100 books like Under an Afghan Sky

By Mellissa Fung,

Here are 100 books that Under an Afghan Sky fans have personally recommended if you like Under an Afghan Sky. 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 Educated: A Memoir

Genevieve Kingston Author Of Did I Ever Tell You?: A Memoir

From my list on young women on journeys of self-discovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young girl and aspiring writer, I was shocked when I learned how recently women had been afforded the right to publish under our own names. As a life-long reader of female authors, and lover of complex female protagonists, I’m passionate about supporting and sharing stories by and about women. As an author and playwright, I love to seek out buried narratives or minor characters, and put them center stage. I hope you enjoy these extraordinary books by these extraordinary women.

Genevieve's book list on young women on journeys of self-discovery

Genevieve Kingston Why did Genevieve love this book?

I’m always astonished and grateful when someone who has lived through extraordinary events also has the skill to describe them brilliantly.

Tara Westover’s gorgeous writing won me over before I could even begin to appreciate the strange, dangerous, and ever-shifting terrain of her childhood. Her descriptions of growing up in a fundamentalist, survivalist home with no formal education, and no official record of her existence, never stopped surprising me as I gobbled up the pages.

I was amazed and inspired by her determination to forge her own path as an adult and to see the world for herself rather than simply accept the stories she’d always been told.

By Tara Westover,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE MULTI-MILLION COPY BESTSELLER

Selected as a book of the year by AMAZON, THE TIMES, SUNDAY TIMES, GUARDIAN, NEW YORK TIMES, ECONOMIST, NEW STATESMAN, VOGUE, IRISH TIMES, IRISH EXAMINER and RED MAGAZINE

'One of the best books I have ever read . . . unbelievably moving' Elizabeth Day
'An extraordinary story, beautifully told' Louise O'Neill
'A memoir to stand alongside the classics . . . compelling and joyous' Sunday Times

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the end of the world. She was never put in school, never taken to the doctor. She did not even have a birth certificate…


Book cover of Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson

Mark Steven Porro Author Of A Cup of Tea on the Commode: My Multi-Tasking Adventures of Caring for Mom. And How I Survived to Tell the Tale

From my list on books that do not flinch when dealing with difficult circumstances.

Why am I passionate about this?

Family history has always fascinated me. I didn’t want mine to be buried with my loved ones. So, out of curiosity, I asked relatives lots of questions. If unsatisfied, I sought answers elsewhere. I traveled as far as Celle San Vito, Italy, where my grandfather was born, to solve a one-hundred-year-old mystery, and I filmed it for others to enjoy. I’ve memorialized momentous family events in poems, handmade greeting cards, memory books, screenplays, a documentary, and now, in my memoir A Cup of Tea on the Commode. The books on my list are about “family.” I’ve been moved by each, and I hope they move you as well.

Mark's book list on books that do not flinch when dealing with difficult circumstances

Mark Steven Porro Why did Mark love this book?

Like many people, I first discovered Morrie on Nightline with Ted Koppel. Like many, I fell in love with his charm, courage, and determination to continue doing what was in his bones, teaching us what’s truly important in life.

Mitch Albom, his former student, shares many of Morrie’s lessons and his gift of uplifting others while facing his own death. I laughed, cried, and thanked Mitch and Morrie for sharing this gift with me.

By Mitch Albom,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Tuesdays with Morrie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON THAT HAS TOUCHED THE HEARTS OF OVER 9 MILLION READERS

'Mitch Albom sees the magical in the ordinary' Cecelia Ahern
__________

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague? Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it? For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn't you like to…


Book cover of My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging

Stephanie Chitpin Author Of Keep My Memory Safe: Fook Soo Am, The Pagoda

From my list on expanding perspectives and empathy for others.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Full Professor of Leadership within the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Canada. I am the recipient of the 2020 Research Excellence Award. My research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Ontario Ministry of Education, Canada, is international in scope. I am also the founder of the Equitable Leadership Network at the University of Ottawa. 

Stephanie's book list on expanding perspectives and empathy for others

Stephanie Chitpin Why did Stephanie love this book?

I love the stories presented in Dr. Remen’s book. They are simple yet profound.

Her stories are centered on the concepts of healing, kindness, compassion, love, and living which she learned from her grandfather. She emphasizes the value of helping others as a way to help ourselves and find meaning in the world.

By Rachel Naomi Remen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Grandfather's Blessings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In My Grandfather's Blessings, Rachel Naomi Remen, a cancer physician and master storyteller, uses her luminous stories to remind us of the power of our kindness and the joy of being alive.

Dr. Remen's grandfather, an orthodox rabbi and scholar of the Kabbalah, saw life as a web of connection and knew that everyone belonged to him, and that he belonged to everyone. He taught her that blessing one another is what fills our emptiness, heals our loneliness, and connects us more deeply to life.

Life has given us many more blessings than we have allowed ourselves to receive. My…


Book cover of Good in a Crisis: A Memoir of Divorce, Dating, and Other Near-Death Experiences

Stephanie Chitpin Author Of Keep My Memory Safe: Fook Soo Am, The Pagoda

From my list on expanding perspectives and empathy for others.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Full Professor of Leadership within the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Canada. I am the recipient of the 2020 Research Excellence Award. My research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Ontario Ministry of Education, Canada, is international in scope. I am also the founder of the Equitable Leadership Network at the University of Ottawa. 

Stephanie's book list on expanding perspectives and empathy for others

Stephanie Chitpin Why did Stephanie love this book?

I can relate to anaesthesiologist Overton’s skillfulness in a crisis, her inaptitude in identifying and selecting good male companionship, and her accepting that no one can be good at everything. She presents her stories with a refreshing sense of humour while emphasizing the need to enjoy life and empowering her readers to come to terms with our own experiences of loss of life and love.

By Margaret Overton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Good in a Crisis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Hilarious ... This memoir of how grieving makes us behave like lunatics is wonderful on friendship and motherhood and brutally honest about the rest' Psychologies '[A] grimly hilarious journey ... brutally funny reading about midlife coming of age' Kirkus My story begins with a divorce. During the four years of physician Margaret Overton's acrimonious divorce, she dated widely and sometimes indiscriminately, determined to find her soulmate and live happily ever after. But then she discovered she had a brain aneurysm. She discovered it at a particularly awkward moment on a date with one of many Mr Wrongs. Overton, an anaesthetist,…


Book cover of A House in the Sky

Susan Pohlman Author Of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home

From my list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the transformational power of travel ever since my husband and I unexpectedly signed a lease to an apartment on the Italian Riviera instead of divorce papers. The power of that year abroad saved our marriage, united our family of four in a sacred way, and introduced us to the many cultures of Europe. I learned the crucial difference between taking a trip and embarking on a journey. Capturing a travel experience on the page for those who can’t journey to a destination themselves is a joy and a privilege I don’t take lightly. Publishing this memoir allowed me to pivot in my career to a full-time writer and writing coach/editor.

Susan's book list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel

Susan Pohlman Why did Susan love this book?

There have been only a handful of books that I have been unable to put down.

This memoir is one of them. In 2008, Amanda Lindhout began her career as a reporter by traveling to Somalia. On her fourth day, she and another journalist were abducted and held for ransom.

She recounts her harrowing experience in captivity (460 days) in vivid, and heart-wrenching detail. When she is most desperate, she travels in her mind to A House in the Sky enabling her to block out her dire circumstances and let in a ray of hope.

This is a true story you will never forget.

By Amanda Lindhout, Sara Corbett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

BREAKING NEWS: Amanda Lindhout’s lead kidnapper, Ali Omar Ader, has been caught.

Amanda Lindhout wrote about her fifteen month abduction in Somalia in A House in the Sky. It is the New York Times bestselling memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world’s most remote places and then into captivity: “Exquisitely told…A young woman’s harrowing coming-of-age story and an extraordinary narrative of forgiveness and spiritual triumph” (The New York Times Book Review).

As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself visiting its exotic locales. At the…


Book cover of Omar Khadr, Oh Canada

Valentina Capurri Author Of Not Good Enough for Canada: Canadian Public Discourse Around Issues of Inadmissibility for Potential Immigrants with Diseases And/Or Disabilities

From my list on belonging and exclusion in Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and a social geographer whose main interest is in examining why some of us are embraced (legally, politically, economically, culturally) by the society we live in while some others are excluded. Probably due to my status as someone who is an immigrant to Canada and also a person with a disability, the topic of belonging and exclusion fascinates me. 

Valentina's book list on belonging and exclusion in Canada

Valentina Capurri Why did Valentina love this book?

Omar Khadr is a personal friend of mine, the gentlest soul I have met since setting foot on Canadian soil. This collection has been essential to my understanding of Canada’s unwillingness to stand up for one of its own citizens. It highlights how belonging in the nation is not necessarily a right all citizens enjoy, and invites a serious reflection on what citizenship means in this country.  

By Janice Williamson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Omar Khadr, Oh Canada as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2002 a fifteen-year-old Canadian citizen was captured in Afghanistan for allegedly killing an American soldier. A badly wounded Omar Khadr was transferred to the US Bagram Air Force base and then Guantanamo Bay detention camp. He would remain there without trial until October 2010, when a military commission admitted evidence considered tainted by Canadian courts. A plea bargain and guilty plea initiated his promised return to Canada a year later. Some Canadians see Khadr as a symbol of terrorism in action. For others he is the victim of a jihadist father and Canadian complicity in the unjust excesses, including…


Book cover of Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now (Anchor Books)

Anna Wang Author Of Inconvenient Memories: A Personal Account of the Tiananmen Square Incident and the China Before and After

From my list on Westerners’ experience in China.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anna Wang was born and raised in Beijing, China, and immigrated to Canada in her 40s. She received her BA from Beijing University and is a full-time bilingual writer. She has published ten books in Chinese. These include two short story collections, two essay collections, four novels, and two translations. Her first book in English, a 2019 memoir, Inconvenient Memories, recounts her experience and observation of the Tiananmen Square Protest in 1989 from the perspective of a member of the emerging middle-class. The book won an Independent Press Award in the "Cultural and Social Issues" category in 2020. She writes extensively about China. Her articles appeared in Newsweek, Vancouver Sun, Ms. Magazine, LA Review of Books China Channel, Ricepaper Magazine, whatsonweibo.com, etc.

Anna's book list on Westerners’ experience in China

Anna Wang Why did Anna love this book?

Growing up in Canada, left-winged Wong dropped out of university and flew to China in 1972 to participate in the Cultural Revolution. But she was soon disillusioned by the reality of a police state and the hypocrisy dominating everyone's life, from which even she, as a foreign nationality, couldn't escape. However, Wong remained in China and eventually worked as a journalist for Canada’s The Globe and Mail. When the Tiananmen Protests happened in 1989, she tracked down and interviewed dissidents and eyewitnesses. This memoir covers her active years in China from the 1970s to the 1990s, during which China was undergoing a sweeping change from Mao’s era to Deng’s era. It is a prelude to China's marching toward its economic prowess.

By Jan Wong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jan Wong, a Canadian of Chinese descent, went to China as a starry-eyed Maoist in 1972 at the height of the Cultural Revolution. A true believer--and one of only two Westerners permitted to enroll at Beijing University--her education included wielding a pneumatic drill at the Number One Machine Tool Factory. In the name of the Revolution, she renounced rock & roll, hauled pig manure in the paddy fields, and turned in a fellow student who sought her help in getting to the United States. She also met and married the only American draft dodger from the Vietnam War to seek…


Book cover of Canada

William Mark Habeeb Author Of Venice Beach

From my list on poignant coming-of-age about boys.

Why am I passionate about this?

My novel Venice Beach—like the five books I recommend here—has been classified as a “coming-of-age” novel, a classification that I have no quarrels with as long as it’s understood that coming-of-age is not regarded simply as a synonym for “adolescence” or “being a teenager.” The coming-of-age years—generally defined as between ages 12 and 18—are so much more than a period of life wedged between childhood and adulthood. Coming of age is a process, not a block of time; it is a hot emotional forge in which we experience so many “firsts” and are hammered, usually painfully, into the shapes that will last a lifetime. 

William's book list on poignant coming-of-age about boys

William Mark Habeeb Why did William love this book?

You’re fifteen years old, living unhappily with your feckless parents and unstable older sister in a small town in Montana. And then your family implodes: your parents are arrested for bank robbery and your sister flees to parts unknown. As troubling as the premise is, Canada becomes even darker and more ominous as young Dell Parsons travels alone to Saskatchewan to live with erstwhile family friends, but in fact enters a whole new world of intrigue and violence. Dell is a stoic character, and you desperately want to see his life take a turn for the better. What you get instead is a case study in resiliency and survival. Ford’s prose is powerful; every word counts, every sentence pulls you deeper into the story.

By Richard Ford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First, I'll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then the murders, which happened later.

In 1956, Dell Parsons' family came to a stop in Great Falls, Montana, the way many military families did following the war. His father, Bev, was a talkative, plank-shouldered man, an airman from Alabama with an optimistic and easy-scheming nature. Dell and his twin sister, Berner, could easily see why their mother might have been attracted to him. But their mother Neeva - from an educated, immigrant, Jewish family - was shy, artistic and alienated from their father's small-town world of money scrapes and living…


Book cover of The Outlander

Kim Taylor Blakemore Author Of The Good Time Girls

From my list on fierce women in the American West.

Why am I passionate about this?

The United States Old West is a legend, a myth, a land of contradictions. I grew up and have never left this vast land of scorching deserts, soaring peaks, misty coasts, and redwoods that touch the heavens. I grew up on the myths – Tombstone, Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane, Pearl Hart. What I love most are the stories of the women of the West, who survive with grit, wiles, and no small amount of courage. I love finding the lesser known women through novels and research and seeing their lives bloom before my eyes. Cowgirls, sufragettes, doctors, ex-slaves, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, cattle rustlers, homesteaders, dancehall girls.

Kim's book list on fierce women in the American West

Kim Taylor Blakemore Why did Kim love this book?

The Outlander is a gripping historical fiction novel set in the Canadian Rockies.

The story follows Mary Boulton, a young woman on the run from her dangerous husband. As Mary navigates the rugged wilderness, she encounters a cast of memorable characters and faces numerous trials.

I loved its evocative and atmospheric writing, transporting me to the untamed Rocky Mountains in the early 20th century. Adamson's portrayal of Mary as a strong and resourceful protagonist captivated me. The land is brutal and beautiful at one, as are the characters she encounters.

The Outlander is a compelling tale of survival, filled with suspense, surprising twists and turns, and a captivating exploration of the human spirit. I could not put this down.

By Gil Adamson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a moonlit night in 1903, a mysterious young woman flees alone across the Canadian wilderness, one quick step ahead of her pursuers. Mary Boulton is nineteen years old, half mad, and widowed - by her own hand. Tearing through the forest with dogs howling in the distance, she is desperate, her nerves burning, and she is certain of one thing only - that her every move is being traced. Two red-headed brothers, rifles across their backs, lurch close behind her: monstrous figures, identical in every way, with the predatory look of hyenas. She has murdered their brother, and their…


Book cover of The Prediction

Steph Nelson Author Of The Final Scene: A Thriller

From my list on unputdownable horror thrillers with badass female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love feeling scared in a controlled situation—like on my couch with a soft blanket and a book—so horror thrillers are my jam. I absolutely love it when a female protagonist is so smart and courageous that I genuinely don’t know what I would do differently. This gives me someone to truly root for. Over time, I’ve discovered all the ways scary books help me manage my anxiety. Reading about all my worst fears but knowing I can set the book down if I need to is empowering. (Spoiler alert: I never set the book down.)

Steph's book list on unputdownable horror thrillers with badass female protagonists

Steph Nelson Why did Steph love this book?

I instantly fell in love with this book's MC, Rowena. She’s just so stinking relatable, and when her world starts to spiral into a dark hell, a la Black Mirror, she has to decide who she is going to believe in order to save herself and her baby girl.

The whole time I read this one, I wondered what I would do. Who would I believe if I were her? I love that feeling of being suspended in dread and the unknown as I read a thriller. This one delivered that for me.

By Faith Gardner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The best thriller of the year! This book absolutely left me aghast." —Netgalley reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A new marriage. A perfect home. A machine that says it's all a lie.

Rowena Snyder has the life she's always wanted. So why is everything falling apart?

Moving to the suburbs was supposed to be easy. Instead, Rowena struggles with panic attacks, a husband who wants her on medication, and the isolation of new motherhood. Then a suspicious house fire at her baby’s birthday party threatens to send her over the edge.

When Rowena's husband brings home a product in beta testing at his…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Canada, Afghanistan War, and hostages?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Canada, Afghanistan War, and hostages.

Canada Explore 407 books about Canada
Afghanistan War Explore 21 books about Afghanistan War
Hostages Explore 13 books about hostages