85 books like Black Water

By Alberto Manguel (editor),

Here are 85 books that Black Water fans have personally recommended if you like Black Water. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Tenth of December: Stories

Giselle Leeb Author Of Mammals, I Think We Are Called

From my list on genre-bending stories to fire your imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had no expectations about what the first short stories I wrote would end up being like. Although I’d read mostly realistic literary fiction before starting to write, most of my stories included fantastical elements. This set me off reading and writing stories categorised as weird, cross-genre, slipstream, magical realist, fantastic, fabulist, horror, soft sci-fi, and surreal. The thing that struck me was how slippery these categories are. But what unites them is their openness to unbounded imagination. Like a lens concentrating a fire, their strange and fantastical techniques amplify feelings and reality in unique ways, while always paying attention to language. It’s been a thrilling, exciting ride!

Giselle's book list on genre-bending stories to fire your imagination

Giselle Leeb Why did Giselle love this book?

One of my top short story writers, the word ‘unique’ was invented for Saunders. Selling in the literary category, he has a vernacular style all his own. His stories comment on American society and the horrors of capitalism but never shove a message down your throat. Saunders is simply immersed in these concerns and it comes out naturally in his writing. His stories contain sci-fi and futuristic elements, and use these, as well as a deadpan surrealism, to comment on the now. The story I will never forget from this collection is "The Semplica Girl Diaries", in which ‘Semplica Girls’, women from ‘third-world’ countries, are trafficked to be used as human lawn ornaments. Saunders faces things head-on, with dark hilarity.

By George Saunders,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Tenth of December as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**ESCAPE FROM SPIDERHEAD NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX - STARRING CHRIS HEMSWORTH AND MILES TELLER** The prize-winning, New York Times bestselling short story collection from the internationally bestselling author of Lincoln in the Bardo 'The best book you'll read this year' New York Times 'Dazzlingly surreal stories about a failing America' Sunday Times WINNER OF THE 2014 FOLIO PRIZE AND SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2013 George Saunders's most wryly hilarious and disturbing collection yet, Tenth of December illuminates human experience and explores figures lost in a labyrinth of troubling preoccupations. A family member recollects a backyard pole dressed for…


Book cover of Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories

Giselle Leeb Author Of Mammals, I Think We Are Called

From my list on genre-bending stories to fire your imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had no expectations about what the first short stories I wrote would end up being like. Although I’d read mostly realistic literary fiction before starting to write, most of my stories included fantastical elements. This set me off reading and writing stories categorised as weird, cross-genre, slipstream, magical realist, fantastic, fabulist, horror, soft sci-fi, and surreal. The thing that struck me was how slippery these categories are. But what unites them is their openness to unbounded imagination. Like a lens concentrating a fire, their strange and fantastical techniques amplify feelings and reality in unique ways, while always paying attention to language. It’s been a thrilling, exciting ride!

Giselle's book list on genre-bending stories to fire your imagination

Giselle Leeb Why did Giselle love this book?

I lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a year in 1988, five years after the last military dictatorship ended. I remember seeing the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo holding vigils in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace for los desaparecidos, their children who 'disappeared' during the last dictatorship. Enriquez creates strange, dense worlds of horror in these stories, with dark, unexplained, and sometimes magical undercurrents. The stories are not directly about the events, but reference them obliquely, only adding to the terror. Enriquez’s writing style blew me away, and her stories defy easy categorisation.

By Mariana Enriquez,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Things We Lost in the Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A portrait of a world in fragments, a mirrorball made of razor blades' Guardian

Sleep-deprived fathers conjuring phantoms; sharp-toothed children and stolen skulls; persecuted young women drawn to self-immolation. Organized crime sits side-by-side with the occult in Buenos Aires - a place where reality and the preternatural fuse into strange, new shapes. These stories follow the wayward and downtrodden, revealing the scars of Argentina's dictatorship and the ghosts and traumas that have settled in the minds of its people. Provocative, brutal and uncanny, Things We Lost in the Fire is a paragon of contemporary Gothic from a writer of singular…


Book cover of Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology

Giselle Leeb Author Of Mammals, I Think We Are Called

From my list on genre-bending stories to fire your imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had no expectations about what the first short stories I wrote would end up being like. Although I’d read mostly realistic literary fiction before starting to write, most of my stories included fantastical elements. This set me off reading and writing stories categorised as weird, cross-genre, slipstream, magical realist, fantastic, fabulist, horror, soft sci-fi, and surreal. The thing that struck me was how slippery these categories are. But what unites them is their openness to unbounded imagination. Like a lens concentrating a fire, their strange and fantastical techniques amplify feelings and reality in unique ways, while always paying attention to language. It’s been a thrilling, exciting ride!

Giselle's book list on genre-bending stories to fire your imagination

Giselle Leeb Why did Giselle love this book?

I’d been writing for a few years, when I came across this book. It was an exciting discovery because it introduced me to a type of story I’d never read before, stories that did weird things I hadn’t thought possible, and included brilliant writers I hadn’t heard of, like Kelly Link and Aimee Bender. I was also excited by the inclusion of writers who were considered literary, who no one would usually put in the strange category, like George Saunders and Michael Chabon. The sheer range of stories and styles was mindblowing. It broadened my ideas about what stories could be, and what I could do in my writing. The introduction by the editors is titled "Slipstream, the Genre That Isn’t," and for me that says it all.

By James Patrick Kelly (editor), John Kessel (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If it is true that the test of a first-rate mind is its ability to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time, then we live in a century when it takes a first-rate mind just to get through the day. We have unprecedented access to information; cognitive dissonance is a banner headline in our morning papers and radiates silently from our computer screens. Slipstream, poised between literature and popular culture, embraces the dissonance.

These ambitious stories of visionary strangeness defy the conventions of science fiction. Tales by Michael Chabon, Karen Joy Fowler, Jonathan Lethem, Carol Emshwiller, George Saunders, and…


Book cover of Magic for Beginners

Patrick Barb Author Of Pre-Approved for Haunting: And Other Stories

From my list on single-author weird and horrifying short stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Whether it’s campfire tales told with the moon high or bedtime fables told to get children to stay in their beds after lights out, I believe horror fiction is at its purest, most effective form as short prose. These collections of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and Western tales are all touched by the weird and terrifying. The twin sensations of being unsettled by something you’ve read and of being unable to resist reading on are guiding lights in my own writerly pursuits. These collections and many more played a defining role in shaping my own debut dark fiction collection Pre-Approved for Haunting and Other Stories. 

Patrick's book list on single-author weird and horrifying short stories

Patrick Barb Why did Patrick love this book?

While trending more toward the fantasy side, then the previous picks on the list here, Link still manages to pull out some of the most unsettling moments in a short story that I’ve ever read.

When I finished her story “Some Zombie Contingency Plans,” I found myself immediately flipping back to the beginning of the story and reading it fresh. Link is masterful when it comes to weaving together narrative threads, playing literary sleight of hand. While the collection and one of the stories within are called “Magic for Beginners,” she’s very much an expert.

The cross-genre blending is very much following in the footsteps of Bradbury, giving a more fantasy-style focus where his work trends toward science fiction.

By Kelly Link, Shelley Jackson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Best of the Decade: Salon, The A.V. Club "If I had to pick the most powerfully original voice in fantasy today, it would be Kelly Link. Her stories begin in a world very much like our own, but then, following some mysterious alien geometry, they twist themselves into something fantastic and, frequently, horrific. You won't come out the same person you went in."-Lev Grossman, The Week "Highly original."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Dazzling."-Entertainment Weekly (grade: A, Editor's Choice) "Darkly playful."-Michael Chabon Best of the Year: Time Magazine, Salon, Boldtype, PopMatters. Kelly Link's engaging and funny stories riff on haunted convenience stores,…


Book cover of Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

David Poxon Author Of Watercolour, Heart & Soul

From my list on art influences.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a 5-year-old boy, I was given a tin of watercolour paints by my Grandmother. I had no idea how to use them, and there was no one around to teach me. I had to find my own way. Around the same time I was taken on a day trip to London, where we visited the Tate Gallery. It was there that I was confronted for the first time by the magnificent paintings of J.M.W.Turner. My love for art was ignited. I became a serious student of art, and although I have had to make a living in the world like everyone else, art became my go-to therapy for relief and recreation.

David's book list on art influences

David Poxon Why did David love this book?

On a day trip to Cambridge UK I was in an old book store. I could not believe my good fortune when I spotted an old-worn book entitled Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates. I realised immediately that Pyle was the art teacher of N.C.Wyeth, the styles of the 2 are interchangeable. This book contains numerous Pirate stories, which Pyle wrote himself. Obviously the text is now very antiquated, but there are numerous illustrations illustrating Pirate battles and adventure. Pyle wrote and taught art in the late 19th Century. Any student of the Wyeth’s should check him out.

By Howard Pyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 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?

Pirates, Buccaneers, Marooners, those cruel but picturesque sea wolves who once infested the Spanish Main, all live in present-day conceptions in great degree as drawn by the pen and pencil of Howard Pyle….It is improbable that anyone else will ever bring his combination of interest and talent to the depiction of these old-time Pirates, any more than there could be a second Remington to paint the now extinct Indians and gun-fighters of the Great West.


Book cover of Minimus Pupil's Book: Starting out in Latin

Caroline Lawrence Author Of The Thieves of Ostia

From my list on ancient Rome for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

Caroline Lawrence is the author of over 30 historical novels for children and young adults, most of which are set in ancient Rome. She studied Latin, Ancient Greek and Biblical Hebrew at Berkeley and Cambridge and has been investigating the ancient world ever since. In 2009, she won the Classical Association Prize for 'a significant contribution to the public understanding of Classics’. Her aim is to make that world accessible for kids.

Caroline's book list on ancient Rome for kids

Caroline Lawrence Why did Caroline love this book?

There are many books for kids who would like to learn Latin but this charmingly illustrated book, also set in Roman Britain, is one of the most accessible, especially for children in primary school.

By Barbara Bell, Helen Forte,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Minimus Pupil's Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lively introduction to Latin for children aged 7 and over. Join in the fun with Minimus - a mix of myths, stories, grammar support and historical background! This pupil's book is a lively, colourful introduction to the Latin language and the culture of Roman Britain. A fun way to teach English grammar, it is ideal for cross-curricular activities.


Book cover of Out to Get You: 13 Tales of Weirdness and Woe

David Neilsen Author Of Lillian Lovecraft and the Harmless Horrors

From my list on spooky middle grade books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been writing Spooky Middle Grade for a number of years, and before that, I wrote horror for Hollywood. Living in Sleepy Hollow, spooky is in my blood, and if I didn't write creepy stories, they'd kick me out. I'm also a professional storyteller and have scared the bejeebus out of kids and adults in places like Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Rockefeller State Park Preserve, and Washington Irving's Sunnyside. Halloween is my favorite time of year. It more or less becomes a month-long village-wide celebration in October. Being inundated with all this crazy rubs off on you, and I have been well-steeped.

David's book list on spooky middle grade books

David Neilsen Why did David love this book?

Writing a really good spooky short story is hard. Writing 13 of them is near-impossible. Yet Allen has put together an anthology of sheer terror, with each story hinging on something simple and mundane. Basically, Allen makes you afraid of everything, and does it with a smile.

By Josh Allen, Sarah J. Coleman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out to Get You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Thirteen ordinary kids. Thirteen ordinary towns. Danger lurks around every corner!

"Wonderful and weird, compelling and unsettling." - Gary Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor author

Get ready for a collection of thirteen short stories that will chill your bones, tingle your spine, and scare your pants off. Debut author Josh Allen masterfully concocts horror in the most innocent places, like R.L. Stine meets a modern Edgar Allan Poe. A stray kitten turns into a threatening follower. The street sign down the block starts taunting you. Even your own shadow is out to get you! Spooky things love hiding in plain sight.…


Book cover of Living the Dream in Rural Ireland

Beth Haslam Author Of Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 1

From my list on moving abroad to Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Beth Haslam grew up on a farm in Wales and was mostly seen messing around with her beloved animals. When she and her husband, Jack, bought a second home in France, their lives changed forever. Computers and mobile phones swapped places with understanding French customs and wrestling with the local dialect. These days, Beth is occupied as never before raising and saving animals, writing, and embracing everything their corner of rural France has to offer. And she loves it!

Beth's book list on moving abroad to Europe

Beth Haslam Why did Beth love this book?

As a doggy person, this sounded a fun book, an added attraction being that it is a memoir about moving overseas. The author, and his wife, Lesley, buy a property in a rural part of Ireland. Sounds simple enough, but having done the same ourselves, I guessed there might be challenges ahead. Nick skillfully draws the reader into his world. I felt as though I was alongside them as he describes the properties they visit and misadventures along the way. The anecdotes about their dogs are delightful. His descriptions conjure up pictures of a stunningly beautiful country filled with enchantingly quirky people. No wonder they quickly fall in love with it.

Nick’s sense of humour is infectious and wonderfully appealing. I finished wanting more. Luckily, through the success of this first book, he launched a series. I have read and loved each subsequent episode and look forward to his next…

By Nick Albert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living the Dream in Rural Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good and has space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they have never visited. As their adventure begins to unfold, not everything goes according to plan. If finding their dream house is difficult, buying it seems almost impossible. How will they cope with banks that don’t want customers, builders who don’t need work, or…


Book cover of The Complete Guide to Ghostwriting

Andrew Crofts Author Of Ghostwriting

From my list on ghostwriting and ghostwriters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a ghostwriter for over thirty years, publishing more than a hundred books under other people’s names, as well as those under my own name. It has allowed me to live a hundred different and varied lives and it is a profession I like to encourage all writers to consider. Several of my own novels have featured ghostwriters as central characters, including Secrets of the Italian Gardener and What Lies Around Us.

Andrew's book list on ghostwriting and ghostwriters

Andrew Crofts Why did Andrew love this book?

This book is a direct competitor to my own title, but Teena Lyons is a hugely experienced ghostwriter and I have to admit that she has done a very thorough job of explaining how the business works. She interviewed a number of other ghostwriters in the course of writing the book, (myself included). The result is highly readable and a useful introduction to the business.

By Teena Lyons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A good book to read if you're interested in ghost writing. The chapters on what makes a good ghost, how to become a ghostwriter, getting structure right and most of all what to do when it all goes wrong are a must-read!”
Dora Archie Okeyo - Reviewer

“This book leads you through the world of ghostwriting. There really is everything in this book and I have found the information invaluable.”
Karen Lawton - Reviewer

“A very good resource indeed. A straightforward, no nonsense guide to the world of ghostwriting.”
Ruth Giles - Reviewer

“I discovered many useful ideas, especially when…


Book cover of Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Jennifer Saint Author Of Elektra

From my list on grief and complicated family dynamics.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the unbroken chain of storytelling that stretches from the ancient world to the present day, which is why I write mythological retellings. So many myths tackle grief and families in all their myriad forms and shapes, and their continued existence shows us how storytelling is a healing process and always has been. We can see our own complicated family relationships and the profound impact of love and loss reflecting back to us across the centuries. Fiction continues to do this for us today too and I’ve chosen the modern books which I think do this the best. 

Jennifer's book list on grief and complicated family dynamics

Jennifer Saint Why did Jennifer love this book?

My copy of this book is battered, dog-eared, and creased from the sheer number of times I’ve read and re-read it. It’s an absolutely glorious family saga, recounted by Ruby who narrates her own conception in the first chapter and takes us back through generations weaving together all the different stories that lead up to the events of her own life. It’s brilliantly funny and heartbreaking and it skewers the oddities and dysfunction of family relationships so perfectly. Characters wrestle with their grief, they deny it and suppress it and it rears up to overwhelm them but ultimately they find their way through. I’m with them every step of the way, unable to put the book down whenever I pick it up again…and again! 

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Behind the Scenes at the Museum as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whitbread Book of the Year, 1995. Ruby was born while her father was in the pub. Her mother, Bunty, had never wanted to marry him, and dreamt of being swept off to America by a romantic hero, but instead, was stuck in a flat with her three children. This is the family's story.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the United Kingdom, the Bible, and Europe?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the United Kingdom, the Bible, and Europe.

The United Kingdom Explore 565 books about the United Kingdom
The Bible Explore 337 books about the Bible
Europe Explore 900 books about Europe