85 books like Where'd You Go, Bernadette

By Maria Semple,

Here are 85 books that Where'd You Go, Bernadette fans have personally recommended if you like Where'd You Go, Bernadette. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Glass Castle

By Jeannette Walls,

Book cover of The Glass Castle

Suzanne Heywood Author Of Wavewalker: A Memoir of Breaking Free

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

Who am I?

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

Why did Suzanne love this book?

I love this book because, although it tells a difficult story of growing up in extreme poverty in rural America, it is written in prose that is sparing and unsentimental.

It is clear that – like me – Jeannette was desperate to love her parents, Rex and Rose Mary, despite their failings, but found this increasingly difficult as she became older and more conscious of the differences between her life and the lives of other children.

In the end, again like me, Jeanette had to run away from her parents to create a more stable and caring future.

By Jeannette Walls,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.

This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents.

At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane,…

Anxious People

By Fredrik Backman,

Book cover of Anxious People

John Young Author Of Getting Huge

From the list on mixing humor with serious topics.

Who am I?

My life carries absurd contradictions. A country kid and athlete, I fell in love with theater and literature. I hated school but became a teacher. An outdoorsman and environmentalist, I became a successful advertising executive and an entrepreneur. My novel Getting Huge has similar surprises: a 6’11” minister who hated basketball. He resented Concord, MA as a boy, but he returns to toil in his father’s church for 12 years. He’s never planted a thing, but discovers a passion for giant pumpkins and starts to be an entrepreneur who dreams way too big. I hope readers see how John Crackstone is (like many of us) humanized by comic contradictions.

John's book list on mixing humor with serious topics

Why did John love this book?

The novel Anxious People is a mostly-comic novel that helped me, as a writer, think through how comedy is delivered.

Frederik Backman has a background as a standup comic and you can see it in the writing of the novel—and sometimes Backman’s clever quips get in the way of the story.

The situation is of a robbery gone wrong with a range of weird and wacky characters, but they are developed in a way that helps us care about them as their stories are revealed and common touchpoints emerge.

The father-son police team, the robber’s pains, the fractured relationships. In the end, I found myself caring about these people.

By Fredrik Backman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The funny, touching and unpredictable No. 1 New York Times bestseller, now a major Netflix TV series

'A brilliant and comforting read' MATT HAIG
'Funny, compassionate and wise. An absolute joy' A.J. PEARCE
'A surefooted insight into the absurdity, beauty and ache of life' GUARDIAN
'I laughed, I sobbed, I recommended it to literally everyone I know' BUZZFEED
'Captures the messy essence of being human' WASHINGTON POST

From the 18 million copy internationally bestselling author of A Man Called Ove

It's New Year's Eve and House Tricks estate agents are hosting an open viewing in an up-market apartment when…

A Gentleman in Moscow

By Amor Towles,

Book cover of A Gentleman in Moscow

Karen Samuelson Author Of Weaving Dreams in Oaxaca

From the list on set in beautiful locations.

Who am I?

I have a passion for novels with complex characters and a memorable sense of place. The setting is key to the overall ambiance of a novel: its colors, smells, architecture, terrain, weather, flora, and fauna. My novel, Weaving Dreams In Oaxaca, takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico. The story is unique to the location because it includes the zocalo, cathedrals, outlying pueblos, food, etc. My family and I moved there for six months in 2006, and I fell in love. I sent my mother audio tapes every two weeks describing our adventures as she had become blind. I later transcribed them into twenty-two pages of detailed description of this magical city which I used in my novel.

Karen's book list on set in beautiful locations

Why did Karen love this book?

In terms of a sense of place, most of this book takes place in the Hotel Metropol where Count Alexander is meant to spend the rest of his days as the communist regime has taken over.

His young friend, Nina has a passkey and their days are spent exploring every nook and cranny and the basement of this regal old hotel. Within these walls and his tiny room, the Count keeps up the culture and soul of his lifestyle through conversation, music, poetry, and relationships. The ballroom and stairwells and restaurant reveal secrets, and like the Count, the hotel keeps its dignity and old-world style through it all.

By Amor Towles,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked A Gentleman in Moscow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The mega-bestseller with more than 2 million readers, soon to be a major television series

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway and Rules of Civility, a beautifully transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and…

Salvage the Bones

By Jesmyn Ward,

Book cover of Salvage the Bones

Susan M. Sterett Author Of Litigating the Pandemic: Disaster Cascades in Court

From the list on governing disasters in a changing climate.

Who am I?

I have long been drawn to everyday experiences in courts. Since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, I’ve been writing and teaching about courts, social welfare, and disasters in a changing climate. Following the disasters requires noticing the routine cases filed, not only the notable constitutional claims the United States Supreme Court hears. That can be hard to do, because all the cases filed are not listed in any one place. In the pandemic, my interest in the more ordinary met the databases that people assembled, gathering as best possible the many cases filed about the pandemic.

Susan's book list on governing disasters in a changing climate

Why did Susan love this book?

People’s stories show disasters’ costs better than accounting for how much money they cost or how many people died, the common metrics used in public policy, including during the pandemic. These measures miss the long histories, with disaster as one event in lives that precede it and continue after.

In her poetic novel, Jesmyn Ward details stories of a family living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the days before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, and in its immediate aftermath. By the time the storm strikes, everything that has preceded it makes sense of the family’s being left behind with no way to leave, and characters’ determination to swim to safety.

I had to put the book aside at times because the characters and their experiences felt so real. 

By Jesmyn Ward,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Salvage the Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_______________ 'A brilliantly pacy adventure story ... Ward writes like a dream' - The Times 'Fresh and urgent' - New York Times 'There's something of Faulkner to Ward's grand diction' - Guardian _______________ WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD Hurricane Katrina is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. He's a hard drinker, largely absent, and it isn't often he worries about the family. Esch and her three brothers are stockpiling food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets;…

Bridget Jones's Diary

By Helen Fielding,

Book cover of Bridget Jones's Diary

Cara Bertoia Author Of The Perfect Breasts

From the list on showing life in the big city isn’t all glitz and glam.

Who am I?

When I was a child, I grew up in a very crowded house in suburbia with three sisters. Reading was the best way to escape all the mayhem. By the age of eight I was reading my parents’ novels, whatever books I could find. I wanted to move to a big city like the ones in their novels. At night I would tell myself Cinderella-type stories where I lived in a fabulous apartment and got to be the heroine. I took a class at Harvard Extension, and the professor read my story aloud to the group. From that day on I was hooked.

Cara's book list on showing life in the big city isn’t all glitz and glam

Why did Cara love this book?

I remember reading this novel and laughing out loud. It inspired a decade of chick lit and inspired three movies.

Bridget Jones first appeared in Bridget Jones’s Diary Column in The Independent newspaper. A modernization of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. It convinced a generation of women that if they moved to London, they could meet their own Mr. Darcy. This famous line from the book sums up life in the big city, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.”

Follow Bridget as she changes careers, falls in and out of love, loses and gains weight, and has a jolly old time, you will too.

By Helen Fielding,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Bridget Jones's Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The multi-million copy number one Bestseller

A dazzlingly urban satire on modern relationships?
An ironic, tragic insight into the demise of the nuclear family?
Or the confused ramblings of a pissed thirty-something?

As Bridget documents her struggles through the social minefield of her thirties and tries to weigh up the eternal question (Daniel Cleaver or Mark Darcy?), she turns for support to four indispensable friends: Shazzer, Jude, Tom and a bottle of chardonnay.

Welcome to Bridget's first diary: mercilessly funny, endlessly touching and utterly addictive.

Helen Fielding's first Bridget Jones novel, Bridget Jones's Diary, sparked a phenomenon that has seen…

Animal Husbandry

By Laura Zigman,

Book cover of Animal Husbandry

Mary Carlomagno Author Of Best Friend for Hire

From the list on girl power books that leaped from page to screen.

Who am I?

I'm a publishing executive turned self-help expert who frequents national morning shows to talk about clutter. Full disclosure, I'm a recovering shopaholic with an obsessive need to tidy up people’s homes and offices. My philosophy is simple, I bring order to everything I do, because life shouldn’t be a mess. I've written non-fiction books based on my organizing expertise that has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, and NPR. I learned that it's never really about the stuff but the journey of self-discovery, a journey that is made easier with a best friend at your side. This journey of the flawed and strong heroine in my latest book, a novel called Best Friend for Hire.

Mary's book list on girl power books that leaped from page to screen

Why did Mary love this book?

I would argue that this novel set up the formula for fresh funny self-deprecating women characters that become heroines of their own stories. Later made into a movie with Ashley Judd and titled Someone Like You, the heroine compares modern-day dating to the rituals of mating in the animal kingdom to hilarious results.  

By Laura Zigman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New cow...

Ray makes the move. Jane feels the rush. Ray says the L-word. Jane breaks her lease. Then suddenly, inexplicably, he dumps her. Just. Like. That.

...old cow.

Now black is the only color in Jane's closet and Kleenex is clinging to her nose. Why did it happen? How could it have happened?


Jane is going to get an answer. Not from Ray. Not from her best friends, David and Joan. But from an astounding new discovery of her own: The Old-Cow-New-Cow theory.

Forced to move into the apartment of a womanizing alpha male named Eddie, Jane is…

In Her Shoes

By Jennifer Weiner,

Book cover of In Her Shoes

Kelly McClymer Author Of The Fairy Tale Bride

From the list on celebrating sisterhood through time.

Who am I?

I’ve made a study of being the “big sister” since I was three. I remember standing up in the back seat (pre-seatbelt days), pelting my father with questions as he drove me to my Aunt Florence’s house. The memory is cloudy (maybe faulty, although I can smell that old car and feel the rattle of my dad’s nerves). My little sisters shaped me more than my parents (why did they demand I always be the teacher, no matter my protests of fairness?). Sisterhood was everywhere, from my mom and her twin sister to my dad’s two younger sisters. And so, my fiction often explores the sister bond.

Kelly's book list on celebrating sisterhood through time

Why did Kelly love this book?

Rose and Maggie Feller are so different I immediately related. And yet, beneath it all these two flawed and magnificent sisters are shaped and bonded by the childhood tragedy they experienced. This book is a reminder that a strong shared sense of humor mixed with a genuine desire that the other succeed can help mend any sisterly rift caused by rivalry, betrayal, or a good old-fashioned calling out. Humor is one way my sisters and I always bridged the gap of our differences and learned to walk in each other's shoes, even if only briefly before they pinched.

By Jennifer Weiner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In Her Shoes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rose Feller is thirty years old, a high-powered attorney, with a secret passion for romance novels, an exercise regime she's going to start next week, and dreams of a man who will slide off her glasses, gaze into her eyes, and tell her that she's beautiful.

Meet Rose's sister Maggie. Twenty-eight years old, drop-dead gorgeous and only occasionally employed, Maggie is a backing singer in a band called. She dreams of fame and fortune -- and of getting her dowdy big sister to stick to a skin-care regime.

These two women with nothing in common but a childhood tragedy, shared…

The Devil Wears Prada

By Lauren Weisberger,

Book cover of The Devil Wears Prada

Clark T. Carlton Author Of A Bitch for God

From the list on full of intimate self-revelations.

Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to artists who expose their lives in a way that makes you feel you know them. The best of them have a raw honesty that shows their flaws, their wounds and struggles and hopefully the lessons they learned. Nobody likes bragging, but we’re captivated by accounts that echo our own secrets, embarrassments, and darker emotions, especially if told with a sense of humor. For decades, I’ve been addicted to the confessional lyrics of Joni Mitchell and have always been drawn to the unguarded openness of certain memoirs and the roman-à-clef or thinly disguised autobiography. In showing us their vulnerabilities, these authors have been heroic.  

Clark's book list on full of intimate self-revelations

Why did Clark love this book?

Anyone who ever had a cold, demanding, and impossible boss can relate to Andrea Sachs, a young intern who needs to work for one year for Miranda Priestly, a character based on Vogue’s Anna Wintour.

Andrea is a well-adjusted young woman from a privileged background but she’s not without deceptions in her ambition. She takes a job at a fashion magazine even though she has little interest in fashion and it’s a job that “a million other girls would die for.” She also becomes like the boss she detests as her star rises and her personal life falters.

This fun and indulgent popular novel is a roman-a-clef about a young woman who chooses her own suffering and eventually finds her better self. She also gets revenge when she writes a successful novel about her ex-boss.

By Lauren Weisberger,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Devil Wears Prada as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

High fashion, low cunning - and the boss from hell

When Andrea first sets foot in the plush Manhattan offices of Runway she knows nothing. She's never heard of the world's most fashionable magazine, or its feared and fawned-over editor, Miranda Priestly - her new boss.

A year later, she knows altogether too much:

That it's a sacking offence to wear anything lower than a three-inch heel to work.

That you can charge cars, manicures, anything at all to the Runway account, but you must never, ever, leave your desk, or let Miranda's coffee get cold.

And that at 3…

Book cover of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Rebecca Rosenblum Author Of These Days Are Numbered: Diary of a High-Rise Lockdown

From the list on community and connection.

Who am I?

I’ve always been deeply interested in how people connect to those around them—it is something I write about constantly. My first novel, So Much Love, was about how a community reacts to terrible loss and uncertainty, and my recent book of nonfiction, These Days Are Numbered, is about how my own community—and I—reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic. I am always looking at how humans human, separately and especially together. That is one of the joys of narrative fiction for me—the way we can use it to examine our behaviour and interactions, and how we form relationships and communities. I hope these books enthrall you as much as they did me.

Rebecca's book list on community and connection

Why did Rebecca love this book?

This novel is a sometimes funny and sometimes grim depiction of what it is like to be extremely lonely, and what it takes to move from that loneliness into friendship.

It starts out as something pretty simple and goofy—a socially challenged young woman develops a crush on a singer in a local band and tries to pursue him, but that’s just a jumping-off point for Honeyman to show Eleanor Oliphant in all her prickly, strange, smart, hurting glory.

This book is a quick-witted slow burn and it takes a while for Eleanor to finally let her defenses down and allow people—both within the book and the readers—to see what she’s struggling with—but is it ever worth it to go on the journey with this fascinating character.

By Gail Honeyman,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

"Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!" -Reese Witherspoon

No one's ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of…


By Sara Pritchard,

Book cover of Crackpots

Heather Frese Author Of The Baddest Girl on the Planet

From the list on featuring quirky, funny female protagonists.

Who am I?

I fell in love with quirky, funny, female protagonists early in my reading life, starting with Ramona Quimby and her unique way of seeing the world. As a kid, I always felt different, you know? I was sensitive, shy, and observant, and I delighted in finding characters in books who also bucked up against what I thought of as typical. As a writer, I love writing interesting, unconventional women, and I love using humor to elevate my characters’ voices. I think humor is one of the best ways to establish voice and also, paradoxically, to navigate tragedy. I hope to write many more quirky, funny female characters in future books.

Heather's book list on featuring quirky, funny female protagonists

Why did Heather love this book?

I laughed out loud reading Sara Pritchard’s Crackpots, the story of spunky Ruby Reese and her complicated coming-of-age. This book was a huge influence on the structure of my own novel. Pritchard plays with chronology and point of view in a way that made me think, wow, I didn’t know you could do that. And then, ooh, I want to do that. Lyrical, detailed, and hilarious, this ranks as one of my all-time faves.

By Sara Pritchard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When we first meet Ruby Reese she’s a spunky kid in a cowgirl hat, tap dancing her way through a slightly off-kilter 1950s childhood. With an insomniac mother and a demolitions-expert father, her entire family is what the residents of her small town would call "a bunch of crackpots." Despite the dramas of her upbringing, Ruby matures into a creative, introspective, and wholly beguiling woman. But her adulthood is marked by complex relationships and romantic missteps -- three unsuitable marriages, dramatic crushes, the complicated love between siblings. As Sara Pritchard deftly guides us through Ruby's story, from the present to…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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