100 books like Wild

By Cheryl Strayed,

Here are 100 books that Wild fans have personally recommended if you like Wild. 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 Driving Over Lemons

Kathryn Curzon Author Of No Damage: An adventure in courage, survival and the pursuit of dreams

From my list on helping you ditch the 9 to 5 & create your dream life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with living life on my own terms since I was a child and drew pictures with inspirational quotes such as ‘go your own way!’ and ‘aim for the moon!’ Fast forward to my thirties and I quit my 9-5 career to embrace what it means to live out my wildest dreams. I was terrified but, aren’t we all? I can’t get enough of inspiring books that teach me how to live big, believe in myself, and push far beyond what society tells us we should do. All of which helped me to build my dream life and live it. Now get out there and make your dream life happen!

Kathryn's book list on helping you ditch the 9 to 5 & create your dream life

Kathryn Curzon Why did Kathryn love this book?

Driving Over Lemons is a quintessential travel book that inspired me to throw away my regular life and start exploring the world.

This classic tale takes you to far-flung shores bathed in sunshine, filled with misadventures, and bursting with glorious food. What more could you need to start dreaming, take a leap, and make your perfect life a reality? 

This is my go-to for the start of any big project and always gives me the courage to go for it and laugh in the face of adversity on the way.

By Chris Stewart,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Driving Over Lemons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special anniversary edition with an updated chapter set 25 years on by Chris Stewart.

Over two decades ago we set up Sort of Books to help our friend, the some-time Genesis drummer Chris Stewart, bring his sunlit stories of life on a Spanish mountain farm to print. Ever the optimist, Chris hoped to earn enough money to buy a second-hand tractor for his farm. He got his tractor, as the book spent a year on the Sunday Times Top 10 charts and went on to sell a million and a half copies.

His story is a classic. A dreamer…

Book cover of Jane Eyre

Jawahara Saidullah Author Of We are...Warrior Queens

From my list on transporting you across time and place.

Why am I passionate about this?

Travel and writing are my two great passions. Since I was a child, I escaped reality by escaping into my own mind. I had relied on my stories of the warrior queens ever since I learned about them as a child. It was only a few years ago, when I lived in Geneva, that I had a memory flash at me of the statue of Queen Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi on a rearing horse with a curved sword held in one hand. I knew then that it was time to tell a story—my own story and that of my favorite warrior queens.

Jawahara's book list on transporting you across time and place

Jawahara Saidullah Why did Jawahara love this book?

This is one classic that everyone should read because it’s a pleasure to do so. I read this as a 13-year-old, and it quickly became the yardstick against which I measured every other love story. Yes, it’s a love story, and that is the heart of this book, but it’s not a sappy romantic tale. 

This book explores class structures, mental disorders, and a glimpse into another time. Intense yet leashed emotions form the backbone of the story. As a teen and even now, the brooding, dark quality of this tale really appeals to me.

By Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

33 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…

Book cover of Into the Wild

M. R. Reed Author Of Enthrall

From my list on doing what is right when others are against you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m drawn to the idea of doing what you think is right when others are against you because I’ve always felt the desire to row against the current and just do my own thing. I tend to avoid following the crowd because oftentimes I simply don’t agree with them. Am I being purposely difficult? Maybe. But I fear a society that goes with the flow simply because it’s easier and it doesn’t require them to think for themselves. It’s okay to listen to other people, but before you make any major decisions, ask yourself a question: Is this right for me?

M. R.'s book list on doing what is right when others are against you

M. R. Reed Why did M. R. love this book?

Here’s my confession: I hated Chris McCandless by the time I finished this book. I hated his cockiness and lack of respect for the power of the wilderness.

But you know what I give him credit for? His ability to leave his life of privilege and the courage to go out into the world and forge his own destiny. He did what he thought was best for him despite the pushback he received from his friends and family.

I think I hated him so much because I wanted him to succeed, and he doomed himself through his own hubris. 

By Jon Krakauer,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Into the Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Krakauer’s page-turning bestseller explores a famed missing person mystery while unraveling the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

"Terrifying... Eloquent... A heart-rending drama of human yearning." —New York Times

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all…

Book cover of The Glass Castle

Robin van Eck Author Of Rough

From my list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream.

Why am I passionate about this?

Someone once said I can’t believe you didn’t end up in a ditch with a needle in your arm. It sounds harsh, but they meant it with love. In spite of my broken home, familial dysfunction, trauma, and bad decisions, I found a way to be okay and share my life experiences through words and stories rather than a bottle. I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization specializing in developing authors who want to publish and use writing for therapy and healing. I live in Calgary, AB, Canada, with my teenage daughter and act as the emotional support human for an anxious dog. 

Robin's book list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream

Robin van Eck Why did Robin love this book?

This is quite possibly my favourite memoir ever written. It made me laugh, cry and scream. Never have I seen such a clearly dysfunctional family that didn’t even realize they were dysfunctional.

I loved them because they embraced life no matter what and hated them because they didn’t see how bad what they were doing to one another was. Full of elements and emotions from my own childhood, this book made me feel deeply and emotionally.  

By Jeannette Walls,

Why should I read it?

21 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,…

Book cover of Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle

Karen Gershowitz Author Of Wanderlust: Extraordinary People, Quirky Places, and Curious Cuisine

From my list on making you want to travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been traveling since age seventeen when I boarded a plane and headed to Europe on my own. Over the next three years I lived in London, took weekend jaunts across the continent, and became completely bitten by the travel bug. Since then, I’ve traveled to more than 95 countries. I’ve lost and gained friends and lovers and made a radical career change so that I could afford my travel addiction. Like my readers, I am an ordinary person. Through travel I’ve learned courage and risk-taking and succeeded at things I didn’t know I could do. My goal in writing is to inspire others to take off and explore the world.

Karen's book list on making you want to travel

Karen Gershowitz Why did Karen love this book?

I think of myself as an adventurous traveler, but Dervla Murphy travels in a way that I would never even consider.

So, it’s a pleasure to sit in a comfortable chair and read about places I’ll never visit and people who I’d love to meet, but never will. Murphy writes so vividly I feel as though I am right beside her as she fends off wolves, struggles to drag a bicycle uphill through mountain snow, and shares tea with nomads.

This was her first book and every book that follows is equally compelling.

By Dervla Murphy,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Full Tilt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Braving hunger, heat exhaustion, unbearable terrain and cultures largely untouched by civilization, Dervla Murphy chronicles her determined trip through nine countries, through snow and ice in the mountains and miles of barren land in the scorching desert. Full Tilt is a highly individual account by a celebrated travel writer based on the daily diary Murphy kept while riding through Yugoslavia, Persia, Afghanistan, over the Himalayas to Pakistan and into India. Murphy's charm and gracious sensitivity as a writer and a traveler reveals not only civilizations of exotic people and places but the wonder of a woman alone on an extraordinary…

Book cover of H is for Hawk

Gill Oliver Author Of Joe Faber and the Optimists

From my list on books for when life heads downhill.

Why am I passionate about this?

The bottom has fallen out of my world several times now, but it’s much worse watching disaster strike someone you love. When my husband suffered a near-fatal stroke, it was inevitable I’d end up writing about his road to rehab. Grit and humour were what they said he’d need, and Scousers like me laugh at anything. We also cry and argue a lot. I’m on a mission to cheer people on and hand them arms as they battle through hard times. A life, or a state of mind, can change in a moment, and that’s what I read and write about.  

Gill's book list on books for when life heads downhill

Gill Oliver Why did Gill love this book?

This took me way outside my own experience. I’m drawn to books that bring together different areas of knowledge, and here, a memoir about bereavement intertwines with the training of a goshawk and a preoccupation with the writer T E White.

I admired its rhythm as one strand was plaited over the next. It meant that a book which talks a lot about patience, pain, and stillness never lost its momentum, and I kept reading. I knew nothing about falconry, with its ancient history and medieval-sounding language, so it ticked my ‘new vocabulary’ box, too. 

By Helen Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked H is for Hawk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year

ON MORE THAN 25 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR LISTS: including TIME (#1 Nonfiction Book), NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine (10 Favorite Books), Vogue (Top 10), Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle (Top 10), Miami Herald, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top 10), Library Journal (Top 10), Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Slate, Shelf Awareness, Book Riot, Amazon (Top 20)

The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald's story of adopting and raising one of…

Book cover of All the Light We Cannot See

Bruce Borgos Author Of The Bitter Past

From my list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved peculiar heroes and heroines. Characters with strange gifts and an equal number of challenges. It started with Sherlock Holmes, whose mind fascinated me. As a child, I gravitated to the unnatural protagonist, Tarzan, in the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was never a big fan of Superman, I preferred people who adapted quickly to new surroundings and could think on their feet. Once I began my writing career, I kept those protagonists in my mind. Four novels in, I do my best to capture their spirit and determination to overcome whatever lands in front of them.

Bruce's book list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities

Bruce Borgos Why did Bruce love this book?

I loved this book because it’s a World War II story (my favorite time period), which I can’t get enough of, and its protagonist, Marie-Laure, is a young blind girl. By the time she’s twelve, she has learned to navigate Nazi-occupied Paris from a miniature of the city her father has built for her.

This is a girl with many fears, her blindness being just one, but she pushes through them all in order to help her country overcome its worst nightmare. Her bravery is off the charts!

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

38 authors picked All the Light We Cannot See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.'

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic…

Book cover of On the Road

Christopher Corr Author Of The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac

From my list on for travelling vagabonds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started travelling to paint and draw when I was an art student, first in Manchester and then at the Royal College of Art in London. I applied for drawing scholarships to help enable my travels. I wanted to see and draw the world in my own way. I’ve never really liked reading travel guidebooks. They date so quickly and can be too limiting but I’ve always enjoyed reading books by people who travel. You get a much truer sense of a place from someone who has followed a passion to somewhere remote. When I travel I look for stories on my journeys, something to bring home.

Christopher's book list on for travelling vagabonds

Christopher Corr Why did Christopher love this book?

This is the bible for the Beat generation and a glimpse into the jazz poetry road trip art world of 1950s America.

I read it before travelling to the US on a scholarship to help give me a sense of the Americana and youth culture I hope I would find.

I travelled all around the States excited by motels and road signs and railroad stations and telegraph poles laden with cables running off to disappear over the horizon. And those big old cars…

It’s such a physical story, so full of vigour and sweat.

By Jack Kerouac,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked On the Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The legendary novel of freedom and the search for authenticity that defined a generation, now in a striking new Pengiun Classics Deluxe Edition

Inspired by Jack Kerouac's adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naivete and wild ambition and imbued with Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed…

Book cover of Circe

Terry Madden Author Of Three Wells of the Sea

From my list on mythic fantasy novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been studying Celtic myth and history since I was in college and took a class on Arthurian literature. Drawing heavily from Irish and Welsh lore to build my “land beyond the veil” known as the Five Quarters, I have always been intrigued by the Celtic view of the land of the dead as a distinct world to which we go and then return, like two sides of the mirrored surface of a well. I hope you enjoy these mythic fantasy books as much as I did!

Terry's book list on mythic fantasy novels

Terry Madden Why did Terry love this book?

I loved this book as much for the writing itself as the story. Miller creates a lush world of numinous magic.

I could not stop listening to this retelling of the life of Circe. She was the daughter of the sun god and the most feared sorceress of her time. She was given a bad rap by history, but I felt like I understood her and could see into her heart and mind.

In addition, the worldbuilding is wonderful. I felt like I was taken to ancient Greece. 

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…

Book cover of Outliers: The Story of Success

Elissa L. Perry Author Of Human Resources for the Non-HR Manager

From my list on less businessy business that can help managers.

Why am I passionate about this?

In a world in which we are faced with increasing amounts of information that we have to parse (from social media, cable news channels, newspapers), it often feels hard to separate fact from fiction, and evidence-based research from junk science. In my own work, I have given a great deal of thought to how to get research-based evidence into the hands of practitioners (managers, employees) who can put it to good use. An important piece of the puzzle is helping practitioners understand the research evidence and how to apply it. The books on this list are great examples of authors who translate research into language that people can understand and use.

Elissa's book list on less businessy business that can help managers

Elissa L. Perry Why did Elissa love this book?

Gladwell is a master storyteller who is especially gifted at weaving an interesting narrative around what might otherwise be banal research evidence and facts. 

In this book, he challenges our thinking about what contributes to individuals’ success; our over emphasis on individual merit, innate talent, and ambition and under emphasis on the role of context, opportunities, and preparation. Gladwell uses engaging and relevant stories (about hockey players, geniuses, plane crashes, his own family) to make his points in powerful ways.  

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has written three books that have radically changed how we understand our world and ourselves: The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. Regarded by many as the most gifted and influential author and journalist in America today, Gladwell has the rare ability to connect with audiences of tremendously varied interests. There are over 10 million copies of his books in print. Now, Gladwell's landmark investigations into the world around us are collected together for the first time. Beautifully repackaged and redesigned, with newly added illustrations throughout each book, COLLECTED is a perfect treasury of prose…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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