The best William Shakespeare books

Who picked these books? Meet our 168 experts.

168 authors created a book list connected to William Shakespeare, and here are their favorite William Shakespeare books.
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What type of William Shakespeare book?



By Christopher Moore,

Book cover of Fool

Heather Ashle Author Of An Heir of Realms

From the list on adult fantasy that won’t make you grow up too much.

Who am I?

My favorite fantasy novels tend to be rather complex. Winding plotlines, mysteriously interconnected characters, whimsical settings, and intricate, thoughtful worldbuilding combine to create immersive stories that stick in the mind like overworn folklore. Time travel or interworld travel lend additional layers of intrigue and mystery, forcing the inescapable contemplation of a more thrilling, alternate reality. And if it’s all packaged in artful, breathtaking prose that breeds full-color images, audible noises, indelible flavors, nose-crumpling odors, and tangible textures, I will happily lose myself in the pages, truly forgetting about the strictures of everyday life… at least until I get hungry and remember I need to consume more than books to survive.

Heather's book list on adult fantasy that won’t make you grow up too much

Discover why each book is one of Heather's favorite books.

Why did Heather love this book?

Nearly any of Christopher Moore’s other books would have better fit this list generically, but I am relying (heavily) on the presence of fantastical creatures and magic spells to maintain the necessary toe in the fantasy pool for my non-sequitur selection of Fool. Based skeletally on Shakespeare’s King Lear, Fool credits Lear’s court jester, Pocket—along with MacBeth’s trio of witches, a “bloody ghost,” and other foils—for engendering the war that followed the king’s tragic decision to disinherit his kindest daughter in favor of his other conniving offspring. Linguistic and bawdy humor are packaged in Moore’s cockeyed and delightfully Will-esque prose, rendering half the fun—at least for readers fond of the Bard—the detection of Shakespearean elements amidst olde-timey twists on today’s ruder colloquialisms.

By Christopher Moore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity,. . . If that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!'

So speaks Christopher Moore, one of America's funniest and bestselling authors, regarded as highly as classic satirists such as Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams.

Read Fool and discover for yourself why this book has dominated bestseller lists across the world, and why it has reduced millions of grown men and women to tears of helpless laughter...


By Elise Broach, Kelly Murphy (illustrator),

Book cover of Masterpiece

Wendy McLeod MacKnight Author Of The Frame-Up

From the list on middle grade that promote a love of art.

Who am I?

I’ve been obsessed with art since I was a kid. When I look at art, I see stories, not just about what I’m seeing, but about what it was like when the painting was created: was the artist tired, grumpy, frustrated? Why’d they paint it the way they did? Sadly, my artistic talent is limited, but fortunately, I can tell stories. After visiting William Orpen’s painting of Mona Dunn at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, I couldn’t help wondering why he made her look so pensive. The only way I could answer that question was by writing my own story about Mona and the other paintings in the gallery!

Wendy's book list on middle grade that promote a love of art

Discover why each book is one of Wendy's favorite books.

Why did Wendy love this book?

A middle-grade novel about an artistic beetle? Sign me up. This delightful story of a talented beetle named Marvin, his human friend James, who work together to help the Metropolitan Museum of Art recover a stolen artwork is delightful, thrilling, and heartwarming. It’s not always easy to have (or not have) artistic talent!

By Elise Broach, Kelly Murphy (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestselling middle grade mystery novel full of adventure, friendship, and stolen art.

Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays' apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy. After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and before these unlikely friends know it they are caught up in a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art…

Red Comet

By Heather Clark, Heather Clark,

Book cover of Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath

Willard Spiegelman Author Of Nothing Stays Put: The Life and Poetry of Amy Clampitt

From the list on the lives and works of English and American poets.

Who am I?

I have spent my life both in the classroom (as a university professor) and out of it as a passionate, committed reader, for whom books are as necessary as food and drink. My interest in poetry dates back to junior high school, when I was learning foreign languages (first French and Latin, and then, later, Italian, German, and ancient Greek) and realized that language is humankind’s most astonishing invention. I’ve been at it ever since. It used to be thought that a writer’s life was of little consequence to an understanding of his or her work. We now think otherwise. Thank goodness.

Willard's book list on the lives and works of English and American poets

Discover why each book is one of Willard's favorite books.

Why did Willard love this book?

Sylvia Path (1932-1963) was only thirty when she committed suicide in London.

An American girl, alumna of Smith College, gifted and tortured from the start, she became most famous, after her death, for her novel The Bell Jar and Ariel, her posthumous book of lyrics that contains the much anthologized poems “Daddy” and “Lady Lazarus.”

She married the British poet Ted Hughes and bore two children. She and Hughes divorced. Much of her lived life is the material for her wrenching poems.

She was sanctified by the women’s movement, but she was no saint. Her legacy is her work.

And Heather Clark’s massive biography is a marvel of research, energy, sympathy, and literary analysis.

By Heather Clark, Heather Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first biography of this great and tragic poet that takes advantage of a wealth of new material, this is an unusually balanced, comprehensive and definitive life of Sylvia Plath.

'Surely the final, the definitive, biography of Sylvia Plath' Ali Smith


Drawing on a wealth of new material, Heather Clark brings to life the great and tragic poet, Sylvia Plath. Refusing to read Plath's work as if her every act was a harbinger…

Book cover of The Private Life of William Shakespeare

Carole Levin Author Of The Reign and Life of Queen Elizabeth I: Politics, Culture, and Society

From the list on to enjoy Shakespeare in the twenty-first century.

Who am I?

I have been fascinated with Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare since I was a child and read a kid biography of the queen and saw a Shakespearean comedy. The two topics are completely intertwined—Elizabeth saw Shakespeare’s plays at court and the strong women in Shakespeare’s plays reflect the queen. Elizabeth and Shakespeare have been both my passion and my profession. I have loved teaching and writing about them. One of my favorite things to do is to go see Shakespeare plays and to see portraits of the queen at museums. This passion has so enriched my life. The queen and the playwright have been very good to me. 

Carole's book list on to enjoy Shakespeare in the twenty-first century

Discover why each book is one of Carole's favorite books.

Why did Carole love this book?

Gorgeously illustrated and elegantly written, Lena Orlin’s new study of William Shakespeare shows her great skill at doing research to give us new ways to understand the playwright. She puts the evidence of his life within the context of other Elizabethan documents. Orlin proves that we can know more about Shakespeare by examining the lives of the people in his circles. As she tells us, this is neither a literary biography nor a full biography, but it is a book that follows the evidence to tell us much more about Shakespeare the man. Shakespeare cared deeply about his father and his marriage to Anne was much less contentious and a more pleasant partnership. Though there have been so many books about Shakespeare, Orlin helps us understand him beyond the myths. Her brilliant and thorough reading of documents presents a wonderful read.

By Lena Cowen Orlin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new biography of William Shakespeare that explores his private life in Stratford-upon-Avon, his personal aspirations, his self-determination, and his relations with the members of his family and his neighbours.

The Private Life of William Shakespeare tells the story of Shakespeare in Stratford as a family man. The book offers close readings of key documents associated with Shakespeare and develops a contextual understanding of the genres from which these documents emerge. It reconsiders clusters of evidence that have been held to prove some persistent biographical fables. It also shows how the histories of some of Shakespeare's neighbours illuminate aspects of…

The Wicked Pavilion

By Dawn Powell,

Book cover of The Wicked Pavilion

Scott Brooks Author Of And There We Were and Here We Are

From the list on if you love old black-and-white movies.

Who am I?

I'm a New Yorker with a background in the performing arts. Though a lifelong reader and bookstore loiterer, my early writing career was focused on the stage as well as the pursuit of a career in screenwriting. This led to many years writing and producing theatre as well as working in film and TV both as a writer and in production. The books I've chosen, I feel influenced the American language in the last century, an influence reflected in the tone of the novels and films from that period described by scholars as “Between the Wars.” It's a period that fascinates me for it exists now only in books and movies and is therein preserved.

Scott's book list on if you love old black-and-white movies

Discover why each book is one of Scott's favorite books.

Why did Scott love this book?

Dawn Powell is one of the most overlooked literary figures in America from this time. Her acid wit (and gender) immediately begs comparison to Dorothy Parker. A New Yorker transplanted from Ohio, she wrote many plays and novels from the 30s to the 60s. Wicked Pavilion was published in 1954 and is a delicious satire of a group of artists who frequent a small bistro near Washington Square Park – hard-drinking writers, poets, and painters. It features a hilarious subplot of a painter who stages his own death so the value of his paintings will increase. The antidote to Henry James, Dawn Powell writes like Edith Wharton on laughing gas.

By Dawn Powell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The “Wicked Pavilion” of the title is the Café Julien, where everybody who is anybody goes to recover from failed love affairs and to pursue new ones, to cadge money, to hatch plots, and to puncture one another’s reputation. Dennis Orphen, the writer from Dawn Powell’s Turn, Magic Wheel, makes an appearance here, as does Andy Callingham, Powell’s thinly disguised Ernest Hemingway. The climax of this mercilessly funny novel comes with a party which, remarked Gore Vidal, “resembles Proust’s last roundup,” and where one of the partygoers observes, “There are some people here who have been dead twenty years.”



By Shane Maloney,

Book cover of Stiff

Paul Burman Author Of Night-night, Sleep Tight

From the list on crime mysteries with an extra twist of character.

Who am I?

I'm the author of three novels, several short stories, and quite a few articles about writing and literature. While I haven't aimed to write for a specific genre—all three of my novels are different in this respectmy plots usually focus on a mystery. I enjoy novels with strong, credible characters, which are based in a recognisable, everyday reality, but where bizarre events can turn the world upside down.

Paul's book list on crime mysteries with an extra twist of character

Discover why each book is one of Paul's favorite books.

Why did Paul love this book?

This laugh-out-loud crime mystery has a special place for me because I read it not long after migrating to Australia and, through the lead character, Murray Whelan (a political staffer who spends his time digging himself in and out of holes), I was not only introduced to Australian humour but also to a new way of viewing Melbourne, its politics, establishments, and suburbs. In Stiff, as with Shane Maloney's other books in this series, the city landscape is as much a character as Murray Whelan himself, and this sense of place adds a richness to the story that would be missing if it were merely treated as a backdrop.

By Shane Maloney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Don’t you just hate it when someone tries to kill you and you don’t know why?

Single father Murray Whelan thinks the life of a parent and political operative is complicated enough. His ex is staking out the moral high ground for a custody battle, and rumors of an early election are starting to fly in the upper echelons of Australia’s Labor party. When a Turk is found snap-frozen in a local meat plant, Murray cops the job to head off possible fallout for his boss, Charlene Wills, a member of Parliament and the Minister for Industry. But the meat…

Book cover of The Repertory of Shakespeare's Company, 1594-1613

David McInnis Author Of Shakespeare and Lost Plays

From the list on to understand the history of Shakespeare's theatre.

Who am I?

I’m a Shakespeare scholar with a particular interest in theatre history and the repertories of the London commercial playing companies of the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries. I’m particularly fascinated by the hundreds of plays written during this period that have not survived, whether as the result of fire, vandalism, censorship, or more mundane causes like a lack of interest in or opportunity for publication. The surviving plays from the period are the distinct minority; yet the plays lost to us were known to Shakespeare and his contemporaries, who often wrote in response to what else was being performed across London.

David's book list on to understand the history of Shakespeare's theatre

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

This is the book that inaugurated a whole field of Shakespeare studies—repertory studies—that focuses on the commercial concerns of the London playing companies, treating plays as commodities used by companies to make money, and examining the strategies used by companies to remain competitive in the theatrical marketplace. Knutson’s work de-emphasises the significance of playwrights and focuses instead on playing companies.

By Roslyn Lander Knutson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Repertory of Shakespeare's Company, 1594-1613 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most modern scholars regard William Shakespeare and his repertory company as the pre-eminent theatre group of its day; Roslyn Lander Knutson contends that they were also practical entrepreneurs who both shaped and responded to current theatrical tastes and whose playhouse practices closely paralleled those of their competitors. In ""The Repertory of Shakespeare's Company"" Knutson demystifies Shakespeare and his company by providing a clear vision of the dynamics of play production and play-going in Shakespeare's England, taking Shakespeare and his company down from their lofty pedestal where Victorian scholars placed them. She argues that Shakespeare and his company should not be…

The Sense of an Ending

By Frank Kermode,

Book cover of The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction

Amin Samman Author Of History in Financial Times

From the list on philosophy challenging how you think about history.

Who am I?

There are so many different ways of thinking and writing about history. I first noticed this while studying at university, when I saw just how different economic history looked from other kinds of history. I later learned that all kinds of historical writing are forms of literature, only they are rarely recognized as such. I am now a university professor and this is my area of expertise: the overlap between the philosophy of history and economics. The books on this list are great examples of unusual or ‘weird’ works on history that challenge some of our deepest assumptions about what history is and how best to think or write about it.

Amin's book list on philosophy challenging how you think about history

Discover why each book is one of Amin's favorite books.

Why did Amin love this book?

Kermode is a literary critic and this book is a study of apocalyptic narrative throughout the ages. But as Lowith shows, all Western historical thought is apocalyptic. Kermode takes this point further by looking not just at the Bible, but also Roman philosophy, modern English poetry, and more. It might sound like a bit of a detour, only it doesn’t feel that way when he brings it all to a head in an early diagnosis of the postmodern condition. Because we now know the power of stories, he argues, they can only continue to do their work by ‘defying our sense of reality.' Talk about the ultimate cliffhanger!

By Frank Kermode,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Frank Kermode is one of our most distinguished and beloved critics of English literature. Here, he contributes a new epilogue to his collection of classic lectures on the relationship of fiction to age-old concepts of apocalyptic chaos and crisis. Prompted by the approach of the millennium, he revisits the book which brings his highly concentrated insights to bear on some of the most unyielding philosophical and aesthetic enigmas. Examining the works of writers from
Plato to William Burroughs, Kermode shows how they have persistently imposed their "fictions" upon the face of eternity and how these have reflected the apocalyptic spirit.…

How to Write for the World of Work

By Donald H. Cunningham, Thomas E. Pearsall, Elizabeth O. Smith

Book cover of How to Write for the World of Work

Rod Stephens Author Of Beginning Software Engineering

From the list on making you a better software developer.

Who am I?

During my career, I’ve worked on projects large and small (1 - 60+ people) in a wide variety of fields (like repair dispatch, ticket sales, and professional football coaching--the NFL kind not the FIFA kind). All of them, and particularly the big ones, were like antique clocks: they had lots of moving pieces and if any piece broke, the whole thing wouldn’t work. (Unfortunately, failed software projects don’t look nice on your mantelpiece.) In this list, I’ve tried to pick some books that you might not discover if you look only for programming books. Read those, too, but don’t ignore the more human-oriented dimensions of software development. Hopefully you’ll find these choices interesting and useful.

Rod's book list on making you a better software developer

Discover why each book is one of Rod's favorite books.

Why did Rod love this book?

When people think about software engineering they mostly think about programming, but that’s not where a project starts. It starts with requirements.

(Really it sometimes starts with company politics, bickering, excuses, and backstabbing, but requirements gathering is often the official start.)

A good set of requirements keeps developers pulling in the same direction; a bad one can make the team inefficient, cause endless arguments, set developers against each other, and make the project feel like Lord of the Flies. I’ve seen projects scrapped and restarted from scratch or even canceled due to poor documentation.

Every software developer should know at least a little about writing so they can produce clear requirements and documentation.

This book isn’t specifically about writing documentation (which is something of an art in itself), but it can help you learn how to make your business writing more effective. This book won’t turn you into Shakespeare,…

By Donald H. Cunningham, Thomas E. Pearsall, Elizabeth O. Smith

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Write for the World of Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Designed for advanced professional, technical or business writing courses, this concise text covers basic principles, correspondence and reports, and provides a guide to common problems.

A Thousand Acres

By Jane Smiley,

Book cover of A Thousand Acres

Richard Zimler Author Of The Incandescent Threads

From the list on survivors of a horrific trauma.

Who am I?

I’m originally from New York but have lived in Portugal for the last 33 years. I write my novels in English and my children’s books in Portuguese. As anyone who reads my latest novel will discover, I have been greatly influenced the mythology and mystical traditions of various religions, especially Judaism (kabbalah). Happily, I discovered early on that I adore writing about people who have been systematically persecuted and silenced. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to explore taboo subjects and topics that others would prefer to forget or conceal. When I’m not working on a book, I like to garden and travel. 

Richard's book list on survivors of a horrific trauma

Discover why each book is one of Richard's favorite books.

Why did Richard love this book?

In this deeply disturbing novel, an elderly and despotic farmer named Larry Cook decides to give joint ownership of his 1000-acre farm in Iowa to his three daughters, although the youngest, Caroline, objects to this arrangement and is soon disinherited.

In the emotional wake of this family conflict, long-hidden revelations about how Cook sexually abused his two eldest daughters – Ginny and Rose – come to light. As the old tyrant’s mind and body deteriorate, Ginny and Rose run the farm as best they can and share their painful memories with each other.

Will they be able to make peace with a past that continually threatens their emotional well-being? And dare they continue running an enterprise that reminds them every day of their brutal father and damaged childhoods?  

By Jane Smiley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Thousand Acres as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This powerful twentieth-century reimagining of Shakespeare's King Lear centers on a wealthy Iowa farmer who decides to divide his farm among his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will, which sets in motion a chain of events that brings dark truths to light. Ambitiously conceived and stunningly written, A Thousand Acres spins the most fundamental themes of truth, justice, love, and pride into a universally acclaimed masterpiece.

The Bookman's Tale

By Charlie Lovett,

Book cover of The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession

Theodore Irvin Silar Author Of Lady Grace's Revels: A Tale of Elizabethan England

From the list on fiction set in the 16th century.

Who am I?

I have a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University, and I have taught English for 30 years. I have studied and taught Shakespeare, Tudor drama, English linguistics, the Reformation, and various other aspects in the literary and cultural history of the 16th century. The 16th century is a time of great upheaval and the more I study it, the more I am fascinated by how pivotal this epoch is in the creation of the modern world, for better and for worse. I seek out books that chart, from grandest to most intimate, this momentous time’s transformations.

Theodore's book list on fiction set in the 16th century

Discover why each book is one of Theodore's favorite books.

Why did Theodore love this book?

Antiquarian Charlie Lovett’s The Bookman’s Tale is informed by his expertise. TBT is a paean to books, their production, archival, transmission, forgery. This book should appeal to readers who love books. The story of Peter, a present-day apprentice rare books dealer, alternates with that of Bartholomew Harbottle, a crooked Elizabethan book dealer, a friend of William Shakespeare. 

The book follows a Shakespearean document as it passes from hand to hand over time. At first, the document appears real. Then forged. Then partially forged. Then perhaps real. Then a perfect copy shows up. Which one is real? Which one is fake? Are both fake? Therein lies a tale.

By Charlie Lovett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller's search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love. Charlie Lovett's new book, The Lost Book of the Grail, is now available.

Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books, The Bookman's Tale is a former bookseller's sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature's most tantalizing mysteries with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt's Possession.

Nine months after the death of his beloved wife Amanda left him shattered, Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian bookseller, relocates from North Carolina to the English…

Spring Song

By Cassia Hall,

Book cover of Spring Song

Isla Ryder Author Of Twin Springs Ranch

From the list on fictional ranches I want to visit.

Who am I?

I’ve been an equestrian all of my life, so when I pick up a story that promises horses, I have high expectations. I want to be immersed in the moment, and to be honest, that can be difficult to find. I have put down more ranch romances than I have finished. My cowboys really need to be cowboys, not just hot guys in hats that maybe ride a horse off-screen sometimes. But when I find that special something, I can’t put it down. I hang on for the ride and put the horses up wet. I do wish these places were real. I’d book my ticket in a heartbeat.

Isla's book list on fictional ranches I want to visit

Discover why each book is one of Isla's favorite books.

Why did Isla love this book?

Silverian Stables isn’t technically a ranch, as it is in a fantasy story and the stable is more a place where the horses of the knights, travelers, and other high-born’s horses are kept, but in only a few pages I was sold and ready to start the long trek up Mount Saddle. The stables become a focal point in book two where the Stable Master is one of the main characters. We get a loving peek into her life and the lives of those caring for the horses. The horses that fill the stables feel like ones I have known all my life and am dying to ride. Even though it is fantasy romance, it reads like any great small-town story, just with an added hint of magic.

By Cassia Hall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Can love transcend time, space and worlds?

Raised as a noble scion, Heinregard comes to the House of Silveria for their famous Spring Song festival, but when he hears the voice of stable lad Clayten, he's overthrown in more ways than one. As they spend time together overseeing Heinregard’s troublesome younger cousins, the two grow close. Is Heinregard prepared to risk everything for someone of a different station?

As the Dowager Duchess’ daughter, Viraya is safely past marriageable age and responsible for Spring Song celebrations. This year, their guests include a formidable Capitán who has the gall to set his…

The Solitudes

By John Crowley,

Book cover of The Solitudes

Polly Schattel Author Of The Occultists

From the list on modern fantasy for people who dislike modern fantasy.

Who am I?

My name is Polly Schattel, and I’m a novelist, screenwriter, and film director. I wrote and directed the films Sinkhole, Alison, and Quiet River, and my written work includes The Occultists, Shadowdays, and the novella 8:59:29. I grew up loving fantasy—Tolkien, Moorcock, Zelazny—but phased out of it somewhat when I discovered writers like Raymond Carver, EL Doctorow, and Denis Johnson. Their books seemed more adult and more complex, not to mention the prose itself was absolutely transporting. In comparison, the fantasy I’d read often felt quite rushed and thin, with get-it-done prose. I drifted away from genre fiction a bit, but dove back to it with my first novel, the historical dark fantasy The Occultists.

Polly's book list on modern fantasy for people who dislike modern fantasy

Discover why each book is one of Polly's favorite books.

Why did Polly love this book?

Crowley is the author of the timeless classic Little, Big, of course (which is also essential reading), but his novel, The Solitudes, began a tetralogy that explores history, alternate history, and the grand Hermetic framework which contains it all.

Centering around a historian working to connect an alternate imagined world, Ægypt, with the real one today, Crowley’s readers take a deep dive into the Renaissance world of Giordano Bruno, Doctor Dee, Shakespeare, and others, while simultaneously exploring the arcane world of the present.

It feels strangely akin to something Umberto Eco might come up with if he ever wanted to write fantasy.

As with any Crowley novel, the prose is absolutely gorgeous—a masterclass of beautiful, thoughtful writing. This series has been unjustly overlooked. Give it a try.

By John Crowley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reengaging the ideas of alternate lives, worlds, and worldviews that pulsed through his remarkable Little, Big, John Crowley’s Ægypt series is a landmark in contemporary fiction. The series helped earn Crowley the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and Harold Bloom installed the first two books in the series in his 1993 Western canon. Now, following the Spring 2007 hardcover release of the final book in the series (Endless Things), Overlook is bringing the entire tetralogy back into print and, for the first time, presenting it as a real series. In The Solitudes, the opening of the…

Poetry for Kids

By William Shakespeare, Merce Lopez (illustrator),

Book cover of Poetry for Kids: William Shakespeare

Marty Rhodes Figley Author Of Emily and Carlo

From the list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry.

Who am I?

Years ago, I returned to school at Mount Holyoke College to complete my bachelor’s degree in American Studies. I took a course on Emily Dickinson at the poet’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts—what a thrill! On the first day of class I learned that for sixteen years Emily’s constant companion was Carlo, a Newfoundland dog. Having experienced a hairy, slobbery encounter with a Newf when I was twenty while wearing a white dress, I knew the myth of Emily, pristinely dressed, untouched by the more earthy emotions was wrong. A new story needed to be told. That was the beginning of Emily and Carlo.

Marty's book list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry

Discover why each book is one of Marty's favorite books.

Why did Marty love this book?

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ear.” This is a must-have for any library. I wish I had begun reading William Shakespeare much earlier than high school! This 48-page volume provides a wonderful introduction for young and older readers with an assortment of Bard’s poems and speeches. Each entry is beautifully illustrated and explained by an expert. Definitions of hard-to-understand words are thoughtfully included at the bottom of each page.

By William Shakespeare, Merce Lopez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Love! Betrayal! Ambition! Tragedy! Jealousy! William Shakespeare's universal themes continue to resonate with readers of all ages more than 400 years after his death.

This wonderful, fully illustrated book introduces children to the Bard and more than thirty of his most famous and accessible verses, sonnets, and speeches. From "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" to "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" and "All the world's a stage," the words and poetry of the greatest playwright and poet spring to life on the page.

The next generation of readers, poets, and actors will be entranced…

Book cover of The Greater and Lesser Worlds of Robert Fludd: Macrocosm, Microcosm, and Medicine

Decimus Erasmus Buglawton Author Of Debugging Shakespeare

From the list on who William Shakespeare really was.

Who am I?

I am passionate about solving problems of any type. I have a long history of solving Computer problems that are known traditionally as “bugs”. After retiring, I turned my attention to other problems & mysteries, discovering I had a talent for historical detective work too! I wasn’t satisfied with the - very unconvincing - traditional “chocolate box” narrative of Shakespeare’s family and life. He must have had much more impact on the wider world than is currently known and I believe, after 450 years, I finally cracked it!

Decimus' book list on who William Shakespeare really was

Discover why each book is one of Decimus' favorite books.

Why did Decimus love this book?

This book contains an incredible amount of detail and diagrams about the enigmatic “Dr Robert Fludd” who I regard as just another alias of the Bard.

Fludd, like Sir Francis Bacon was a proto scientist - way ahead of his time - with a background matching closely my own beliefs about the true origin of the polymath. It offers a whole new perspective on what the Bard actually knew in addition to writing poems and plays

By Joscelyn Godwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Greater and Lesser Worlds of Robert Fludd as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An illustrated reference book on a seminal figure of occult philosophy and Renaissance thought

* Explains Fludd's thoughts on cosmic harmonies, divination, the kabbalah, astrology, geomancy, alchemy, the Rosicrucians, and multiple levels of existence

* Includes more than 200 of Fludd's illustrations, representing the whole corpus of Fludd's iconography, each one accompanied by Godwin's expert commentary

* Explores Fludd's medical work as an esoteric Paracelsian physician and his theories on the macrocosm of elements, planets, stars, and subtle and divine beings and the microcosm of the human being and its creative activities, including material never before translated

One of the…

Shakespeare in Love

By Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard,

Book cover of Shakespeare in Love: A Screenplay

Jessica Barksdale Inclan Author Of The Play's the Thing

From the list on to help you love William Shakespeare even more.

Who am I?

While I taught Shakespeare’s plays all my teaching career, I stayed in my lanes: Hamlet, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear. As a poetry teacher, I used his sonnets as examples of metaphor and form, but never did I consider myself an expert. However, when the idea for my novel popped into my head, I realized I had some serious reading to do. Not only did I study the facts, I delved into the fiction. While some of these books came out during my writing and others after, I didn’t lose my interest, picking up whatever new Shakespeare book appeared. These are some of my favorites.

Jessica's book list on to help you love William Shakespeare even more

Discover why each book is one of Jessica's favorite books.

Why did Jessica love this book?

This is the screenplay of the movie that caught all our hearts. Until this film was made, most people imagined William Shakespeare as a balding, portly man who wrote plays that no one could understand then or now.

But in this film, Shakespeare is a (handsome) man, questing for love as well as a writer whose words speak to everyone’s heart. Plus there’s mistaken identities, subplots, intrigue, and Queen Elizabeth. What’s not to love?

By Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The screenplay to the critically acclaimed film which New York Newsday called one of the funniest, most enchanting, most romantic, and best written tales ever spun from the vast legend of Shakespeare. Marc Norman and renowned dramatist, Tom Stoppard have created the best screenplay of the year according to the Golden Globes and the New York Film Critics Circle.

Beginning with a Bash

By Alice Tilton,

Book cover of Beginning with a Bash

Angela M. Sanders Author Of Witch upon a Star

From the list on screwball mysteries from the golden age of detection.

Who am I?

Between humor and pathos, I lean humor. Even the saddest, most shocking events—murder, for instance—can be wrapped in kookiness. Combine this outlook with my love of old things (I’m sitting on a 1920s Chinese wedding bed and drinking from an etched Victorian tumbler at this very moment), and you’ll understand why I’m drawn to vintage screwball detective fiction. Although my mystery novels are cozies, I can’t help but infuse them with some of this screwball wackiness. I want readers to laugh, of course, but also to use my stories as springboards to see the hilarity and wonder in their own lives. 

Angela's book list on screwball mysteries from the golden age of detection

Discover why each book is one of Angela's favorite books.

Why did Angela love this book?

Golden Age mystery aficionados know Phoebe Atwood Taylor’s humorous Cape Cod mysteries, but they may not be familiar with the even more hilarious—in my opinion, anyway—mysteries she wrote as Alice Tilton.

A friend lent me Tillton’s The Left Leg. As soon as I’d read its last page, I was on the hunt for the rest of them.

Beginning with a Bash is the first in Tilton’s series starring Leonidas Witherall, a boys’ school headmaster, radio detective story writer, and dead ringer for William Shakespeare.

These mysteries read more like capers, with Witherall ricocheting around Boston as he stumbles over corpses, eludes gangsters, dons disguises, and deals with impudent children and persistent dogs. Guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.

By Alice Tilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beginning with a Bash as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Tilton, Alice, Taylor, Phoebe Atwood

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

By Jerome K Jerome, A Frederics (illustrator),

Book cover of Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

Christopher Shevlin Author Of The Spy Who Came in from the Bin

From the list on making you laugh and feel better.

Who am I?

I write books that I hope will make people laugh and feel better – so far, they are the three Jonathon Fairfax novels and a novella called The Pursuit of Coconuts. I suffer from depression, and have always found the world quite a difficult and confusing place, so – ever since I learned to read – I’ve escaped into books. Reading is so soothing and absorbing, and there’s something oddly intimate about joining an author inside a book. When a book’s genuinely funny, it feels as though – in a flash – it reveals the essential foolish absurdity of the world. I’ve listed five of the books that have worked that little miracle on me.

Christopher's book list on making you laugh and feel better

Discover why each book is one of Christopher's favorite books.

Why did Christopher love this book?

I read this during a period of temping when I was at university, and it was like an enchanted escape capsule from my job.

It was written in the late nineteenth century, but it doesn’t have the kind of starchy, pious formality of a lot of writing from that time. It feels very free and very modern, rooted in the details of everyday life that probably stay quite constant throughout history – like cheeky kids, the failure of all forms of waterproofing, and how annoying our friends are when we’re confined with them for any length of time.

It’s based on Jerome’s honeymoon trip up the Thames, but with his wife diplomatically replaced by two imaginary friends and a dog.

By Jerome K Jerome, A Frederics (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three Men in a Boat, published in 1889, became an instant success and has never been out of print. In its first twenty years alone, the book sold over a million copies worldwide. It has been adapted to films, TV, and radio shows, stage plays, and a musical, and influenced subsequent writers such as P. G. Wodehouse, James Thurber, and Nick Hornby. It ranks among The Guardian’s top one hundred best English novels of all time.

Jerome’s light comic prose overtook what was intended as a series of magazine articles about the scenery and history of the Thames and became…

Book cover of Where the Forest Meets the Stars

Kristen James Author Of More Than Memories

From the list on romantic dramas with unique storylines.

Who am I?

I really enjoy coming up with fresh, unique storylines. I have to applaud books that have a new approach and surprise us—it’s not easy for authors to do! The perfect story, to me, is romantic drama and family life all entwined. Family is everything, whether it’s the family we’re born into, one created by marriage, or one by random circumstances. I enjoy reading and writing romance in the context of family drama because it’s the core of who we are. The best stories have romance and also tell about a family coming together. 

Kristen's book list on romantic dramas with unique storylines

Discover why each book is one of Kristen's favorite books.

Why did Kristen love this book?

I love offbeat stories that surprise me! We meet Jo as she arrives at a cabin out in the woods for a scientific bird study, and of course, she arrives with a lot of emotional baggage. She soon meets a little girl who comes out of the woods like she’s homeless. Jo gets a neighbor involved, although not through her choosing. The neighbor doesn’t seem to like people or want to be bothered, but soon they both find themselves responsible for this lost little girl. This story has mystery and intrigue, and a slowly developing romance and family dynamic that I love. The setup is new and fresh, and the writing is amazing. It’s hard to tell you how much I loved this story! 

By Glendy Vanderah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where the Forest Meets the Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller, and a Goodreads Choice Award finalist.

In this gorgeously stunning debut, a mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again.

After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot…

Book cover of The Last True Poets of the Sea

Siri Caldwell Author Of The Mermaid Hypothesis

From the list on LGBTQ+ stories about feeling lost, then found.

Who am I?

Every time I write a romance novel, I find myself returning to the same themes: seeing people for who they are beneath the surface, respecting others despite differences, and choosing to love those who might seem a little odd. Whether they’re angels, mermaids, or plain old humans, my characters lead lives where, despite marginalization and alienation, love and a sense of belonging are possible. My Christmas novella, Mistletoe Mishap, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Siri's book list on LGBTQ+ stories about feeling lost, then found

Discover why each book is one of Siri's favorite books.

Why did Siri love this book?

I typically don’t read YA, but I’d just finished writing a book about searching for an ancient shipwreck, so I thought, why not see what someone else did with this idea? And I’m so glad I did. Otherwise I would have missed out on this compelling inner journey of a teenager who tries on adult responsibility and explores who she wants to be: someone who flees, breaks down, acts out, steps up, reaches for meaningful connection, or (and) loves.

By Julia Drake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last True Poets of the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Larkin family isn't just lucky -- they persevere. At least that's what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn't drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer. But wrecks seem to run in the family: Tall, funny, musical Violet can't stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.

Shipped back to Lyric while…