100 books like I Love Dick

By Chris Kraus,

Here are 100 books that I Love Dick fans have personally recommended if you like I Love Dick. 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 Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale

Donald L. Willerton Author Of Teddy's War

From my list on what our fathers never told us about WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father never talked about his experiences during the war. After he died at 67, we found his handwritten itinerary of three years and ten days in the Army Signal Corps. Plotting it on a map sparked a passion that continued for years, taking me twice to sites in Europe and through hundreds of records and books. I am amazed at all he never told us—the Queen Mary troopship, his radar unit’s landing on Omaha Beach (D+26), the Normandy Breakout, Paris after liberation, fleeing Bastogne, and so on. I grew up on WWII films but never grasped till now what my dad may have seen. 

Donald's book list on what our fathers never told us about WWII

Donald L. Willerton Why did Donald love this book?

To learn about the Holocaust, I read personal remembrances, eyewitness accounts, and detailed descriptions of ghettos, camps, and transports, but this graphic novel based on Spiegelman’s father captured me like none of the others. Its words tell its terrible story masterfully and its drawings fill in what words can’t say, both as his father lived it and as his son learns about it. Banning it from U.S. schools would be completely wrongheaded. It should be required reading.

By Art Spiegelman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first and only graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize, MAUS is a brutally moving work of art about a Holocaust survivor -- and the son who survives him

'The first masterpiece in comic book history' The New Yorker

Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father's story. Approaching the unspeakable through the diminutive (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), Vladek's harrowing story of survival is woven into the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father.

Against the backdrop…


Book cover of The Collected Works of Billy the Kid

Laurie Sheck Author Of A Monster's Notes

From my list on genre-defying.

Why am I passionate about this?

After publishing five books of poems, I found myself writing a long work I had no way of classifying. It involved the extensive use of facts but was also fiction. It read in part like a novel but was also lyrical. I decided to just write it and not worry about what genre it belonged to. It became A Monster’s Notes. I suspect in our internet age, the emergence of unclassifiable work is going to become more and more common. You can already see it happening. The web isn’t divided into sections the way a bookstore is; instead, it’s more like a spider’s web—you can follow this thread or that, but somehow they’re all connected. 

Laurie's book list on genre-defying

Laurie Sheck Why did Laurie love this book?

This short, engaging book mixes fact and fiction, prose and poetry, documents and photographs, to tell the story of Billy the Kid, from the time Pat Garrett sets out to hunt him down to his killing. At times it is beautifully hallucinatory as it gets inside Billy’s mind, showing his dreams and visions. But it is also very lucid and attentive to detail, vividly depicting how Billy is always protecting and exercising his left hand—the hand he shoots with—as well as showing Billy’s interactions with his fellow outlaws. This is Ondaatje’s earliest and most experimental novel.

By Michael Ondaatje,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Collected Works of Billy the Kid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on contemporary accounts, period photographs, dime novels, and his own prodigious fund of empathy and imagination, Michael Ondaatje's visionary novel traces the legendary outlaw's passage across the blasted landscape of 1880 New Mexico and the collective unconscious of his country. The Collected Works of Billy the Kid is a virtuoso synthesis of storytelling, history, and myth by a writer who brings us back to our familiar legends with a renewed sense of wonder.


Book cover of This Is Not a Novel

Laurie Sheck Author Of A Monster's Notes

From my list on genre-defying.

Why am I passionate about this?

After publishing five books of poems, I found myself writing a long work I had no way of classifying. It involved the extensive use of facts but was also fiction. It read in part like a novel but was also lyrical. I decided to just write it and not worry about what genre it belonged to. It became A Monster’s Notes. I suspect in our internet age, the emergence of unclassifiable work is going to become more and more common. You can already see it happening. The web isn’t divided into sections the way a bookstore is; instead, it’s more like a spider’s web—you can follow this thread or that, but somehow they’re all connected. 

Laurie's book list on genre-defying

Laurie Sheck Why did Laurie love this book?

Markson had early success writing traditional novels (one was even made into a movie starring Frank Sinatra) but his real body of work came after when he started writing novels that were criticized for not being novels. The first of these, This is Not a Novel, is narrated by a writer who asks whether it is possible to have a novel with no plot, no main character etc. In a form that visually resembles about 150 pages of tweets (but written before Twitter existed), Markson takes a spirited, enjoyable romp through the history of art, literature, and philosophy, with a sharp eye focused on how various creative people lived and loved, but especially on how they died. 

By David Markson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Is Not a Novel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

David Markson was a writer like no other. In his novels, which have been called "hypnotic," "stunning," and "exhilarating" and earned him praise from the likes of Kurt Vonnegut and David Foster Wallace, Ann Beattie and Zadie Smith. Markson created his own personal genre. With crackling wit distilled into incantatory streams of thought on art, life, and death, Markson's work has delighted and astonished readers for decades.

Now for the first time, three of Markson's masterpieces are compiled into one page–turning volume: This Is Not a Novel, Vanishing Point, and The Last Novel. In This Is Not a Novel, readers…


Book cover of Bluets

Liz Harmer Author Of Strange Loops

From my list on Eros and Thanatos desire mixed with doom.

Why am I passionate about this?

For about five years, I became obsessed by the question of erotic possession, of the kind erotic love that would be so powerful it would be difficult to distinguish from a desire for annihilation, especially at times when one’s life seems so settled and easy. Why does this sort of love overtake a person? As I began to write my own novel addressing this theme, I read everything I could find on the subject, including many not listed here. I have become a hobbyist of the question of romantic ruination, and I am now preparing to teach a course on the subject. 

Liz's book list on Eros and Thanatos desire mixed with doom

Liz Harmer Why did Liz love this book?

Bluets is a work of fragmentary nonfiction so overwrought, and so filled with tears and heartbreak, that I return to it for solace whenever I’m wrought with such feelings.

It begins with the claim that the narrator has fallen in love with the color blue.

She writes of different encounters with the color’s pigments and presentations, as well as Joni Mitchell’s Blue, the biology of color, philosophy of perception, and more like this, all while she is blue: lonely, heartbroken, sad.

Bluets is beautiful, intelligent, heartbreaking, consoling; it is not afraid of to weep.

Just like Nelson describes wishing to ingest the color blue, not knowing what else to do with its beauty and the longing it produces in her, I sometimes wish I could ingest this book. 

By Maggie Nelson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color ...A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists. Maggie Nelson is the author of numerous books of poetry and nonfiction, including Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007) and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (University of Iowa Press, 2007). She lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the California Institute of the…


Book cover of How Should a Person Be?

Laura Catherine Brown Author Of Made by Mary

From my list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books are funny/sad. In my own writing, I aspire for balance between satire and sympathy, going to dark places and shining a light of hilarity on them. I’m compelled by the psychological complexities of desire, particularly in female characters—flawed, average women, struggling for empowerment. For me, desire is inextricably bound with loss. I’m inspired by loss both superficial and profound, from misplaced keys to dying fathers. Many voices clamor in my head, vying for my attention. I’m interested in ambitious misfits, enraged neurotics, pagans, shamans, healers, dealers, grifters, and spiritual seekers who are forced to adapt, construct, reinvent and contort themselves as reality shifts around them.

Laura's book list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women

Laura Catherine Brown Why did Laura love this book?

Sheila, a playwright, is trying to figure out how to be in the world, and she’s using her best friend Margaux, a visual artist, to help get her there. This book is filled with trenchant observations, sharp dialogue, and the twists and turns of a female friendship with all the emotional intimacy, creative cross-pollination and cannibalization, rupture and reconciliation that happen during the formative years of young women in their mid-twenties trying to be somebodies. But that doesn’t begin to describe the pleasure of reading this astute and hilarious story that begins with the idea of an ugly painting contest. It will make you examine your own world anew.

By Sheila Heti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Should a Person Be? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Chosen as one of fifteen remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write in the 21st century by the book critics of The New York Times

"Funny...odd, original, and nearly unclassifiable...unlike any novel I can think of."—David Haglund, The New York Times Book Review

"Brutally honest and stylistically inventive, cerebral, and sexy."—San Francisco Chronicle

Named a Book of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Flavorpill, The New Republic, The New York Observer, The Huffington Post

A raw, startling, genre-defying novel of friendship, sex, and love…


Book cover of Everything is Flammable

Laura Catherine Brown Author Of Made by Mary

From my list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books are funny/sad. In my own writing, I aspire for balance between satire and sympathy, going to dark places and shining a light of hilarity on them. I’m compelled by the psychological complexities of desire, particularly in female characters—flawed, average women, struggling for empowerment. For me, desire is inextricably bound with loss. I’m inspired by loss both superficial and profound, from misplaced keys to dying fathers. Many voices clamor in my head, vying for my attention. I’m interested in ambitious misfits, enraged neurotics, pagans, shamans, healers, dealers, grifters, and spiritual seekers who are forced to adapt, construct, reinvent and contort themselves as reality shifts around them.

Laura's book list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women

Laura Catherine Brown Why did Laura love this book?

This book is brilliant and heartbreaking. I’ve read everything by Gabrielle Bell. I marvel at her artistry, her linework, her drawing and composition and incisive visual storytelling. If I sound like a fangirl it’s because I am. Everything is Flammable is a dark, funny, brutal, honest story, full of heart and originality. When Gabrielle’s mother loses everything in a fire, Gabrielle uproots her east coast life and heads west to rural California to help. But she has her own issues, and the trip pulls her back to her semi-feral childhood as she and her mother try to build a new home on top of the ashes. It’s a searing examination of a mother-daughter love, with illuminating artwork, immediate and poignant visuals, and mordant observations.  

By Gabrielle Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Bell's pen becomes a kind of laser, first illuminating the surface distractions of the world, then scorching them away to reveal a deeper reality that is almost too painful and too beautiful to bear."-- Alison Bechdel, Fun Home, Are You My Mother In Gabrielle Bell's much anticipated graphic memoir, she returns from New York to her childhood town in rural Northern California after her mother's home is destroyed by a fire. Acknowledging her issues with anxiety, financial hardships, memories of a semi-feral childhood, and a tenuous relationship with her mother, Bell helps her mother put together a new home on…


Book cover of Over Easy

Laura Catherine Brown Author Of Made by Mary

From my list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books are funny/sad. In my own writing, I aspire for balance between satire and sympathy, going to dark places and shining a light of hilarity on them. I’m compelled by the psychological complexities of desire, particularly in female characters—flawed, average women, struggling for empowerment. For me, desire is inextricably bound with loss. I’m inspired by loss both superficial and profound, from misplaced keys to dying fathers. Many voices clamor in my head, vying for my attention. I’m interested in ambitious misfits, enraged neurotics, pagans, shamans, healers, dealers, grifters, and spiritual seekers who are forced to adapt, construct, reinvent and contort themselves as reality shifts around them.

Laura's book list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women

Laura Catherine Brown Why did Laura love this book?

Over Easy is the first part of Madge’s story, followed by The Customer is Always Wrong. They can be read separately as each stands on its own, but are best absorbed one after the other. These books are visually inventive and full of unforgettable characters who leap off the page and lodge in your imagination. The story follows Madge, an open-hearted artist who finds refuge and adventure in the wise-cracking, fast-talking, drug-taking world of the Imperial Café where she gets a job as a waitress after being denied financial aid to cover her last year in art school. Full of wit and pathos, Mimi Pond captures the perfect balance of hilarious and heartbreaking, all with fantastic drawings. She makes it look easy!

By Mimi Pond,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Over Easy is a brilliant portrayal of a familiar coming-of-age story. After being denied financial aid to cover her last year of art school, Margaret finds salvation from the straight-laced world of college and the earnestness of both hippies and punks in the wisecracking, fast-talking, drug-taking group she encounters at the Imperial Cafe, where she makes the transformation from Margaret to Madge. At first she mimics these new and exotic grown-up friends, trying on the guise of adulthood with some awkward but funny stumbles. Gradually she realizes that the adults she looks up to are a mess of contradictions, misplaced…


Book cover of The Story of My Tits

Laura Catherine Brown Author Of Made by Mary

From my list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books are funny/sad. In my own writing, I aspire for balance between satire and sympathy, going to dark places and shining a light of hilarity on them. I’m compelled by the psychological complexities of desire, particularly in female characters—flawed, average women, struggling for empowerment. For me, desire is inextricably bound with loss. I’m inspired by loss both superficial and profound, from misplaced keys to dying fathers. Many voices clamor in my head, vying for my attention. I’m interested in ambitious misfits, enraged neurotics, pagans, shamans, healers, dealers, grifters, and spiritual seekers who are forced to adapt, construct, reinvent and contort themselves as reality shifts around them.

Laura's book list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women

Laura Catherine Brown Why did Laura love this book?

I started this book because I liked the drawing style. Within the first 3 pages, I couldn’t put the book down. It’s not just Jennifer Hayden’s illustration skills or the freshness of her lines and patterns and mark-making and the way each panel is a masterpiece in itself, it’s the story that pulled me in. This is a book about life and love and family, told with humor, insight, and intelligence. In Jennifer Hayden’s words, the book is “a dramatic comedy sewn together from real events and real emotions,” but that doesn’t begin to convey the richness and depth of this narrative journey and the quirky sarcastic honest way it tells it like it is. The story still resonates long after I finished reading it.

By Jennifer Hayden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Jennifer Hayden was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43, she realized that her tits told a story. Across a lifetime, they'd held so many meanings: hope and fear, pride and embarrassment, life and death. And then they were gone. Now, their story has become a way of understanding her story. Growing up flat-chested and highly aware of her inadequacies... heading off to college, where she "bloomed" in more ways than one... navigating adulthood between her mother's mastectomy, her father's mistress, and her musician boyfriend's problems of his ownnot to mention his sprawling family. Then the kids…


Book cover of The Life And Strange Surprizing Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Author Of Wait Softly Brother

From my list on fake autobiographical fiction through the ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am eternally fascinated by the way in which a string of words can take on a life of its own. With a mere 26 letters, a good writer can have a reader believe anything. When realist fiction first became a category in the 18th century in England, there was a lot of handwringing over whether readers were being lied to. Of course, they were! That is the point of fiction. My own work has always played with the boundary of realist fiction, fairytale, and truth. I’m interested in the way a story can make meaning—and the more hijinks, the better!

Kathryn's book list on fake autobiographical fiction through the ages

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Why did Kathryn love this book?

Crusoe is a failed slaver, a reckless son, a bad sailor, a pretty crap boss, a parrot lover and, in all of that, he shows us how damaged and imperfect a system we have inherited.

I love Robinson Crusoe for its audacity. When it was first published in 1719, readers were furious to discover that there was no such person as Crusoe but that, instead, the story was fabricated by one Daniel Defoe, who had recently spent three days in the stockades for seditious libel. I love the insanity of this story, how it wants us to believe that a man spends 28 years on a deserted island and still comes home to England richer than when he left. A flawed novel but our first in English, it is also our first autofiction. 

By Daniel Defoe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life And Strange Surprizing Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a reproduction of a classic text optimised for kindle devices. We have endeavoured to create this version as close to the original artefact as possible. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we believe they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.


Book cover of NDA: An Autofiction Anthology

Carol LaHines Author Of Distant Flickers: Stories of Identity & Loss

From my list on themed anthologies.

Why am I passionate about this?

The anthology form unites diverse voices around a common theme—in the case of Distant Flickers, identity and loss. The stories in the anthology explore intense personal relationships—of mother and child, old lovers, etc. Some of the stories are in the moment and some recounted with the perspective of time, some are fable-like, some formal, and others more colloquial. Reading them the reader is struck by the variety of approaches a writer might take to a subject. The device of the contributor’s notes enables the reader to see the story behind the story and how life informs art—life furnishing the raw material or day residue of the story.  

Carol's book list on themed anthologies

Carol LaHines Why did Carol love this book?

As a writer, I am always pondering the question of how our lives inform our work. As one of my fellow writers, Melissa Ostrom, put it, our experience is the rich compost from which we form our fictional narratives. To use a Freudian dream analogy, I like to think that our lives are the “day residue” of the work—elements from daily life show up in different contexts or transformed in some other way. The twentieth-first century has witnessed an explosion of so-called auto-fiction, fiction that more consciously underscores this process of transforming life into art—think of the work of Ben Lerner, Rachel Cusk, and Karl Ove Knausgard. This recently-released anthology, edited by Caitlin Forst, features work by established writers as well as new voices that interrogates the relationship between writer and text, between art and life.

By Caitlin Forst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An exciting new anthology of autofiction featuring a wide range of today's best writers, both established and up-and-coming.

Collected autofictions from mainstays of literary, art, and internet avant-garde writing. The contributors in this anthology produce a contemporary, subversive primer of works engaging the relationship between the writer and the text.

Featuring:
Aiden Arata
Nathan Dragon
David Fishkind
Rindon Johnson
Aristilde Kirby
Tao Lin
Chris Molnar
Vi Khi Nao
Elle Nash
Gina Nutt
Brad Phillips
Sam Pink
Darina Sikmashvili
BR Yeager


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