By EW Staff
Updated March 17, 2014 at 01:00 PM EDT

Cheryl Strayed’s favorite books include ones that inspire her to write and ones she can share with her 8-year-old daughter. Read more about Strayed’s picks for criminally underrated books below:

“I’ve often said that Tom Spanbauer is a national treasure because his books are so tender and wise and brave and beautiful, but his fifth, just-out* novel, I Loved You More, is his masterpiece. Spanning 25 years in the life of a writer, the book is an emotionally complex journey into love, sex, art, friendship and so much more. After reading it, I felt altered.”

Lost Cat by Caroline Paul and illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton was my most delightful literary discovery of last year. As the subtitle explains, the book is “a true story of love, desperation, and GPS technology,” in which two women try to find out where their once-missing cat had gone during the five weeks he was away. It’s funny, poignant, and original as they come. Plus, the illustrations are genius. Though it’s a book for adults, my 8-year-old daughter and I read it together and she considers it her favorite book of all-time.”

“Jodi Angel’s story collection, You Only Get Letters From Jail, is devastatingly good. Every sentence in the book crackles with beauty and sorrow and real life. Angel’s unflinching prose reminds me why I read and why I write. She’s what we call the real deal.”