The Glass Castle

Books like The Glass Castle

September 12, 2022

#1 Wings Of Fire

The son of a poorly educated boat owner in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam had an exceptional career as a defense scientist that culminated in receiving the highest civilian honor in India, the Bharat Ratna. In his role as director of the nation’s defense R&D program, Kalam showed the enormous potential for dynamism and creativity present in what appeared to be dormant research institutions. This is the tale of Kalam’s ascent from obscurity, his difficulties on the personal and professional fronts, and the development of the Agni, Prithvi, Akash, Trishul, and Nag missiles, which have made India a missile power of note in the world stage. This is a story about internal and international politics as well as science, and it is also the story of independent India’s quest for scientific self-sufficiency and defense autonomy.

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#2 Maid

Stephanie Land’s aspirations to leave her small village in the Pacific Northwest at the age of 28 and follow her goals of going to college and becoming a writer were derailed when a summer romance resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. To make ends meet, she started working as a housekeeper. Determined to provide her daughter the greatest life possible, Stephanie worked long days, pursued her college degree online, and started writing nonstop.

The movie Maid delves into the dark side of upper-middle-class America and the truth of what it’s like to work for them. Stephanie describes her interactions with her clients, many of whom she knows a lot about but who don’t recognize her from any other cleaner, as “I’d become a nameless ghost.” She starts to find optimism in her own direction as she learns more about the tragic and loving aspects of her clients’ life. She gives the “servant” worker and those living in poverty who are pursuing the American Dream a voice through her journalism. The story of Maid is not just Stephanie’s.

#3 The Dirt

The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Famous Rock Band is a joint autobiography of Mötley Crüe written by Neil Strauss of the New York Times and the band members Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, and Nikki Sixx. It was first released in 2001 and details the band’s beginnings, as well as their fame and highs and lows. Over 100 images, largely in black and white, are included in the book. In the center of the book, there is a 16-page color section.

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#4 Can’t Hurt Me

Childhood for David Goggins was a nightmare filled with deprivation, discrimination, and physical abuse. However, Goggins changed himself from a hopeless, obese young man into one of the best endurance athletes in the world via self-control, mental fortitude, and hard training. He was the only man in history to successfully complete the rigorous training required to become a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller. He then broke records in a number of endurance competitions, earning him the title of “The Fittest (Real) Man in America” from Outside magazine.

He discusses his incredible life experience in Can’t Hurt Me and demonstrates that most people only use 40% of their potential. This is what Goggins refers to as The 40% Rule, and his life narrative shows how anyone can use it to overcome sorrow, face fear, and realize their full potential.

#5 Walden

Walden; or, Life in the Woods, first published in 1854, is a vivid depiction of Henry D. Thoreau’s time spent alone in a remote hut at Walden Pond. It is among the most important and captivating works of literature in the United States. This new paperback edition commemorates the 150th anniversary of this timeless book and was introduced by renowned American author John Updike. The majority of Walden’s content, which includes interesting passages like “Reading” and “The Pond in the Winter,” is taken from Thoreau’s notebooks. A trip to Concord, a description of his bean field, and Thoreau’s encounters with an Irish family and a Canadian woodcutter are among his other well-known passages. This is the definitive version of Walden, as close to Thoreau’s original purpose as the evidence permits. This is the appropriate presentation of Thoreau’s monumental role of social critique and dissent for the student and the general reader.

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#6 Wolf Of Wall Street

One of the most notorious figures in American finance during the 1990s was Jordan Belfort, the former boss of the infamous investment firm Stratton Oakmont. A brilliant and cunning stock-chopper, Belfort took his merry gang on a crazy ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a sizable office on Long Island. Belfort now tells a story of greed, status, and luxury that no one could have imagined in his astonishing and entertaining tell-all autobiography.

Belfort’s hyped-up, stoned-out traders browbeat clients into a stock purchase that was promised to make huge profits—for the house—at Stratton Oakmont, which is rumored to be the inspiration for the movie Boiler Room. But an insatiable thirst for vice, dubious methods, and a tragic alliance with up-and-coming shoe designer Steve Madden would put Belfort in trouble with the police and plunge him into terrifying darkness of his own.

#7 A Beautiful Terrible Thing

What happens when you learn that the guy you’ve centered your life around didn’t actually exist? When something that you thought “it could never happen to me” does?

When Jen Waite starts to discover that her devoted husband—the father of her little daughter, her best friend, and the love of her life—fits the standard definition of a psychopath, she asks herself these questions. Waite details every tragic find, every life-ending deception, and what transpires after the dust settles on her broken marriage in a candid, first-person account.

#8 Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance

In Zen & the Art of Motorbike Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig, a father and his young son travel across the American Northwest on a motorcycle during the summer. The book is an analysis of how we live and a meditation on how to live better.

Robert M. Pirsig wrote a book titled Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, which was initially released in 1974. It is the first of Pirsig’s books to examine his idea of Quality and is a dramatized autobiography.

#9 Smile

Raina merely desires to be a typical sixth-grader. However, after leaving Girl Scouts one evening, she trips and hurts her two front teeth badly. This sets off a protracted and stressful process that includes surgery, headgear that is embarrassing, and even a retainer with false teeth attached. Additionally, there are still other issues to contend with, like a significant earthquake, boy confusion, and unfriendly friends. Anyone who attended middle school will be able to relate to this authentic coming-of-age story, especially those who have experienced some dental drama of their own.

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#10 Glass Castle

A tender, poignant story of unwavering love in a family that gave the author the ferocious desire to build out a prosperous life on her own terms despite its obvious imperfections.

Jeannette Walls was raised by parents whose values and obstinate nonconformity served as both a curse and a blessing for them. Four kids were born to Rex and Rose Mary Walls. They initially led a nomadic lifestyle, traveling between Southwest desert settlements and camping in the mountains. When Rex was sober, he captivated his children’s attention by teaching them about physics, geology, and, most importantly, how to live freely. Rex was a captivating, bright man. Rose Mary, a writer and painter who couldn’t stomach having to support her family, referred to herself as an “excitement addict.” Making an artwork that would endure a lifetime was more appealing than preparing a dinner that would be eaten in fifteen minutes.

#11 Shantaram

This is how the enormous, captivating first book, which is set in the underground of modern Bombay, begins. Lin, an ex-convict with a fake passport who escapes from an Australian maximum security prison in search of a city’s bustling streets where he may vanish, tells the story of Shantaram. The two enter Bombay’s secret society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and performers, Indians and exiles from other nations, who look for what they cannot find elsewhere in this amazing location, accompanied by his guide and devoted buddy Prabaker.

Lin is a guy on the run who has no family, home, or identification. He runs a clinic in one of the city’s most impoverished slums while learning the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. He discovers war, torture in detention, murder, and a string of sinister betrayals as a result of his search. Two people possess the keys that can free Lin from the secrets and intrigues that have bound her. The first is Khader Khan, a mafia figurehead, criminal philosopher, and saint who served as Lin’s tutor in the Golden City’s criminal underworld. The second is Karla, who is attractive, secretive, and motivated by secrets that torture her but endow her with frightening power.

#12 Educated

The first time Tara Westover entered a classroom, she was 17 years old. She was raised by survivalists in the highlands of Idaho, where she stocked up on home-canned peaches and slept with her “head-for-the-hills bag” in case the world ended. She salvaged in her father’s junkyard in the winter and boiled herbs for her mother, a midwife, and healer, in the summer.

Tara saw a doctor or nurse because her father forbids going to hospitals. Herbalism was used to heal burns from explosions as well as gashings and concussions at home. The family was so cut off from society that no one was there to make sure the kids went to school or to step in when Tara’s older brother started acting violently.

#13 Untamed

Untamed is a powerful wake-up call as well as an intimate narrative that is simultaneously soulful and hilarious, aggressive and sympathetic. It is the tale of how one woman came to understand that a good mother does not slowly die for her kids, but rather teaches them how to live completely. It is the tale of navigating divorce, creating a new blended family, and realizing that whether a family is fractured or entire depends less on its makeup than on each individual’s capacity to contribute her whole self to the table. And it’s the tale of how every one of us can start to believe in ourselves enough to establish boundaries, come to terms with our bodies, honor our rage and heartache, and unlock new our most real, wildest instincts in order to transform into women who can, at long last, look in the mirror and declare: There She Is.

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#14 Wild

The 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by American author, writer, and podcaster Cheryl Strayed. In her memoir, Strayed refers to her 1995 1,100-mile trek over the Pacific Crest Trail as a voyage of self-discovery.

Cheryl Strayed believed she had lost everything when she was twenty-two. After her mother passed away, her family dispersed, and her marriage quickly fell apart. With nothing left to lose, she took the rashest choice of her life four years later. She would travel more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail by herself, without any expertise or preparation, from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State.

#15 When Breath Becomes Air

A young neurosurgeon who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer seeks to respond to the question, “What makes a life worth living?” in this profoundly touching and precisely observed memoir. Readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott will find this work to be highly recommended.

On the cusp of finishing ten years of training to become a neurosurgeon at the age of 36, Paul Kalanithi received a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis. He alternated between working as a doctor caring for the terminally ill and being patient fighting for life. The future he and his wife had envisioned vanished in an instant. When Breath Becomes Air follows Kalanithi’s development from a gullible medical student who was “possessed,” as he put it, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life,” to a Stanford neurosurgeon who works in the brain, the most important location for a person’s identity, and then to a patient and new father who must face his own mortality.

#16 The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath, an American author, and poet, only wrote one book, The Bell Jar. The book, which was first released in 1963 under the alias “Victoria Lucas,” is semi-autobiographical, albeit places and people’s identities have been changed.

The Bell Jar details Esther Greenwood’s breakdown: clever, attractive, incredibly gifted, and accomplished, but slowly crumbling—possibly for the final time. Sylvia Plath expertly engrosses the reader in Esther’s breakdown to the point where Esther’s insane behavior seems entirely plausible and approachable like watching a movie. The Bell Jar is a disturbing American classic thanks to its astounding achievement of penetrating so deeply into the terrifying recesses of the psyche.


#17 The Autobiography Of Malcolm X

Malcolm X rose to prominence as one of the twentieth century’s most important figures through a lifetime of passion and hardship. He describes his transformation from hoodlum to Muslim cleric in this captivating narrative of his voyage from a prison cell to Mecca. The guy dubbed “the angriest Black man in America” describes how his conversion to real Islam helped him confront his fury and recognize the oneness of all humans.

An acknowledged modern American classic, “The New York Times praised “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” as “extraordinary.” A wonderful, heartbreaking, and significant book.” This thrilling story changed Malcolm X’s life into his legacy, and it is still outstanding and significant. The power of his words, and the power of his beliefs, continue to ring true more than a generation later.

#18 All Creatures Great And Small

Explore the enchanting, memorable world of James Herriot, the world’s greatest renowned veterinarian, and his menagerie of uplifting, hilarious, and heartbreaking animal patients. Generations of readers have been enthralled by Herriot’s fascinating tales, a profound passion for life, and remarkable storytelling powers for almost four decades. Herriot traveled the isolated, magnificent Yorkshire Dales for decades, treating every patient, from the smallest to the largest, and watching animals and humans equally with his sharp, caring eye.

We follow the young Herriot as he eats up his calling and realises that the facts of veterinary practise in rural Yorkshire are significantly different from the antiseptic atmosphere of veterinary school in All Creatures Great and Small. Some visits are heartbreakingly difficult, such as one to an elderly man in the village someone whose ill dog is his only friend and companion; others are lighthearted and amusing, such as Herriot’s ability to visit the overfed and pampered Pekinese Tricki Woo, who throws parties and has his own stationery; and still, others are truly inspiring and insightful, such as Herriot’s remembrances of poor farmers who will scrape together their meager earnings to get the proper care.

#19 Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy is an impassioned and intimate examination of a white working-class American culture in crisis. Although the dissolution of this group has been reported on increasingly frequently and with increasing worry over the past forty years, it has never previously been described as searingly from the inside. In his real account, J. D. Vance describes what it’s like to be born with a social, geographic, and class decline hanging over your head.

Hopefully, the Vance family’s journey starts in wartime America. The grandparents of J. D. relocated to Ohio from the Appalachian region of Kentucky because they were “dirt poor and in love” and wanted to get away from the abject poverty they were surrounded by. One of their grandchildren would later earn a Yale Law School degree, which is a traditional indicator of success in attaining generational upward mobility. They raised a middle-class family. But as the Hillbilly Elegy family saga unfolds, we discover that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most importantly, his mother struggled greatly with the requirements of their new middle-class life, never truly escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma that is so typical of their region of America. Vance demonstrates with piercing honesty how he still battles the ghosts of his turbulent familial past.

#20 Books Like Shoe Dog

For the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight tell the inner story of the company’s beginnings as an adventurous start-up and how it developed into one of the most recognizable, game-changing, and successful brands in the world in this candid and compelling biography.

After graduating from business school in 1962, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and started a business with the straightforward goal of importing high-end, reasonably priced athletic shoes from Japan. Knight made $8,000 his first year by selling the shoes out of the trunk of his lime green Plymouth Valiant. Nike now has annual sales of almost $30 billion. In an era of startups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all companies, and the swoosh has developed into a revolutionary, global icon, one of the most pervasive and well-known symbols in existence right now.

#21 Books Like Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance

In Zen & the Art of Motorbike Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig, a father and his young son travel across the American Northwest on a motorcycle during the summer. The book is an analysis of how we live and a reflection on how to live better.

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#22 Braiding Sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer has been educated as a botanist to use scientific methods to raise questions about nature. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she believes that plants and animals are our earliest teachers. Kimmerer weaves these knowledge lenses together in Braiding Sweetgrass to demonstrate how the awakening of a broader ecological consciousness necessitates the recognition and celebration of our reciprocal link with the rest of the living world. We can only grasp the earth’s generosity and learn to contribute our own gifts when we can understand the languages of other beings.

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#23 Orange Is The New Black

Piper Kerman, with her work, live-in boyfriend, and loving family, bears little resemblance to the rebellious young woman who became involved with drug runners and sent a bag of drug money to Europe over a decade ago. But her wild past catches up with her when she least expects it; convicted and sentenced to fifteen months in an infamous women’s jail in Connecticut, Piper becomes inmate #11187-424. She learns to navigate this bizarre world with its arbitrary rules and regulations, it’s unpredictable, even hazardous interactions, from her first strip search until her last release. She encounters women from many walks of life who surprise her with kind gestures, harsh realities, and simple acts of compassion.

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#24 They Cage The Animals At Night

Burch was abandoned at an orphanage and never spent enough time in a single foster home to develop any friendships. This is the account of how he matured and developed the bravery to pursue love.

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#25 Spilled Milk

A beaten child named Brooke Nolan calls the police anonymously to report the increasing violence in her family. It’s a glass of spilled milk at the dinner table that causes her to talk about the cruelty she’s been hiding when social services put her safety in danger and force her to preserve her father’s secret. Brooke faces a dysfunctional system that tries to maintain her father in the house in her pursuit of safety and justice. She risks losing the support of her family and learns that some people just do not want to be saved when the jury and a potential love interest gather to motivate her to fight. The book Spilled Milk features a stunning narrative, success, and tenacity.

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#26 A Long Way Gone

The heartbreaking account of the battle as seen by a child soldier. Beah describes how, when he was twelve years old, he ran away from rebels who were attacking and wandered a violently altered landscape. By the age of thirteen, he had joined the government army and was a soldier. My new friends are starting to think I haven’t given them the whole truth about my life.

“Why did you leave Sierra Leone?”

#27 Bravo Two Zero

McNab’s work, a work of fiction titled “Remote Control,” has already earned him a spot on this list. The former member of the SAS makes a second appearance in his book that was published in 1993 and is about a mission that took place behind enemy lines during the 1991 Gulf War. During that conflict, eight members of the SAS regiment set out on a top-secret mission that was intended to infiltrate them deep behind enemy lines.

They were to locate and destroy mobile Scud launchers, as well as sever the underground network connection that connected Baghdad and the northwestern part of Iraq. This was to be done under the command of Sergeant Andy McNab. Others who were involved in the mission have claimed that certain aspects of the book are either made up or exaggerated to heighten the sense of suspense. McNab weaves a compelling tale of bravery in the face of overwhelming challenges, and this story is compelling regardless of the truth regarding the mission.

#28 Tuesdays With Morrie

American author Mitch Albom’s memoir, Tuesdays with Morrie, details a number of visits he paid to his former sociology professor Morrie Schwartz as Schwartz slowed down and eventually passed away from ALS.

Perhaps it was a grandmother, teacher, or coworker. Someone more experienced, kind, and wise who helped you navigate it when you were young and in search of answers. Morrie Schwartz, his college lecturer from over two decades ago, was that person for Mitch Albom. The insights may have gone because, like Mitch, you lost sight of this mentor as you moved forward. Wouldn’t it be nice to talk to that individual once again and ask the deeper questions that are still bothering you?

#29 Books Like Cant Hurt Me

Childhood for David Goggins was a nightmare filled with deprivation, discrimination, and physical abuse. However, Goggins changed himself from a hopeless, obese young man into one of the best endurance athletes in the world via self-control, mental fortitude, and hard training. He was the only man in history to successfully complete the rigorous training required to become a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller. He then broke records in a number of endurance competitions, earning him the title of “The Fittest (Real) Man in America” from Outside magazine.

He discusses his incredible life experience in Can’t Hurt Me and demonstrates that most people only use 40% of their potential. This is what Goggins refers to as The 40% Rule, and his life narrative shows how anyone can use it to overcome sorrow, face fear, and realize their full potential.