79 books like Untamed

By Will Harlan,

Here are 79 books that Untamed fans have personally recommended if you like Untamed. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Diane Winger Author Of The Long Path Home: Walking the South West Coast Path in Cornwall, England A Novella

From my list on long walking adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t really take up hiking until I was in my 30s, but outdoor adventures have become a way of life. I love walking along a trail, marveling at my surroundings and wondering what new delight I’ll discover around the next bend or over the next hill. Upon turning 70, I tackled my most challenging walk yet – trekking over 250 miles along the spectacular South West Coast Path in Cornwall, England. I found the immersion in focusing solely on walking each day to be both meditative and uplifting. The books on this list reflect my love for the outdoors, with some inspiring me to try something new, while others I prefer to experience vicariously.

Diane's book list on long walking adventures

Diane Winger Why did Diane love this book?

This fascinating history about hiking the Appalachian Trail spotlights a woman who demonstrated that age and gender aren't barriers to remarkable physical feats. Or should I say "feet"?

Grandma Gatewood was a pioneer, not only for women trekking alone, but for people of any age who set out on a journey others say isn’t possible for them. I was inspired by her story to take on a journey I thought would be marvelous, but beyond my capabilities. And I made it happen!

By Ben Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Grandma Gatewood's Walk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2014 National Outdoor Book Award Winner in History / Biography

Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, sixty-seven-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. By September 1955 she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin, sang “America, the Beautiful,” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”

Driven by a painful marriage, Grandma Gatewood not only hiked the trail alone, she was the first person—man…


Book cover of Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds

Jennifer Pharr Davis Author Of Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

From my list on women who love the outdoors.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jennifer Pharr Davis has covered over 14,000 miles - and explored trails on six different continents - and in all fifty states. In 2011 she set a record on the Appalachian Trail by covering 2,190 mile miles in 46 days (an average of 47 miles per day). Jennifer is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and a member of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.

Jennifer's book list on women who love the outdoors

Jennifer Pharr Davis Why did Jennifer love this book?

Hikers come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Kara proves that the summit does not belong to people who look like Patagonia models, but to anyone who is willing to carry their weight and offload their burdens. An inspiring read for anyone who wants to climb Kilimanjaro and individuals who have dealt with eating disorders.

By Kara Richardson Whitely,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kara knew she could reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She had done it once before. That's why, when she failed in a second attempt, it brought her so low. As she struggled with food addiction and looked for ways to cope with feelings of failure and shame, Kara's weight shot to more than 300 pounds. Deep in her personal gorge, Kara realized the only way out was up. She resolved to climb the mountain again,and this time, she would reach the summit without waiting for her plus-sized status to disappear. Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds is…


Book cover of A Beautiful Work In Progress

Jennifer Pharr Davis Author Of Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

From my list on women who love the outdoors.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jennifer Pharr Davis has covered over 14,000 miles - and explored trails on six different continents - and in all fifty states. In 2011 she set a record on the Appalachian Trail by covering 2,190 mile miles in 46 days (an average of 47 miles per day). Jennifer is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and a member of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.

Jennifer's book list on women who love the outdoors

Jennifer Pharr Davis Why did Jennifer love this book?

The author of this book is an amazing combination of personable and empowering. She takes readers on her journey from a city kid growing up in NYC to a trail runner who explores the most scenic trails in the US. When you are finish you will feel like you have a new friend and some new inspiration.

By Mirna Valerio,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Beautiful Work In Progress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Runners' vocabulary is full of acronyms like DNS for "Did Not Start" and DNF for "Did Not Finish," but when Mirna Valerio stepped up to the starting line, she needed a new one: DNQ for "Did Not Quit."

Valerio has tied on her running shoes all across the country, from the dusty back roads of central New Jersey to the busy Route 222 corridor in Pennsylvania to the sweltering deserts of Arizona. When you meet her on the trail, you might be surprised to see she doesn't quite fit the typical image of a long-distance runner. She's neither skinny nor…


Book cover of Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail

Nicole Antoinette Author Of What We Owe to Ourselves: a 500-mile hike on the Colorado Trail

From my list on when you want to quit your life and escape to the mountains.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former indoor kid and big-city girl, and I never imagined I’d wind up spending months of each year pooping in the woods—by choice! But walking all day every day on footpaths through the wilderness has become one of the greatest loves of my life, and I’m so glad to have books by other adventurous folks to keep me company when I’m back at home. I’ve written two of these books myself: How To Be Alone and What We Owe to Ourselves. I also write a weekly newsletter called Wild Letters, where I share honest stories of self-exploration both on and off the trail.

Nicole's book list on when you want to quit your life and escape to the mountains

Nicole Antoinette Why did Nicole love this book?

This story of Heather’s record-setting hike on the Appalachian Trail absolutely blew my mind: 2,180 miles in just 54 days!

I was so enthralled by the grit it takes to push yourself to this kind of extreme (through rain, sleep deprivation, physical deterioration, and more), which combined with Heather’s raw honesty about her initial lack of self-belief just made me want to root for her louder and louder.

I’m forever fascinated by chosen suffering—why we often crave hard things and how the pursuit of them changes us—and this no-holds-barred look into the world of competitive hiking was a delight to read.

By Heather Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Despite her success setting a self-supported Fastest Known Time record on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013, Heather “Anish” Anderson still had such deep-seated insecurities that she became convinced her feat had been a fluke. So two years later she set out again, this time hiking through mud, rocks, and mountain blazes to crush her constant self-doubt and seek the true source of her strength and purpose.

The 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail, from Maine to Georgia, did not make it easy. Anderson struggled with its infamous rain, humidity, insects, and steep grades for 54 days. But because she…


Book cover of Lost Island

Jessica Russell Author Of Hot Winter Sun

From my list on character-driven historical suspense with romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first experience with historical fiction was reading The Witch from the Sea by that iconic author, Victoria Holt. This sparked a 40-year-long love affair with that genre that’s still burning intensely. I’ve been immersed in such fiction for a lifetime and have read the works of virtually every great author in this genre. I started my own series in 2020 because I feared this type of no-fluff fiction was becoming obsolete. There were 17th Century English characters making noise in my head so I used my creative writing background to bring them to life on the pages of my books, under the pen name Jessica Russell. 

Jessica's book list on character-driven historical suspense with romance

Jessica Russell Why did Jessica love this book?

This intricately written story sparked my interest from the very first page. Every time the author introduced a clue to the plot, I immediately wanted to know what it meant and what was coming. I was “chomping at the bit” as they say, and there was never one moment where the story lagged. Every single sentence needed to be there and the mystery had layer after layer with no way to ever predict what would happen. This is a historical fiction writer who definitely understands how to weave a top-notch suspenseful tale, and that’s what this is. 

By Phyllis A. Whitney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From a New York Times-bestselling author: An island off the Georgia coast holds the memory of a broken heart and the secrets of a woman's past.

It's been years since Lacey Ames last saw Hampton Island, where she grew up amid the sandy marshes with her childhood sweetheart, Giles Severn, and her cousin Elise-and where Elise had stolen the man Lacey loved. Lacey never forgot the hurt and betrayal she once suffered at Giles's grand family home of Sea Oaks, but a curious and compelling summons from Elise prompts her return.

Once Lacey arrives, she realizes how little has changed.…


Book cover of Don't Talk to Strangers

Christopher Swann Author Of Never Back Down

From my list on crime fiction featuring powerful female characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love crime fiction, but the genre can be very much a boys’ club where women are sometimes reduced to femmes fatales or victims who need to be saved. When I look at my bookshelves, I realize how many of the books I’ve read are written by men about men. There’s nothing wrong with stories about men, but I have a lot of strong women in my life, and I’ve learned so much from listening to their perspectives. As a writer, I like pushing myself to try and create strong female characters who find themselves ensnared in a crime and have to figure their way out.

Christopher's book list on crime fiction featuring powerful female characters

Christopher Swann Why did Christopher love this book?

Amanda Kyle Williams quit school at sixteen, was diagnosed with dyslexia at twenty-two, and read her first book at twenty-three. She overcame addiction and wrote while working odd jobs, becoming a best-seller with her Keye Street series.

My wife heard Amanda speak at a dyslexia conference and told her about her husband who wanted to write books; later when I met Amanda at the Decatur Book Festival, she smiled and said, “Oh, yeah, you’re the writer.”

I love her protagonist Keye, a private investigator in Atlanta and former FBI profiler. She’s funny and gutsy and wrestles with her own demons. Don’t Talk to Strangers, the third in the series, is as good as the first two. Amanda died of cancer in 2018, but she left behind a tremendously inspiring legacy in both Keye and her own incredible story.

By Amanda Kyle Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Talk to Strangers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you like Karin Slaughter you'll love Amanda Kyle Williams...Two girls tied in death. Found next to each other in shallow graves in the remote wilderness outside Whisper, Georgia. One has lain there for a decade. One for only sixty days. Now their bodies have been uncovered and there is only one person who can help the local law enforcement find their killer. Former FBI profiler, bond enforcement officer and private detective. Keye Street. Her experience lets her see clues others can't find and now she is going to have to use all her skills if she is to stop…


Book cover of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood

Culley Holderfield Author Of Hemlock Hollow

From my list on books in which nature is a teacher.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up fascinated by the natural world, in particular by the hemlock trees in a hollow in the North Carolina mountains where my family owned a cabin. Later, the hollow and that cabin would provide inspiration for my novel, Hemlock Hollow, in which a scientist wrestles with the ghosts of her past. Those hemlocks are in decline now due to the hemlock wooly adelgid, an invasive species working its way through the Appalachian Mountains. In many ways, my writing takes the grief of losing something so dear as grist for stories that center the power of place over time, and I’m drawn to other books that do the same.

Culley's book list on books in which nature is a teacher

Culley Holderfield Why did Culley love this book?

Part memoir, part requiem, this book is an ode to the hardscrabble beauty of the land and people of the longleaf pine. I read this book when it first came out in 1999 and more recently revisited it.

Janisse Ray writes about Georgia, where she grew up in a junkyard off Highway 1 and where my grandmother was from. She could just as easily have been writing about North Carolina and our fast-declining hemlock population here.

Reading this book gave this Appalachian boy an appreciation for the flat savannah down east with an ecosystem and culture both unique and fascinating.

By Janisse Ray,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ecology of a Cracker Childhood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the memories of a childhood marked by extreme poverty, mental illness, and restrictive fundamentalist Christian rules, Janisse Ray crafted a "heartfelt and refreshing" (New York Times) memoir that has inspired thousands to embrace their beginnings, no matter how humble, and to fight for the places they love. This new edition updates and contextualizes the story for a new generation and a wider audience desperately searching for stories of empowerment and hope.

Ray grew up in a junkyard along U.S. Highway 1, hidden from Florida-bound travelers by hulks of old cars. In language at once colloquial, elegiac, and informative, Ray…


Book cover of The House Next Door

Charlotte Greene Author Of Gnarled Hollow

From my list on haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer of sapphic horror and romance fiction, and a professor of nineteenth and twentieth literature and Women’s and Gender Studies. I’ve been an avid reader of ghost-focused fiction since I was a little kid. This fascination was, in part, encouraged by my horror-loving parents, but I think I’ve just always loved being scared, and for me, the scariest thing imaginable is a haunted house. I’ve read widely in the genre, by turns spooked, thrilled, and baffled, and this reading eventually encouraged me to write my own haunted house novels. If you love a chilling tale, you’re going to love the books on this list.

Charlotte's book list on haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you

Charlotte Greene Why did Charlotte love this book?

This is a significant departure from the notion of a “haunted house” most of us are familiar with. We expect an old house, haunted by the past, far from humankind, and left to rot and fester in isolation somewhere remote. The haunted house in Siddons’s novel, however, is right in the middle of an upper-class neighborhood in Atlanta, and it’s a brand-new build. Rather than being haunted by the ghosts of the past inhabitants, the house itself is a force of evil, corrupting all who cross its threshold in terrible, terrifying, and often deadly ways.

By Anne Rivers Siddons,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The House Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An unparalleled picture of that vibrant but dark intersection where the Old and the New South collide.

Thirtysomething Colquitt and Walter Kennedy live in a charming, peaceful suburb of newly bustling Atlanta, Georgia. Life is made up of enjoyable work, long, lazy weekends, and the company of good neighbors. Then, to their shock, construction starts on the vacant lot next door, a wooded hillside they'd believed would always remain undeveloped. Disappointed by their diminished privacy, Colquitt and Walter soon realize something more is wrong with the house next door. Surely the house can’t be haunted, yet it seems to destroy…


Book cover of Surviving Savannah

Laura Drake Author Of Amazing Gracie

From my list on women at the edge of change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was raised in middle-class America by a strong woman and an alcoholic. I survived an abuser when I realized that I was the answer to my problems. I write about tough subjects but am an eternal optimist who believes a strong spirit will always ensure a happy ending.

Laura's book list on women at the edge of change

Laura Drake Why did Laura love this book?

A dual-timeline novel, about a family on the ‘Titanic of the South’, the Pulaski a paddlewheel steamer that sunk in 1838, and a historian today, who is creating a museum showing of the disaster.

She also has a huge decision to make—live in the past, in survivor’s guilt, or to grab an uncertain future she’s not sure she deserves.

By Patti Callahan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"An atmospheric, compelling story of survival, tragedy, the enduring power of myth and memory, and the moments that change one's life." 
--Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Four Winds
 
"[An] enthralling and emotional tale...A story about strength and fate."--Woman's World
 
“An epic novel that explores the metal of human spirit in crisis. It is an expertly told, fascinating story that runs fathoms deep on multiple levels.”—New York Journal of Books 

It was called "The Titanic of the South." The luxury steamship sank in 1838 with Savannah's elite on board; through time, their fates were forgotten--until the…


Book cover of The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

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?

A complex, deeply researched epic, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois spans multiple generations of a Southern Black family, from slavery to the present.

The story takes place in several different worlds: an African village, the experience of Southern sharecroppers, sorority life at a Black college. Author Honoree Fanonne Jeffers creates a huge cast of sympathetic characters, especially the protagonist, Ailey Pearl Garfield.

I loved how Ailey’s character evolves through the years and settings until we understand that she has taken the many stories passed down to her and is using them in her PhD thesis, and that we are essentially reading her research. It’s such a clever way of weaving a woman writer’s tale into the story of many generations of a heroic family. 

By Honoree Fanonne Jeffers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An instant New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today Bestseller • AN OPRAH BOOK CLUB SELECTION • ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2021 • WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR FICTION

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: New York Times • Time • Washington Post • Oprah Daily • People • Boston Globe • BookPage • Booklist • Kirkus • Atlanta Journal-Constitution • Chicago Public Library

Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel • Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction • Finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Fiction • Nominee for…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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