The Help

Books like The Help

September 15, 2022

#1 I Claudius

Graves weaves the endless intrigues, depravity, bloody purges, and mounting brutality of the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, which would soon lead to the deified insanity of Caligula, into the “autobiography” of Clau-Clau-Claudius, the pitiable stammerer who was destined to become Emperor despite himself.

I, Claudius and its follow-up, Claudius the God, are two of the most acclaimed and compelling historical novels ever produced.

#2 The Last Kingdom

This is the tale of how England came to be in the ninth and tenth centuries, when King Alfred the Great, his son, and his grandson drove out the Danish Vikings who had controlled three of England’s four kingdoms and invaded the country.

The narrative is told from the perspective of Uhtred, an impoverished nobleman who was raised by the Danes after being kidnapped and raised by them as a child. By the time the Northmen launch their attack on Wessex, Alfred’s kingdom, and the final area under English control, Uhtred almost considers himself to be a Dane. The fact that Alfred suddenly defeats the Danes and the Danes turn against Uhtred forces him to ultimately decide on a side despite the fact that he has little affection for Alfred, whom he views as a weakling of the faith and no match for Viking cruelty. He is a young fellow by this point, in love, fighting-ready, and prepared to take his position in the fearsome shield wall. But above all, he longs to reclaim the magical fort of Bebbanburg by the untamed northern sea, the ancestral home of his father.

#3 Memoirs Of A Geisha

This magnificent debut novel, a literary sensation, and instant bestseller portrays one of Japan’s most famous geishas’ real confessions with perfect authenticity and exquisite lyricism.

Memoirs of a Geisha take us into a world where looks are everything, virginity is sold to the highest bidder, ladies are taught how to seduce the most powerful men, and love is ridiculed as a delusion. It is an original and outstanding piece of fiction that is thrilling, sexual, romantic, and absolutely unforgettable.

#4 A Voice In The Wind

Approximately seventy years after the death of Christ, A Voice in the Wind’s opening line carries readers back to Jerusalem during the first Jewish-Roman War. The story revolves around an ill-fated romance between Hadassah, a stubborn slave girl, and Marcus, the brother of her owner and a gorgeous aristocrat. It follows the prideHadassah attempts to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and to treat her masters according to His teachings, but she is compelled to conceal her religious affiliation in order to survive. She struggles to quietly introduce God into her captors’ lives while feeling lost and alone, clinging solely to her faith.

Julia is a cunning, rash, and evil character who makes every effort to bring Hadassah down. Marcus, though, is a very different kind than Julia. Is it possible for Hadassah and Marcus’ relationship to succeed in light of not only their different social statuses but also the contrast between Hadassah’s unwavering faith and Marcus’ lack of any kind of belief? and passions of a group of Jews, Romans, and Barbarians living at the time of the siege. Hadassah is caught and sold to a wealthy merchant’s family after escaping the Romans’ killing of her family and the destruction of Jerusalem. She is brought to Rome and forced to work as Julia Valerian’s personal slave. Atretes, a captured German soldier, is made into a gladiator at the same time. The barbarian’s battle for existence in the arena is set against the decadence of a civilization on the edge of self-destruction during the decline of Rome.

#5 The Count Of Monte Cristo

Edmond Dantes is imprisoned in the gloomy stronghold of If after being accused of a crime he did not commit. He discovers there that the Isle of Monte Cristo is home to a vast treasure trove, and he decides to utilize this information to not only organize his escape but also the demise of the three men who are to blame for his imprisonment. When it was first serialized in the 1840s, Dumas’ epic tale of agony and vengeance—which was based on a true story of wrongful imprisonment—was a hugely successful work of literature.

The entertaining English translation by Robin Buss is accurate to Dumas’s original style and is entire and unabridged. This edition comes with an introduction, explanations, and reading recommendations.

#6 Pachinko

Teenage Sunja, the beloved daughter of a disabled fisherman, falls in love with a rich stranger at a beach close to her house in Korea in the early 1900s. He makes a lot of promises, but she rejects his advances when she learns she’s pregnant and that her lover is married. Instead, she accepts a marriage proposal from a kind, frail clergyman who is passing through town while traveling to Japan. But by leaving her house and rejecting her son’s wealthy father, she starts a dramatic story that will last for many generations.

Pachinko is a beautifully written and incredibly poignant tale of love, devotion, ambition, and sacrifice. Strong, unyielding women, devoted sisters, and sons, fathers shook by moral crisis, and others Lee’s complex and passionate characters survive and thrive against the uncaring arc of history in everything from bustling street markets to the halls of Japan’s finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld.

#7 Grapes Of Wrath

The Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s is covered in Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, which was first published in 1939. The Joads, an Oklahoma farm family, are driven from their homestead and compelled to move west to the promised land of California. A story that is intimately human yet magnificent in scope and moral vision, elemental but blunt, tragic but ultimately uplifting in its human dignity, emerges from their struggles and recurrent collisions with the harsh reality of an America split into Haves and Have-Nots.

The novel portrays the horrors of the Great Depression and inquires into the very essence of equality and justice in America. It is a depiction of the fight between the powerful and the downtrodden, of one man’s fierce response to injustice, and of one woman’s stoic strength. Steinbeck’s enduring classic work is arguably the most American of all American Classics because it functions simultaneously as a naturalistic epic, captivity tale, road fiction, and transcendental gospel.

#8 The Good Earth

In traditional agricultural China, this is the touching story of a Chinese farmer and his family. Wang Lung, a modest man, takes pride in the soil he cultivates, nurturing it as it does for him and his family. The lords of the nearby House of Hwang believe they are superior to the land and its inhabitants, but they will soon meet their own demise.

Wang Lung and his family experience difficult times after being forced to seek employment in the city by flood and drought. The wealthy were forced to evacuate as a result of the working class rioters smashing into their homes. Even when the House of Hwang declines, Wang Lung rises in the world when he offers charity to one noble and is rewarded.

#9 Fever 1793

Philadelphia’s streets are bustling with mosquitoes in the late summer of 1793 with reports of fever. Many people have fallen ill down by the docks, and the number of fatalities is rising. They now consist of Polly, a Cook Coffeehouse server. Mattie Cook, then fourteen, is not given time to grieve the loss of her childhood friend. Far from the mosquito-infested river, new customers have flooded her family’s coffee shop, and Mattie’s worries about fever are all but overwhelmed by fantasies of turning her family’s little business into a successful venture. However, when the fever starts to spread closer to her home, Mattie’s effort to start a new life must make way for a new battle—the battle to survive.

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#10 Suite Francaise

Two short pieces from a masterwork that was originally assumed to be lost, written by a pre-WWII bestselling novelist who was sent to Auschwitz and perished before her work could be finished. Irène Némirovsky, a Ukrainian-born author living in Paris, had already achieved great success by the early 1900s when she started writing Suite Française, the first two sections of a planned five-part novel. She was also a Jew, thus in 1942 she was sent to Auschwitz after being caught, and a month later she passed away at the age of 39.

She started writing her novel, a brilliant picture of a human drama in which she too would become a victim, two years prior while residing in a little village in central France with her husband and their two young girls. The handwritten manuscripts for the two parts of the epic that she had finished when she was arrested were kept in a suitcase that her daughters would later use to flee to safety. We may now read Némirovsky’s literary masterwork after 64 years.

#11 Deacon King Kong

An elderly church deacon by the name of Sportcoat rearranges into the yard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn in September 1969, pulls a.38 from his pocket, and shoots the project’s drug dealer in front of everyone at point-blank range.

In Deacon King Kong, McBride vividly depicts the individuals impacted by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx witnesses, the white neighbors, the neighborhood police assigned to the investigation, and the congregants of the Five Ends Baptist Church, where Sportcoat served as a deacon, the Italian mobsters in the area, and Sportcoat himself.

#12 Cane River

Lalita Tademy follows four generations of strong, motivated black women as they fight against injustice to reunite their family and build success on their own terms, starting with her great-great-great-great grandmother, a slave possessed by a Creole family. They are women whose lives began as slaves, who survived the Civil War, and who now must contend with the paradoxes of liberation, Jim Crow, and the South prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Tademy paints a magnificent image of rural Louisiana and the tenacious spirit of one legendary family as she peels back decades of racial and cultural views.

Suzette, Elisabeth’s youngest daughter, is the first to experience the promise—and heartbreak—of freedom. Elisabeth carries a noble legacy and the burden of bondage. Emily, Philomene’s passionate daughter, works to ensure her children’s just due and maintain their dignity and future. Philomene, Suzette’s strong-willed daughter, utilizes a drive born of tragedy to rejoin her family and achieve unheard-of economic independence. Cane River reveals a chapter of American history that has never been seen in such searing and personal depth. It is meticulously researched and masterfully written.

#13 Projekt 1065

It is now World War II. Irish-born Michael O’Shaunessey now resides in Nazi Germany with his parents. Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth, much like the other guys in his school. But Michael is hiding something. He is a spy, as are his parents. Michael abhors all that the Nazis represent. But he participates in the gruesome games and book burnings of the Hitler Youth while acting the part so he might learn insider information.

Things become much more problematic when Michael learns about Projekt 1065, a covert Nazi war mission. At all costs, he must demonstrate his allegiance to the Hitler Youth, even if it means jeopardizing everything he values. Include his own existence. Alan Gratz, the renowned author of Prisoner B-3087, has written a heart-pounding book. Known author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087) has written a heart-pounding tale about conquering anxieties and defending what is most important.

#14 Jackaby

Abigail Rook, a recent immigrant to New Fiddleham, New England, in 1892, encounters R. F. Jackaby, a paranormal investigator with a sharp eye for the extraordinary—including the capacity to see ghostly beings. Abigail is the ideal candidate to serve as Jackaby’s assistant because she has a knack for spotting unremarkable but crucial information. A serial killer is on the run, and Abigail finds herself in the middle of a riveting investigation on her first day. The police, with the exception of a lovely young investigator named Charlie Cane, are persuaded it’s a typical bad guy, but Jackaby is positive it’s an alien monster. William Ritter’s debut book, which features a paranormal detective as seen from the eyes of his ambitious and bright sidekick in a tale bursting with cheeky comedy and spice of the macabre, is like Doctor Who meets Sherlock.

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#15 Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry

Why does Cassie’s family value the land so highly? The events of one traumatic year—the year of the night riders and the burnings, as well as the year a white girl publicly humiliates Cassie because she is black—are necessary to convince Cassie that the Logan family’s ability to live independently is essential. No matter how others may treat them, the Logans own something that no one can take away. It is the soil that provides the Logans with their strength and pride.

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#16 Tai Pan

In his 1966 book Tai-Pan, James Clavell tells the story of American and European traders who settled in Hong Kong in 1842 after the First Opium War. The second volume of Clavell’s Asian Saga is this one.

The tale of Dirk Struan, the Tai-Pan of the most powerful trading corporation in the Far East, is told in the 1840s during the volatile times surrounding Hong Kong’s foundation. He is also a great manipulator of men, a pirate, and an opium smuggler. This is the tale of his struggle to make his dynasty and himself the uncontested rulers of the Orient.

#17 The Red Tent

Dinah is her name. Her existence is only briefly and violently hinted at in the Book of Genesis passages that are more familiar about her father, Jacob, and his twelve sons. This book describes the customs and conflicts of ancient womanhood—the red tent world—in Dinah’s words. The tale of her mothers, Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah, the four wives of Jacob, is where it all starts. They care about Dinah and send her presents that help her get by during her hardworking youth, call to midwifery, and move to a new country. Dinah’s story establishes a close connection to the past by drawing on a spectacular time of early history. The Red Tent is incredibly moving because it blends intricate storytelling with an important contribution to contemporary fiction: a fresh perspective on biblical women’s society.

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#18 Prisoner B 3087

Survive. at any price. Ten internment facilities. You are malnourished, tortured, and slaved in ten different locations. Nobody could ever imagine enduring that. But Yanek Gruener has deal with it.

Yanek, a young Jewish boy in occupied Poland in the 1930s, is at the disposal of the Nazis. His possessions and the people he loves have been violently taken from him. Then Yanek himself is held captive, and the words PRISONER B-3087 are tattooed on his arm.

#19 Books Like Succession

The incredible story of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII, and how she rose to become one of the most powerful women of her time is told in the movie Succession. 1444. By proxy, Henry VI marries Margaret of Anjou, a controversial decision that sparks national outrage. The newborn Margaret Beaufort also becomes a wealthy heiress following the passing of her father, the Earl of Somerset. She brings the Beaufort riches and a beneficial tie with her uncle, so everyone in court is vying to be her guardian. In the years that follow, Henry VI loses his mind, civil war breaks out, and families are set against one another. English rule in France also ends during this time.

Margaret Beaufort, who is barely out of childhood, marries twice by the time she is thirteen and gives birth to her lone child, the future King of England. The bloody, exciting history of the House of Lancaster’s downfall and the Tudor dynasty’s ascent is told in Succession.

#20 The Namesake

Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies established her as one of the most outstanding writers of her generation. Her stories are one of just a few debut works – and only a few collections – to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The New Yorker Debut of the Year award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the highest critical acclaim for its grace, insight, and compassion in depicting lives transplanted from India to America were among the many other awards and distinctions it garnered.

Lahiri expands on the issues that made her compilation an international phenomenon, including the immigrant experience, cultural clashes, assimilation struggles, and, most poignantly, the braided relationships between generations. Lahiri’s fine touch for the exact detail — the fleeting instant, the turn of phrase — opens up huge worlds of feeling on display once more.

#21 The Revenant

Hugh Glass is not terrified of death. He’s already done it once. The Rocky Mountains in 1823. The Rocky Mountain Fur Company’s trappers live a harsh frontier life. Hugh Glass, an accomplished frontiersman, and superb tracker is one of the company’s most valued men. However, when a scouting operation puts Glass in the path of a grizzly bear, he is badly wounded and is not likely to survive. Two men from the company are assigned to stay with him until his death. But, fearing an impending invasion, they ditch Glass, taking his beloved weapon and hatchet with them.

Glass is pushed to endure as he sees the men flee by one overpowering desire: vengeance. He embarks on a three-thousand-mile trip across the hard American frontier, seeking vengeance on the men who deceived him, with astonishing bravery and drive.

#22 Books Like The Book Of Disquiet

Fernando Pessoa was a multi-author. His prolific work was attributed to a variety of different parallel personas, each with its own biography, ideology, and horoscope. The remarkable pages that makeup Pessoa’s posthumous masterpiece, The Book of Disquiet, were among the unfinished and unpublished writings he left behind in his trunk when he passed away in 1935. George Steiner once said that the book “gives to Lisbon the haunting spell of Joyce’s Dublin or Kafka’s Prague.” The “autobiography” of Bernardo Soares, one of Pessoa’s multiple identities, was finally published for the first time some fifty years after his death in this extraordinary collection of condensed, aphoristic paragraphs. The Book of Disquiet, one of the best works of the 20th century, is a compelling translation by Richard Zenith that is equal parts private journal, prose poetry, and descriptive story.

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#23 Night By Elie Wiesel

Night, a terrifying first-person account of the crimes committed during the Holocaust by Elie Wiesel, is translated by Marion Wiesel and published in Penguin Modern Classics with a foreword by Elie Wiesel.

Elie Wiesel was deported as a kid to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald after being born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary. This is his narrative of that catastrophe, including the ever-increasing atrocities he faced, the death of his family, and his battle for survival in a society that had stripped him of his humanity, respect, and faith. Night is one of the most intimate, touching, and straightforward descriptions of the Holocaust, simply describing the sad slaughter of a people from the viewpoint of a survivor.

#24 Me Before You

Before love gave them everything to lose, they had nothing in common. Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl who has seldom ventured outside of their small community. She has a steady boyfriend and a close-knit family. She accepts a position working for wheelchair-bound former Master of the Universe Will Traynor, which she desperately needs. Will has always led a lavish lifestyle—huge deals, intense sports, and international travel—and he is now very certain he cannot continue to live this way.

Will is sarcastic, temperamental, and domineering, but Lou won’t treat him like a baby, and eventually, his happiness matters more to her than she anticipated. She goes out to prove to Will that life is still worthwhile after learning that he has shocking plans of his own. Me Before You is a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, “What do you do when trying to make the person you cherish happily also means breaking your own heart?” It is a love story for this generation and is ideal for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.

#25 The Beekeeper Of Aleppo

The heartwarming love tale of a woman who has lost her sight and her husband, who fights for their existence as they travel through Syria as refugees to Europe. Beekeeper Nuri and artist Afra are married. In the lovely Syrian city of Aleppo, they have a straightforward existence full of family and friends—until the unthinkable occurs. They are compelled to flee after the war destroys all they care about. However, Afra’s experience was so horrific that it caused her to lose her vision. As a result, they must go across Turkey and Greece at great risk in order to reach an unknown future in Britain.

Nuri is kept going on the journey by the knowledge that Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has established an apiary and is instructing other refugees in Yorkshire in beekeeping, will be waiting for them. In addition to the sorrow of their own unfathomable loss, Nuri and Afra must face perils that would weaken even the most courageous individuals as they journey through a ruined world. They must travel in order to reconnect, above all. The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a moving, potent, sympathetic, and exquisitely written example of how the human spirit may prevail. It is the kind of book that serves as a reminder of the importance of narrative.

#26 Lovely Bones

American author Alice Sebold published “The Lovely Bones” in 2002. It is the tale of a young woman who, following her rape and murder, observes from her own special Heaven as her friends and loved ones strive to move on with their lives as she is confronted with her own passing.

“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.”

#27 Esperanza Rising

Esperanza believed she would always have servants, a luxurious home, and elegant clothes as she lived with her family on their property in Mexico. Esperanza and Mama are forced to move to California during the Great Depression and dwell in a camp for Mexican farm workers due to an unexpected tragedy. Esperanza is not prepared for the demanding work, financial hardships, or absence of acceptance she is currently dealing with. Esperanza must overcome her challenging circumstances when their new existence is endangered because both Mama’s and her own lives depend on it.

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#28 Secret Life Of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees is a 1964 South Carolina-set novel about Lily Owens, whose life has been molded by the hazy memory of the afternoon her mother was murdered. Lily chooses to set both of the town’s most virulent racists free when Rosaleen, her strong-willed black “stand-in mother,” taunts them. They flee to Tiburon, South Carolina, a place where the truth about her mother’s background may be found. Lily is taken in by an oddball group of three black beekeeping sisters, who show her around their fascinating world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna. Women will share and pass on this amazing book on divine female strength to their daughters in the coming years.

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#29 Life Of Pi

Yann Martel wrote the fantasy adventure book Life of Pi, which was released in 2001. Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, the main character and a Tamil child from Pondicherry, begins to investigate moral and practical questions at a young age. After being stuck on a ship in the Pacific Ocean for 227 days following a shipwreck, he makes it alive alongside Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger.

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#30 The Notebook

The tale of Noah Calhoun, a recent veteran of the Second World War from a remote Southern state, is introduced among the stark grandeur of the North Carolina coast. A gorgeous girl Noah met fourteen years ago and fell in love with intensely is haunting him as he works to restore a plantation house to its former splendor. Noah is glad to live with only memories of her because he can’t seem to find her and doesn’t want to forget the summer they lived together. That is until she suddenly makes a surprise visit back to his hometown to see him.

The tale of Noah and Allie is only the first piece of a larger puzzle. As it progresses, their story mysteriously changes into another with considerably larger stakes. The overall effect is a profoundly emotional portrayal of love, with its sweet moments and universally felt changes. It is a tale of miracles and feelings that you will never forget.

#31 A Thousand Splendid Suns

In A Thousand Splendid Suns, the brutality, fear, hope, and faith of this nation are expressed in intimate, human words against the turbulent backdrop of the past thirty years in Afghanistan, from the Soviet invasion to the Taliban’s rule to the post-Taliban rebuilding. The sad sweep of war brings two generations of characters together in this story, and their personal lives—the battle to survive, to build a family, to achieve happiness—are inextricably linked to the events unfolding all around them.

A Thousand Splendid Suns, powered by the same storytelling talent that made The Kite Runner a revered classic, is both a fascinating account of 3 decades of Afghan history and a profoundly emotional novel about family and friendship. A spectacular accomplishment, it is a powerful, heartbreaking novel about a merciless time, an unexpected bond, and unbreakable love.

#32 Where The Crawdads Sing

Years of “Marsh Girl” rumors pervaded the sleepy fishing community of Barkley Cove. Kya Clark is wild and untamable; she has no business in a civilized society. Thus, when the well-known Chase Andrews is discovered dead in late 1969, the neighborhood quickly suspects her.

Kya, however, is not who they claim. She is a born naturalist who attended school for one day before learning from the countryside and observing the deceitful signals of fireflies to understand the true ways of the world. She has the ability to remain alone forever, but eventually, she starts to long to be caressed and loved. Kya discovers a brand-new and unexpected world after being drawn to two young guys from the area who are all taken by her untamed beauty—until the unimaginable occurs.

#33 The Pillars Of The Earth

Ken Follett is renowned across the globe as the king of split-second suspense, yet his most cherished and successful book tells the beautiful story of a twelfth-century monk who is motivated to do the seemingly impossible: construct the greatest Gothic cathedral that has ever seen.

There is a mystery, quick-paced action, and intense romance—everything fans have come to expect from Follett. But what sets The Pillars of the Earth apart from other novels is the period—the eleventh century—the setting—feudal England—and the subject—the construction of a magnificent cathedral. Every feature of Middle Ages England has been faithfully recreated by Follett. It becomes routine to see the enormous forests, walled cities, castles, and monasteries.

#34 Books Like The Matrix

Marie de France, age 17, is sent to England to become the new prioress of a destitute abbey, with its nuns on the verge of starvation and plagued by illness. Marie de France was expelled from the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine because she was thought to be too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life.

With her solitary and erratic sisters, Marie finds focus and affection after initially being overwhelmed by the intensity of her new life. In this test, Marie gradually replaces her longing for her family, her native land, and the passions of her childhood with something new to her: love for her sisters and a firm belief in her own supernatural visions.