76 books like Vanderbilt

By Anderson Cooper, Katherine Howe,

Here are 76 books that Vanderbilt fans have personally recommended if you like Vanderbilt. 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 Where the Crawdads Sing

Lori Duffy Foster Author Of Never Let Go

From my list on thrillers with twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my years on the crime beat, I often met good people who did bad things and criminals with good intentions and good hearts. We tend to draw a line between good and evil, putting ourselves on the good side. From that perspective, we sit in judgment, believing we are incapable of evil because it’s “over there.” Inaccessible. Unfathomable. But that line is fictional. We redraw it constantly to feel good about ourselves and avoid empathizing with the worst of human nature. What I love about these five novels is that they expose that truth. The twists remind me that even my own line is blurred and ever-shifting.

Lori's book list on thrillers with twists

Lori Duffy Foster Why did Lori love this book?

I love historical fiction, especially when authors throw in a touch of crime. So, that’s what first drew me to this book.

What kept me reading and what made me rank this novel so highly is the gradual unlayering of the main character as the story progresses. Sure, Kya is a victim and a survivor, but she is so much more, and she is capable of more than I could have anticipated. As in some of my other favorite novels, it’s that loyalty to human nature, the understanding that circumstances can make good choices wrong and poor choices right, that pulled me in.

If I had known the ending when I started the book, I might not have believed it possible, but Delia Owens made it work.

By Delia Owens,

Why should I read it?

44 authors picked Where the Crawdads Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

OVER 12 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
A NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

For years, rumours of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be…


Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

Katie K. May Author Of You're on Fire, It's Fine: Effective Strategies for Parenting Teens with Self-Destructive Behaviors

From my list on healing family dynamics and generational trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

My journey from a teen struggling with self-harm, drug use, and overwhelming emotions to a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Clinician™ and director of Creative Healing, Teen Support Centers, uniquely positions me to understand the deep emotional challenges teens face. Having navigated my own tumultuous youth and now parenting a "Fire Feeler" teen, I use my personal and professional insights to guide thousands of teens and their parents. I am passionately committed to creating environments where teens are supported while the entire family learns skills to improve and work together.

Katie's book list on healing family dynamics and generational trauma

Katie K. May Why did Katie love this book?

I treasure this book and recently reread it alongside my own teen! It profoundly showcases the courage required to challenge deep-seated prejudices within a community and family.

Witnessing Scout Finch's perspective on her father Atticus' stand against racial injustice amidst moral dilemmas serves as a powerful reminder of the strength needed to confront and transcend the biases we inherit, a journey that resonates with my own experiences of overcoming familial legacies.

By Harper Lee,

Why should I read it?

34 authors picked To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped…


Book cover of Cross Creek

Janie DeVos Author Of The Art of Breathing

From my list on the flawed but indomitable human spirit.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being a historical fiction writer, I spend much time researching people and places for my novels with my focus being on the South, particularly Florida, where I’m from, as well as Western North Carolina, where I’ve lived for nearly two decades. Family dynamics and character development have always held a special interest for me; particularly the humanness of being flawed, but also the resilience and strength found within us, too. I enjoy creating characters we can identify with, and become emotionally connected to, so much so that when the final page is turned, readers feel a sense of loss at saying goodbye to characters they’ve come to love.

Janie's book list on the flawed but indomitable human spirit

Janie DeVos Why did Janie love this book?

Writing on a theme that is near and dear to my heart, that being Old Florida, the author of the award-winning, The Yearling, accurately portrays her life living on Cross Creek in rural Central Florida. After buying an old orange grove, sight unseen, this divorced Washington, DC writer brought it back to life, and made a life for herself living among the shy and suspicious people on the creek. Rawlings’ accurate use of local dialect and effective nuances in this beautiful vignette of stories is almost poetic, and magically transports the reader to the creek’s mossy banks. Though the writing and her viewpoints are antiquated in places, Cross Creek remains a classic, and a true work of art to be treasured. 

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cross Creek is the warm and delightful memoir about the life of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings—author of The Yearling—in the Florida backcountry.

Originally published in 1942, Cross Creek has become a classic in modern American literature. For the millions of readers raised on The Yearling, here is the story of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's experiences in the remote Florida hamlet of Cross Creek, where she lived for thirteen years. From the daily labors of managing a seventy-two-acre orange grove to bouts with runaway pigs and a succession of unruly farmhands, Rawlings describes her life at the Creek with humor and spirit. Her…


Book cover of A Land Remembered

Janie DeVos Author Of The Art of Breathing

From my list on the flawed but indomitable human spirit.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being a historical fiction writer, I spend much time researching people and places for my novels with my focus being on the South, particularly Florida, where I’m from, as well as Western North Carolina, where I’ve lived for nearly two decades. Family dynamics and character development have always held a special interest for me; particularly the humanness of being flawed, but also the resilience and strength found within us, too. I enjoy creating characters we can identify with, and become emotionally connected to, so much so that when the final page is turned, readers feel a sense of loss at saying goodbye to characters they’ve come to love.

Janie's book list on the flawed but indomitable human spirit

Janie DeVos Why did Janie love this book?

This quintessential historical fiction book on Old Florida was both a nominee of the Pulitzer, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. Rich in history and unforgettable characters, the story follows the MacIveys, as they scrap out a living as dirt farmers, beginning in the mid-1800s, through the 1960s. Not hurricanes, the Civil War, freezes, or near-starvation can staunch the family’s resilience, ultimately allowing them to build a great fortune. This novel truly touches my heart as my family came from Georgia, with little in their pockets, in the early 20th century, seeking to fulfill their own dreams. This is writing at its best, steeped in rich and authentic detail, making this a novel that will live on through the ages.

By Patrick D. Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Land Remembered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Land Remembered has been ranked #1 Best Florida Book eight times in annual polls conducted by Florida Monthly Magazine.

In this best-selling novel, Patrick Smith tells the story of three generations of the MacIveys, a Florida family who battle the hardships of the frontier to rise from a dirt-poor Cracker life to the wealth and standing of real estate tycoons. The story opens in 1858, when Tobias MacIvey arrives in the Florida wilderness to start a new life with his wife and infant son, and ends two generations later in 1968 with Solomon MacIvey, who realizes that the land…


Book cover of The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family

Kathleen Stone Author Of They Called Us Girls: Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men

From my list on family biographies with regional history as a role.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read (and write) biography as much for history as for an individual life story. It’s a way of getting a personalized look at an historical period. When the book is a family biography, the history is amplified by different family members' perspectives, almost like a kaleidoscope, and it stretches over generations, allowing the historical story to blossom over time. The genre also opens a window into the ethos that animated this unique group of individuals who are bound together by blood. Whether it's a desire for wealth or power, the zeal for a cause, or the need to survive adversity, I found it in these family stories.  

Kathleen's book list on family biographies with regional history as a role

Kathleen Stone Why did Kathleen love this book?

We all know of Sarah and Angelina Grimké, sisters who, before the Civil War, left their South Carolina home and became well-known abolitionists in the North.

But the family also included their brother Henry, a brutal, slave-holding man, his three children by Nancy Weston, an enslaved woman in his household, and their descendants. Two brothers became part of the post-Civil War Black elite and one descendant, Angelina Weld Grimké, made a name for herself as a poet during the Harlem Renaissance.

In addition to reexamining the legacy of Sarah and Angelina, author Kerri Greenidge reminds readers how families were formed under the sword of slavery and that recovery from its wounds is incomplete, even today. 

By Kerri K. Greenidge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sarah and Angelina Grimke-the Grimke sisters-are revered figures in American history, famous for rejecting their privileged lives on a plantation in South Carolina to become firebrand activists in the North. Their antislavery pamphlets, among the most influential of the antebellum era, are still read today. Yet retellings of their epic story have long obscured their Black relatives. In The Grimkes, award-winning historian Kerri Greenidge presents a parallel narrative, indeed a long-overdue corrective, shifting the focus from the white abolitionist sisters to the Black Grimkes and deepening our understanding of the long struggle for racial and gender equality.

That the Grimke…


Book cover of Morgenthau: Power, Privilege, and the Rise of an American Dynasty

Kathleen Stone Author Of They Called Us Girls: Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men

From my list on family biographies with regional history as a role.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read (and write) biography as much for history as for an individual life story. It’s a way of getting a personalized look at an historical period. When the book is a family biography, the history is amplified by different family members' perspectives, almost like a kaleidoscope, and it stretches over generations, allowing the historical story to blossom over time. The genre also opens a window into the ethos that animated this unique group of individuals who are bound together by blood. Whether it's a desire for wealth or power, the zeal for a cause, or the need to survive adversity, I found it in these family stories.  

Kathleen's book list on family biographies with regional history as a role

Kathleen Stone Why did Kathleen love this book?

In 1866, Lazarus Morganthau emigrated from Germany, intent on rebuilding the fortune he had lost. He died destitute but, like the Biblical Lazarus, his descendants rose again.

Family members made a fortune in New York real estate before turning to public service, with Henry Sr. becoming an Ambassador, Henry Jr. a confidant of FDR and Secretary of the Treasury, and Robert the longest-serving District Attorney in Manhattan’s history. We get a detailed look at New York's interlocking spheres of society, finance, and politics, and at how the Morgenthaus, as Jews, found acceptance despite the antisemitism of the time.  

By Andrew Meier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE *

An "epic and intimate" (David M. Kennedy) portrait of four generations of the Morgenthau family, a dynasty of power brokers and public officials with an outsize—and previously unmapped—influence extending from daily life in New York City to the shaping of the American Century.

"A work of important and enduring history...from the making of New York, to the Greatest Generation, to surviving one of the toughest jobs in law and order: Manhattan DA.  The Morgenthau name and the contributions of this historic family will endure forever." --Tom Brokaw

After coming to America from Germany…


Book cover of Zabar's: A Family Story, with Recipes

Kathleen Stone Author Of They Called Us Girls: Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men

From my list on family biographies with regional history as a role.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read (and write) biography as much for history as for an individual life story. It’s a way of getting a personalized look at an historical period. When the book is a family biography, the history is amplified by different family members' perspectives, almost like a kaleidoscope, and it stretches over generations, allowing the historical story to blossom over time. The genre also opens a window into the ethos that animated this unique group of individuals who are bound together by blood. Whether it's a desire for wealth or power, the zeal for a cause, or the need to survive adversity, I found it in these family stories.  

Kathleen's book list on family biographies with regional history as a role

Kathleen Stone Why did Kathleen love this book?

Zabar's, New York's world-famous food emporium, is the achievement of another Jewish immigrant family.

Author Lori Zabar's grandparents, before they were a couple, fled pogroms in Russia (now Ukraine) and made their way to New York. Together they worked at a variety of small food stores before starting their own in 1934. From then on, Zabar's helped define the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

The story here is one of hard work and eventual success in a family-run business, expanded to include dedicated non-family employees. The book also contains recipes, including two of my personal favorites - latkes and kugel. 

By Lori Zabar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The fascinating, mouthwatering story (with ten recipes!) of the immigrant family that created a New York gastronomic legend: “The most rambunctious and chaotic of all delicatessens, with one foot in the Old World and the other in the vanguard of every fast-breaking food move in the city" (Nora Ephron, best-selling author and award-winning screenwriter).

When Louis and Lilly Zabar rented a counter in a dairy store on 80th Street and Broadway in 1934 to sell smoked fish, they could not have imagined that their store would eventually occupy half a city block and become a beloved mecca for quality food…


Book cover of Deep South Dynasty: The Bankheads of Alabama

Kathleen Stone Author Of They Called Us Girls: Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men

From my list on family biographies with regional history as a role.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read (and write) biography as much for history as for an individual life story. It’s a way of getting a personalized look at an historical period. When the book is a family biography, the history is amplified by different family members' perspectives, almost like a kaleidoscope, and it stretches over generations, allowing the historical story to blossom over time. The genre also opens a window into the ethos that animated this unique group of individuals who are bound together by blood. Whether it's a desire for wealth or power, the zeal for a cause, or the need to survive adversity, I found it in these family stories.  

Kathleen's book list on family biographies with regional history as a role

Kathleen Stone Why did Kathleen love this book?

After the Civil War, the South was in turmoil, with ruined farms, destitute people, and existential uncertainty about the future.

John Hollis Bankhead of Alabama was one who stepped forward to ensure that little would change. He voted against the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments and helped institutionalize convict leasing. As author Kari Frederickson writes, "Confederates may have lost the war, but white men like Bankhead were determined to thwart any possible political or social revolution."

Other Bankheads continued in the same vein including Marie who, as director of the Alabama state archives, embraced the Lost Cause narrative, rejected symbols of Reconstruction, and, in the name of state’s rights, opposed voting rights for women. Learning about this family’s success in molding the post-war South gave me new insight into issues of today.

By Kari A. Frederickson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The sweeping story of an ambitious and once-powerful southern family.

From Reconstruction through the end of World War II, the Bankheads served as the principal architects of the political, economic, and cultural framework of Alabama and the greater South. As a family, they were instrumental in fashioning the New South and the twentieth century American political economy, but now the Bankhead name is largely associated only with place names.

Deep South Dynasty: The Bankheads of Alabama is a deeply researched epic family biography that reflects the complicated and evolving world inhabited by three generations of the extremely accomplished-if problematic-Bankhead family…


Book cover of Gilded Girl

Lynda Rees Author Of Gold Lust Conspiracy

From my list on historical fiction with a touch of conspiracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Lynda Rees, The Murder Guru, multi-award-winning author of historical fiction, contemporary mystery, suspense, romance, middle-grade mysteries, and children’s fiction. I love all things historical, especially American history. I am part-Cherokee, a coal miner’s daughter born in the Appalachian Mountains, and I grew up in northern Kentucky when Newport prospered as a gambling, prostitution, and sin mecca under the Cleveland Mob. My fascination with history’s effect on today’s lives works its way into my written pages. Having traveled the world negotiating with heads of industry and foreign governments during a corporate career in marketing and global transportation, this workaholic adventurer has succumbed to my passion for writing.

Lynda's book list on historical fiction with a touch of conspiracy

Lynda Rees Why did Lynda love this book?

Pamela Kelley makes historical fiction come to life on the page in this rags-to-riches story that empowers women during an unheard-of time, as Eliza Chapman, a lady’s maid, learns her father is actually one of the richest men in NYC, and this changes her whole world.

By Pamela Kelley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A rags-to-riches saga set in the Gilded Age.
 
While I have enjoyed everything I have read from Pamela Kelley, this book moves to the top of my list from her. I love historical fiction and she really makes it comes to life. - Goodreads review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
"The Gilded Girl" is a modern historical romance that was captivating! It is a from rags to riches story that empowers women which was unheard of during this time period. Pamela Kelly's best book in my opinion." - Amazon review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
When Eliza Chapman, a London ladies maid, learns that her real father is…


Book cover of Privileged Lives

Michael Gross Author Of Rogues' Gallery: The Secret Story of the Lust, Lies, Greed, and Betrayals That Made the Metropolitan Museum of Art

From my list on American High Society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started my career writing about rock music. Rock stars dated models, and I soon started writing about them, too, which led me to cover the fashion world, where I was often seated near the rich and famous at runway shows in London, Paris, Milan, and New York, and began to study them. Thus began years of reading and writing about Society, first for The New York Times and New York magazine, and later in a series of books on the worlds of the rich and the famous. The latest, Flight of the WASP: The Rise, Fall, and Future of America's Original Ruling Class, will be published this fall.  

Michael's book list on American High Society

Michael Gross Why did Michael love this book?

This one is a bit of an obscurity. Another roman a clef from the 1980s, it’s a murder mystery set in Manhattan Society, only this time, it’s about the ways the high and mighty get down and dirty—and at the time, it was said to be based on several very real Upper East Side New York gentleman whose behavior was anything but gentle. At the time, many knew but no one talked about the sleaze and moral corruption that lurked in the dark corners of the world of wealth. I heard enough and saw enough to think that Stewart knew a lot.  

By Edward Stewart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York, its wealth, decadence and crime levels are the subject of this novel which tells the intertwining tales of a rich society queen's sudden recovery from coma and the discovery of a mutiliated corpse. When Lieutenant Vince Cordoza begins to investigate, he gradually finds links between the two seemingly unconnected events. What he finds is dirty, explosive and gruesome and involves not only the society queen's family, but the whole fabric of New York, rich and poor alike.


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