What Books to Read After “Where the Crawdads Sing”

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Did you speed through Where the Crawdads Sing? If you, like so many of us, loved the poetic description and incredible depth of emotion in Crawdads, then you’re probably looking for another book or two to meet those same criteria while offering you a new and gripping story. Here, you’ll find the books that most people turn to after finishing Where the Crawdads Sing to find a new channel for the magic of great literature.

It’s not just the theme of birds that ties these two books together. Much like Where the Crawdads Sing, To Kill a Mockingbird is a touching tale of a young girl coming to grips with the good and evil at war in the world. Young Scout is just a little girl playing with her brother in the Deep South, but she’s surrounded by a battle against racism bigger than she knows.

When her lawyer father decides to defend a black man accused of raping a white girl, Scout and her brother Jem must come to grips with the realities of racism in their small community. This is a tale of human depravity and hypocrisy as seen through the eyes of children who don’t understand why the color of a person’s skin should make a difference in how they’re treated.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, you’ll find a tale rich with philosophical musings and innocent questions, a story that challenges you to stop and think about the nature of a single soul before daring to write it off.

In Little Fires Everywhere, the citizens of Shaker Heights know how the world works. As long as everyone follows the rules and keeps to their business, things work perfectly in their small suburb. But everything is disrupted when Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl move in.

Elena Richardson likes Mia well enough, and her children are irresistibly drawn to the woman and to Pearl. But before long, new sparks are set in the neighborhood when another family attempts to adopt a Chinese-American baby and the ensuing custody battle threatens to divide the town. Mia and Elena are on opposite sides of the debate, and Elena determines to dig into Mia’s past to find out what she’s hiding and why. 

This is a tale of secrets, motherhood, and identity. It’s a story that will challenge you to put aside your rules and consider for a moment what the world is like from someone else’s perspective. 

The Midnight Library is a tale of second chances, of wondering what life would be like if you had just made a different choice. Somewhere between life and death is a library full of books–books that tell the story of your life, and books that tell the story of your life as it might have been if you had made a different decision along the road.

In this tale, Nora Seed must face the endless possibilities her life held, viewing not only the life she led but those she might have led if she had done things differently. This is a story that will enchant you as you struggle along with Nora to discover what life really means and what, in the end, makes it worth living.

The Vanishing Half tells the story of two sisters, twins connected by birth but separated by adulthood. After running away from their Southern Black community at 16, the girls find different paths to follow–Desiree and her daughter return to the community where they grew up, while Stella remains in California, passing as a white person with a white husband far away from her roots.

However, the girls can’t stay separated forever. When their daughters’ paths intersect, both are forced to come to grips with the choices they’ve made and the women they’ve become. This is a story that will challenge you to consider both the power of family and the influence of dreams in shaping a person into who they’re meant to be.

The Song of Achilles is a retelling of an old tale, but it means so much more. In this story, Homer’s The Iliad is reborn in the imagination of Madeline Miller, combining the ancient history of the Trojan War with the emotions and passions that make up life today. An adventure, a passionate love affair, and deep friendship, this book is the story of two young men torn by their love for each other and their place in the world of Ancient Greece. 

This is a story that will make you question the true meaning of love and the dictates that drive us to action.

Beautiful World, Where Are You is, above all, a tale of human passions. When the novelist Alice meets warehouse worker Felix, she asks him to go to Rome with her. Far away in Dublin, Alice’s best friend Eileen struggles between a broken heart and passion for Simon, a man she has known all her life. All four must fight to understand their emotions, their desires, and their friendships.

In the great world in which they live, Felix, Alice, Simon, and Eileen battle to find the beauty they believe is there, not only in each other but in the world at large.

The Paper Palace is a tale of love, real and imagined, endless and fickle. Elle wakes up at her family’s summer home, The Paper Palace, the morning after she slept with her oldest best friend Jonas. The only problem is, their spouses were both inside, completely oblivious and secure in their marriages. 

Miranda Cowley Heller carefully spins the tale of Elle’s life as Elle wrestles with considering the life she had always dreamed of with Jonas and the life she shares with her beloved husband. This is a story that explores family, relationships, and history, and how they intertwine to make a person who they are and challenge the paths someone has chosen to take.

Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit are just four kids in Malibu. But as the children of the singer Mick Riva and talents in their own right, they’re famous enough that Nina’s end-of-summer party is sure to bring a huge crowd. Unfortunately, not everyone is as excited about Nina’s party, including herself. While Nina, her sister, and her two brothers wrestle with secrets, hidden relationships, and broken hearts, their party begins to spiral out of control.

By morning, the Riva home is on fire, and not just literally. All four Riva children have had to come to grips with their past, their present, and their future. This is a tale that will make you wonder about family ties, the shaping of destiny, and how a few small acts can change the world forever.

A Slow Fire Burning is a story of resentment, simmering beneath the surface and ready at any moment to erupt. When a young man is found brutally murdered on a London Houseboat, three women are the chief suspects: the one-night stand Laura, the grieving aunt Carla, and the nosy neighbor Miriam. Did one of them kill him? And if so, why?

This is a tale of justice, of the deep desire of every human to right the wrongs done to them, whether they act on their desires or not. It’s a tale of mystery that will have you thinking twice about your motives and the strange movements of your heart.

In Harlem, Ray is just an ordinary furniture salesman with a wife, a child, and another on the way. He lives a quiet life, but money is getting tight, and he can’t deny a few unsavory connections from his past. When his cousin involves him in an attempt to rob the Hotel Theresa, Ray is suddenly plunged into a world of crime where all the lowlifes of Harlem gather to play.

As Ray struggles to maintain a balance between these two worlds, he learns the value of family, the power of morality, and the tangled web of race and authority in 1960s Harlem. This is a story that will have you wondering what it means to live a good life and how to become the person you thought you were meant to be when everything is against you.

In 1714, a French young woman makes a Faustian bargain: she gets to live forever, but all who meet her will forget her. For centuries, Addie adventures around the world, meeting people who never remember her, exploring ages of time and stories of continents. But one day, everything changes.

In a hidden bookstore, 300 years after Addie’s fatal bargain, she meets a man who remembers her name. In a moment, everything is different, and Addie must discover what it means to make a mark on the world and be remembered for more than just a name.

Du Bois wrote long ago about the problem of race in America and the struggle of belonging. Years later, young Ailey Pearl Garfield must battle the same struggle of belonging while searching through the history of America’s relationship with racism to understand who she is and who she must become.

This story will drive you to consider deeply what it’s like to live in a world where you don’t belong, to explore the beauty and cruelty battling in the past, and to think about what America is and how it got there.

A failed bank robber takes a group of people at an open house hostage, desperate for rescue. Held hostage under his gun are many anxious people, but they’re not all who they appear to be. Unhappy couples, desperate businessmen, and feisty old ladies make up a fascinating group, and as the authorities surround the premises, the people inside begin to reveal their secrets and seek the rescue they’re all looking for, in one way or another.

Anxious People is a story that will make you pause and think. What are you hiding from? And what exactly do you want to be rescued from?

No Longer Human is the story of one man’s battle with not fitting into the world at large. Oba Yozo feels unable to understand humans, and from his childhood on he struggles to find ways, seemingly impossible, to fit in. Cumulating in a failed suicide attempt in adulthood, Oba makes many attempts to find where he fits on the world stage, without seeming to come to an answer.

This story is a tale of incredible sorrow, of missing out on relationships, of seeking love and belonging and never quite discovering it. It will leave you considering deeply what it means to be happy and if you’re really living the life you could.

If you loved Where the Crawdads Sing, give these books a try. You’re sure to find yourself laughing and crying along with them as you explore what it means to live, to make choices, to love people, and to create the life you are meant to live.


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