10 books like Geek Love

By Katherine Dunn,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Geek Love. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Fifth Season

By N.K. Jemisin,

Book cover of The Fifth Season: The Broken Earth, Book 1

N.K. Jemisin has created a classic in the making with The Fifth Season. We enter a world quite similar to ours today in terms of injustice, prejudice, stereotypes, and the foundations of hatred that have seeded their way into systemic power structures of society when it comes to race. The elements of high fantasy accompanied with Jemisin’s expressive writing are a guaranteed page-turner and will have you connected to characters like Damaya, Syenite, and Essun as they navigate, grow, and rise above the various obstacles in this story. It is dark, it is real, and it is phenomenal. 

The Fifth Season

By N.K. Jemisin,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked The Fifth Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this "intricate and extraordinary" Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)

This is the way the world ends. . .for the last time.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land…


The Black Tides of Heaven

By Neon Yang,

Book cover of The Black Tides of Heaven

As a fellow genderqueer/non-binary Asian writer, I’m happy to champion the first in Neon Yang’s Tensorate series. A YA novella set in a non-Western fantasy landscape, this book tackles issues of gender identity and choice head-on, introducing us to a society where children are referred to individually using they/them pronouns, and can select one of the binary genders when they come of age or chose to remain non-binary. We see the world through the eyes of twins Mokoya and Akeha as they come into their gender expressions and their powers in a feudal, monastic society largely reminiscent of those found in Asian history.

The Black Tides of Heaven

By Neon Yang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Joyously wild stuff. Highly recommended." ―The New York Times

One of the 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time, according to Time Magazine

A Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards for Best Novella

The Black Tides of Heaven is one of a pair of unique, standalone introductions to Neon Yang's Tensorate Series, which Kate Elliott calls "effortlessly fascinating." For more of the story you can read its twin novella The Red Threads of Fortune, available simultaneously.

Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as infants. While Mokoya developed her…


Collected Stories of William Faulkner

By William Faulkner,

Book cover of Collected Stories of William Faulkner

It's almost impossible to dive into Southern Gothic narratives without exploring the work of William Faulkner at some point, and his collected stories are a great place to start. Specifically, the story "A Rose for Emily" pretty much created the Southern Gothic literary genre. The writing is beautiful, evocative, haunting, and a springboard for the aspirations of many Southern writers, myself included.

Collected Stories of William Faulkner

By William Faulkner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Collected Stories of William Faulkner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a collection of the very best of William Faulkner's short stories. Included are classics of short-form fiction such as 'A Bear Hunt', 'A Rose for Emily', 'Two Soldiers' and 'The Brooch'. Faulkner's ability to compress his epic vision into narratives of such grace and tragic intensity defines him as one of the finest and most original writers America has ever produced.


Ralph Eugene Meatyard

By Eugenia Parry, Elizabeth Siegel, Ralph Eugene Meatyard (photographer)

Book cover of Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Dolls and Masks

The black-and-white images of Ralph Eugene Meatyard have long fascinated me and informed my visual work and writing. Meatyard was, by profession, an optician in Lexington, Kentucky, yet his personal passion was making photographs. His subjects were his wife, children, and family friends, who he often posed in murky settings as they wore masks and held dolls. These images are both disquieting and euphonious, tapping into something primal that hints at the secretive world of childhood.

Ralph Eugene Meatyard

By Eugenia Parry, Elizabeth Siegel, Ralph Eugene Meatyard (photographer)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Family man, optician, avid reader and photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard created and explored a fantasy world of dolls and masks, in which his family and friends played the central roles on an ever-changing stage. His monograph, The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater, published posthumously in 1974, recorded his wife and family posed in various disquieting settings, wearing masks and holding dolls and evoking a penetrating emotional and psychological landscape. The book won his work critical acclaim and has been hugely influential in the intervening decades. Dolls and Masks opens the doors on the decade of rich experimentation that immediately preceded…


The Butcher Boy

By Patrick McCabe,

Book cover of The Butcher Boy

Never has a terribly sad book been so much fun to read. Patrick McCabe is the master at creating chillingly unreliable characters, and schoolboy Francis "Francie" Brady is his greatest creation. The narrative is a blend of dirty realism and violent fantasy, and the farther along you get in the novel, the more difficult it is to tell them apart. There are still a handful of scenes that have stuck with me more than a decade after I read it. They made a good movie based on the novel, but the book is what you need. 

The Butcher Boy

By Patrick McCabe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in Ireland, this book tells the story of teenage hero Francie Brady. Things begin to fall apart after his mother's suicide - when he is consumed with fury and commits a horrible crime. Committed to an asylum, it is only here that he finally achieves peace. Shortlisted for the 1992 Booker Prize.


Come, The Restorer

By William Goyen,

Book cover of Come, The Restorer

This is one of my all-time favorite novels, though I'm not quite sure how to explain it. Set in a small Texas town, Come, The Restorer is a strange, hallucinatory, and comical novel where nothing is quite normal, in fact far from it. Among the cast of characters are Mr. de Persia who becomes a prophet to the townspeople after he is discovered in a glass bathtub with an erection, the virginal Jewel Adair who following her husband's fiery death begins roaming the countryside naked, and Addis, Jewel's adopted son, who is on a singular quest to make himself a Panhandle saint. There's just no other book like this one.

Come, The Restorer

By William Goyen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


William Goyen's fifth novel is a fable of Texas country life in the first half of the twentieth century, portraying religious revivalism and the money madness and ecological destruction caused by the oil boom. His narrative is composed of the brief linked episodes and tales that are Goyen's trademark, and is written with an ear for the rhythms of regional speech that was his particular gift.


Cosmicomics

By Italo Calvino, William Weaver (translator),

Book cover of Cosmicomics

Calvino’s Cosmicomics is perhaps the funniest and most outlandish collections of short stories I’ve ever come across. Think Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time meets Alice in Wonderland. Starting with the Big Bang and charting the entire evolution of the universe and of life on Earth, Calvino’s narrator shape-shifts from a man, to a dinosaur, to a mollusk, a single-cell organism, a subatomic particle, and even a disembodied being. In this linked collection of modern fairy tales, the author displays wild flights of imagination, combining scientific rigor with an uproarious repudiation of logic. Oh, and the narrator’s name is Qfwfq.

Cosmicomics

By Italo Calvino, William Weaver (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Introducing Little Clothbound Classics: irresistible, mini editions of short stories, novellas and essays from the world's greatest writers, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith.

Celebrating the range and diversity of Penguin Classics, they take us from snowy Japan to springtime Vienna, from haunted New England to a sun-drenched Mediterranean island, and from a game of chess on the ocean to a love story on the moon. Beautifully designed and printed, these collectible editions are bound in colourful, tactile cloth and stamped with foil.

Twelve enchanting and fantastical stories about the evolution of the universe from the giant of Italian literature,…


Her Body and Other Parties

By Carmen Maria Machado,

Book cover of Her Body and Other Parties: Stories

This is a series of short stories, and while they’re all set in an eerie world adjacent to our own, I have the story “Inventory” specifically in mind for this list. It’s a haunting read that has stuck with me for years now. What it lacks in length, it makes up for in images that have been seared into my brain. I literally cannot tell you more without spoiling it.

Her Body and Other Parties

By Carmen Maria Machado,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Her Body and Other Parties as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FICTION PRIZE 2017
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE 2018

'Brilliantly inventive and blazingly smart' Garth Greenwell

'Impossible, imperfect, unforgettable' Roxane Gay

'A wild thing ... covered in sequins and scales, blazing with the influence of fabulists from Angela Carter to Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi' New York Times

In her provocative debut, Carmen Maria Machado demolishes the borders between magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. Startling narratives map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited on their bodies, both in myth and in practice.

A…


Too Much Flesh and Jabez

By Coleman Dowell,

Book cover of Too Much Flesh and Jabez

The only male author on this list, Coleman Dowell’s Southern Gothic tale is included because it contains some of the most nuanced writing of female characters I’ve ever encountered. Too Much Flesh tells the narrative of a well-endowed farmer named Jim, his petite wife Effie, and a young man, Jabez, whose mutual obsession with Jim leads to, well, something of a frenetic climax. A story within a story, the tale is told to us by a “spinster schoolteacher” (the book was published in 1977), Miss Ethel, who channels her sexual repression into this story of the farmer.

Neither Miss Ethel nor Jim’s wife, Effie, come across as one-dimensional—they feel and act like real people on the page. Dowell himself was gay and deftly handles this queer narrative in a way that is somehow both quiet and stunning, and makes an interesting case study for the time period and genre. And…

Too Much Flesh and Jabez

By Coleman Dowell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Too Much Flesh and Jabez as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Coleman Dowell's "Southern Gothic" is a novel about sexual repression. Miss Ethel, a spinster school teacher, decides to write what she calls a "perverse tale" about one of her former students, a Kentucky farmer named Jim Cummins. Endowing him with unnaturally large genitals, she spins a tawdry tale of his frustrated relationship with his petite wife. Expressing all the bitterness of "an old woman's revenge," Miss Ethel's tale is nonetheless a sensitive depiction of rural life in the early years of World War II.Dowell's masterful use of the tale-within-a-tale to explore psychological states makes "Too Much Flesh and Jabez" a…


Harmonies of Heaven and Earth

By Joscelyn Godwin,

Book cover of Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Mysticism in Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde

I remember reading this book over the summer when I was on the road with a recording company. It is filled with anecdotes about the metaphysical, transcendental, spiritual, and mystic properties of music. The thing I find so fascinating about these stories is not if they are true or not, but the belief systems of these ancient people, and the power and faith they put into music.

Harmonies of Heaven and Earth

By Joscelyn Godwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Joscelyn Godwin explores music's effects on matter, living things, and human behavior. Turning to metaphysical accounts of the higher worlds and theories of celestial harmony, the author follows the path of musical inspiration on its descent to Earth, illuminating the archetypal currents that lie beneath Western musical history.


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