Writers Who Read: Read Alike Books

You have recently finished a wonderful book and are wondering what to read next. You want something similar to what you have just read, maybe keeping with that novel’s genre, author, etc., but don’t know where to start. Let me introduce you to the concept of read alike books. These novels are similar to others in content, theme, and genre. They can also be T.V. shows, movies, authors, or celebrities that resemble the characteristics of a book’s plot. For example, if you enjoyed reading The Hunger Games, you may like the Divergent series. For this month’s “Writers Who Read,” here are my top read alikes for popular book choices.

If you like author and YouTuber John Green, then you may like The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Author John Green may be best known for his YouTube content, such as the educational channel Crash Course series which focuses on teaching humanities and science courses to kids. However, he is also well known for his book, The Fault in Our Stars, and his podcast, The Anthropocene Reviewed. Green’s style of writing, talking, and unique perspective are closely mirrored in the novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Author Stephen Chbosky brings the book’s main character Charlie to life through his high school experience. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age novel, written through Charlie’s letters. These letters provide a hilarious and contemporary perspective of trying to live life and run from it all at the same time. Readers are given little details to where Charlie lives, who the letters are being sent to, etc., However, readers do develop empathy for Charlie as he navigates new friends, drama, first dates, and new experiences that high school brings.

If you like the British drama Downton Abbey, then you may like Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Set in the early 1900s, Downton Abbey channels the lives, challenges, and changes of the Crawley family as aristocrats in England. The program also gives insight into the lives of the servants of the house and the upstairs-downstairs interactions. If you are a fan of Downton Abbey and are looking for your next read, try Murder on the Orient Express. This classic novel is set on the Orient Express, traveling from Stamboul (also referred to as Istanbul), Turkey to London. Along with an ensemble of passengers, including a wealthy American and Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, travelers on the Orient Express are quickly thrown into a mystery when the wealthy American is found murdered at night. Detective Poirot sets out to solve the case; however, the fellow thirteen passengers don’t make it easy as each is harboring a secret of their own.

If you like To Kill a Mockingbird, then you may like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Two classics that people should add to their reading lists. Much like To Kill a Mockingbird, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a young coming-of-age novel set in 1912. Eleven-year-old Francie Nolan lives in the slums of Williamsburg, an area in Brooklyn, New York, with her family. Her neighborhood is culturally diverse, money is tight, but love is abundant and life centers around a tree in the courtyard. This tree, the Tree of Heaven, grows under any circumstance and it doesn’t matter whether it has been watered or not. Soon, the tree becomes a symbol for the neighborhood and Francie’s life. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a beautiful novel that connects family, growing up, and learning to overcome whatever challenges life throws at you.

Read alike books are the perfect extensions to novels you have recently read and loved. They can also be additions to stories you have watched or heard from podcasts, YouTubers, and more. It is always a good opportunity to branch out of your traditional genres and plots, but sometimes it is nice to stay in the comfort of our favorites.

 

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