100 books like Breakfast of Champions

By Kurt Vonnegut,

Here are 100 books that Breakfast of Champions fans have personally recommended if you like Breakfast of Champions. 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 The Queen of the Tambourine

Alison Jean Lester Author Of Lillian on Life

From my list on keeping it real about older women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Literary agents often say they are looking for books about ‘quirky’ female protagonists. I’m more entertained by female characters who feel real to me. When I write, I make myself uncomfortable a lot of the time, trying to express the many ways people both disguise and reveal the truth. I blame my devotion to my parents for this because when I left home in Massachusetts for college in the foreign land of Indiana, studied for a year in China, then studied in Italy, then worked in Taiwan, then moved to Japan, and later to Singapore, I wrote them copious descriptive, emotional letters. My parents are gone now, but in a way, I’m still doing that.

Alison's book list on keeping it real about older women

Alison Jean Lester Why did Alison love this book?

Misguided do-gooder Eliza Peabody lives in wealthy South London. In her middle age, Eliza is not just dedicated to volunteering in charities but also to volunteering her unsolicited advice to her neighbours in notes through their letterboxes. The book is consistently reviewed as both hilarious and poignant, but my memory of it above all includes one scene that was neither of those things. Instead, it seared me. The reveal crept up on cats’ paws, and I wasn’t at all prepared, which made the moment true for me, and unforgettable. If I read it when it came out in 1992, I would have been 26 years old. I must read it again now, at 56. No doubt I’ll remember the funny bits this time.

By Jane Gardam,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel of the Year: “Gardam’s portrait of an insanely imaginative woman in an elusive midlife crisis is impeccably drawn” (The Seattle Times).

With prose that is vibrant and witty, The Queen of the Tambourine traces the emotional breakdown—and eventual restoration—of Eliza Peabody, a smart and wildly imaginative woman who has become unbearably isolated in her prosperous London neighborhood. The letters Eliza writes to her neighbor, a woman whom she hardly knows, reveal her self-propelled descent into madness. Eliza must reach the depths of her downward spiral before she can once again find health…


Book cover of Other People's Houses

Nicola Moriarty Author Of You Need To Know

From my list on strong leads with mental illness or neurodiversity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mental illness has been such a huge part of my life for so long now that it has become second nature for me to incorporate it into my work. After suffering postnatal depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, I’ve been on anti-depressants for 11 years and regularly see a wonderful psychologist. Recently, I added a psychiatrist into the mix who diagnosed me with ADHD, so now I’m learning to juggle ADHD meds alongside the antidepressants. I’ve always been passionate about talking and writing openly and honestly about my own personal experiences because if there is any chance that I can help someone else with my words, then I’m going to take it.

Nicola's book list on strong leads with mental illness or neurodiversity

Nicola Moriarty Why did Nicola love this book?

The thing I love about this book is that the reader is hooked from the start by a thrilling mystery as Kate starts investigating the secrets hidden within a seemingly perfect family; but at the same time, you’re also drawn into Kate’s struggles with her past. As you discover the unspeakable tragedy that Kate is attempting to shut out through alcoholism and by spending her weekends taking voyeuristic visits through open homes for sale – which she has no intention of buying; you slowly realise that you’re experiencing an unreliable view of the world, which means you start to doubt everything you read, in the same way that Kate is doubting everything she sees.

By Kelli Hawkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Other People's Houses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A dark, twisting tale of guilt and obsession which will leave you gasping' Petronella McGovern, author of Six Minutes

The stunningly tense, page-turning top 10 bestseller for all fans of The Woman in the Window and The Girl on the Train.


The perfect house. The perfect family. Too good to be true.

Kate Webb still grieves over the loss of her young son. Ten years on, she spends her weekends hungover, attending open houses on Sydney's wealthy north shore and imagining the lives of the people who live there.

Then Kate visits the Harding house - the perfect house with,…


Book cover of The Sellout

Andre Soares Author Of America is a Zoo

From my list on highly political satirical.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some creative writers believe that stories carry a responsibility. The duty to entertain, of course, but also to educate, challenge and question the character(s) of the most powerful, the wealthiest. I am one of them. As an author, screenwriter, stage, and film actor, I’ve always believed in using stories as a platform to convey positively disruptive ideas, to highlight potentially destructive ideologies, to combat imperialism, expansionism, racism, and other toxic practices while delivering a neutral message devoid of political affiliations and emotional responses with no logical ground. Not unlike my latest novel, America is a Zoo, I am the product of a passionate soul, one who’s apolitical by design, yet political by conviction.

Andre's book list on highly political satirical

Andre Soares Why did Andre love this book?

If I had to use one word to describe The Sellout, it would be “charged”. 

The Sellout tells the story of a young black man who lost his father to a police shooting. As he attempts to cope with this new reality, his hometown is gradually fading into oblivion. To salvage what’s left of it, he decides on the craziest plan: reinstating slavery. An action that will drag our protagonist to the Supreme Court’s doorsteps.

Unconventional and wild, The Sellout is one of the best social commentaries on America’s racial issues you’ll ever read. I guarantee it, I stand behind it.

By Paul Beatty,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Book of the Decade, 2010-2020 (Independent)

'Outrageous, hilarious and profound.' Simon Schama, Financial Times
'The longer you stare at Beatty's pages, the smarter you'll get.' Guardian
'The most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I've read.' New York Times

A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game.

Born in Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father's racially charged…


Alpha Max

By Mark A. Rayner,

Book cover of Alpha Max

Mark A. Rayner Author Of Alpha Max

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Human shaped Pirate hearted Storytelling addict Creatively inclined

Mark's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Maximilian Tundra is about to have an existential crisis of cosmic proportions.

When a physical duplicate of him appears in his living room, wearing a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard and speaking with an English accent, Max knows something bad is about to happen. Bad doesn’t cover it. Max discovers he’s the only human being who can prevent the end of the world, and not just on his planet! In the multiverse, infinite Earths will be destroyed.

Alpha Max

By Mark A. Rayner,

What is this book about?

★★★★★ "Funny, yet deep, this is definitely worth venturing into the multiverse for."

Amazing Stories says: "Snarky as Pratchet, insightful as Stephenson, as full of scathing social commentary as Swift or Voltaire, and weirdly reminiscent of LeGuin, Alpha Max is the only multiverse novel you need this month, or maybe ever."

Maximilian Tundra is about to have an existential crisis of cosmic proportions.

When a physical duplicate of him appears in his living room, wearing a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard and speaking with an English accent, Max knows something bad is about to happen. Bad doesn’t cover it. Max discovers…


Book cover of Lily and Dunkin

Melissa Hart Author Of Avenging the Owl

From my list on total family meltdowns.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I read constantly. After my beloved mother left my abusive father and came out as a lesbian, a homophobic judge took me and my siblings--one of whom has Down syndrome--away from her. Reading was an escape. I loved weekends when I could leave my father’s house near Los Angeles and visit my mother who had a backyard full of trees and gardens. My parents argued constantly but as long as I could grow plants and observe birds, I was okay. Eventually, I moved to Oregon and volunteered to care for owls. I wrote Avenging the Owl to show that in the middle of family meltdowns, kids can turn to the natural world for comfort and inspiration.

Melissa's book list on total family meltdowns

Melissa Hart Why did Melissa love this book?

This is a book that explores deeply the role that fathers can play in our life. Lily is a transgender girl, which confounds her father and causes friction in their family. Norbert, nicknamed Dunkin, takes meditation for bipolar disorder—the same illness that caused his father to commit suicide. I appreciate this book for so many reasons; Gephart treats the transgender character with deep respect, and she doesn’t shy away from the topic of parental suicide. A children’s librarian once told me that suicide was too heavy for middle-grade fiction, but I disagree. In fact, I based a key plot point in my own novel on the experience of one of my past high school students whose father committed suicide when she was still in middle school.

By Donna Gephart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lily and Dunkin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

NAMED  ONE OF THE BEST KIDS BOOKS OF THE YEAR by NPR  • New York Public Library • JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION • GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS

For readers who enjoyed Wonder and Counting by 7's, award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling story about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful journey, perfect for fans of Wonder, will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy…


Book cover of Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things

Liz Alterman Author Of Sad Sacked

From my list on humor to balance difficult circumstances.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think there’s a little voyeur in all of us, which is why we love reading memoirs. These stories typically are written by people who’ve wrestled with a life-changing event and emerged on the other side with wisdom to share. Whether they’ve grappled with a heartbreaking loss, a debilitating illness, or an unsettling change in circumstances that left them reeling, authors who temper their truth with humor are the ones who inspire me most. Finding hilarity in the midst of hardship is no easy feat, but it reminds us that humor is a great coping skill. 

Liz's book list on humor to balance difficult circumstances

Liz Alterman Why did Liz love this book?

Lawson, better known as The Bloggess, isn’t afraid to share the most intimate details of her life and mental health challenges. Her ability to find joy, wonder, and humor in the most unexpected places makes this book a must-read for anyone wrestling with anxiety and/or depression.

Her unique take on life had me laughing out loud while also enlightening me about what it’s like to live with these conditions and, ultimately, thrive.

By Jenny Lawson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

"I've often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people' also might never understand. And that's what Furiously Happy is all about."

Jenny’s readings are standing room only,…


Book cover of The Eden Express

Sherry Marie Gallagher Author Of Boulder Blues: A Tale of the Colorado Counterculture

From my list on reliving the American countercultural experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a degreed socio-linguist and international educator, my novel writing has been immersed in the human experience that began early on as a teen musician immersed naively in a non-mainstream world of creatives and cons, when the word 'counterculture' was perceived more as a renaissance than the drug-laden world of darker gatherings that it later came to be known as. Boulder Blues is a work of fiction drawn from both fantasy and personal exposure. From there I went on to teach in American alternative education and later at university with a focus on rhetoric and forensic writing. My draw to other cultures and their perspectives moved me to go on to teach internationally.

Sherry's book list on reliving the American countercultural experience

Sherry Marie Gallagher Why did Sherry love this book?

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s son, Mark, wrote this semi-fictional exploratory piece in an autobiographical style while exploring the nature of drug-induced madness coupled with undiagnosed schizophrenia while living an alternative lifestyle in a working commune. Through it all, the nature of humanity is questioned in a humorously chaotic way. And yet he pulls it all together to somehow not only make sense of, but also be enlightened by, the madness of this counterculture lifestyle. 

Mark Vonnegut later returns to university and obtains a medical degree while exploring the use of orthomolecular medicine as a treatment to combat schizophrenia. While successfully obtaining his medical degree, he eventually disavows orthomolecular therapy as a plausible treatment.

By Mark Vonnegut,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“One of the best books about going crazy . . . required reading for those who want to understand insanity from the inside.”—The New York Times Book Review

Mark Vonnegut set out in search of Eden with his VW bug, his girlfriend, his dog, and his ideals. But genetic predisposition and “a whole lot of **** going down” made Mark Vonnegut crazy in a culture that told him “mental illness is a myth” and “schizophrenia is a sane response to an insane society.” Here he tells his story with the eyes that see from the inside out: a moving remembrance…


Book cover of The Double Bind

Beth Duke Author Of It All Comes Back to You

From my list on great characters, riveting plots, and twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like all writers, I am first and foremost a reader, with deep appreciation for a great story. I’m also a veteran book club member who meets with book clubs all over the U.S. and Canada (usually via Zoom) three or four times a week to discuss my own work. They are, as I am, invariably pleased by a plot twist. It All Comes Back to You delivers a big one, along with emotional involvement in two worlds, as it’s a dual timeline. I consider myself an expert as a result of hundreds (thousands?) of hours discussing books with groups who are, without exception, smart, fun, funny women who educate me.

Beth's book list on great characters, riveting plots, and twists

Beth Duke Why did Beth love this book?

This book rocked my world with a stunning disclosure at the end.

I remember staring at its pages, befuddled and eager to find someone to discuss it with. The Double Bind is perfect for book clubs, with a rich story that draws you in from the first pages.

I would call it “unforgettable.”

By Chris Bohjalian,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Throughout his career, Chris Bohjalian has earned a reputation for writing novels that examine some of the most important issues of our time. With Midwives, he explored the literal and metaphoric place of birth in our culture. In The Buffalo Soldier, he introduced us to one of contemporary literature’s most beloved foster children. And in Before You Know Kindness, he plumbed animal rights, gun control, and what it means to be a parent.

Chris Bohjalian’s riveting fiction keeps us awake deep into the night. As The New York Times has said, “Few writers can manipulate a plot with Bohjalian’s grace…


Book cover of Where the Watermelons Grow

Risa Nyman Author Of Swallowed by a Secret

From my list on kids caught in a family crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I started reading, I gravitated to books with believable characters in real situations, because I could see myself in these stories. How would I cope in a family dealing with illness or death, breakups in relationships, money woes, and other crises that I read about? Realistic stories about family problems are relatable to everyone, and reading about them through the eyes of the children involved is so meaningful. That’s why when I started creative writing after I retired, I found my voice in the genre I loved to read as a kid. I write authentic stories about families presented with difficult issues for middle-grade readers (and adults).

Risa's book list on kids caught in a family crisis

Risa Nyman Why did Risa love this book?

One can’t read about families in crisis and not confront the devastation and stigma of mental illness. I think this theme resonates with many people, who are close to someone dealing with this illness, including me. In Where the Watermelons Grow, the consequences of mental illness in a family are stark as seen through the eyes of twelve-year-old Della, whose mother is on the verge of a serious breakdown. Della is thrust into new responsibilities for her baby sister and on the family farm. Despite this, Della is still a child who believes in magic and searches for a cure to heal her mother. Of course, there is no magical cure, but there is magic in understanding and acceptance.

By Cindy Baldwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where the Watermelons Grow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and A Snicker of Magic will be swept away by Cindy Baldwin's debut middle grade about a girl coming to terms with her mother's mental illness. An Oregon Spirit Award Honor book.

When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren't there, Della worries that it's happening again-that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time.…


Book cover of Suicide Watch

Jolene Perry Author Of Stronger Than You Know

From my list on showcasing varied experiences of mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a teacher turned author. I’ve spent hours in middle and high schools watching students struggle because they couldn’t get the support they need. And hours listening to the experiences of child and adult victims my husband brought home from work. When we as a society begin to treat mental illness as simply illness, we’ll be on the right track to giving our society the support it needs.

Jolene's book list on showcasing varied experiences of mental illness

Jolene Perry Why did Jolene love this book?

This is a lesser-known book, and I wish more teens had it in their library. There is no shirking behind any kind of veil or safety as Vincent weaves his way through his suicidal ideations, finds friendships, and navigates his health back to safety. This is a quiet novel that’s brutally honest about how one continues on when they’re not sure why they should.

Bonus for animal lovers as Vincent spends a lot of time at the local animal shelter.

By Kelley York,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vincent has spent his entire life being shuffled from one foster home to the next. His grades suck. Making friends? Out of the question thanks to his nervous breakdowns and unpredictable moods. Still, Vince thought when Maggie Atkins took him in, he might've finally found a place to get his life--and his issues--in order. When Maggie dies, it all falls apart. A year ago, Vince watched a girl leap to her death off a bridge. He's starting to think she had the right idea. Through a pro-suicide forum, Vince meets others with the same debate regarding death: cancer-ridden Casper would…


Book cover of Asylum Piece

Mike Thorn Author Of Shelter for the Damned

From my list on descent into existential darkness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mike Thorn is the author of Shelter for the Damned, Darkest Hours, and Peel Back and See. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies, and podcasts, including Vastarien, Dark Moon Digest, and The NoSleep Podcast. His books have earned praise from Jamie Blanks (director of Urban Legend and Valentine), Jeffrey Reddick (creator of Final Destination), and Daniel Goldhaber (director of Cam). His essays and articles have been published in American Twilight: The Cinema of Tobe Hooper (University of Texas Press), Beyond Empowertainment: Exploring Feminist Horror (Seventh Row), The Film Stage, and elsewhere. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Creative Writing at the University of New Brunswick.

Mike's book list on descent into existential darkness

Mike Thorn Why did Mike love this book?

Anna Kavan’s Asylum Piece presents exciting stylistic possibilities for the world of “personal fiction.” The book defies easy genre categorization, but one might describe it as an experimental, thematically connected collection of autofiction. Drawing on her own experiences in a Swiss sanitarium (from which she was dispatched in 1938), Kavan excavates her psychological traumas and filters them through sequences of vignettes and short stories, conveying states of extreme emotional distress through a restrained, intensely lucid form. An unblinking study of alienation, mental disarray, and feelings of helplessness under bureaucratic control, Asylum Piece takes up a lot of space in my mind.

By Anna Kavan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This collection of stories, mostly interlinked and largely autobiographical, chart the descent of the narrator from the onset of neurosis to final incarceration in a Swiss clinic. The sense of paranoia, of persecution by a foe or force that is never given a name, evokes The Trial by Kafka, a writer with whom Kavan is often compared, although her deeply personal, restrained, and almost foreign  —accented style has no true model. The same characters who recur throughout—the protagonist's unhelpful "adviser," the friend and lover who abandons her at the clinic, and an assortment of deluded companions—are sketched without a trace…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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