I am thrilled to be sharing another book list with you this Saturday. Lately, I am enjoying focusing these lists on a certain title and such is the case again today.
I love Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. It’s one of my favorite novels and most recommended to other friends and family who want to read a beautifully written story with engaging characters and fascinating themes. If you haven’t read The Help yet, I highly recommend it! And actually, the film adaptation starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer is very well done too.
So what should you read if you loved The Help? Check out my list below!
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd // This is the first book that I thought of when I began this list. It definitely belongs at the top. A story of a young girl raised by three black sisters in the South during the 1960’s, this novel will delight those who loved The Help. The settings are similar as well as some of the relationships between characters. I really need to reread this one because I remember absolutely loving it!
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee // Another obvious choice here. This classic story of Scout Finch and her experiences in 1930’s Alabama as her father defends a black man accused of rape is a must read for anyone. But I think those who enjoyed The Help will enjoy the explorations of racism, humanity, truth, and childhood innocence in this classic novel.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson // The main reason I include this story on this list is for the beautiful way this story is written. It’s language and style remind me of The Help. It’s the story of John Ames as he writes about his spiritual life and experiences to his young son. This isn’t an action packed story but rather a beautiful exploration of the human condition and man’s search for meaning and spirituality in life.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr // Another beautifully written book, this novel is still one of my favorite WWII novels that I have ever read. The story of two children in war torn Europe, this story connects their lives over time and place through beautifully written prose. It belongs on this list because of the gorgeous language and because of the multiple perspectives which reminds me of the multiple narrators of The Help.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford // This is probably my other favorite WWII novel (okay, I have a lot!). The story of a Chinese boy growing up in WWII era Seattle, it shares his friendship with a Japanese-American girl and the ways war and prejudice seek to tear them apart. I include it here because it explores themes of race, humanity, war, and friendship like The Help does. It also builds the story from two different time periods and from different points of view (primarily from Henry at different ages) which reminds me of the multiple perspectives of The Help.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden // While I haven’t read this one in years, I still remember the powerful imagery of life for the women who become geishas. I remember it being intense and even violent at times. But it belongs on a list like this because it focuses on the strength of women and overcoming difficult circumstances. While the subject matter is quite mature, I think it’s a fascinating novel.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant // Another book I’d love to reread soon! This is the story of Dinah–daughter of Jacob in the Bible. She narrates her own story of life as a woman in Israel’s household of 12 famous sons. I found the story gripping and fascinating as we only get passing references to her in the Old Testament. It belongs on this list because the story is fascinating and unique–much like The Help‘s story and because it showcases the strength and importance of women in families and in history.
Bonuses that almost made the cut (but I had to stop somewhere):
- Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
- Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy
- The Gown by Jennifer Robson
What would you recommend to lovers of The Help?
Check out my full group of book lists here. What kind of book lists are you interested in seeing in the future? Leave a note in the comments below!