100 books like Candide

By Voltaire,

Here are 100 books that Candide fans have personally recommended if you like Candide. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Clockwork Orange

AK Nevermore Author Of Grimdarke

From my list on motorcycles, shifters, and mayhem, oh my!.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a huge fan of paranormal and dark romance, and these books definitely check all my boxes. Great world-building, plots that engage, and in most cases, a heavy dollop of smut. They also explore the unexpected and take into account real-world concerns in a fashion where you can absolutely justify the decisions the main characters are making.

AK's book list on motorcycles, shifters, and mayhem, oh my!

AK Nevermore Why did AK love this book?

This book is probably the quintessential book of mayhem, in my opinion.

Yep, it’s super dated, and the dialect can be difficult to get into, but I thought it was worth it, especially if you read the European version, which has an additional chapter the US publisher cut out. Abruptly it goes from a novel of unrepentant chaos to one of redemption.

By Anthony Burgess,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Clockwork Orange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Anthony Burgess's influential nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, a teen who talks in a fantastically inventive slang that evocatively renders his and his friends' intense reaction against their society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess's introduction, "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."


Book cover of Slaughterhouse-Five

Mel Laytner Author Of What They Didn't Burn: Uncovering My Father's Holocaust Secrets

From my list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a foreign correspondent seven time zones from home when my father died of a sudden heart attack. My grief mixed with guilt for never having sat down with him to unravel his vague vignettes about life and loss in the Holocaust. I wondered, how did he survive when so many perished? How much depended on resilience, smarts, or dumb luck? As reporters do, I started digging. I uncovered a Nazi paper trial that tracked his life from home, through ghettos, slave labor, concentration camps, death marches, and more. The tattered documents revealed a man very different from the quiet, quintessential Type-B Dad I knew…or thought I knew. 

Mel's book list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II

Mel Laytner Why did Mel love this book?

I first read Slaughterhouse-Five as a callow college student, concluding with the certainty of youth that this was a brilliant but weird amalgam of dark humor and sci-fi wrapped inside an autobiographical anti-war screed. However, my real ‘duh’ moment came after rereading the book decades later.

The opening line, “Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time” – tells you everything you need to know: It’s about PTSD, written from the inside looking out. Like Billy Pilgrim, I could see myself time-jumping and being abducted by aliens to escape the trauma of war. Interestingly, the term “PTSD,” the acronym for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, had not entered our lexicon when Vonnegut wrote Slaughterhouse Five in the 1960s. Poignant and personal, it's still a brilliant amalgam of dark humor and sci-fi. 

By Kurt Vonnegut,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked Slaughterhouse-Five as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special fiftieth anniversary edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, “a desperate, painfully honest attempt to confront the monstrous crimes of the twentieth century” (Time), featuring a new introduction by Kevin Powers, author of the National Book Award finalist The Yellow Birds
 
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
 
Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had…


Book cover of 1984

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Author Of Legacy of the Third Way

From my list on books to take you to the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

From a young age, I've been captivated by evolution and its implications for the future. I immersed myself in classical works of philosophy and literature that explored human emotions and our relentless drive to succeed against all odds, advancing human knowledge and shaping society. This fascination with understanding the future led me to write op-ed pieces on foreign policy and geopolitics for prominent newspapers in South Asia. My desire to contribute to a better future inspired me to author three nonfiction books covering topics such as the Islamic Social Contract, Lessons from the Quran, and Reflections on God,  Science, and Human Nature. 

Abdul's book list on books to take you to the future

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Why did Abdul love this book?

Humans are always curious about what the future will look like. They are also concerned about the state impinging on their privacy and interfering with their lives. George Orwell masterfully combined these two human impulses in his classic novel. He wrote the book in 1949 to present his view of the future.

I read this book when I was in my mid-20s. I found it an interesting read, especially since many of his predictions did not come true. I was curious to know how past generations viewed our generation. 

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

42 authors picked 1984 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU . . .

1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair. As he writes the words 'DOWN WITH BIG…


Book cover of Catch-22

Daniel Fryer Author Of How to Cope with Almost Anything with Hypnotherapy: Simple Ideas to Enhance Your Wellbeing and Resilience

From my list on boost your wellbeing and heal your soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I could say I’ve had a hard life (and I have), but who hasn’t? Life is one adversity after another, and we need all the help we can get. Without that help, moods suffer, hope falters, and our souls are diminished. During my own personal journey through this quagmire called life, I have often been lifted up and out of the mud whilst reading the books I suggest below and more. These books either made me laugh and cry, made me think, or made me change the way I approached things. Quite often, they did all four at the same time. Their insights were invaluable. 

Daniel's book list on boost your wellbeing and heal your soul

Daniel Fryer Why did Daniel love this book?

Whilst on humour (including satire): it is an important part of REBT. Humor is another one of those character strengths in positive psychology (again, good for you when used appropriately). It’s not for nothing that laughter is called the best medicine (in fact, I wrote my MSc dissertation on the use of humor in psychotherapy).

Humor, especially satire, and wordplay have helped me a lot in life. Regarding those two things, this book is the best bar none. Both funny and tragic (which sums life up pretty well), considering how much saber rattling is happening today, it’s as relevant now as it has always been.

I'm sure this book will change you for the better. It may also have you challenging authority a little more than you currently do (which alone will work wonders for your mental health and well-being). 

By Joseph Heller,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Catch-22 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explosive, subversive, wild and funny, 50 years on the novel's strength is undiminished. Reading Joseph Heller's classic satire is nothing less than a rite of passage.

Set in the closing months of World War II, this is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. His real problem is not the enemy - it is his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. If Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the…


Book cover of Frankenstein

Aaron Dennis Author Of Beyond the End of the World: Lokians 1

From my list on sci-fi books with a good dose of science.

Why am I passionate about this?

Who am I to be an expert? I'm not. I know what I like and why, and I also know what I dislike. I have no idea what you like or dislike, and I don't presume to know more than anyone else. I do not have a passion for sci-fi; I have a predilection for it. I've been writing creatively all my life. Sci fi is not all I read or write either. At the end of the day, I only need to know that I've given life my best shot.

Aaron's book list on sci-fi books with a good dose of science

Aaron Dennis Why did Aaron love this book?

I don't know if creating a monster from the remains of the dead qualifies as sci-fi, but I'm adding Mary Shelley's 1818 title anyway. This was one I got to read in middle school; we had a list of books we could read, but it was mandatory to read at least 5 for the year. Other than just a handful of books I've read that were written by female authors, this is the only one that can qualify as sci-fi.

Shelley has a very eloquent yet provocative voice. I think it would be near impossible to liken her tone, pace, choice of words, etc., to any other novelist of our time. At any rate, the fact that this is last on the list by no means suggests that it is not one of my favorites. It just worked out that way.

You've probably seen the movie, but it relied much…

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'

'That rare story to pass from literature into myth' The New York Times

Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley on Lake Geneva. The story of Victor Frankenstein who, obsessed with creating life itself, plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, but whose botched creature sets out to destroy his maker, would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity. Based on the third…


Book cover of Dear Committee Members

Carolyn Banks Author Of The Importance of Being Erica

From my list on that have a beating heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

Because both of my parents worked, I had to go somewhere after school. The public library was selected, thank the stars! A librarian watched me gobbling up all the young adult books and suggested maybe I’d like to tackle some from the grown-up room. Wow! I was only 11 years old, but that woman steered me into what has become my career, a reader and reviewer and, best of all, a writer! My first grown-up book? A Portrait of Jenny by Robert Nathan. 

Carolyn's book list on that have a beating heart

Carolyn Banks Why did Carolyn love this book?

Have you ever been a teacher? If you have, you will roll on the floor with laughter reading this book.

The author, Julie Schumacher, has absolutely nailed what faculty life on campus, with all its stupidity, pettiness, and rivalries, is like. After I read it, all I wanted to do was get other people to read it. Amazingly, so many already had!

Finding other fans of the novel was a way to sort of relive the experience of reading it, with a lot of “How about the part where...” There is a wonderful curmudgeon in the book, my favorite sort of person.

By Julie Schumacher,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Dear Committee Members as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finally a novel that puts the "pissed" back into "epistolary."

Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His star (he thinks) student can't catch a break with his brilliant (he…


Book cover of Don Quixote

Clancy Martin Author Of How Not to Kill Yourself: A Portrait of the Suicidal Mind

From my list on teaching you how not to kill yourself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the subject of suicide because I have lived with suicidal thinking all of my life, have made multiple suicide attempts, have lost loved ones to suicide, and have so many new friends who are survivors of suicide attempts. I am a philosophy professor and writer who spends a lot of his time thinking about the meaning of life, and reading other philosophers, writers, and thinkers who have taught us about the meaning of life. I think the Buddha is especially smart and helpful on this question, as are the existentialist philosophers.

Clancy's book list on teaching you how not to kill yourself

Clancy Martin Why did Clancy love this book?

Look, you’re often going to feel like life is meaningless. Maybe you’re right. But don’t give up.

Like Quixote, you have the power of your noble heart, and the wealth of your imagination. But you also have your Sancho Paza, to keep you moving practically forward. It all will likely come to a ridiculous end. But that’s okay, so long as you’re laughing at yourself along the way.

It is funny. We’re allowed to be funny. We’re supposed to laugh at ourselves and at each other.

By Miguel De Cervantes, Edith Grossman (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Don Quixote as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY HAROLD BLOOM. Widely regarded as the world's first modern novel, and one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote de La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. Unless you read Spanish, you've never read Don Quixote.


Book cover of A Confederacy of Dunces

Toby LeBlanc Author Of Dark Roux

From my list on South Louisiana culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in Scott, Louisiana, I didn’t know that everyone else in the United States did not get Mardi Gras off from school and work. I thought everyone knew some French. Crawfish boils were a natural, expectable part of every spring. South Louisiana is a world unto itself. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate my heritage, my Cajun lineage, and the sometimes-befuddling ways we Louisianians look at that world. Between conversations with elders, reading historical documents, and even looking at land transfer maps, I’ve become even more grounded in what being from this little wet corner of the world means. 

Toby's book list on South Louisiana culture

Toby LeBlanc Why did Toby love this book?

This Pulitzer Prize winner remains a time-tested testament to the absurdity that is New Orleans.

I felt like I’d met every one of the characters at least twice in my own walks on the streets of this storied city. I could even taste the Lucky Dogs. This is one of the few books to have me consistently laugh out loud. You can even take a picture with the statue of Ignatius J Reilly (the main character) on Canal Street.

By John Kennedy Toole,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Confederacy of Dunces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF THE BBC'S 100 NOVELS THAT SHAPED OUR WORLD

'This is probably my favourite book of all time' Billy Connolly

A pithy, laugh-out-loud story following John Kennedy Toole's larger-than-life Ignatius J. Reilly, floundering his way through 1960s New Orleans, beautifully resigned with cover art by Gary Taxali
_____________

'This city is famous for its gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, and lesbians . . . don't make the mistake of bothering me.'

Ignatius J. Reilly: fat, flatulent, eloquent and almost unemployable. By the standards of ordinary folk he is pretty much…


Book cover of Make Russia Great Again

Michael Contarino Author Of The Environmental Alarmist: A Political Satire

From my list on satires for crazy times.

Why am I passionate about this?

The worst of all deceptions, said Plato, is self-deception. Perhaps it is also the most common. I'm fascinated by the human capacity to believe nonsense, and also by the power of satire to weaken twaddle’s hold on us. As a political science professor, and as a political speechwriter, I often used humor to expose sloppy thinking, debunk untruths, and open minds. Especially today, satire is one of the best ways to show the high price we pay for our delusions. Satire alone will not end our collective folly, but laughing at rather than denying what we're doing to the natural environment can be a step on the road to change.

Michael's book list on satires for crazy times

Michael Contarino Why did Michael love this book?

If you don’t find Make Russia Great Again hilarious, you have no sense of humor.

Here’s my executive summary: Former Trump Chief of Staff, a naïf named Herb Nutterman – think Chauncey Gardner without the acumen – narrates the book from prison, where his service to the very stable genius has landed him. The leader of the free world saw Nutterman as eminently qualified to run the White House because he was his “favorite Jew,” and had loyally served him for 27 years as a resort manager.

Got the gist? OK, that’s all the executive summary you need for now. Just read the book. It’s outrageously funny. 

By Christopher Buckley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Make Russia Great Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In "the Trump satire we've been waiting for" (The Washington Post), award-winning and bestselling author of Thank You for Smoking delivers a hilarious and whipsmart fake memoir by Herb Nutterman-Donald Trump's seventh chief of staff-who has written the ultimate tell-all about Trump and Russia.

Herb Nutterman never intended to become Donald Trump's White House chief of staff. Herb served the Trump Organization for twenty-seven years, holding jobs in everything from a food and beverage manager at the Trump Magnifica to being the first general manager of the Trump Bloody Run Golf Course. And when his old boss asks "his favorite…


Book cover of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Stephen Benz Author Of Topographies

From my list on the spirit of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

Why am I passionate about this?

Traveling, meeting people, hearing stories, learning about places and landscapes—this is what my writing is all about. Sometimes it takes the form of nonfiction, sometimes poetry. I’ve had a wandering spirit from early on, finding joy and wonder as a child while sitting in the backseat on road trips, or taking the bus cross-state, or (best of all) riding on a train going anywhere. Reading Kerouac’s On the Road brought everything together: heading out with no particular destination in mind other than finding oneself on the road. And then writing it all down, telling the story. Here are some books that have rekindled the Kerouac spirit for me.

Stephen's book list on the spirit of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

Stephen Benz Why did Stephen love this book?

Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was first published when I was a teenager. I was aware of the book’s unforeseen popularity and countercultural reputation, but it proved too daunting for me at the time. I read it years later, after I had read Blue Highways, and was immediately enthralled with the road trip dimension of the book (Pirsig travels from Minneapolis to San Francisco on his motorcycle, accompanied by his son and some friends—not on the same motorcycle, of course). It’s a compelling journey across the austerely beautiful northern tier of the American West; it’s also a darker journey into the narrator’s troubled past. Much of the book is given to philosophical inquiry—an intellectual trip that’s just as compelling as the physical journey.

By Robert M. Pirsig,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions. A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live. Resonant with the confusions of existence, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a touching and transcendent book of life.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Age of Enlightenment, satire, and the Industrial Revolution?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Age of Enlightenment, satire, and the Industrial Revolution.

The Age Of Enlightenment Explore 143 books about the Age of Enlightenment
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The Industrial Revolution Explore 74 books about the Industrial Revolution