100 books like Feeling Very Strange

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

Here are 100 books that Feeling Very Strange fans have personally recommended if you like Feeling Very Strange. 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 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 Black Water: The Book of Fantastic Literature

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?

Published in 1983, I only recently came across this anthology. A Sunday Times review says: “As an introduction to the delights of fiction about “the impossible seeping into the possible” Black Water has not been surpassed.” This book is on my indispensable reading list. It includes seventy-two stories that span a broad range of writers, many of whom would not be considered writers of the fantastic, from D.H. Lawrence and Edith Wharton to Julio Cortázar and Ray Bradbury. An eye-opening book that demonstrates a myriad of techniques for using strangeness to illustrate reality, and is an absolute reading feast of wonder and imagination. My favourite story is "The Third Bank of the River" by João Guimarães Rosa.

By Alberto Manguel (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Short stories by authors including Julio Cortazar, Saki, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ray Bradbury deal with hauntings, time warps, prophetic dreams, strange creatures, and bizarre occurrences


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 Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future

Nicholas Maes Author Of Laughing Wolf

From my list on to understand (and survive) modernity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a classicist (Greek and Latin) and a serious student of history. Modernity has obsessed me for the last 10 years, how it unfolds, what its implications are, whether it generates more gains than losses, whether it’s changing us profoundly and whether we can dodge it or not. Because of this interest (which I lecture on often) I am fascinated to see modernity’s gleanings in earlier times and always curious to see what other critics make of it. Because its effects will only grow down the road, the task of understanding its mechanisms and outcomes is one of extreme urgency, as these books illustrate in different ways.

Nicholas' book list on to understand (and survive) modernity

Nicholas Maes Why did Nicholas love this book?

This book is great because Norberg is calm, methodical, rational, and optimistic: we have come a long way, we live in the best of times, and let’s get on with it. I love the modern as I’ve said, and appreciate historians who understand that, from a material perspective at least (health, wealth, freedom, and security), most people today are in the top 99.999999 percentile of all the humans who have ever lived.

I so admire (and share) Norberg’s belief in our brilliance and problem-solving skills and admire, too, his arguments which are complex but easy to follow. Modernity gives us plenty to celebrate, and Norberg, I feel, makes this eminently clear.

It is a book that serves as the perfect balance to Barrat’s and to Kurzweil’s. Although the three together will lead to cognitive dissonance, which, in my view, is as healthy as having one’s mind blown periodically.

By Johan Norberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Book of the Year for The Economist and the Observer

Our world seems to be collapsing. The daily news cycle reports the deterioration: divisive politics across the Western world, racism, poverty, war, inequality, hunger. While politicians, journalists and activists from all sides talk about the damage done, Johan Norberg offers an illuminating and heartening analysis of just how far we have come in tackling the greatest problems facing humanity. In the face of fear-mongering, darkness and division, the facts are unequivocal: the golden age is now.


Book cover of Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

David P. Barash Author Of OOPS! The Worst Blunders of All Time

From my list on people making mistakes: mythic, silly, tragic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an emeritus professor of psychology (University of Washington) who has long been intrigued by the mistakes that people have made throughout history. I’ve long been struck by Oppenheimer’s observation, immediately after the Trinity explosion, that “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” This led me to look into the wide array of mistakes, from the mythic, literary, athletic, business, political, medical, and military. In writing OOPS!, I let myself go in a way that I’ve never before, writing with a critical and wise-ass style that isn’t strictly academic, but is factually accurate and, frankly, was a lot of fun!

David's book list on people making mistakes: mythic, silly, tragic

David P. Barash Why did David love this book?

Two renowned social psychologists show how people—some famous and some not—avoid taking responsibility for their blunders.

By the book''s end, we see how we avoid admitting our missteps, and aware of how much our own (and everyone's) lives would improve if we could simply say, ''I made a mistake. I'm sorry.”

By Elliot Aronson, Carol Tavris,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Renowned social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson take a compelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification. This updated edition concludes with an extended discussion of how we can live with dissonance, learn from it, and perhaps, eventually, forgive ourselves.

Why is it so hard to say “I made a mistake”—and really believe it?

When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral,…


Book cover of Five Practices for Equity-Focused School Leadership

Decoteau J. Irby Author Of Stuck Improving: Racial Equity and School Leadership

From my list on equity-focused school reform for educators.

Why am I passionate about this?

Every teacher from pre-Kindergarten to higher education, who has experienced and understands what it means to be committed to equity and to practice transformation but still not see the kinds of outcomes expected, needed, or deserved among students of color. These students of color, particularly Black and Brown students, tend to be grossly underserved in and through the educational system. Decoteau Irby amplifies the humanity of those young people and situates them in the context of suburbia, an understudied place and space among Black and Brown communities. 

Decoteau's book list on equity-focused school reform for educators

Decoteau J. Irby Why did Decoteau love this book?

This book provides the most comprehensive but succinct explanation of all the key elements that are required to lead to equity in a school.

It has everything from the beginning key concepts that someone would need to understand in the beginning to concrete practices that someone should be doing. 


By Sharon I. Radd, Gretchen Givens Generett, Mark Anthony Gooden , George Theoharis

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Five Practices for Equity-Focused School Leadership as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This timely and essential book provides a comprehensive guide for school leaders who desire to engage their school communities in transformative systemic change. Sharon I. Radd, Gretchen Givens Generett, Mark Anthony Gooden, and George Theoharis offer five practices to increase educational equity and eliminate marginalization based on race, disability, socioeconomics, language, gender and sexual identity, and religion. For each dimension of diversity, the authors provide background information for understanding the current realities in schools and beyond, and they suggest "disruptive practices" to replace the status quo in order to achieve full inclusion and educational excellence for every child.

Assuming that…


Book cover of What We Think about When We Try Not to Think about Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action

Sara Barkat Author Of Earth Song: A Nature Poems Experience

From my list on eco for the practical to the poetic heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

A children's DK book presented green clubs and made sustainability fun: of course, I started a club with my friends. In college, an Environmental Justice class professed methods for cooperation but focused only on devastation—so depressing that change seemed pointless; every story went: "1) horrible thing, 2) drawing attention, 3) corporations erode results." The class catalyzed my interest in changing the climate narrative. There are always triumphs to celebrate, stories of vision and excitement; that's what matters to me. It's what the DK book I loved as a child gave me, and what I hope to be able to give to others as an editor at PoeticEarthMonth.com. 

Sara's book list on eco for the practical to the poetic heart

Sara Barkat Why did Sara love this book?

We've all heard about climate change by now—but does constantly talking about it make a difference? Or does it matter more how you talk about it? Stoknes gives comprehensive explanations about the messaging that's most effective to get through to people about climate change from a psychological and marketing point of view.

A must-read for anyone who wants to talk about global warming, whether you're creating large-scale marketing plans or just trying to talk to family and friends.

By Per Espen Stoknes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What We Think about When We Try Not to Think about Global Warming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why does knowing more mean believing-and doing-less? A prescription for change

The more facts that pile up about global warming, the greater the resistance to them grows, making it harder to enact measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the inevitable change ahead.

It is a catch-22 that starts, says psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes, from an inadequate understanding of the way most humans think, act, and live in the world around them. With dozens of examples-from the private sector to government agencies-Stoknes shows how to retell the story of climate change and, at the same…


Book cover of Sisters

Tara Lynn Masih Author Of How We Disappear: Novella & Stories

From my list on how we disappear.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I began compiling stories for my collection, I noted the theme of disappearance throughout. I’m not sure why that’s the case. Perhaps because I’ve dealt with disappearance on a personal level. Perhaps almost all stories deal with the theme. I have also always been fascinated by people who disappear (such as Agatha Christie), especially into the wild. As a former book editor, my reading standards are very high. The books I’ve recommended are superb and still resonate with me years after I’ve read them. I hope you explore this list and that the characters in these unique and well-crafted stories linger on, even after you’ve finished the last page.

Tara's book list on how we disappear

Tara Lynn Masih Why did Tara love this book?

Daisy Johnson is a force of her own. I’ve read all three of her books and was the most taken with her more recent novel, Sisters. This has a moody, gothic feel to it. Very well narrated by one of the two sisters, and is the ultimate story about disappearance, and the traumatic effect it can have on a loved one. Brutal, surreal, and with a setting as real as its characters: a crumbling moldy cottage, near the shore, that lives and breathes with the characters. And includes a twist you won’t see coming.

By Daisy Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The electrifying novel from the Booker shortlisted author of Everything Under.

'A short sharp explosion of a gothic thriller' Observer

Something unspeakable has happened to sisters July and September.

Desperate for a fresh start, they move across the country to an old family house that has a troubled life of its own. Noises come from behind the walls. Lights flicker of their own accord. Sleep feels impossible, dreams are endless.

In their new, unsettling surroundings, July finds that the fierce bond she's always had with September - forged with a blood promise when they were children - is beginning to…


Book cover of Wilt

Crawford Smith Author Of Laughingstock

From my list on hilarious high weirdness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved to read and laugh, and the weirder the humor, the better. It’s a strange and turbulent world out there, and sometimes, it seems like you have to laugh for crying. Fortunately, there are plenty of other talented writers and entertainers out there who share this outlook – and not just authors. Many musicians, actors, and comedians can convey this sense of cosmic absurdity, and I’m a huge fan of most of them. These books just skim the surface of the wild worldviews of kindred spirits who are capable of appreciating just how weird our society really is and can lampoon it to hilarious effect.

Crawford's book list on hilarious high weirdness

Crawford Smith Why did Crawford love this book?

This book is one of the funniest pieces of fiction I’ve ever read. After finishing this, I went out and bought every one of Sharpe’s books I could find. This book is, for me, the apotheosis of surreal British humor – about 12 hours of Monty Python condensed into a reasonable novel.

However, one doesn’t need to be a fan of Pythonesque humor to appreciate Sharpe’s tale of the beleaguered Henry Wilt. Henry hates his job and can’t stand his overbearing wife. He finally decides to take matters into his own hands, and things go terribly awry.

The way Henry keeps making his own problems worse is hilarious – and so is the way he finally manages to overcome them with his own ingenuity.

By Tom Sharpe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This story of Henry Wilt, the Polytechnic lecturer who gets into all sorts of trouble is written by the author of "Riotous Assembly", "Blot on the Landscape" and "Wilt Alternative".


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in surrealism, the United Kingdom, and pop culture?

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

Surrealism Explore 105 books about surrealism
The United Kingdom Explore 564 books about the United Kingdom
Pop Culture Explore 148 books about pop culture