The most recommended books about language

Who picked these books? Meet our 68 experts.

68 authors created a book list connected to language, and here are their favorite language books.
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Writing Picture Books

By Ann Whitford Paul,

Book cover of Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication

Leon Conrad Author Of Story and Structure: A complete guide

From the list on writing without killing creativity.

Who am I?

As a writer, I love words and am continuously fascinated by the way they work. In terms of writing manuals, I particularly value the work of writers who combine knowledge and understanding of writing techniques while also providing inspiration and keys to freeing the imagination. I’ve found these books brilliantly complement my professional interest in story structure and how story works, and match my own approach to combining theory with practice; craft with art in my work on story. I hope you find they inspire creativity in you, too.

Leon's book list on writing without killing creativity

Why did Leon love this book?

Whatever genre you’re drawn to, this book is well worth investing in. It delivers exactly what its subtitle describes: a hands-on guide to writing picture books from story creation to publication. Although not primarily a picture book writer, I’ve found the book incredibly useful in developing general writing skills. I’ve used the exercises on language to improve the aural and rhythmic qualities of my writing. It’s also given me new ways to think about approaching layout and composition. It has the potential to enhance writing quality almost effortlessly. Although the revised expanded edition published in 2018 contains information specific to the publishing market then, the practical information in the book is unlikely to date as quickly. Who knows? You could end up writing picture books as well!

By Ann Whitford Paul,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Master the Art of Writing Enthralling Tales for the Youngest pre-and emerging readers!

Fully updated and thoroughly revised, Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition is the go-to resource for writers crafting stories for children ages two to eight. You'll learn the unique set of skills it takes to bring your story to life by using tightly focused text and leaving room for the illustrator to be creative.

Award-winning author Ann Whitford Paul helps you develop the skills you need by walking you through techniques and exercises specifically for picture book writers. You'll find:

   • Instruction on generating ideas, creating…

The Language Instinct

By Steven Pinker,

Book cover of The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

Michael Edgeworth McIntyre Author Of Science, Music, and Mathematics: The Deepest Connections

From the list on to get you past selfish-gene theory.

Who am I?

I’m a scientist at the University of Cambridge who’s worked on environmental research topics such as jet streams and the Antarctic ozone hole. I’ve also worked on solar physics and musical acoustics. And other branches of science have always interested me. Toward the end of my career, I became fascinated by cutting-edge issues in biological evolution and natural selection. Evolution is far richer and more complex than you’d think from its popular description in terms of ‘selfish genes’. The complexities are central to understanding deep connections between the sciences, the arts, and human nature in general, and the profound differences between human intelligence and artificial intelligence.

Michael's book list on to get you past selfish-gene theory

Why did Michael love this book?

An early book, it’s one of Pinker’s best. Though Pinker later argued for selfish-gene theory, here he avoids the issue, focusing instead on showing that our language ability is instinctive, for which there is powerful evidence.

Genetic memory is crucial. All that I’ve added in my own book is to emphasize that genetic memory is less like a blueprint and more like a set of self-assembling building blocks, responsive to environmental influences, and that for language those building blocks must have come from a multi-timescale process – genome–culture co-evolution – over millions of years. All this is invisible to selfish-gene theory.

By Steven Pinker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Dazzling... Pinker's big idea is that language is an innate to us as flying is to geese... Words can hardly do justice to the superlative range and liveliness of Pinker's investigations'
- Independent

'A marvellously readable book... illuminates every facet of human language: its biological origin, its uniqueness to humanity, it acquisition by children, its grammatical structure, the production and perception of speech, the pathology of language disorders and the unstoppable evolution of languages and dialects' - Nature

Book cover of Am I Really Ready for A Puppy?

Argyro Graphy Author Of Inspiring Children to be Kind

From the list on children’s books where kindness wins every time.

Who am I?

I know first hand the damage that bullying can have on children, It weighs heavy on your psyche, and emotional well-being. I was determined to find a way to teach children important values to fight the root causes of bullying. I found an old "sketch" and it was my "aha" moment. With continued tweaking, my bubbly hippo was born that I named Bentley. Sporting his red running shoes, Bentley has become a positive role model for children. He represents resilience, friendship, joy, and kindness. We all grew up hugging a teddy bear, but now it's time for the World to Hug a Hippo. The books I've picked below inspire me and will help kids learn the value of kindness. 

Argyro's book list on children’s books where kindness wins every time

Why did Argyro love this book?

Being kind is not only doing something, but kindness is also knowing when you are not ready or responsible enough to care for something like a pet. Oftentimes we think of ourselves and our wants and overlook our capabilities and responsibilities.

By Doliah Snead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Am I Really Ready for A Puppy? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

So many children think puppies are so cute, and they desperately want one, not truly understanding the responsibility that comes along with it. This novel is about a little boy who was one of those kids who desperately wanted a puppy, or so he thought. He learns the cost of having a puppy, both financially and physically. Teachers, parents, and students will find an extension activity at the end of this novel that tie Reading, Language Arts, Writing, and Math together with one story. Students are asked to find the total amount this family spent, research specific breeds, and calculate…

The Synonym Finder

By J.I. Rodale,

Book cover of The Synonym Finder

Cara Bristol Author Of Naughty Words for Nice Writers: A Romance Novel Thesaurus

From the list on reference and writing for romance authors.

Who am I?

After writing more than sixty romance novels, I can sometimes find myself at a loss for words, unable to think of the right word or find myself using the same ones. Having a good thesaurus is invaluable. I use my own thesaurus, Naughty Words for Nice Writers, all the time. I wrote it as a survival guide—it was the book I needed that didn’t exist when I started writing romance. Besides Naughty Words, the thesauri/reference books I’m recommending are tools I couldn’t live without. 

Cara's book list on reference and writing for romance authors

Why did Cara love this book?

If you want a general thesaurus, I believe The Synonym Finder with more than 1 million synonyms is the best one on the market.

I’ve used it for more than 30 years and had to replace my original copy because it was so well-used, it fell apart. What makes this thesaurus stand out is the quality of synonyms and the ease of use. It is super easy to find the words you’re looking for. Every author should have this book!

By J.I. Rodale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With a simple alphabetical arrangement this book has been expanded to include thousands of new words and expressions that have entered the language in recent years, and includes clearly labelled slang and informal words and expressions.

Words and Rules

By Steven Pinker,

Book cover of Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language

Gillian Cross Author Of After Tomorrow

From the list on about communication.

Who am I?

I’ve been writing children’s books all my adult life. That means trying to find ways to communicate exactly what I’m imagining. I love words and stories. As a teenager, I wrote down my favourite words and carried them around with me. When I had children, I was fascinated by how fast they learned to make themselves understood, with and without words. The words we choose are important – but they’re only one way to communicate. What about pictures? Body language? Online media? Pheromones? The signals animals and plants give out? The more I learn about communication, the more fascinating it becomes.

Gillian's book list on about communication

Why did Gillian love this book?

I’ve always loved observing children as they learn to speak. But I never understood what a triumph that is until I read Stephen Pinker’s book. He explores a huge range of topics, including what we can learn from the mistakes children make, how languages develop, brain imaging, major ideas in philosophy, computer speech simulation, Noam Chomsky’s ideas about linguistics, and genetic research. And he does all that by focusing on regular and irregular verbs. Sounds dull? Think again. It’s a fascinating book.

By Steven Pinker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How does language work? How do children learn their mother tongue? Why do languages change over time, making Shakespearean English difficult for us and Chaucer's English almost incomprehensible? Why do languages have so many quirks and irregularities? Are they all fundamentally alike? How are new words created? Where in the brain does language reside?In Words and Rules , Steven Pinker answers these and many other questions. His book shares the wit and style of his classic, The Language Instinct , but explores language in a completely different way. In Words and Rules , Pinker explains the profound mysteries of language…


By Karin Tidbeck,

Book cover of Amatka

Vajra Chandrasekera Author Of The Saint of Bright Doors

From the list on feeling lost and obsessed by a haunted world.

Who am I?

I’m Vajra Chandrasekera, from Colombo, Sri Lanka. I’m a writer, and more importantly, a reader. My favourite kind of book is bigger on the inside, the kind that drops you into a world too big and too weird to really get a handle on, a world that’s strange in ways you feel you recognize, like how sometimes you wake up from a dream and think, I’ve dreamed about that place and those people before, but you can’t tell if you have, or whether you dreamed the memory, too. You read the book and look at the world and you ask yourself: Did I dream those people, that place? Or is this the dream?

Vajra's book list on feeling lost and obsessed by a haunted world

Why did Vajra love this book?

You know how you go somewhere you’ve never been and you feel hollow in your bones, like you’re more fragile there, you might blow away in a strong wind or just melt down if this place doesn’t learn to recognize you?

Amatka is like that, and it’s about that. We follow someone trying to diligently do a perfectly normal market research gig in place where everyday objects must be clearly labelled and the labels reinforced constantly, otherwise they dissolve into slush.

She has to keep putting things in their place, but she’s not too good at that, because she’s always been out of place herself.

I mean, isn’t that exactly what life is like? And then it all falls apart.

By Karin Tidbeck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?



A surreal debut novel set in a world shaped by language in the tradition of Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Vanja, an information assistant, is sent from her home city of Essre to the austere, wintry colony of Amatka with an assignment to collect intelligence for the government. Immediately she feels that something strange is going on: people act oddly in Amatka, and citizens are monitored for signs of subversion.

Intending to stay just a short while, Vanja falls in love with…

Practical Portuguese

By Sheila Watts,

Book cover of Practical Portuguese: Language for Living in Portugal

Alyson Sheldrake Author Of Living the Dream in the Algarve, Portugal

From the list on moving to Portugal.

Who am I?

Alyson Sheldrake is the author of the award-winning Algarve Blog, and she is also a feature writer for the Tomorrow Magazine in the Algarve. She is an accomplished and sought-after artist working alongside her husband Dave, a professional photographer. She has published three books about their Algarve Adventures: Living the Dream – in the Algarve, Portugal, Living the Quieter Algarve Dream, and her latest book is a new anthology of expat stories entitled A New Life in the Algarve, Portugal. When she is not painting or writing, you can find her walking their rescued Spanish Water Dog called Kat along the riverbank in Aljezur.

Alyson's book list on moving to Portugal

Why did Alyson love this book?

This is a hard book to get hold of, but worth hunting down if you want to begin to speak the Portuguese language with some fluency. Sheila moved to live in Portugal in 1987 and found most of the language guidebooks were of little use to her as she tried to navigate her way around the day-to-day reality of living in the Algarve. This is a book for people who live and work here, rather than a phrasebook that would help you book a taxi or order food at a restaurant while you are on holiday. I have found Portuguese to be a difficult language, but it is worth persevering with, and the locals are friendly and will always help you.

By Sheila Watts,

Why should I read it?

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

The Universe of Us

By Lang Leav,

Book cover of The Universe of Us

S.J. Lomas Author Of In Between: Poems of Midlife

From the list on poetry for people who don’t think they like poetry.

Who am I?

I never thought I’d be a poetry lover. I got my Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature. During that time, I took quite a few poetry classes, even though I didn’t consider myself a huge poetry fan. Over the course of those classes, I learned that poetry isn’t all about abstract, obscure themes, and academic language. It’s also a way for humans to communicate the feelings and experiences in one heart to another. Once I learned that poetry doesn’t have to be difficult and confusing, I found that I really enjoyed it, and I’d like to help other people discover that poetry can be more accessible and satisfying than what they may have studied in school. 

S.J.'s book list on poetry for people who don’t think they like poetry

Why did S.J. love this book?

This book blew me away. It looks deceptively simple with short poems and regular language, but the emotion of the poems is intense, direct, powerful, and breathtaking. Poem after poem just made me think “Wow!”  I don’t usually read poetry for fun, but the pretty pink cover and the title of this book grabbed me at the bookstore and I bought it on a whim. It was definitely one of those cases where the right book gets you at the right time. I love this book!

By Lang Leav,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

International best-selling author of Love & Misadventure, Lullabies (Goodreads Readers Choice Award), and Memories, Lang Leav presents a completely new collection of poetry with a celestial theme in The Universe of Us.

Planets, stars, and constellations feature prominently in this beautiful, original poetry collection from Lang Leav. Inspired by the wonders of the universe, the best-selling poetess writes about love and loss, hope and hurt, being lost and found. Lang's poetry encompasses the breadth of emotions we all experience and evokes universal feelings with her skillfully crafted words.

* International Bestseller: Over 26K copies sold in the UK of Love…

Washing the Stones

By Maude Meehan,

Book cover of Washing the Stones: Selected Poems, 1975-1995

B.L. Bruce Author Of The Weight of Snow: New & Selected Poems

From the list on contemporary nature poetry.

Who am I?

My name is Bri Bruce, writing as B. L. Bruce, and am an award-winning poet and Pushcart prize nominee from California. Over the last decade and a half, my work has appeared in dozens of literary publications. I am the author of four books and Editor-in-Chief of nature-centric magazine Humana Obscura. I was raised with a wildlife biologist/avid gardener for a mother and a forestry major/backpacker/fisherman as a father. Both my parents instilled in me at a young age a love of nature. A lifetime spent outdoors inspires my work—so much so that I’ve been called a “poetic naturalist” and the “heiress of Mary Oliver.”

B.L.'s book list on contemporary nature poetry

Why did B.L. love this book?

This volume of selected poems and unpublished works spoke to me during a time when I was finding my voice, and was formative during my early years as a poet. While not heavily embedded in the nature genre, the author on occasion writes her observations of the natural world with strong imagery. The author is also from my hometown of Santa Cruz, California, and left her mark on the poetry community. Her poems are powerful but accessible and written in simple language, which I feel makes for the best kind of poetry.

By Maude Meehan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Collection of selected poems, 1975-1995.

California poet and activist, Maude Meehan speaks eloquently. Washing the Stones resonates with compassion and a strong spirit. This stunning collection spans twenty years of work from Chipping Bone and Befoe the Snow, plus new, never-before-published poems


By Susan Midalia,

Book cover of Miniatures: A Collection of Short Stories

Eugen Bacon Author Of Danged Black Thing

From the list on short stories in literary and speculative fiction.

Who am I?

I am an African Australian author of several novels and fiction collections, and a finalist in the 2022 World Fantasy Award. I was announced in the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships for ‘doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction’. I have a master's degree with distinction in distributed computer systems, a master's degree in creative writing, and a PhD in creative writing. The short story is my sweetest spot. I have a deep passion for the literary speculative, and I write across genres and forms, with award-winning genre-bending works. I am especially curious about stories of culture, diversity, climate change, writing the other, and betwixt.

Eugen's book list on short stories in literary and speculative fiction

Why did Eugen love this book?

It’s rare that you’ll find someone who’s mastered the craft of short story writing with such precision as Susan Midalia. Miniatures is exactly that: a collection of short short stories. Midalia is an expert in capturing with bladelike sharpness profound awkwardness in the everyday. Herein: ordinary people, you and me, in the mundanity of suburbia—then she yanks the ground off your feet with the most perverse ending that leaves you brooding. Miniatures is an intelligent and relatable book with its whisper of simple language that roars the biggest ideas. It’s a book that’s as coyly subversive as it’s fulsomely entertaining. 

By Susan Midalia,

Why should I read it?

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

How to Speak Chicken

By Melissa Caughey,

Book cover of How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say

Erica Hannickel Author Of The Routledge History of American Foodways

From the list on chickens in history and in your backyard.

Who am I?

I’m an American environmental historian with specialties in food and horticulture. I mostly write on alcohol, wine, garden history, and orchids, but I’ve also kept a small flock of backyard chickens since early 2020. In my preparation for my brood, I read every single chicken history and chicken-keeping book available. Here’s the best of the best.

Erica's book list on chickens in history and in your backyard

Why did Erica love this book?

There are an estimated 50 billion chickens to the world’s 7 billion humans, and chickens are the closest living relative to Tyrannosaurus rex, so why wouldn’t you want to learn their language? This is a fun, fast book to read in anticipation of getting your first little flock. The central lesson in the book is that you should spend time with your chickens--watching them, but also listening to them. The book teaches what their core vocalizations mean, therefore also helping you in caring for their needs. I couldn’t wait to have a "chicken name" assigned to me by my laying ladies!

By Melissa Caughey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Speak Chicken as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Best-selling author Melissa Caughey knows that backyard chickens are like any favorite pet — fun to spend time with and fascinating to observe. Her hours among the flock have resulted in this quirky, irresistible guide packed with firsthand insights into how chickens communicate and interact, use their senses to understand the world around them, and establish pecking order and roles within the flock. Combining her up-close observations with scientific findings and interviews with other chicken enthusiasts, Caughey answers unexpected questions such as Do chickens have names for each other? How do their eyes work? and How do chickens learn?


Fly By Night

By Frances Hardinge,

Book cover of Fly By Night

Sheila Grau Author Of The Boy with 17 Senses

From the list on middle grade with breathtaking imagination.

Who am I?

I am an author of five books for children. I am also an avid reader of middle grade fiction, especially speculative fiction. I love exploring other people’s imaginations. It’s not only entertaining, but incredibly inspiring. Like most people, when I discover a book that I love, I can’t wait to share it with my friends. I hope you love these selections as much as I do! It was really hard to limit myself to just five. 

Sheila's book list on middle grade with breathtaking imagination

Why did Sheila love this book?

Imagination + beautiful writing. I love books that surprise me. Whether it’s with imaginative settings, intricate plots, beautiful writing, or humor. Surprise me, and I’m hooked. For me, no writer does this better than Frances Hardinge. Her books are incredibly unique. There is nobody who writes like her, who thinks up plots like her. Any one of her books is a trip on a totally new adventure. I started with Fly By Night and have read everything by her since.

By Frances Hardinge,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fly By Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everybody knew that books were dangerous. Read the wrong book, it was said, and the words crawled around your brain on black legs and drove you mad, wicked mad. Mosca Mye was born at a time sacred to Goodman Palpitattle, He Who Keeps Flies out of Jams and Butterchurns, which is why her father insisted on naming her after the housefly. He also insisted on teaching her to read-even in a world where books are dangerous, regulated things. Eight years later, Quillam Mye died, leaving behind an orphaned daughter with an inauspicious name and an all-consuming hunger for words. Trapped…


By Janet Kagan,

Book cover of Hellspark

Jim C. Hines Author Of Libriomancer

From the list on sci-fi/fantasy with the best nonhuman(oid)s.

Who am I?

Growing up, my mother worked for a local vet, which means I got to live with diabetic cats, baby bunnies, parrots, a brain-damaged squirrel, a dog with a mobility device, and much more. As a reader and eventually a writer, I’ve loved stories about the relationships between humans and their nonhuman companions. For me, relationships are the heart of a story. Relationships between people are great, but you can do so much with relationships between, say, a goblin and a magical fire-spider, or a young girl and a sentient telepathic kite, or Cinderella and the glass sword that holds the spirit of her mother…

Jim's book list on sci-fi/fantasy with the best nonhuman(oid)s

Why did Jim love this book?

This is one of my favorite books, period. I love the warmth and heart Kagan puts into her writing.

Hellspark is a far-future science fictional murder mystery set on an alien world. Tocohl Susumo, an expert on languages and cultures, is sent to investigate. The suspects—the planetary survey team—are a powder keg of fascinating, but clashing, cultures and backgrounds.

Helping Tocohl is her ship’s AI, Lord Margaret Lynn, aka “Maggie.” Maggie is, quite simply, the best. She’s childlike in many ways, but also loyal and clever and so much fun. The relationship between Tocohl and Maggie reminds you of a loving parent-child partnership.

By Janet Kagan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tocohl Susumo finds her plans to attend the festival of St. Veschke interrupted by her rescue of a young woman and her subsequent involvement in a mystery in Lassti

Book cover of Shakespeare, Our Contemporary

Stephen Kinzer Author Of The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War

From the list on to understand Shakespeare and his times.

Who am I?

My book is about political intrigue, violence, war, heroes and villains, libels and dreams, secret plots to overthrow governments, and murders most foul. It unfolds during a tense era of cultural upheaval and radical social change. A lifetime immersed in the works of Shakespeare helped prepare me to write it. I spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, most of it as a foreign correspondent. My foreign postings placed me at the center of historic events and, at times, in the line of fire.

Stephen's book list on to understand Shakespeare and his times

Why did Stephen love this book?

This classic work, first published in the 1960s, interprets Shakespeare’s work as portraying societies corrupted by injustice, cynical political maneuvering, and government surveillance. When it first appeared in the 1960s, it made Shakespeare’s plays seem chillingly relevant. It has the same effect today.

By Jan Kott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Penelope is about to turn eleven and can't wait to see what life has in store. But on the morning of her birthday, Pen- elope wakens to discover she can no longer hear, just as the Pied Piper, leads the other children of Hamelin out of town. Now Penelope must set out to rescue the children. Age 10 plus.


By Nikolas Coupland,

Book cover of Style: Language Variation and Identity

Emilia Di Martino Author Of Celebrity Accents and Public Identity Construction: Analyzing Geordie Stylizations

From the list on language and identity and why it matters.

Who am I?

I am a professor of English Linguistics interested in all aspects of language, identity, society, and power. I grew up and live in Southern Italy, in the Naples area, except for extended summertime family visits to San Diego, Southern California. I alternate my reading and writing between books on language and identity (how we self-promote ourselves to the public through personal style and narratives, molding our public image in a way we believe most advantageous to us) and texts on language and society (how we as individuals do things with words and gather information about other people from the way they communicate) and how these aspects intersect with power issues.

Emilia's book list on language and identity and why it matters

Why did Emilia love this book?

This remarkably clear and engaging read opened my eyes to the identity dimension of style. Using plenty of examples, it shows how we pick and mix from the many alternative ways we can say something to present and position ourselves in society in a specific way. 

Nikolas Coupland, currently Emeritus Professor at Cardiff University, thoroughly reviews previous sociolinguistic studies on style, from traditional to modern, steering research towards a more sophisticated and wide-ranging understanding of the ways specific contexts, local interactions, personal access to the resources of language and individual aesthetic choices make meaning in the presentation of the self.

By Nikolas Coupland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Style refers to ways of speaking - how speakers use the resource of language variation to make meaning in social encounters. This 2007 book develops a coherent theoretical approach to style in sociolinguistics, illustrated with copious examples. It explains how speakers project different social identities and create different social relationships through their style choices, and how speech-style and social context inter-relate. Style therefore refers to the wide range of strategic actions and performances that speakers engage in, to construct themselves and their social lives. Coupland draws on and integrates a wide variety of contemporary sociolinguistic research as well as his…


By Kathryn Burns,

Book cover of Aces

Kieran Frank Author Of Squishy Crushy Something

From the list on positive asexual representation.

Who am I?

I'm Kieran Frank, author of sexless romances. I write books with asexual characters because they're underrepresented. I write them with positive representation to avoid harmful stereotypes, and I highlight the nuances of a-spec people without sounding too preachy. I don't claim to be an expert in asexuality, but I'm passionate about writing asexual themes because it's what I want to see more of in fiction. Men are often expected to enjoy sex, especially at a younger age. I can personally relate to the harmful pressure, which is another reason I write asexual books. It can help combat toxic views that societies have instilled in many people.

Kieran's book list on positive asexual representation

Why did Kieran love this book?

When a book has positive asexual representation, it is like a rare gem. That is how many poorly written ace books there are, and I am not referring to writing styles when I say "poorly written." Even better is when the book offers plenty of diversity, like this one does. We live in a world full of different kinds of people, so it's refreshing to experience that in books. And the romance here is very sweet and honest, which helps show that sexless love can be just as valid as the sexual kind.

This book is not currently available.

By Kathryn Burns,

Why should I read it?

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

Children's Minds

By Margaret Donaldson,

Book cover of Children's Minds

Sue Palmer Author Of Toxic Childhood: How The Modern World Is Damaging Our Children And What We Can Do About It

From the list on child development and education.

Who am I?

As a primary head teacher, then literacy consultant, I wrote many books about education but at the age of 50 I changed tack. A meeting with a researcher who’d discovered an alarming decline in young children’s listening skills led to eight years’ research on the effects of modern lifestyles on children’s development. It involved many interviews with experts on diet, sleep, play, language, family life, childcare, education, screen-time, marketing influences and parenting styles – and a great deal of reading. By the time Toxic Childhood was first published in 2006 I’d realised that, in a 21st century culture, society should be paying far more attention to child development, especially in the early years. I hope to go on spreading that message until my dying breath.

Sue's book list on child development and education

Why did Sue love this book?

I read Children’s Minds during the school summer holidays in 1979 and vividly remember sitting in the sunshine in Edinburgh’s Meadows, in floods of tears over Margaret Donaldson’s call to arms in her closing pages. Children’s Minds is a wonderful introduction to the science of child development (indeed, it profoundly affected the course of that science, particularly in terms of the development of thought and language). It’s wise, perceptive and a great read.  

By Margaret Donaldson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Children's Minds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Margaret Donaldson's seminal work on child development, first published in 1978, has become a classic inquiry into the nature of human thought.

In this concise and brilliantly readable book, Margaret Donaldson shows that context is key when it comes to the development of language and thought, and how the right support can ensure children are skilled in these areas before they even start school. She revisits earlier theories of child development, notably those of Jean Piaget, to expose flaws in the accepted wisdom on child psychology and to suggest a range of new strategies to help children combat difficulties.


Cat on the Edge

By Shirley Rousseau Murphy,

Book cover of Cat on the Edge

Stephen Leather Author Of Killing Time

From the list on featuring talking cats.

Who am I?

I have written more than sixty novels, and during the writing of most of them I had a cat by my side. I have three—Mousefur, Firefur, and Peanut Butter. They are rescue cats and my daughter named them. I talk to them, but they only reply with meows. I’ve always fantasised about what it would be like to live with a talking cat, and how those conversations would go. I actually did write a science fiction story many years agoDreamer’s Catabout a man whose sanity is guarded by an imaginary bobcat. I have asked my cats if I should write a sequel, but they just say ‘meow’. 

Stephen's book list on featuring talking cats

Why did Stephen love this book?

A cat called Joe Grey discovers that he can speak and at the same time he witnesses a murder. But the murderer knows that Joe has seen him, so all of his nine lives are on the line. Joe meets another cat, Dolcie who can also talk. They team up to discover who the killer is. The story is written from the point of view of the cats, which I love! There is a whole series of Joe Grey mysteries, and I love them. The author has won eleven Cat Writers' Association Muse Medallion Awards for best cat novel of the year.

By Shirley Rousseau Murphy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's been quite a week for Joe Grey. First the large, powerfulfeline discovers that, through some strange, inexplicable phenomenon, he now has the ability to understand human language. Then he discovers he can speak it as well! It's a nightmare for a cat who'd prefer to sleep the day away carefree, but Joe can handle it. That is, until he has the misfortune to witness a murder in the alley behind Jolly's Deli -- and worse, to be seen witnessing it. With all of his nine lives suddenly at risk, Joe's got no choice but to get to the bottom…

Silencing Rebecca

By Nikki Vogel,

Book cover of Silencing Rebecca

Natasha Deen Author Of The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad

From the list on kickbutt heroines.

Who am I?

I grew up in the 1980s when there wasn’t consideration for representation or diversity in literature or media. If I wanted to read about a Girl of Color, inevitably, she was a slave. If I wanted to watch a TV show featuring women (of any color), they were inevitably rescued in the climactic moment by a man. As such, I grew into a reader who loves kickbutt girls of all stripes. Give me a chance to cheer on a female who’s looking for her happy ending and not about to let the world dictate how she finds that happiness (and with whom), and boy, you got me!

Natasha's book list on kickbutt heroines

Why did Natasha love this book?

Silencing Rebecca hooks the reader from the first page with the disturbing question, what happened to Rebecca? From the first line, “silence has swallowed her whole,” through jumps into the past and present, Rebecca journeys on a twisting, winding path of self-discovery, identity, and heartbreak. At once devastating and heartfelt, with prose that’s plainly spoken yet evocative, silencing Rebecca is a novel that stays with readers, long after the last word has been read.

By Nikki Vogel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this genre-bending debut YA novel combining elements of horror, magic realism, and realistic fiction, Rebecca Waldmann’s sheltered life as an Orthodox Jewish teen in Toronto is shattered when her father moves them to Edmonton, where she is plunged into the worldly life of a public high school. Ordinary teenage angst is complicated by Rebecca’s lack of experience with a culture of wearing cool clothes, swearing, talking back to teachers, and other aspects of secular teen life. Things take a darker turn when Rebecca encounters antisemitism and discovers a secret about the long-ago death of her mother that her father…

The Unfolding of Language

By Guy Deutscher,

Book cover of The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention

Mark Burgess Author Of Smart Spacetime: How information challenges our ideas about space, time, and process

From the list on mind bending scientific discovery and courageous rethinking.

Who am I?

I am a scientist and technologist, trained in theoretical quantum physics, who became an Emeritus Professor of Network Technology from Oslo’s metropolitan university. I’ve strenuously tried to communicate the wonder of science to students and industry throughout my career. I’ve been privileged to know some of the great movers and shakers of science in my lifetime and it always gives me great pleasure to open someone’s mind to new ideas. These books have been an integral part of my own intellectual journey. I hope these recommendations will inspire the youngest and the oldest readers alike.

Mark's book list on mind bending scientific discovery and courageous rethinking

Why did Mark love this book?

Linguistics is at the root of so many issues on information science, as well as in biology.

The language of genes is one of symbolic storytelling. This book explains how something as apparently rule-based and human can emerge from completely general evolutionary processes. It was influential for me as a scientist as it underlines the important of linguistics as well as the rich spirit of intellectual curiosity and humour that Deutscher brings to the unfolding of science itself.

This is another book that I admire amongst the best science writing of all time.

By Guy Deutscher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Blending the spirit of Eats, Shoots & Leaves with the science of The Language Instinct, an original inquiry into the development of that most essential-and mysterious-of human creations: Language

Language is mankind's greatest invention-except, of course, that it was never invented." So begins linguist Guy Deutscher's enthralling investigation into the genesis and evolution of language. If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of "man throw spear," how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous vocabularies, and intricately nuanced degrees of meaning?

Drawing on recent groundbreaking discoveries in modern linguistics, Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation…