100 books like Waylaid

By Ed Lin,

Here are 100 books that Waylaid fans have personally recommended if you like Waylaid. 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 Severance

Jinwoo Chong Author Of Flux

From my list on to cure (or rather validate) your post-capitalist malaise.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2017, I was laid off from my first job out of college, an experience that I think more young people are going through as we move further into an uncertain economic future. That experience formed the basis of my novel, which was published earlier this year. Afterwards, I met a lot of people, most of whom I didn’t know, who told me they’d resonated with the feeling of malaise captured by those first few chapters: of working jobs that seem to be dead ends, wondering if you’ll be here, at this desk, twenty years from now. It’s something most everybody can relate to but doesn't appear in novels nearly as much as it should.

Jinwoo's book list on to cure (or rather validate) your post-capitalist malaise

Jinwoo Chong Why did Jinwoo love this book?

Objectively, Severance fits into many lists, being a masterpiece of literary fiction, as well as a speculative, near-future puzzle, as well as an intimate and moving portrait of survival both physical and metaphorical.

But it’s also an office novel, one that through sheer coincidence depicted the surrealism of white collar office work while a deadly pandemic enacts devastating change across the planet at exactly the same time it was happening in reality. The book is one of my favorites of all time. Every read offers something different.

By Ling Ma,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Maybe it’s the end of the world, but not for Candace Chen, a millennial, first-generation American and office drone meandering her way into adulthood in Ling Ma’s offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire, Severance.

"A stunning, audacious book with a fresh take on both office politics and what the apocalypse might bring." ―Michael Schaub, NPR.org

“A satirical spin on the end times-- kind of like The Office meets The Leftovers.” --Estelle Tang, Elle

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY: NPR * The New Yorker ("Books We Loved") * Elle * Marie Claire * Amazon Editors * The Paris Review…


Book cover of Miss Sophie's Diary and Other Stories

Joe Milan Jr. Author Of The All-American

From my list on coming-of-age while Asian.

Why am I passionate about this?

The heights of American literature are crowded with coming-of-age tales like Huckleberry Finn and Catcher and the Rye. It’s probably because for us, as Americans, figuring out what it means to be American is something that isn’t as clear as what it means to be from another country with thousands of years of existence behind it. Yet, the stories I was given rarely had people who looked like me (Asian) or lived lives that weren’t solely defined as being “foreign.” These books tell coming-of-age stories in different ways that I wish I had read when I was coming up to broaden my own mind with what was possible.

Joe's book list on coming-of-age while Asian

Joe Milan Jr. Why did Joe love this book?

Ding Ling’s stories are bold.

In the title story, Ling grants us access to the diaries of Miss Sophie, a young woman living in Beijing ill with tuberculosis who grapples with her attraction to guys, gals, idiots, and the jealous–all while latticing these contradictions together through a diary. Sophie spouts sick burns like she’s made for Twitter.

And if that wasn’t enough, much of the other stories seem like autofiction, documenting her time as a communist revolutionary in jail, like how in “A Certain Night,” we see the protagonist in jail writing the story that comes later in the collection “From Night to Dawn.”

By Ding Ling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miss Sophie's Diary and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Ding Ling, W. J. F. Jenner


Book cover of The Way of the Samurai Musashi Book 1

Joe Milan Jr. Author Of The All-American

From my list on coming-of-age while Asian.

Why am I passionate about this?

The heights of American literature are crowded with coming-of-age tales like Huckleberry Finn and Catcher and the Rye. It’s probably because for us, as Americans, figuring out what it means to be American is something that isn’t as clear as what it means to be from another country with thousands of years of existence behind it. Yet, the stories I was given rarely had people who looked like me (Asian) or lived lives that weren’t solely defined as being “foreign.” These books tell coming-of-age stories in different ways that I wish I had read when I was coming up to broaden my own mind with what was possible.

Joe's book list on coming-of-age while Asian

Joe Milan Jr. Why did Joe love this book?

Musashi is the first Asian superhero I read.

It’s about a young guy, Takezo” looking for adventure in war and ends up nearly killed, confused, and lost. He finds rebirth in discipline and study with a mysterious monk who starts him on his study of the ways of the sword. He goes on a quest to master the sword and ways of Buddhist truth, a quest where we watch this village kid become “Musashi.”

Its fight scenes are among the best I’ve ever read. And while the feeling of the story being propaganda lurks in the back of the mind (like every Hollywood action film), this was the very first novel that I read cover to cover.

By Eiji Yoshikawa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way of the Samurai Musashi Book 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Eiji Yoshikawa


Book cover of Yellow: Stories

Joe Milan Jr. Author Of The All-American

From my list on coming-of-age while Asian.

Why am I passionate about this?

The heights of American literature are crowded with coming-of-age tales like Huckleberry Finn and Catcher and the Rye. It’s probably because for us, as Americans, figuring out what it means to be American is something that isn’t as clear as what it means to be from another country with thousands of years of existence behind it. Yet, the stories I was given rarely had people who looked like me (Asian) or lived lives that weren’t solely defined as being “foreign.” These books tell coming-of-age stories in different ways that I wish I had read when I was coming up to broaden my own mind with what was possible.

Joe's book list on coming-of-age while Asian

Joe Milan Jr. Why did Joe love this book?

When I really started writing, I sought out books with punchy prose that connected to some of my experiences.

Don Lee’s Yellow was one of the few books of short stories I found that did that. What’s cool about the title story “Yellow” is that it talks about an Asian guy who learns to box who is known to be sexy, and grapples with issues of courage.

Growing up as a young Asian guy, I was never handed a story about an Asian guy struggling to be a man like all other guys growing up in America. Reading this collection changed that and changed my own perceptions of what stories are possible when you’re coming to age as an Asian in America. 

By Don Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the Los Angeles Times noted in its profile of the author, "few writers have mined the [genre of ethnic literature] as shrewdly or transcended its limits quite so stunningly as Don Lee." Harking "back to the timeless concerns of Chekhov: fate, chance, the mystery of the human heart" (Stuart Dybek), these interconnected stories "are utterly contemporary,...but grounded in the depth of beautiful prose and intriguing storylines" (Asian Week). They paint a novelistic portrait of the fictional town of Rosarita Bay, California, and a diverse cast of complex and moving characters. "Nothing short of wonderful...surprising and wild with life" (Robert…


Book cover of The Glass Bead Game

Suzanne Heywood Author Of Wavewalker: A Memoir of Breaking Free

From my list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm fascinated by these books about coming of age because they all share elements of my own experience. While I was growing up, I was told by my parents that my life on board our boat Wavewalker was ‘privileged’ and that I was lucky not to live a ‘boring’ life like other children. It took me a long time to question this view, and even longer to find an escape. As an adult looking back, I now know that many of the things I was told by my parents were not true. That experience of growing up and discovering that what you have been told is not right is deeply disturbing, while also being liberating.

Suzanne's book list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out

Suzanne Heywood Why did Suzanne love this book?

This book describes a fictional coming of age in which a child starts to question the assumptions made by the adults around them – in this case the value of the Glass Bead Game of the title.

It is a brilliant piece of writing – so brilliant that it won the Nobel Prize for Literature. It not only (gloriously) chronicles the boy’s awakening, it also raises deeper questions about how society should be structured, and in particular whether it is right to support an elite who contribute little to the welfare of others. 

By Hermann Hesse, Clara Winston (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Glass Bead Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Glass Bead Game is an ultra-aesthetic game which is played by the scholars, creamed off in childhood and nurtured in elite schools, in the province of Castalia. The Master of the Glass Bead Game, Joseph Knecht, holds the most exalted office in Castalia. He personifies the detachment, serenity and aesthetic vision which reward a life dedicated to perfection of the intellect. But can, indeed should, man live isolated from hunger, family, children, women, in a perfect world where passions are tamed by meditation, where academic discipline and order are paramount? This is Herman Hesse’s great novel. It is a…


Book cover of You and Me on Vacation

Genevieve Novak Author Of Crushing

From my list on to break you out of a reading slump.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a contemporary romance writer with two novels: No Hard Feelings and Crushing, stories about complex, messy women making mistakes and learning from them. As I work on my third novel, I'm remembering how hard it is to write when you're in a reading rut. Sometimes every book I pick up is disappointing, and reading feels like a chore, and I risk losing momentum. Sometimes I need something familiar to get back on track and remember why I love my job. These books feel like a long exhale. I can come to them with an overloaded brain, bad moods and doubt and discontent, and turn the last page restored.

Genevieve's book list on to break you out of a reading slump

Genevieve Novak Why did Genevieve love this book?

What comfort library would be complete without Emily Henry?

I’ll read anything she writes, but Poppy and Alex’s love story is the stuff of my dreams. Friends to lovers, split timelines, and more yearning than I know what to do with Seamlessly blending humour and heart and set between Palm Springs, New York, Italy, and somewhere in the sedate American midwest, You and Me on Vacation was the antidote to my mid-lockdown claustrophobia.

I like to read my fluff on the treadmill – it keeps my brain more occupied than music or podcasts, so I’m less likely to remember how much I hate working out – and it was so delicious I found myself looking forward to time at the gym. A true feat.

By Emily Henry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You and Me on Vacation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two friends. Ten trips. Their last chance to fall in love...

------

'One of my favourite authors' Colleen Hoover, It Ends With Us
'A gorgeous romance' Beth O'Leary, The No-Show
'Loveable characters, hilarious wit and steamy sexual chemistry' Laura Jane Williams, Our Stop

*Also known as People We Meet On Vacation*

12 YEARS AGO: Poppy and Alex meet. They hate each other, and are pretty confident they'll never speak again.

11 YEARS AGO: They're forced to share a ride home from college and by the end of it a friendship is formed. And a pact: every year, one vacation together.…


Book cover of You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty

Allyson Morgan Author Of The Perfect Place

From my list on female authors about coming of age…at any age.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a female author myself, I always want to uplift and highlight other women-identifying writers who are weaving complicated stories about growing up. The truth is, I think we’re all continuing to change at all ages - it’s never too late to grow from past mistakes and make different choices, especially as we grow older and experience both our first love and first heartbreak. All of these stories are bonded by good women who sometimes do bad things - just like in my novel - and I think it’s important to show that female protagonists, particularly sculpted by female writers, can be just as messy, vulnerable, and complicated as male leads.

Allyson's book list on female authors about coming of age…at any age

Allyson Morgan Why did Allyson love this book?

To be fair, I read this book on a summer holiday in Cinque Terre, Italy, which perhaps made the experience even more dreamy and lush.

This is a modern love story that celebrates the desire of its female protagonist, and makes no apologies for her ability to take what she wants - in the form of her current romantic partner’s father. The story contains nuance and delicacy, and talks about relationships with honesty and vulnerability.

There is an undercurrent of grief here, as well, which bonds our lovers, and makes the lightness of the romance that much deeper.

By Akwaeke Emezi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
ONE OF THE EVENING STANDARD'S BLOCKBUSTER BOOK TRENDS OF THE YEAR
SHORTLISTED FOR FOYLES FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
NOMINATED FOR THE GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS FOR ROMANCE
A ZOELLA BOOK CLUB PICK

'This book filled me with excitement and possibilities.' Jenny Colgan
'Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.' @savidgereads
'Say hello to the book of the summer' @bettysbooksuk
'Fantastic . . . I cannot put it down.' @thebibliotucker
____________
Have you fallen for this INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING novelist's sizzling hot entrance into the world of romance?

It's the opportunity of a lifetime:

Feyi is about to be given the chance…


Book cover of The Burning Girls

Cheryl Rees-Price Author Of The Silent Quarry

From my list on crime to keep you turning the pages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of the DI Winter Meadows series. I love reading and writing crime fiction, especially books set in rural locations. I live in South Wales where I go hiking mountains, exploring caves, and discovering waterfalls. I take inspiration from these remote areas and close-knit communities to create the settings, characters, and plots for my books.

Cheryl's book list on crime to keep you turning the pages

Cheryl Rees-Price Why did Cheryl love this book?

This book kept me turning the pages well into the night.

The Rev Jack Brooks moves to a new parish for a fresh start with her teenage daughter but they have barely unpacked when strange things begin to happen.

The book is well-paced with clever use of local superstitions which gives the story a supernatural feel. There is a looming threat to the main protagonist which builds the unease till the explosive end.

By C. J. Tudor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The darkly compelling new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Chalk Man, The Taking of Annie Thorne and The Other People, soon to be a major TV series

'Hypnotic and horrifying . . . Without doubt her best yet, The Burning Girls left me sleeping with the lights on' CHRIS WHITAKER, bestselling author of Waterstones Thriller of the Month We Begin at the End

'A gothic, spine-tingling roller-coaster of a story . . . CJ Tudor is a master of horror' C.J. COOKE, author of The Nesting
______

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death…


Book cover of One Day With You

Carmen Reid Author Of New Family Required

From my list on funny, feelgood fiction about families.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a daughter, sister, Mum, wife, and writer. I’ve been writing light-hearted books about the intricacies of family life for 20 years now. When I first began my publishing journey, I was parcelled up with ‘chick lit’, but really, I’ve always written ‘Mum lit’. I love to write about the hilarious side of life, alongside the emotional. As it’s hard enough out there in the world, I want things to turn out happily in my stories. I love to add a sprinkling of travel and a touch of fashion. Sorry, but I just can’t help noticing a well-cut jacket, an embroidered silky skirt, or a carefully chosen accessory! 

Carmen's book list on funny, feelgood fiction about families

Carmen Reid Why did Carmen love this book?

This story is in the style that Shari is making her own – a critical 24 hours in the intertwined lives of her characters.

It’s a skilful weaving of lightness and big laughs, plus painful, dramatic elements with break-neck plotting. Here, she builds her story round a group of friends and neighbours, who have known and supported each other for so long that they’ve created a ‘family’ owing nothing to genetics.

I love the Glasgow details, like the hospital carpark row with an audience of giggling nurses clutching sausage rolls. I also love the salt-of-the-earth older ladies in Shari’s books – the fiery ‘wummin’ holding lives together with their humour and strength of character.

Pick this up and you will not stop till you turn the last page. 

By Shari Low,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Day With You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLEROne day, five lives, but whose heart will be broken by nightfall?

It started like any other day in the picturesque village of Weirbridge.
Tress Walker waved her perfect husband Max off to work, with no idea that she was about to go into labour with their first child. And completely unaware that when she tried to track Max down, he wouldn't be where he was supposed to be.
At the same time, Max's best friend Noah Clark said goodbye to his wife, Anya, blissfully oblivious that he would soon discover the woman he adored had been…


Book cover of Rich in Love

David Haynes Author Of Right by My Side

From my list on kids with attitude.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a forty-five-year career educator, sharing my classrooms with students from primary school through graduate programs in creative writing. What I love most in every classroom I enter is sharing the books and stories and poems I love with my students. The best days: when I’m reading one of my favorite parts of the book out loud to the group and I look up and they laugh or gasp, or I look up and see their eyes full of joy. If it’s my own work I’m reading from, all the better!

David's book list on kids with attitude

David Haynes Why did David love this book?

Ah, these juvenile narrators: they think they know it all. Lucille Odem has it all figured out. She can fix her broken family and heal her parent’s broken hearts—because of course she can. For me, the pleasure of a great young adult narrator is watching as even the smartest of these smarty pants comes to learn that we all have blind spots and that it’s often the things we can’t see or don’t know that are the most important part of the equation. What a sweet book this is.  

By Josephine Humphreys,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rich in Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the age of seventeen, Lucille Odom finds herself in the middle of an unexpected domestic crisis. As she helps guide her family through its discontent, Lucille discovers in herself a woman rich in wisdom, rich in humor, and rich in love.


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