The most recommended butterfly books

Who picked these books? Meet our 40 experts.

40 authors created a book list connected to butterflies, and here are their favorite butterfly books.
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What type of butterfly book?


Monarchs and Milkweed

By Anurag Agrawal,

Book cover of Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution

John N. Thompson Author Of Relentless Evolution

From the list on coevolution and relentless evolution.

Who am I?

I am captivated and never cease to be astonished by the seemingly endless variety of ways in which coevolution shapes the millions of species on earth into intricate and ever-changing webs of life. The reasons for my fascination are simple. Most species require other species to survive or reproduce, which means that the evolution of biodiversity is as much about evolution of the links among species as it is about evolution of the species themselves. I find immense joy in following the connections among species within the web of life, trying to understand how coevolution has shaped, and relentlessly reshapes, each link. There are always surprises along the way.

John's book list on coevolution and relentless evolution

Why did John love this book?

Plants and insects make up most of the species on earth, and they have spent millions of years interacting and coevolving with each other. In this book, Anurag Agrawal weaves together what scientists have learned about one of the most charismatic of these interactions, those between milkweeds and monarch butterflies. He explores why the evolution of these interactions never ceases, but he also shows us just how difficult it can be to sort out how particular species coevolve. The book is a window into why the interactions between plants and insects may be the most diverse interactions that have ever evolved between complex organisms. Agrawal is a leading researcher on the evolution of interactions between plants and insects, and, fortunately, he is also an absorbing writer. 

By Anurag Agrawal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The fascinating and complex evolutionary relationship of the monarch butterfly and the milkweed plant Monarch butterflies are one of nature's most recognizable creatures, known for their bright colors and epic annual migration from the United States and Canada to Mexico. Yet there is much more to the monarch than its distinctive presence and mythic journeying. In Monarchs and Milkweed, Anurag Agrawal presents a vivid investigation into how the monarch butterfly has evolved closely alongside the milkweed--a toxic plant named for the sticky white substance emitted when its leaves are damaged--and how this inextricable and intimate relationship has been like an…

Paper Butterflies

By Lisa Heathfield,

Book cover of Paper Butterflies

Deborah Crossland Author Of The Quiet Part Out Loud

From the list on YA that made me cry.

Who am I?

I have loved story since I was little, and I’ve curated a life where it has always taken center stage in some or another. I was a high school English teacher for ten years, and have been a college professor for eight. But what really inspires me to write the books I do is my PhD in mythological studies. As a mythologist, I’m lucky enough to be able to see why stories resonate with us for so long and use those same themes and metaphors to write my own. 

Deborah's book list on YA that made me cry

Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this book pre-publication in 2016, and I still think about it at least once a week.

The story is a haunting portrayal of a girl lost in a blended family with a stepmother who treats her worse than Cinderella and a father who only wants to see the shiny surface of his shiny new family. It’s told in a then/now timeline which slowly reveals not only what June did to land her on death row but the abuse she endured that got her there. This one is heavy, but oh so worth the read.

By Lisa Heathfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one―and a secret one. Not even her dad knows the truth, and she can't find the words to tell anyone else. She's trapped like a butterfly in a net. Then June meets Blister, a boy from a large, loving, chaotic family. In him, she finds a glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away. Because she deserves her freedom. Doesn't she?

Speak, Memory

By Vladimir Nabokov,

Book cover of Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited

Fergus Craik Author Of Memory

From the list on how your memory works – and why it often doesn't.

Who am I?

I’m a cognitive psychologist, originally from Scotland, but I have lived and worked in Canada for the last 50 years, first at the University of Toronto, and then at a research institute in Toronto. My passion has always been to understand the human mind – especially memory – through experimental research. Memory is fundamental to our mental life as humans; to a large extent it defines who we are. It is a complex and fascinating topic, and my career has been devoted to devising experiments and theories to understand it better. In our recent book, Larry Jacoby and I attempt to pass on the excitement of unravelling these fascinating mysteries of memory.

Fergus' book list on how your memory works – and why it often doesn't

Why did Fergus love this book?

This classic book, unlike others in the list, is not so much about memory, as a collection of the author’s memories of his childhood and early years.

Nabokov was born into a wealthy family in pre-Revolutionary Russia in 1899. His childhood in St. Petersburg and at the family’s country estate are described in loving detail, as are aspects of later years in England, Germany, and France. Nabokov was one of the great writers of the 20th Century, and the memories are recounted in his glowing and evocative prose.

His writing is nostalgic, but also wryly humorous, aware that many aspects of his early life are gone forever. Many of the chapters first appeared as articles in The New Yorker; all are eminently readable. 

By Vladimir Nabokov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An autobiographical volume which recounts the story of Nabokov's first forty years up to his departure from Europe for America at the outset of World War Two. It tells of his emergence as a writer, his early loves and his marriage, and his passions for butterflies and his lost homeland. Written in this writer's characteristically brilliant, mordant style, this book is also a tender record of lost childhood and youth in pre-Revolutionary Russia.

By The River

By Steven Herrick,

Book cover of By The River

Emma Cameron Author Of Out of This Place

From the list on family, belonging and unrequited love.

Who am I?

Working in schools, I was surrounded by young people facing challenges and finding their place in the world. Their lives were affected by various relationships, family, and their own personalities. I thrived on their energy and was privileged when they shared their stories, hopes, fears, and uncertainties. I witnessed hearts captured by young love that wasn’t always returned and marvelled at how those without good family support still managed to stay true to themselves no matter what life threw at them. Thank goodness for human resilience. I’m no poet but enjoy language and using poetic devices. I became a writer when teen characters insisted that I give voice to their stories.

Emma's book list on family, belonging and unrequited love

Why did Emma love this book?

This story’s protagonist is a caring, trustworthy, thoughtful young man. Harry’s life holds its share of loss. His loving dad is raising two boys alone because their mother has died. My heart both bled and soared as I watched Harry, a deep-thinking soul, make sense of the world. His tale holds timeless flavours of the past sprinkled with plenty of honesty.

Free verse delivers so much story in very few words. Each verse is a poem that stands alone and, besides reading from start to finish, I often dip into it in random places to enjoy glimpses into the heart of a wonderful male role model. It’s no wonder that the United States Board on Books for Young People placed it on their Outstanding International Book List.

By Steven Herrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

HONOUR BOOK: CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers, 2005The big river rolls past our town, takes a slow look and rolls away.Life for Harry means swimming in Pearce Swamp, eating chunks of watermelon with his brother and his dad, surviving schoolyard battles, and racing through butterflies in Cowpers Paddock. In his town there's Linda, who brings him the sweetest-ever orange cake, and Johnny, whose lightning fists draw blood in a blur, and there's a mystery that Harry needs to solve before he can find a way outBy the river is about the feeling the undercurrents, finding solid ground and…

Book cover of Consciousness Explained Better: Towards an Integral Understanding of the Multifaceted Nature of Consciousness

Jim Brown Author Of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

From the list on brain, mind, and consciousness.

Who am I?

I have spent my entire professional life quietly patrolling the frontiers of understanding human consciousness. I was an early adopter in the burgeoning field of biofeedback, then neurofeedback and neuroscience, plus theory and practices of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, plus steeping myself in systems theory as a context for all these other fields of focus. I hold a MS in psychology from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Saybrook Institute. I live in Mount Shasta CA with Molly, my life partner for over 60 years. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

Jim's book list on brain, mind, and consciousness

Why did Jim love this book?

I have only recently become acquainted with Allan Combs, and consider myself very fortunate to be in correspondence with him regarding my book. As a serious student of synchronicity, I had read his book by that title (written with Mark Holland) and knew him to be a delightful writer and deep thinker on topics dear to my heart. Consciousness Explained Better, which demonstrates Allan’s depth and scope as a teacher of consciousness studies, contributed the perfect excerpt needed to support a concept at the very core of my book.

By Allan Combs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Consciousness Explained Better is a unique contribution. This compact volume represents thousands of years of humanity's struggle to understand consciousness from a wide variety of perspectives. It is an up-to-date digest of the search in bite-sized chapters. Allan Combs has managed to encapsulate and synthesize vast bodies of thought and research without dilution. He has made even the most mind-twisting arguments and questions comprehensible, and he has brought forward scholarship and rigorous inquiry in language that speaks to the heart as well as the head. This book satisfies with its comprehensiveness yet intrigues with all that still remains enigmatic. It…

Butterfly House

By Eve Bunting, Greg Shed (illustrator),

Book cover of Butterfly House

Kathleen Doherty Author Of The Thingity-Jig

From the list on picture books with hope, happiness, and empathy.

Who am I?

I’m a former reading specialist/educational specialist who still enjoys reading aloud to students, helping kids learn to read, and introducing them to quality literature. I love reading picture books...and I write them to entertain and empower kids.

Kathleen's book list on picture books with hope, happiness, and empathy

Why did Kathleen love this book?

This is a gentle, lyrical story. This book inspires love. If you read it, you’ll feel the loving relationship the girl has with her grandfather...and with butterflies. You’ll wonder why the butterflies visit the girl once she’s grown up. What do the butterflies who visit her seem to know or sense? Why aren’t the butterflies visiting her neighbors?

By Eve Bunting, Greg Shed (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the help of her grandfather, a little girl makes a house for a larva and watches it develop before setting it free, and every summer after that butterflies come to visit her. By the author of Smoky Night.

The Stolen Bicycle

By Ming-Yi Wu, Darryl Sterk (translator),

Book cover of The Stolen Bicycle

Shawna Yang Ryan Author Of Green Island

From the list on an otherworldly Taiwan.

Who am I?

The ghostly/magical and Taiwan are two of my major interests—I have written about both in my fiction. After living in Taiwan for a few years and getting to know my mother’s side of the family, I gained an appreciation for its complicated history, riveting politics, and the energy of daily life there. Its confluence of people and histories has made it a unique cultural amalgam and these books capture the way folk religion and the spiritual/magical are wedded into the bustling contemporary urban life of Taiwan. I hope you find yourself as enchanted and intrigued by these stories as I have been!

Shawna's book list on an otherworldly Taiwan

Why did Shawna love this book?

There is a scene in this book where one of the characters finds himself diving among the bodies of dead veterans in the flooded basement of a building. Is it real? Is it a dream? The uncanniness and careful sense of loneliness and history in the scene not only intrigued my imagination, but touched my heart too. In talking about the search for a bicycle, this Booker International Prize-nominated novel encompasses so much more—archive, history, memory, war, colonialism, butterflies. This is a surprising and expansive book by one of Taiwan’s best contemporary writers.

By Ming-Yi Wu, Darryl Sterk (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A writer embarks on an epic quest in search of his missing father’s stolen bicycle and soon finds himself ensnared in the strangely intertwined stories of Lin Wang, the oldest elephant who ever lived, the soldiers who fought in the jungles of South-East Asia during World War II, and the secret world of butterfly handicraft makers in Taiwan. The result is both a majestic historical novel and a profound, startlingly intimate meditation on memory, family and home. Wu’s writing has been compared to that of Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami, W.G. Sebald and Yann Martel.


By Carian Cole,

Book cover of Asher

L.M. Dalgleish Author Of Fractured Hearts

From the list on sexy rockstars that make your heart skip a beat.

Who am I?

I’ve always adored romance books—there’s nothing like the thrill of meeting characters that you know you’re going to fall in love with just as much as they’re going to fall in love with each other. I didn’t start out intending to write about rock stars. But when I was sitting down in front of that first blank screen looking for inspiration, it was a rock star that took shape in my mind. There is something so inherently appealing about the artistic, tortured souls of musicians. Relationships in the spotlight come with very special challenges, and I love exploring how characters navigate these while still developing passionate, soul-deep emotional bonds.

L.M.'s book list on sexy rockstars that make your heart skip a beat

Why did L.M. love this book?

I love Carian Cole’s books. She writes the most beautifully emotional rock star romances, and the final book in her Ashes and Embers series is an unapologetic tear-jerker. This book asks the question: if two soulmates meet and fall in love, and then tragedy fundamentally changes one of them, are they still soul mates? The answer Carian Cole provides is a breathtakingly romantic story that will make you believe in true love that lasts forever. The fact that Asher is a sexy rockstar who could make anyone swoon is absolutely the icing on the cake.

By Carian Cole,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Carian Cole unapologetically pulls out all the feels in this romance! Reading this book will have you asking yourself if you would stay committed to your spouse in the face of unspeakable tragedy. And would they stay committed to you?

I should have died.
I should have been forgotten.
But I didn’t, and I wasn’t.

Living the life most women only dream about, I was madly in love with my soulmate—Asher Valentine—amazing husband, loving father, and rock’s favorite kick-ass frontman. A man who loved me every day, in every way, since we first met as teens. We were blessed with…

Hunting Eden

By VH Nicolson,

Book cover of Hunting Eden

Elle Nicoll Author Of Drawn to Mr. King

From the list on love with heavy topics to make your heart hurt.

Who am I?

I worked for years as a long-haul flight attendant, and met a lot of people. Some travelling for love, honeymoons, anniversaries, some for medical care, to say goodbye to someone. And some for that bucket list item, because they knew it was their last chance. I’ve always been amazed by the human spirit and its ability to love deeply. And I love romance stories! I have read so many. My favourites are the ones about people and the emotional journeys they go on. So combine the two, and you’ve got heart-wrenching stories that make you realise what’s important, even if they do break your heart in the process.

Elle's book list on love with heavy topics to make your heart hurt

Why did Elle love this book?

This book is funny. But it is also sweet and touches on some heavy subjects, such as miscarriage and the butterfly effect it can have on an entire family and the way in which the main character, Eden, a dance instructor, is led very much by her past and the deep hurt it holds. 

Eden meets Hunter King, a pro-golfer, and this is where the fun and steam come in! V H Nicolson is Scottish, and the book is based in Scotland and uses local terminology, with a fun glossary at the beginning of each chapter.

By VH Nicolson,

Why should I read it?

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

Mists of the Serengeti

By Leylah Attar,

Book cover of Mists of the Serengeti

Robin Hill Author Of Waiting for the Sun

From the list on romance for lovers of broken book boyfriends.

Who am I?

The tortured hero was my first love, and I’ve never been able to shake him. He never fails to crush me, and there’s nothing more rewarding to a masochistic reader than being completely annihilated, then put back together again. These heartbroken heartbreakers are easy to love (usually), easy to forgive (hopefully), and always keep you coming back for more (definitely). My character, Darian, was born of my search for the perfect tortured hero, and although I’ve moved on to a different kind of hero for my follow-up novel, Magnolia May, he’ll forever own my heart.  

Robin's book list on romance for lovers of broken book boyfriends

Why did Robin love this book?

Once in Africa, I got my @ss handed to me by a king…” That’s a direct quote from my review, and it will make a lot more sense once you’ve read the book. Jack is the epitome of the tortured hero—angry, terse, godawful at times—but you accept it because, Oh my God! Think of what he’s suffered! And then you get to that part where said hero begins to soften toward the heroine and shut up! This book absolutely gutted me, and the pain was physical. No, seriously. My chest and stomach literally ached. I felt tingly, overheated, exhausted, and drained. And that was just from the prologue! 

By Leylah Attar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Leylah Attar, comes a compelling, emotionally resonant novel, set against the lush backdrop of the Serengeti.

An Indie Reader Discovery Award Winner

Once in Africa, I kissed a king…

“And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, I discovered the elusive magic I had only ever glimpsed between the pages of great love stories. It fluttered around me like a newborn butterfly and settled in a corner of my heart. I held my breath, afraid to exhale for fear it would slip out,…

Amazing Matilda

By Bette A. Stevens,

Book cover of Amazing Matilda: A Monarch's Tale

Gigi Sedlmayer Author Of Come Fly With Me

From the list on fiction about overcoming challenges.

Who am I?

After being rejected in school, because I had to move with my family again and again, I never had really friends and knew how being left alone and rejected felt. So I put my nose into books and developed a love for writing. Since I didn’t know what to do with them, I left them alone when I married. After being diagnosed with cancer later in my life, I couldn’t go back to work, I remembered my love to write and read so I started to write short stories again. I want to help young people going through similar rejections and bullying, to lift them up, and take the negativity out of their minds. 

Gigi's book list on fiction about overcoming challenges

Why did Gigi love this book?

This is a brilliant tale about a little egg that becomes a caterpillar and transforms into a beautiful Monarch.

I love animal stories, so I would always recommend this story to anyone.

He is asking his friends eating away on juice leaves, the sparrow, the toat, and the rabbit how he could get wings. He wanted desperately to fly.

The answer was: Just have patience and follow your instincts.

Matilda was doing so until she ate so many leaves that she changed once more and fell asleep. Waking up, she was amazed to see that she had wings. But they wouldn’t work, she had to keep flapping them until, finally, she flew off.

Matilda is not only a little butterfly story, it shows you that whatever you are going to do, have patience, follow your dream or instincts, and never give up.

By Bette A. Stevens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inspire the Kids with an Award-winning (Excellence in Children's Literature) Monarch Butterfly Tale.
In this age of instant gratification, there's an award-winning children's picture book out that teaches kids that patience and hard work really do pay off.

'AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch's Tale' is a timely tale that follows MATILDA, a tiny monarch caterpillar, from the time she hatches from her egg on a giant milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. The story provides challenges and adventure at every turn.

Grandparents, parents and teachers will find that AMAZING MATILDA is a book that kids will want to…

Pioneer Species

By Ross Thurber,

Book cover of Pioneer Species

Deirdre Heekin Author Of An Unlikely Vineyard: The Education of a Farmer and Her Quest for Terroir

From the list on wine, love, and landscape.

Who am I?

I am a winegrower, farmer, writer, photographer, and pop-upeuse. I fell in love with food and wine while living and working in Italy, then returned stateside to create an homage to the people and place that embraced us and taught us so much. That endeavor--the restaurant osteria pane e salute opened with my chef husband Caleb Barber—was where I curated the wine program and became passionate about wines farmed artfully. I began working as a winegrower in 2007, a personal landscape experiment that led me down the rabbit hole of growing and making wine from hybrid varieties focused on regenerative viticulture and low intervention winemaking.

Deirdre's book list on wine, love, and landscape

Why did Deirdre love this book?

Pioneer Species is a book of poems by friend and farmer-poet Ross Thurber. A small vineyard I work with in southern Vermont, my own agricultural essay and investigation on a sense of place different than my own, is part of Ross’s Lilac Ridge Farm. Like Mary Oliver, Ross is intensely bound to the natural and cultivated world of his farm in which he lives and his poems capture a language that brings forward the light, the shadow, the fog, the till, the butterfly, the flower, the cow. I am constantly inspired by his poems to be out in my own fields and to contemplate and communicate my own place in them. A delicious collection about a deeply personal and lyrical view of farm life.

By Ross Thurber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This collection of poems from Vermont farmer Ross Thurber is divided into four sections: "Green Popplewood," "Sunburnt Juniper," "Stag Horn Sumac," and "Snow Melt, Black Brook." Each section represents a seasonal form of succession that is both literal and abstract. Ultimately the poems in this manuscript have been winnowed to represent a narrative that echoes the idea that, like a lyric poem, stability is only a moment in time―one to be cherished.

Book cover of The Heyday of Natural History, 1820-1870

Michael Layland Author Of In Nature's Realm: Early Naturalists Explore Vancouver Island

From the list on the history of natural history.

Who am I?

In Nature’s Realm is my third book on the theme of exploration of Vancouver Island, my home for the past thirty years, and my first focussed on the history of natural history. In it, I call upon decades of experience in mapping hitherto scarcely known parts of the world, combined with a keen fascination with the fauna and flora of the many places where I have lived and worked. I have marvelled at the work of the exploring naturalists and am fascinated with their personal histories. I find it enthralling how they each added to the sum of human knowledge of the wonders of the natural world, now so sadly threatened.

Michael's book list on the history of natural history

Why did Michael love this book?

I found this delightful, well-written account of great interest and reference. It covers the widespread passion for all aspects of natural history during the Victorian era, how the collectors of ferns, seashells, birds’ eggs, and skins, butterflies, beetles, orchids, and all manner of curiosities from the natural world, pursued their hobbies. This general acceptance by society led to the formation of clubs, articles, and even specialist journals and popular lectures by amateurs and scientists.

Beautifully illustrated, this book, even though constrained in its timeframe, provides a wonderful introduction to the topic. Since I cover many of the people and motives included here, I much enjoyed another writer’s perspective on them.

By Lynn Barber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heyday of Natural History, 1820-1870 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First American Edition. "Generously illustrated and impeccably researched, "The Heyday of Natural History" is a highly informative look at a fascinating slice of Victorian culture and scientific history, and the scholars of the Victorian period will find it illuminating. . .Lynn Barber writes primarily for the general reader, and no one can fail to enjoy her witty style, and the rich gallery of eccentrics she describes."

Butterflies Belong Here

By Deborah Hopkinson, Meilo So (illustrator),

Book cover of Butterflies Belong Here: A Story of One Idea, Thirty Kids, and a World of Butterflies

Marta Magellan Author Of Python Catchers: Saving the Everglades

From the list on picture books about wildlife.

Who am I?

My love for wildlife has produced several award-winning nonfiction books about animals for children (bats, lizards, dragonflies, hummingbirds, and more). To observe wildlife, I travel often to wild areas, such as the Amazon, Galapagos Island, the Pantanal. A former full professor at Miami Dade College, I taught Creative Writing, English Composition, and Survey of Children’s Literature and was an adviser to the college’s award-winning literary magazine. My children’s nonfiction picture books about wild animals have won several awards: Silver Eureka for nonfiction, Silver Nautilus, two Bronze Florida Book Awards, and a Purple Dragonfly honor. Born in Brazil, I have lived in Miami for most of my life.

Marta's book list on picture books about wildlife

Why did Marta love this book?

This past year, I have been fascinated by butterflies, and especially the monarchs and their utterly magnificent flights of migration. But there are other books about monarch butterflies, so why this one? It is a story, fictitious admittedly, about how a group of children with passion and love for nature and butterflies face a growing problem using grassroots activism. It is based on what children and communities are doing to help butterflies all over the country and on the real issue of the decline of the monarch butterfly. It is sure to inspire the budding environmental activist.

By Deborah Hopkinson, Meilo So (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Butterflies Belong Here is a powerful story of everyday activism and hope.

In this moving story of community conservation, a girl finds a home in a new place and a way to help other small travelers.

This book is about the real change children can make in conservation and advocacy-in this case, focusing on beautiful monarch butterflies.

* From Deborah Hopkinson and Meilo So, the acclaimed team behind Follow the Moon Home
* An empowering, classroom-ready read
* The protagonist is a girl whose family has recently immigrated to the United States.

I know what to look for: large black-and-orange…

The Sidekicks Initiative

By Barry J. Hutchison,

Book cover of The Sidekicks Initiative

Taylor Ellwood Author Of Learning How to Fly

From the list on how to save the day from the villain.

Who am I?

I really enjoy superhero fiction, especially superhero fiction that challenges the usual norms of the superhero genre. I’ve always liked reading comics and moving onto superhero novels has only deepened my love of the genre. The list I’ve created is just the tip of the iceberg for superhero fiction and I highly recommend you check out these books for interesting takes on superheroes and villains. 

Taylor's book list on how to save the day from the villain

Why did Taylor love this book?

In The Sidekick Initiative a former sidekick, now middle-aged insurance worker is reluctantly pulled back into the superhero game after the world’s superheroes disappear.

The problem is he not only has a team of washed-up former sidekicks to lead, he’s also got the world’s most powerful supervillains gunning for him and his family.

This was a hilarious story that kept me on the seat of my pants.

By Barry J. Hutchison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Once, they stood next to justice. Now they're standing up for it... When sworn protectors of Earth, the Justice Platoon, are all horribly killed, their former arch-enemies come crawling out of the woodwork. Outnumbered, outgunned, and out of options, the US Government has no choice but to activate the Sidekicks Initiative, dragging the Platoon's middle-aged ex-sidekicks out of retirement. Now these three reluctant, out of shape former child-wonders must work together to stop the rising tide of supervillainy, avenge their former mentors' deaths, and bring the world back from the brink of destruction. Assuming they don't kill each other first.…

The Net And The Butterfly

By Olivia Fox Cabane, Judah Pollack,

Book cover of The Net And The Butterfly

Linda Rising Author Of More Fearless Change: Strategies for Making Your Ideas Happen

From Linda's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Curious Open Evidence-seeking Listens Optimistic

Linda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Linda love this book?

There are so many “patterns” in this book about breakthrough thinking. One that has stayed with me is thinking of failure as “tuition.”

I have become a student of “metta.” I was never very good at meditation, but this practice has helped me through some rough times. It might work for you. You’ll enjoy the stories and the quirky way the authors lead you to better thinking.

By Olivia Fox Cabane, Judah Pollack,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Charisma Myth, Olivia Fox Cabane offered a groundbreaking approach to becoming more charismatic. Now she teams up with Judah Pollack to reveal how anyone can train their brain to have more eureka insights.

The creative mode in your brain is like a butterfly. It's beautiful and erratic, hard to catch and highly valued as a result. If you want to capture it, you need a net. Enter the executive mode, the task-oriented network in your brain that help you tie your shoes, run a meeting, or pitch a client. To succeed, you need both modes to work together--your…

Butterfly Isles

By Patrick Barkham,

Book cover of Butterfly Isles: A Summer in Search of Our Emperors and Admirals

Leif Bersweden Author Of The Orchid Hunter: A Young Botanist's Search for Happiness

From the list on nature in Britain.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and a botanist with a lifelong interest in nature. I grew up in southern England where I spent my time running around the fields and woods searching for birds, insects and wild plants (as one does). As well as writing about nature, I run plant identification training courses and have a genetics PhD.

Leif's book list on nature in Britain

Why did Leif love this book?

This book is a classic natural history quest: Patrick Barkham tries to find all the butterfly species in Britain and Ireland in one summer. It explores our age-old relationship with these fantastic insects, the eccentricities of the butterfly watcher's world, and the author’s adventures along the way, all tied together by the challenge he’s set himself. This is a really entertaining book and brilliantly captures the butterfly obsession, offering an excellent portrayal of what makes butterfly watchers tick.

By Patrick Barkham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Butterflies animate our summers but the 59 butterfly species of the British Isles can be surprisingly elusive. Some bask unseen at the top of trees in London parks; others lurk at the bottom of damp bogs in Scotland. A few survive for months while other ephemeral creatures only fly for three days. Several are virtually extinct. This bewitching book charts Patrick Barkham's quest to find all 59 - from the Adonis Blue to the Dingy Skipper - in one unforgettable summer. Barkham brings alive the extraordinary physical beauty and amusingly diverse character of our butterflies. He witnesses a swarming invasion…

The Adventuress

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Book cover of The Adventuress

Landis Blair Author Of The Envious Siblings: and Other Morbid Nursery Rhymes

From the list on morbidly whimsical illustrated stories.

Who am I?

I am an illustrator of books, comics, and various other things, but no matter what I illustrate I can’t seem to keep a certain darkness out of my drawings. For most of my life I have been attracted to the macabre. This attraction first emerged out of fear but later out of amusement. It is rather comical to see the amount of effort people are willing to expend in order to avoid thinking and talking about death. I find it far more healthy to acknowledge it everywhere while simultaneously having a good chuckle.  

Landis' book list on morbidly whimsical illustrated stories

Why did Landis love this book?

This book will lead you on a dark adventure of unexpected horror and amusement. For example: an alchemist creates a woman who is later entrapped, turns into a moth, and eventually gives birth to a cat–fathered by Napoleon, of course. All of this and more are illustrated in gorgeous labor-intensive aquatints that make you feel like you are observing these scenes through the murky waters of a magical puddle. 

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author of the New York Times bestseller The Time Traveler's Wife returns with another evocative "novel in pictures," the much-anticipated follow-up to 2005's The Three Incestuous Sisters. The Adventuress follows the dreamlike journey of an alchemist's daughter. After she is kidnapped by a lascivious baron, she turns herself into a moth and flees to the garden of a charming butterfly collector named Napoleon Bonaparte. The story of how the two become lovers, and how their affair ends in tragedy and transcendence, is told through Niffenegger's spare prose and haunting aquatint etchings. With a stunning and distinctive visual style reminiscent…

The Collector

By John Fowles,

Book cover of The Collector

Nick Roberts Author Of It Haunts the Mind: and Other Stories

From the list on that will haunt you for life.

Who am I?

Books that are haunting enough to stick with you long after you abandon their pages are the truly transformative ones. At the least, they leave a lingering thought, but the most effective ones can alter your perception of the world. As a person in recovery from substance use disorder since April 15, 2012, I have both dwelled in the darkness and lived in the light. This dual lived experience naturally informs my writing. I fluctuate between traditional horror stories and literary fiction with more mature themes. My goal in everything I write is to expose the reader to a new idea—one that sticks with them—for better or worse.

Nick's book list on that will haunt you for life

Why did Nick love this book?

It’s scary enough to read a story from the third-person point-of-view in which the protagonist gets kidnapped. You feel like a voyeur witnessing something perverse.

In John Fowles’ classic novel, we are subjected to a kidnapping and abduction through the eyes of the kidnapper and his victim. It’s traumatizing to read the section of the story from the victim’s perspective, but it’s downright haunting when the same tale is told through the lens of the villain.

Why? Because Fowles so expertly crafts a realistic psychopath in the character of Frederick, one we can relate to and even sympathize with at times. If you survive the tragic, final pages, a tiny piece of your soul will forever be altered. 

By John Fowles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Collector (1963) is disturbing, engrossing, unforgettable -- the story of an obsessive young man and the girl he kidnaps and holds prisoner in his cellar.

The Butterfly Garden

By Dot Hutchison,

Book cover of The Butterfly Garden

Jeannette de Beauvoir Author Of Dead in the Water

From the list on stories involving kidnapping.

Who am I?

One of the joys of writing a mystery series is you have time to explore your characters—who they are, where they come from, what motivates them. In this particular series, I’d established a rift between the protagonist and her family, and I began to wonder why it was there. My own sister died when still a baby, yet her absence cast a long, complicated shadow over our family for decades. I wanted to explore more about the family dynamics around a missing child—and kidnapping seemed the best tool to get there. So I read everything I could about kidnapping to present that absence in both intimate and compelling ways.

Jeannette's book list on stories involving kidnapping

Why did Jeannette love this book?

This book is both absolutely gorgeous and deeply disturbing.

The premise is simple: in an FBI interview, a young woman recounts the horrific ordeal she’s survived as a member of a serial killer’s “garden” of kidnapped victims. The reading experience is considerably more complex. Much of the story is told in flashbacks, allowing the reader to explore Maya’s experience in the Garden; that’s then balanced with her FBI interview, filling in blanks and establishing her as an almost-reliable narrator.

The dual timeline—one of my favorite devices to read and write—is handled brilliantly, and Hutchinson successfully achieves a formidable tightrope act, balancing the brutality of torture and murder with an elegant and refined narrative.

Her darkness is graceful—but it’s still darkness. 

By Dot Hutchison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees...and a collection of precious "butterflies"-young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle…