWARD

The beautiful and heartbreaking new novel from Sarah Winman, author of the international bestseller WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT.

'Her best novel to date' Observer
'An exquisitely crafted tale of love and loss' Guardian
'A marvel' Sunday Express
'Astoundingly beautiful' Matt Haig

It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things.

And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael,
who are inseparable.
And the boys become men,
and then Annie walks into…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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