100 books like Dreams Underfoot

By Charles de Lint,

Here are 100 books that Dreams Underfoot fans have personally recommended if you like Dreams Underfoot. 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 Neverwhere

David B. Coe Author Of The Chalice War: Stone

From my list on fantasy that made me say ‘wow!'.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing fantasy professionally for more than twenty-five years, and have published novels of epic fantasy, contemporary urban fantasy, supernatural thriller, and (as D.B. Jackson) historical fantasy. I have devoted my professional life to the genre because I love writing about magic and the people who wield it. I believe fantasy novels should thrill and intrigue, but also touch our emotions, and carry us through narratives with beautiful writing. That is what I try to do with my books, and that is what draws me to the novels I have listed here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

David's book list on fantasy that made me say ‘wow!'

David B. Coe Why did David love this book?

Chances are many of you have heard of this one, or at least of its author.

Neverwhere is not Gaiman’s best-known or best-selling book. Not by a long shot on either score. But it is my personal favorite, in part because it is less flashy than his other books, while managing to be just as exciting and suspenseful.

Like all of Gaiman’s work, it is at once humorous and dark, fanciful and brutally believable. Our hero, Richard Mayhew, is hapless but ultimately lovable. Our villains, a pair of killers named Croup and Vandemar, are terrifying.

And the characters we discover in the world below the streets of London, are charming and worth fighting for.

By Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE EXTRAORDINARY FIRST NOVEL BY THE MASTER OF STORYTELLING

'Prose that dances and dazzles . . . Gaiman describes the indescribable' SUSANNA CLARKE

'It's virtually impossible to read more than ten words by Neil Gaiman and not wish he would tell you the rest of the story' OBSERVER

'Much too clever to be caught in the net of a single interpretation' PHILIP PULLMAN

ACCLAIMED BBC RADIO 4 DRAMATISATION WITH ALL-STAR CAST INCLUDING JAMES MCAVOY, NATALIE DORMER, DAVID HAREWOOD, SOPHIE OKONEDO AND BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH

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'I love doors. Anything that leads to possibilities' NEIL GAIMAN

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Under the streets of London…


Book cover of War for the Oaks

Stephen Dedman Author Of Shadowrun: For A Few Nuyen More

From my list on lovers of urban fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a passion for weirdness in mundane settings since my childhood days watching The Addams Family in a boring suburb. I grew up with the Apollo program, but as I realized I’d never be an astronaut, I increasingly turned to writing science fiction and fantasy set on Earth. I discovered role-playing games shortly after D&D came out, but when I became bored with characters who were only after money and mayhem, I found other RPGs and began writing for them. FGU’s Bushido introduced me to Japanese mythology, which inspired my first urban fantasy novel, The Art of Arrow Cutting, which led me to being invited to write Shadowrun novels.

Stephen's book list on lovers of urban fantasy

Stephen Dedman Why did Stephen love this book?

War for the Oaks is a fantasy set in a very real Minneapolis (I’ve read parts of it on location) and concerns a war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts for the city’s soul. As the fey are immortal, each side needs to recruit mortals to infect them with mortality or no victory will be possible. Eddi McCandry, a rock and roll singer, is chosen to fight alongside the Seelie Court.

Eddi starts playing an active role in their strategy and grows into the hero they need. It’s difficult not to love Eddi and her new band – some mortal, some fey – and the fact that the city she’s fighting for is real makes the story even more gripping than the battle for Gondor.

By Emma Bull,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Acclaimed by critics and readers on its first publication in 1987, winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel, Emma Bull's War for the Oaks is one of the novels that has defined modern urban fantasy.

Eddi McCandry sings rock and roll. But her boyfriend just dumped her, her band just broke up, and life could hardly be worse. Then, walking home through downtown Minneapolis on a dark night, she finds herself drafted into an invisible war between the faerie folk. Now, more than her own survival is at risk—and her own preferences, musical and personal, are very much…


Book cover of Tea With the Black Dragon

Stephen Dedman Author Of Shadowrun: For A Few Nuyen More

From my list on lovers of urban fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a passion for weirdness in mundane settings since my childhood days watching The Addams Family in a boring suburb. I grew up with the Apollo program, but as I realized I’d never be an astronaut, I increasingly turned to writing science fiction and fantasy set on Earth. I discovered role-playing games shortly after D&D came out, but when I became bored with characters who were only after money and mayhem, I found other RPGs and began writing for them. FGU’s Bushido introduced me to Japanese mythology, which inspired my first urban fantasy novel, The Art of Arrow Cutting, which led me to being invited to write Shadowrun novels.

Stephen's book list on lovers of urban fantasy

Stephen Dedman Why did Stephen love this book?

The difference between urban fantasy and horror is that in urban fantasy, the supernatural elements may be benign, not scary. In Tea With the Black Dragon, the fantasy element is Mayland Long, a black dragon converted to Buddhism and transformed into human form to search for a Zen master. In San Francisco, he meets middle-aged Martha Macnamara, violinist and zazen practitioner, and assists her in looking for her daughter. Amateur detectives (one of them a dragon) vs. computer criminals; there’s no magic and not much violence.

By R.A. MacAvoy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tea With the Black Dragon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this "astonishing fantasy debut," a mother and a mysterious Chinese man-who is more than he appears-search for her missing daughter in San Francisco (Locus).

Offering "a deft blend of the oldest of magicks in a dragon, and the newest of sorceries in computers" (Anne McCaffrey), this is the incomparable novel that garnered Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy, and Philip K. Dick Award nominations, and earned its author the John W. Campbell Best New Writer award.

Martha Macnamara knows that her daughter, Elizabeth, is in trouble-she just doesn't know what kind. Mysterious phone calls from San Francisco at odd hours of…


Book cover of Wizard of the Pigeons

Stephen Dedman Author Of Shadowrun: For A Few Nuyen More

From my list on lovers of urban fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a passion for weirdness in mundane settings since my childhood days watching The Addams Family in a boring suburb. I grew up with the Apollo program, but as I realized I’d never be an astronaut, I increasingly turned to writing science fiction and fantasy set on Earth. I discovered role-playing games shortly after D&D came out, but when I became bored with characters who were only after money and mayhem, I found other RPGs and began writing for them. FGU’s Bushido introduced me to Japanese mythology, which inspired my first urban fantasy novel, The Art of Arrow Cutting, which led me to being invited to write Shadowrun novels.

Stephen's book list on lovers of urban fantasy

Stephen Dedman Why did Stephen love this book?

Wizard is one of Seattle’s homeless magicians, a seer who tells the truth to those who need it, haunted by a nebulous menace and hiding from his past. Apart from its (often ambiguous) fantasy elements, it’s a beautifully-written guide to urban survival and to downtown Seattle (as well as the setting for my latest novels). 

By Megan Lindholm, Tommy Arnold (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The fifth book in the Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb) backlist.

Seattle: a place as magical as the Emerald City.

Subtle magic seeps through the cracks in the paving stones of the sprawling metropolis. But only the inhabitants who possess special gifts are open to the city's consciousness; finding portents in the graffiti, reading messages in the rubbish or listening to warnings in the skipping-rope chants of children.

Wizard is bound to Seattle and her magic. His gift is the Knowing - a powerful enchantment allowing him to know the truth of things; to hear the life-stories of ancient mummies locked…


Book cover of Mink River

Kevin J. Haar Author Of Intercession

From my list on with a strong sense of place (and a little magic).

Why am I passionate about this?

I am what you might call an “armchair explorer.” I love reading about new places and parts of the world. I am fascinated by the history of communities. Places are not just locations; they are ideas formed by the stories that people tell about them. I love novels where I can get a true sense of a place and time. This passion led me to a love for folklore and legend. Nothing can provide a sense of a place better than its folklore. When I wrote Intercession, one of my main goals was to create a place and people that could be known through the stories they tell each other. 

Kevin's book list on with a strong sense of place (and a little magic)

Kevin J. Haar Why did Kevin love this book?

Mink River is a novel of optimism and joy.

Set in a small, coastal Oregon town, this lyrical novel follows an intimate cast of characters as the history and lore of their town intertwines with their lives. Each character has their own struggles and joys and their own story to tell.

The cast includes two aging best friends at the Public Works Department, a twelve-year-old boy who rides bikes and reads Irish history, a doctor who talks little but smokes often, and a philosophizing crow who hangs out with a mechanic. Doyle expresses such love and empathy for his characters.

To Doyle, everything matters: each character, each story, every tree, every choice. It’s the most beautiful novel I’ve ever read. 

By Brian Doyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Like Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood and Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, Brian Doyle's stunning fiction debut brings a town to life through the jumbled lives and braided stories of its people.

In a small town on the Oregon coast there are love affairs and almost-love-affairs, mystery and hilarity, bears and tears, brawls and boats, a garrulous logger and a silent doctor, rain and pain, Irish immigrants and Salish stories, mud and laughter. There's a Department of Public Works that gives haircuts and counts insects, a policeman addicted to Puccini, a philosophizing crow, beer and berries. An expedition is mounted, a…


Book cover of London Fields

Damien Owens Author Of Duffy and Son

From my list on funny but, y'know, good.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Irish novelist and occasional screenwriter. My latest book, Duffy and Son, is my sixth. I can be drawn in by any well-told tale, of course, but I’ve always had the strongest reaction to stories with at least some element of comedy. I don’t know, I just find books in which no one says anything funny to be deeply unrealistic. It infuriates me when any piece of fiction is viewed as ‘lesser’ because there’s a chance it might make you smile. The books listed here will definitely make you smile. If you give them a chance, I hope you find them as worthy of your time as I did.

Damien's book list on funny but, y'know, good

Damien Owens Why did Damien love this book?

I was about nineteen when I first read London Fields. My experience up until that point had been that books could be funny, of course, but only if they were silly.

When a ‘proper’ book was also said to be a laugh riot, that meant it had Latin puns in it. London Fields was both deadly serious and utterly hilarious. Reading it was like watching someone flap their wings and actually take off. I didn’t know such a thing could be done.

With that one book, Martin Amis picked me up and put me in his pocket, where I have remained. 

By Martin Amis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

London Fields is Amis's murder story for the end of the millennium—"a comic murder mystery, an apocalyptic satire, a scatological meditation on love and death" (The New York Times).

The murderee is Nicola Six, a "black hole" of sex and self-loathing intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may be Keith Talent, a violent lowlife whose only passions are pornography and darts. Or is the killer the rich, honorable, and dimly romantic Guy Clinch?

Here, Amis is "by turns lyrical and obscene, colloquial and rhapsodic." —Michiko Kakutani


Book cover of Good Morning, Midnight

Janet Skeslien Charles Author Of The Paris Library

From my list on ups and downs in Paris: C'est La Vie.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Library and Moonlight in Odessa. Like the authors on the list I selected for Shepherd, I'm skilled at turning experiences at minimum-wage jobs into novels. I earned $25 a month teaching full-time at a high school in Odessa, which is the setting for my first novel. My second book takes place at the American Library in Paris, where I was the programs manager. Setting is the start of my fiction, because I believe that where we are from has a lot to do with who we are. I hope that you’ll enjoy these selections.

Janet's book list on ups and downs in Paris: C'est La Vie

Janet Skeslien Charles Why did Janet love this book?

“I want a long, calm book about people with large incomes – a book like a flat green meadow and the sheep feeding in it… I read most of the time and I am happy.” First published in1939, this novel is a portrait of a woman who struggles in Paris. She is on her own and has no job or money.

By Jean Rhys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The last of the four novels Jean Rhys wrote in interwar Paris, Good Morning, Midnight is the culmination of a searing literary arc, which established Rhys as an astute observer of human tragedy. Her everywoman heroine, Sasha, must confront the loves- and losses- of her past in this mesmerizing and formally daring psychological portrait.


Book cover of Dhalgren

Blair Austin Author Of Dioramas

From my list on opening strange worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former librarian I have long been fascinated with Borges’s view of books: their metaphysical shape and their tendency to open into the uncanny and the infinite. Illness early in life drove me to books, to their particular isolation. Since then, I’ve found that worlds can open almost anywhere in literature by way of a mood, a patina of language, a vision, a set of images completely beyond the control of the writer. Now, I read these books to remind me of what fiction can do, the places it can go, the worlds it will open.

Blair's book list on opening strange worlds

Blair Austin Why did Blair love this book?

Samuel R. Delaney’s masterpiece, Dhalgren, is set in a city in the Midwest that has been emptied by an unnamed catastrophe.

A sense of freedom, violence and disaster hang everywhere as the hero – Kidd, Kid, or the kid, a man with no memory and of ambiguous race (he remembers his mother was Native American) – gains entry into the subcultures that remain behind: parties, high-rise poetry readings with older white people, gun fights, gangs, graphic sex.

Time and perspective seem fluxive, inconstant, and looping. 

This is beautiful, destabilized world building. Dhalgren answers no questions yet evokes a time, place, and milieu that shifts as you read.

I first found it when I was working as a librarian in a prison out on the plains. I didn’t last in prison.

By Samuel R. Delany,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nebula Award Finalist: Reality unravels in a Midwestern town in this sci-fi epic by the acclaimed author of Babel-17. Includes a foreword by William Gibson.

A young half–Native American known as the Kid has hitchhiked from Mexico to the midwestern city Bellona—only something is wrong there . . . In Bellona, the shattered city, a nameless cataclysm has left reality unhinged. Into this desperate metropolis steps the Kid, his fist wrapped in razor-sharp knives, to write, to love, to wound.
 
So begins Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany’s masterwork, which in 1975 opened a new door for what science fiction could mean.…


Book cover of Tapping the Dream Tree

A.M. Geever Author Of Love in an Undead Age

From my list on science fiction, fantasy, and post-apocalyptic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write action-packed post-apocalyptic and dystopian adventures—with a dash of romance. An avid reader of science fiction and fantasy from an early age, the only job I ever wanted—besides being a writer—was to be a Star Fleet Officer. I owe my love of all things zombie to my older brothers, whose influence in books, music, and film continues to this day, although my tolerance for puns and movies that are "so bad they're good" is a whole lot lower than theirs. The idea of becoming a zombie because my car runs out of gas gets me to the gas station when I'd rather not bother.

A.M.'s book list on science fiction, fantasy, and post-apocalyptic

A.M. Geever Why did A.M. love this book?

Charles de Lint is one of my favorite authors, and this book of short stories is set in Newford, his fictional city. It’s a fully-formed universe where there's always more to discover. You can read any of his books at any time; there’s no order they must be read in. I guarantee that the more you learn of his worlds—and especially Newford—the more you’ll want. I read Pixel Pixies (my favorite short story of all time) to my mom and dad when my mom was dying of cancer. I could barely read the last paragraph for wanting to cry; not because the story is sad, but because it's so beautiful, so hopeful, so abso-freaking-lutely wonderful. I still get teary-eyed thinking about that evening of reading that story to my mom and dad.

That’s what de Lint does. He transports you not only to a world, but indelibly marks the feelings…

By Charles de Lint,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Onion Girl

The city of Newford could be any contemporary North American city...except that magic lurks in its music, in its art, in the shadows of its grittiest streets, where mythic beings walk disguised. And its people are like you and me, each looking for a bit of magic to shape their lives and transform their fate.

Here are a bluesman hiding from the devil; a Buffalo Man at the edge of death; a murderous ghost looking for revenge; a wolf man on his first blind date; and many more. We're reunited with Jilly,…


Book cover of Secret Place

Erica Silverman Author Of Wake Up, City!

From my list on celebrating cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning author of picture books and early readers. I have set my stories in many kinds of locations, including a haunted house, an Eastern European shtetl, an English Renaissance village, and a working cattle ranch. For Wake Up, City, I turned to the setting I know best, the city. I drew on memories of walking to kindergarten in early morning Brooklyn. This book is my love song to cities everywhere. As a lifelong city dweller, I worry about the impact of urban spread on the planet, but I feel hopeful, too, because many cities are becoming more nature and wildlife-friendly. The books I'm excited to share celebrate city wildlife. 

Erica's book list on celebrating cities

Erica Silverman Why did Erica love this book?

This is based on the L.A. River (which is undergoing an exciting revitalization) but it could be any industrial downtown: freeways, warehouses, graffiti, smog. A boy discovers a secret place, where a river still runs through a concrete bed. In hushed tones, he tells us who else knows his secret - an egret, a green-winged teal, nesting mallards, coyotes, and possum. The vivid description makes me feel as if I am right there with him, sharing his sense of wonder. This deceptively simple book offers a powerful argument for restoring green space. 

By Eve Bunting, Ted Rand (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A small boy finds a secret place in the city that he shares with a white egret, mallards, and even ducklings.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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