100 books like Arcadia

By Iain Pears,

Here are 100 books that Arcadia fans have personally recommended if you like Arcadia. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Voyage to Arcturus

John Triptych Author Of Visitor

From my list on cult sci-fi and fantasy you may not have heard of before.

Who am I?

The reasons I’ve chosen these particular books is because of my penchant for reading offbeat stuff, and unearthing little-known works that I feel deserves more attention. My tastes are eclectic, and I’ve done a lot of research when it comes to finding the true origins of pop culture. Having written and published more than forty books that range from science fiction to crime thrillers, I’ve wanted to share my findings in the hopes that others will notice something new and exciting as well. 

John's book list on cult sci-fi and fantasy you may not have heard of before

John Triptych Why did John love this book?

With an equal mix of strangeness and enigmatic philosophies, this short novel barely sold a hundred copies when it was first published in 1920, but has since been recognized as a unique work by noted critic Colin Wilson. Once you’ve read it, you’ll find it both hard to categorize and understand, but it sticks to you like the remnants of a drugged-out fever dream. 

The story of a mysterious man named Maskull, who travels to a planet called Tormance, a world both wondrous and strange. Even though it’s written as a travelogue, the sheer originality invokes an atmosphere of hidden, yet unattainable knowledge for both the protagonist and the reader. The abrupt ending itself neither answers anything nor brings the story to a conclusion, and it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

By David Lindsay,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Voyage to Arcturus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A stunning achievement in speculative fiction, A Voyage to Arcturus has inspired, enchanted, and unsettled readers for decades. It is simultaneously an epic quest across one of the most unusual and brilliantly depicted alien worlds ever conceived, a profoundly moving journey of discovery into the metaphysical heart of the universe, and a shockingly intimate excursion into what makes us human and unique. After a strange interstellar journey, Maskull, a man from Earth, awakens alone in a desert on the planet Tormance, seared by the suns of the binary star Arcturus. As he journeys northward, guided by a drumbeat, he encounters…


Book cover of Life of Pi

Robert R. Davis Author Of The Various Stages of a Garden Well-Kept

From my list on first person that tell it like it is.

Who am I?

Long before presenting my writing, or for that matter, becoming a writer, I have loved the spotlight of the oral storyteller. I have told stories at gatherings for children and adults, layering the content to fit every age. Every spoken story I tell comes from bits of my own life situations, and therefore, first person view has been the only effective tool I have had. Really, that is the only way I see the world. So, when I tell a story about someone besides me, I simply jump into their shoes and become that character. 

Robert's book list on first person that tell it like it is

Robert R. Davis Why did Robert love this book?

Again, I chose a book that is given in the first-person point of view. Rather than using a variety of first persons to tell a story, Martel takes the main character, Pi, and uses him in back-and-forth narrations from various ages – young and in the moment, and older, looking back. As well, he uses Pi as a general narrator overall in the storytelling. This gives the illusion that perhaps the other characters are not so important, or rather they are not the point of the story. 

By Yann Martel,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Life of Pi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan—and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger.

Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi Patel, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with the tiger, Richard Parker, for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his…


Book cover of City of the Beasts

Oliver Eade Author Of Eyes of Fire

From my list on thinking more deeply about real-life issues.

Who am I?

A retired doctor and bookaholic since childhood, for me reading has always been more than just an escape into other lives. Rather, as with all art forms, I find it helps me better understand our topsy-turvy world. The Alice books were my introduction to the use of fantasy in storytelling that embraces a deeper meaning. Reading such imaginative fiction can be like stepping back from reality only to return with a better insight into what it means to be human in the real world. For me, as a doctor, this has always been so important. Each of the books I have recommended achieves this in the author’s own, unique way.

Oliver's book list on thinking more deeply about real-life issues

Oliver Eade Why did Oliver love this book?

In a tale involving entrepreneurial ruffians who exploit native Amazonian tribes, and corrupt officials, Alex and Nadia discover the ‘People of the Mist’ and the mystical sloth-like beasts of the title who are trying to protect their forest. The first, and for me the best book of this supremely gifted writer’s explorative trilogy, it deals, compellingly, with the self-seeking greed behind White Man’s destruction of the lungs of our planet, the Amazon. If we lose the Amazon Rainforest, we lose our planet. As simple as that. Mr. Bolsonaro, please read this book!

By Isabel Allende,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked City of the Beasts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

An ecological romance with a pulsing heart, equal parts Rider Haggard and Chico Buarque - one of the world's greatest and most beloved storytellers broadens her style and reach with a Amazonian adventure story that will appeal to all ages.

Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold has the chance to take the trip of a lifetime.

With his mother in hospital, too ill to look after him, Alex is sent out to his grandmother Kate - a fearless reporter with blue eyes 'as sharp as daggers' points'. Kate is about to embark on an expedition to the dangerous, remote world of the Amazon…


Book cover of The Silver Locusts

Oliver Eade Author Of Eyes of Fire

From my list on thinking more deeply about real-life issues.

Who am I?

A retired doctor and bookaholic since childhood, for me reading has always been more than just an escape into other lives. Rather, as with all art forms, I find it helps me better understand our topsy-turvy world. The Alice books were my introduction to the use of fantasy in storytelling that embraces a deeper meaning. Reading such imaginative fiction can be like stepping back from reality only to return with a better insight into what it means to be human in the real world. For me, as a doctor, this has always been so important. Each of the books I have recommended achieves this in the author’s own, unique way.

Oliver's book list on thinking more deeply about real-life issues

Oliver Eade Why did Oliver love this book?

The Silver Locusts (my preferred title) is a collection of linked short stories about Earthman’s destruction of a fragilely beautiful and ancient Martian civilisation. With profoundly poetic writing, there are real gems such as Night Meeting in which an Earthman and Martian meet up on a highway, neither seeing, nor believing in, the other’s world. The book is not pure fantasy, for it also reflects White Man’s destruction of the Native American civilisation, one that was in harmony with the natural world and which inspired my Eyes of Fire.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Silver Locusts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

book


Book cover of Kallocain

Jessica Jarlvi Author Of What Did I Do?

From my list on dark Scandi Noir.

Who am I?

I’m originally Swedish and although I have been brought up reading literature from all over the world, the dark setting of Scandi Noir has deeply influenced me. It’s the environment, isolated locations, and the way these books delve into the psyche of the characters that grab me. If you’re into dark, twisty books then this list is for you! 

Jessica's book list on dark Scandi Noir

Jessica Jarlvi Why did Jessica love this book?

Kallocain is a dystopian Scandi Noir written by feminist writer Karin Boye. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, it shows a state where there are eyes and ears everywhere. However, in this world, a scientist discovers a drug that can force people to tell the truth, which poses many philosophical questions while pitting people in the novel against each other. Kallocain has a suspenseful and intriguing plot where you’re never quite sure how the characters are going to act. A brilliant read!

By Karin Boye, Gustaf Lannestock (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Kallocain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic Swedish novel envisioned a future of drab terror. Seen through the eyes of idealistic scientist Leo Kall, Kallocain's depiction of a totalitarian world state is a montage of what novelist Karin Boye had seen or sensed in 1930s Russia and Germany. Its central idea grew from the rumors of truth drugs that ensured the subservience of every citizen to the state.


Book cover of Lie Beside Me

Anne Brooke Author Of Where You Hurt The Most

From my list on couples working through a challenging relationship.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’m fascinated by relationships, what makes them work and what might make them fail. And I’ve always been gripped by the power of two people who try to love each other, no matter how different they may be or what obstacles they face. I honestly believe that two people in love are far more than the sum of their parts and can create something magical that wouldn’t have been there without them. So, yes, I’m a romantic at heart but, even in these cynical times, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I hope you love the books on this list as much as I do.

Anne's book list on couples working through a challenging relationship

Anne Brooke Why did Anne love this book?

I love this book because, even though it’s a crime story, it’s also a rollercoaster ride through the story of the marriage of Louise and Niall, who are both in various ways involved in the crime.

Each person is lying for different reasons and each of them is terrified to tell the truth to each other for fear of how the other person might react. The plot takes them through moments of dark despair, utter dishonesty, anger, and even hatred, all of which is somehow part and parcel of the marriage they have created.

There is hope, however, and they come to realise a deeper truth about themselves and their relationship which, for me, was incredibly moving in an unexpected way.

By Gytha Lodge,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lie Beside Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A HUSBAND. A LIAR. A KILLER . . . The gripping new thriller from the Sunday Times bestseller

'Utterly gripping and unpredictable' 5***** Reader Review
'Suspenseful and compulsive with twists galore' 5***** Reader Review
'You won't be able to put it down' 5***** Reader Review
'Absolutely brilliant' Claire Douglas, bestselling author of The Couple at No 9
_______

Louise wakes up. Her head aches, her mouth is dry, her memory's fuzzy. But she knows she's done something bad.

She rolls over towards her husband, Niall.

But it's not Niall lying beside her. In fact, she's never seen this man before.…


Book cover of Zed

Anna Lyndsey Author Of Girl in the Dark: A Memoir of a Life Without Light

From my list on conditions which people say don’t exist but do.

Who am I?

I used to be part of the establishment, working in Whitehall for the UK government. Then I became the ultimate outsider, with light sensitivity so extreme that many people dismissed it as “all in my head.” Years on, turns out I've had a physical illness all along – but one only recently recognised. Now I know what I’m dealing with (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome), I’m much better.  My journey’s made me fascinated by the way establishments of all kinds – corporate, political, scientific – react to new uncomfortable truths, and how often they’ll opt for gaslighting and "psychological" labels to keep those truths at bay.  

Anna's book list on conditions which people say don’t exist but do

Anna Lyndsey Why did Anna love this book?

A dystopian future that's so close to now it made me squeal. Mega-techcorp Beetle is in charge of – well, basically, everything: CCTV, your household appliances, virtual assistants, robot cops, predicting the future... Only one problem: individual human cussedness/autonomy – the elusive variable Zed – keeps gumming up the algorithms and really shouldn't exist. I love the way the Beetle founder and his assiduous employees just can't see why their beautifully controlled society is quietly driving its citizens nuts with despair. Apart from my constant horror-laughter of embarrassed recognition, there's a scene involving robot hospital orderlies which is one of the most chilling things I have ever read.  Do we really want a future like this?

By Joanna Kavenna,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Fun and erudite' Sunday Times
'Snort-inducingly funny' Daily Mail
'One of the cleverest books you'll read this year' Telegraph

Every system, however immaculate, has a few little glitches.

The latest in domestic tech should have predicted that businessman George Mann was about to murder his family. But instead it crashes and leads to the wrong man being caught and punished.

Are there gremlins in digital giant Beetle's ubiquitous wearable tech, talking fridges and Dickensian droids? Have they been hacked, or is something even more sinister going on?

With the clock ticking philandering Beetle CEO Guy Matthias, conflicted national security agent…


Book cover of The Settlement

Paul E. Hardisty Author Of The Forcing

From my list on dystopian worlds of our own making.

Who am I?

After half a lifetime working all over the world as an environmental scientist, I am now a full-time writer of fiction and non-fiction. I’ve studied the effects of oil industry waste in Yemen, monitored groundwater contaminated with radioactive tritium from bomb-making sites in Europe, and remediated oil pits in the South American jungle. I ran Australia’s national climate adaptation program and was CEO of Australia’s national marine science agency, which does much of the research on the Great Barrier Reef. And everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve seen how environmental destruction hurts people, societies, and, inevitably, our future. Each of my six novels and my non-fiction examines this issue in different ways.

Paul's book list on dystopian worlds of our own making

Paul E. Hardisty Why did Paul love this book?

The Settlement describes a dystopian world set not in the future, but in the past. The 1830s, to be precise.

The misguided evangelist George Augustus Robinson sets himself the task of rounding up the last remaining original inhabitants of Van Diemen’s Land, now known as Tasmania, to save them from slaughter. Under his care, they are convinced to surrender and are relocated to desolate Flinders Island in the Bass Strait.

This is a finely-wrought historical novel of great compassion that brings to life the extinction of a race.

By Jock Serong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Settlement as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the windswept point of an island at the edge of van Diemen’s Land, the Commandant huddles with a small force of white men and women.

He has gathered together, under varying degrees of coercion and duress, the last of the Tasmanians, or so he believes. His purpose is to save them—from a number of things, but most pressingly from the murderous intent of the pastoral settlers on their country.

The orphans Whelk and Pipi, fighting for their survival against the malevolent old man they know as the Catechist, watch as almost everything about this situation proves resistant to the…


Book cover of Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel

McKenna Miller Author Of Wyrforra (Wyrforra Wars)

From my list on with weird writing styles.

Who am I?

I’ve been reading and writing stories for as long as I can remember—and the weird ones have always been my favorite. I discovered many of my favorite books by wandering into my local library, telling the librarian about my strange reading interests, and allowing them to set me up with literary masterpieces of the most unusual kind. Once I knew how to bend the rules of genre and form to create something original, I took to creating my own weird stories, and have been doing so ever since in my novels, short stories, D&D characters, and bedtime stories for my bird.

McKenna's book list on with weird writing styles

McKenna Miller Why did McKenna love this book?

Bats of the Republic is by far one of the most engaging, unique reading experiences I have ever had the delight to enjoy. The breathtaking art decorating every page (and I do mean every page, from the copyright page to the back of the dust jacket) enhances a deep and intriguing story.

One of my favorite parts of this book is that every piece of writing you encounter comes from one of the characters in the story. This makes for a completely immersive experience as you flip through maps, examine drawings of new animal species, and even uncover a few secret messages. Dodson’s incredible art and one-of-a-kind narrative style create a complex, deep world that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.

By Zachary Thomas Dodson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bats of the Republic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Archetypes of the cowboy story, tropes drawn from sci-fi, love letters, diaries, confessions all abound in this relentlessly engaging tale. Dodson has quite brilliantly exposed the gears and cogs whirring in the novelist’s imagination. It is a mad and beautiful thing.”
--Keith Donohue, The Washington Post

Winner of Best of Region for the Southwest in PRINT’s 2016 Regional Design Awards

Bats of the Republic is an illuminated novel of adventure, featuring hand-drawn maps and natural history illustrations, subversive pamphlets and science-fictional diagrams, and even a nineteenth-century novel-within-a-novel—an intrigue wrapped in innovative design.

     In 1843, fragile naturalist Zadock Thomas must leave…


Book cover of Chronic City

David Thurlow Author Of Piggyback to the End of the World

From my list on dystopian novels about the underdog.

Who am I?

I think of dystopian fiction as simulations writers conduct to see how things will go if we don’t wise up. Given that the nonsense of everyday life today leads to these future scenarios, we are inherently part of their stories. That makes them personal. Optimistic tales of future utopias don’t manage the same trick. There’s no part of life today that appears to be the seed for Star Fleet to form and dedicate itself to exploration and knowledge. We can hope for that, but any turning point towards it hasn’t happened. When I look at futures of ecological ruin or commodified genetic code, I feel connected because those seeds are being cultivated as we speak.

David's book list on dystopian novels about the underdog

David Thurlow Why did David love this book?

Jonathan Lethem’s language and story structure are wonderful just as their own experience. What I enjoy even more is that, while dystopian fiction almost inevitably leads to a parable, this book manages to lean into that while still insisting the characters live life as fully existing people. I felt welcomed to spend time with Chase Insteadman and his small circle of friends as they meandered through a harsh urban winter, confronting mortality in a world that doesn’t quite fit any of them. They were good company during a pandemic when actual friends couldn’t be while I was confronting mortality in a world that doesn’t quite fit me.

By Jonathan Lethem,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chronic City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Chase Insteadman is a handsome, inoffensive former child-star, living a vague routine of dinner parties and glamorous engagements on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Meanwhile, his astronaut fiancee, trapped on the International Space Station, sends him rapturous love letters. Like Janice, Chase is adrift.

Into Chase's life enters Perkus Tooth, a wall-eyed free-range pop-critic, whose soaring conspiratorial riffs are fueled by high-grade marijuana, mammoth cheeseburgers and a desperate ache for meaning. Together, Chase and Perkus attempt to unearth the Truth - that rarest of artifacts on an island where everything can be bought.

At once beautiful and tawdry, poignant and funny,…


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