The most recommended books about Indiana

Who picked these books? Meet our 43 experts.

43 authors created a book list connected to Indiana, and here are their favorite Indiana books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of Indiana book?


Book cover of The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England

James R. Farr Author Of Who Was William Hickey? A Crafted Life in Georgian England and Imperial India

From my list on autobiography, memory, identity, and the self.

Who am I?

I stumbled upon Hickey’s memoirs and while reading them became captivated not only by the frequently hilarious episodes he recounts from his life, but also by the subject of autobiography and how narrating our life story somehow projects a sense of self and identity to the reader. Trying to grasp this process led me to exploring a wide range of books, and opened up understanding of how our selves are fashioned and what they mean to others. An endlessly fascinating subject.

James' book list on autobiography, memory, identity, and the self

James R. Farr Why did James love this book?

Wahrman’s book is eminently readable but nonetheless provocative. He asserts that toward the end of the eighteenth century a radical change, a cultural revolution, in fact, occurred in notions of self and identity. He uses a fascinating and engaging range of evidence to make his point,  from theater to beekeeping, fashion, philosophy, art, travel accounts, and much more. 

By Dror Wahrman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Toward the end of the eighteenth century, a radical change occurred in notions of self and personal identity. This was a sudden transformation, says Dror Wahrman, and nothing short of a revolution in the understanding of selfhood and of identity categories including race, gender, and class. In this pathbreaking book, he offers a fundamentally new interpretation of this critical turning point in Western history.
Wahrman demonstrates this transformation with a fascinating variety of cultural evidence from eighteenth-century England, from theater to beekeeping, fashion to philosophy, art to travel and translations of the classics. He discusses notions of self in the…

Book cover of The Bright Forever: A Novel

Marcia Calhoun Forecki Author Of Blood of the White Bear

From Marcia's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author History hound Polyglot Bookworm Neatness averse Yoga beginner

Marcia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Marcia Calhoun Forecki Why did Marcia love this book?

I left everything undone to finish reading The Bright Forever by Lee Martin.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel recounts the abduction and murder of a nine-year-old girl in a Midwest town during the 1970s; rather than a formula who-done-it, with familiar characters and storyline, this book explores the disorder created in the lives of the victim’s family and neighbors.

The investigation reveals not only the identity of the murderer but secrets of the entire town. 

By Lee Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A dark, harrowing novel about a nine-year-old girl's disappearance and the lasting impact it has on her close-knit community

On an evening like any other, nine-year-old Katie Mackey, daughter of the most affluent family in a small town on the plains of Indiana, sets out on her bicycle to return some library books.

This simple act is at the heart of The Bright Forever, a deeply affecting novel about the choices people make that change their lives forever. Fact, speculation, and contradiction play off one another as the details about Katie's disappearance--and about the townspeople--unfold, creating a fast-paced story that…

Book cover of What Are You Going To Write About When I'm Gone? Essays of Hilarity and Heartache About His Mother

Frances Park Author Of That Lonely Spell

From my list on collections for eclectic readers.

Who am I?

I’m a Korean American author who believes life is too short to read books that bore you, classics or otherwise. I’ve always had eclectic tastes and like to pick out books the way customers choose bonbons at my chocolate shop (which I’ve co-owned since 1984). And while I do read and often write longer works, I’ve always preferred to fall into a world from the opening line and bow out soon thereafter. By nature, I’m a minimalist – and maybe don’t have the greatest attention span – so I’m in awe of short works that stand on their own. They’re just more dramatic and memorable to me.

Frances' book list on collections for eclectic readers

Frances Park Why did Frances love this book?

The author, a columnist, wrote these family stories as an homage to his bigger-than-life mom Patty while she was battling cancer. Told with heart, laugh-out-loud family anecdotes, and love, always love, Saalman brings you into an unforgettable midwestern world of then and now, although even the modern-day Indiana stories echo with “yore” to my more urban ears: his parents’ solid working-class values, their casino date every Saturday night, Patty’s job as the hostess of a diner. Ultimately, she would outlive her death sentence by five years.

By Scott Saalman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Are You Going To Write About When I'm Gone? Essays of Hilarity and Heartache About His Mother as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Scott's personal, poignant essays are a tribute to family and to the enduring nature of love. Read them in one delicious gulp or sit back on the couch and imagine yourself on Brushy Fork Road and savor then slowly." - Angela Himsel, A River Could Be A Tree

Book cover of Wildest Dreams

Krystyna Allyn Author Of Twisted Origin

From my list on sating your paranormal urges.

Who am I?

I have loved the supernatural world since my dad took me to see The Lost Boys in the theater. There’s just something about the unbelievable that drags me into this genre. I enjoy the escapism aspect because real life is hard enough. Plus, what girl wouldn’t want to be taken to a castle and live happily ever after with her prince? I know I would.

Krystyna's book list on sating your paranormal urges

Krystyna Allyn Why did Krystyna love this book?

Kristen Ashley is known for her contemporary books with heroines that rock and commanding alphas. In this book, you have the same, but with a supernatural twist. Wildest Dreams gives you the raw emotion you’d expect from a KA book, while adding a fantastical story and some hilarity to boot.

By Kristen Ashley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Seoafin “Finnie” Wilde was taught by her parents that every breath was a treasure and to seek every adventure she could find. And she learns this lesson the hard way when they perish in a plane crash. But she never forgets and when she discovers there is a parallel universe where every person has a twin, she finds a witch who can send her there so she can have the adventure of a lifetime.

But upon arrival in the Winter Wonderland of Lunwyn, she realizes she’s been played by her twin and finds herself walking down the aisle to be…

Book cover of Raintree County

William Illsey Atkinson Author Of Sun's Strong Immortality

From my list on well-written slam-bang adventures.

Who am I?

I had a rotten childhood. Stuck in bed with asthma, I couldn’t do sports; but I could roam space and time with books, especially science fiction. Yet when I tried to re-read my beloved sci-fi titles as an adult, I got a shock. The books with sound science had terrible writing; the well-written books were full of scientific schlock. I realized that if I wanted sci-fi that was both technically astute and rewarding to read, I’d have to write it myself. And so I did.

William's book list on well-written slam-bang adventures

William Illsey Atkinson Why did William love this book?

My friends and I discovered Raintree County as undergrads, and found in it everything that matters – history, character, politics, and above all action. Here is life with all its pleasure and horror, apostasy and faith, sacrifice and victory. Here too is the core of American democracy, its glories and fiascos: a love letter to the Republic, more than ever relevant in the factional bitterness of today. An unforgettable novel from a man who killed himself at 34.

By Ross Lockridge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Throughout a single day in 1892, John Shawnessy recalls the great moments of his life—from the love affairs of his youth in Indiana, to the battles of the Civil War, to the politics of the Gilded Age, to his homecoming as schoolteacher, husband, and father. Shawnessy is the epitome of the place and period in which he lives, a rural land of springlike women, shady gamblers, wandering vagabonds, and soapbox orators. Yet here on the banks of the Shawmucky River, which weaves its primitive course through Raintree County, Indiana, he also feels and obeys ancient rhythms. A number-one bestseller when…

Book cover of Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s

Jeff Stookey Author Of Dangerous Medicine

From my list on the 1920s Ku Klux Klan in Oregon and the USA.

Who am I?

When I first moved to Portland, Oregon, I heard about the 1988 murder of an Ethiopian student by skinheads of the White Aryan Resistance. A famous trial subsequently bankrupted that white supremacist organization. When I began writing my trilogy, set in 1923, I learned about the strength of the Oregon KKK during the 1920s. I could see a direct line between the bigotry of that era and contemporary Portland. The more I studied the Klan of the 20s, the more I knew this information had to be part of my novels. Besides these book recommendations, I read numerous articles about Klan history. Everyone should learn this history.

Jeff's book list on the 1920s Ku Klux Klan in Oregon and the USA

Jeff Stookey Why did Jeff love this book?

I couldn’t have written my trilogy without reading this book. It taught me so much about the women in the KKK, their attitudes and beliefs, their social status and background, their activities and support for the Klan, and so much more. The book is so deeply researched that it provides keen insights into the gender politics of the 1920s, the differing ways of thinking between the men in the Klan versus the women in the Klan, and their dissimilar approaches to carrying out “Klanishness.” The women that Blee describes held the typical mainstream views of white, Protestant, native-born Americans, who were the overwhelming majority in their communities. This book enhanced my understanding of Klan women so that I could create realistic Klan women characters in my novels.

By Kathleen M. Blee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ignorant. Brutal. Male. One of these stereotypes of the Ku Klux Klan offer a misleading picture. In "Women of the Klan", sociologist Kathleen Blee unveils an accurate portrait of a racist movement that appealed to ordinary people throughout the country. In so doing, she dismantles the popular notion that politically involved women are always inspired by pacifism, equality, and justice. "All the better people," a former Klanswoman assures us, were in the Klan.During the 1920s, perhaps half a million white native-born Protestant women joined the Women's Ku Klux Klan (WKKK). Like their male counterparts, Klanswomen held reactionary views on race,…

Book cover of The Blue Hen's Chick: An Autobiography

Guy McPherson Author Of Killing the Natives: A Retrospective Analysis

From my list on the beauty and power of the American West.

Who am I?

I spent most of my life in the western United States. Born and raised in northern Idaho, a professorial position attracted me to Tucson, Arizona, the long-time home of Edward Abbey. Cactus Ed said it best: “The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders. Remaining silent about the destruction of nature is an endorsement of that destruction.” Upon reading books by Abbey and others writing about the American West, I became a defender of the idea of wilderness.

Guy's book list on the beauty and power of the American West

Guy McPherson Why did Guy love this book?

Guthie’s autobiography describes the wild, western United States from his perspective as a 64-year-old westerner. Born in 1901, Guthrie provides a compelling account of the rugged beauty of the West. Guthrie’s writing is lucid and compelling. I had read most of his books by the time I turned 30.

By A.B. Guthrie, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"It was a fine country to grow up in. To find riches, a boy had only to go outside," writes A. B. Guthrie, Jr., aobut his childhood in Montana early in the twentieth century. This autobiography was originally published in 1965 when he was sixty-four and still had miles to go. It recounts lively adventures and reflects on a career that brought fame for The Big Sky (1947) and led to the Pulitzer Prize for The Way West (1949).

In an afterword David Petersen, who edited Big Sky, Fair Land: The Environmental Essays of A. B. Guthrie, Jr. (1988), describes…

Book cover of One Shot

Trevor Douglas Author Of Cold Comfort

From my list on characters I can’t forget.

Who am I?

I read my first crime thriller at the age of 12, and since then I’ve always had a passion to write my own stories. Although I’ve never worked as a police officer, I spent close to 10 years working as an IT consultant to multiple police forces in Australia before retiring to write full-time. The time spent working closely with law enforcement gave me a ‘feel’ for how police forces operate and helped me gravitate towards the police procedural genre. A book that moved at the pace of most police investigations would never sell and I love the challenge of making the stories authentic but still moving at a pace to keep the reader captivated.

Trevor's book list on characters I can’t forget

Trevor Douglas Why did Trevor love this book?

The Jack Reacher character is arguably the best-known protagonist in the mystery thriller genre. In most novels I’ve ever read, the main character has a character arc where the protagonist learns from his adventures, trials, and tribulations and becomes a better person (or in some cases the opposite). Whatever the trajectory, the character changes over time, but in Lee Childs’ books, the Jack Reacher character never changes. Reacher is your quintessential flat line – nothing phases him and nothing ever changes him. He's a drifter, who walks the USA with a toothbrush in one pocket and an ATM card in the other. Reacher likes to stay out of trouble, but he’s not afraid to confront it either when it finds him. It's very hard not to like Jack Reacher and it's even harder not to like Lee Childs books (he's written 27 so far). I always read a Jack Reacher…

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Six shots. Five dead.

A heartland city thrown into terror. But within hours the cops have it solved. A slam-dunk case. Apart from one thing. The accused gunman refuses to talk except for a single phrase:

Get Jack Reacher for me.

Reacher lives off the grid. He's not looking for trouble. But sometimes trouble looks for him. What could connect the noble Reacher to this psychopathic killer?


Although the Jack Reacher can be read in any order, One Shot is the 9th in the series.

And be sure not to miss Reacher's newest adventure, no.27, No Plan B! ***OUT…

Book cover of In Limestone Country

David B. Williams Author Of Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology

From my list on geology that aren’t really about rocks.

Who am I?

For the past two decades, I have written about the intersection of people and place, particularly as viewed through the lens of geology and how it influences our lives. My nine books include Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, Cairns: Messengers in Stone, and Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound. All of them have a goal of helping people develop a better connection with the natural world around them.

David's book list on geology that aren’t really about rocks

David B. Williams Why did David love this book?

Not only does geology shape the land, it can also shape the lives of those who quarry the stone. Rarely is this relationship between human and rock better portrayed than in Scott Russell Sanders’ thoughtful essays about the limestone country around Bedford, Indiana. With graceful and respectful prose, he tells the stories of a “piece of earth where the accidents of geology have yielded a special kind of stone, and where landscapes, towns, and the people themselves bear the mark of that stone.” And, if you seek to see this story on film, I can also recommend one of my favorite movies, Breaking Away, a humorous and passionate portrayal of life and biking in limestone country.

By Scott Russell Sanders,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From a patch of land in southern Indiana has come the stone for many of the country's most famous buildings, including the Washington Cathedral, the Pentagon, the Empire State Building, and Chicago's Tribune Tower. If you live anywhere within the lower forty-eight states you probably live within walking distance of library, bank, monument, church, house or skyscraper built with Indiana limestone. In Limestone Country is the story of the stone, from its geologic origins through its mining history to the present. Sanders records the folklore, the craft, the distinct culture that has grown up around Indiana limestone. Above all we…

Book cover of Concert Hall Hit: A Darcy Gaughan Mystery

M. A. Monnin Author Of Death on the Grand Canal: An Intrepid Traveler Mystery

From M. A.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Traveler Avocational archaeologist Jewelry collector Hiker Agatha Christie fan

M. A.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

M. A. Monnin Why did M. A. love this book?

There are a couple of reasons why I love Concert Hall Hit. I love the way Darcy Gaughan, the main character, grows as a person when she forgives a rock guitarist from her past. Then she solves his murder, proving she really can rise above, and I find that very uplifting.

The second reason I love this book is for the songs that are mentioned. Every time I see a title or hear the characters describe a riff from a song, it takes me back to when I’d heard the song on the radio, cassette, or CD. That just made me smile.

By J.C. Kenney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The town of Marysburg, Indiana, is buzzing with excitement when legendary British blues guitarist Derek Tufnell appears at Marysburg Music to sign autographs and chat with fans the afternoon before a performance at the Marysburg Center for the Performing Arts. The meet-and-greet session is a huge success and record store owner Darcy Gaughan couldn't be more pleased with how the event went.

Darcy's glee turns to despair when, only hours later, Derek is found murdered in his dressing room. Fingers are pointed at her, since she was the last one seen with him. In order to keep her freedom, and…