100 books like Strange World

By Frank Edwards,

Here are 100 books that Strange World fans have personally recommended if you like Strange World. 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 Dreaming Jewels

David Kubicek Author Of In Human Form

From my list on science fiction about outsiders.

Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to stories about outsiders, those people who are different from their peers. Outsiders may feel a deep sense of isolation. They are often ostracized or even persecuted because of their difference. Sometimes the outsiders triumph, sometimes they fail, but they are all striving to come to terms with what makes them different. I think this topic resonates with lots of people, myself included, because many of us for a variety of reasons sometimes feel isolated from others. This theme of differentness, of isolation, is a thread that runs through much of my writing.

David's book list on science fiction about outsiders

David Kubicek Why did David love this book?

This novel captured my imagination when I first read it in high school, a time when I felt especially isolated. Not only is it a good outsider story, it’s a good come-uppance story (the evil forces get their come-uppance in the end).

When he’s eight years old, Horty Bluett runs away from his abusive adoptive family and his classmates who torment him. Some carnival people, also outcasts, take him in. Horty doesn’t realize until he’s older that he is an alien, grown by alien organisms from another world, and his special power is the ability to duplicate, or “mimic”, other life forms. This talent helps him thwart the sinister carnival owner’s plans and, as an added bonus, exact revenge on his cruel adoptive father, Judge Bluett.

By Theodore Sturgeon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Life Achievement Awards

"One of the masters of modern science fiction."—The Washington Post Book World

Eight-year-old Horty Bluett has never known love. His adoptive parents are violent; his classmates are cruel. So he runs away from home and joins a carnival. Performing alongside the fireaters, snakemen and "little people," Horty is accepted. But he is not safe. For when he loses three fingers in an accident and they grow back, it becomes clear that Horty is not like other boys. And it is a difference some people might want to use.

But…


Book cover of The Circus of Dr. Lao

Andy Kaiser Author Of In Tents

From my list on dark altered realities and other creepy places.

Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to the dark, mysterious, and weird. Originally influenced by science fiction and fantasy, then later by mysteries, suspense, thrillers, and horror, I loved the mental visuals and excitement of being in extreme, reality-bending situations. Combine these aspects, and that’s why I told my own story with these same themes: In Tents is my homage to small-town culture… twisted into a darker reality. 

Andy's book list on dark altered realities and other creepy places

Andy Kaiser Why did Andy love this book?

The earliest publication date of this collection goes all the way back to 1935. A strange circus comes to town, with the performers consisting of creatures who talk less about circusy things than they do about philosophy and some strangely specific moralizing. Those thought-provoking aspects are what stick in my mind now. What first drew me to the story was the mystery of the circus itself, and the wonderfully creative creatures inside of it. 

By Charles G. Finney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Abalone, Arizona, is a sleepy southwestern town whose chief concerns are boredom and surviving the Great Depression-that is, until the circus of Dr. Lao arrives and immensely and irrevocably changes the lives of everyone drawn to its tents.

Expecting a sideshow spectacle, the citizens of Abalone instead confront and learn profound lessons from the mythical made real-a chimera, a Medusa, a talking sphinx, a sea serpent, witches, the Hound of the Hedges, a werewolf, a mermaid, an ancient god, and the elusive, ever-changing Dr. Lao himself. The circus unfolds, spinning magical, dark strands that ensnare the town's populace: the sea…


Book cover of Something Wicked This Way Comes

Tobi Ogundiran Author Of Jackal, Jackal: Tales of the Dark and Fantastic

From my list on modern mythology and folktale for the curious.

Who am I?

I am fascinated with mythology in all its shapes and forms. It fascinates me how cultures the world over have similar pantheons, for example, without any cultural cross-pollination. What I like to do in my fiction is blend various myths to create something new. And sometimes I create my own myths. It takes a curious, imaginative mind to come up with these myths, and most importantly a child-like sense of wonder, which, sadly, is extinguished by society as one is forced to “grow up”. I don’t ever want to lose that sense of wonder—to observe the world and see beauty and possibilities at every corner—so I preserve and interrogate it in my fiction.

Tobi's book list on modern mythology and folktale for the curious

Tobi Ogundiran Why did Tobi love this book?

I would say I came late to Bradbury’s work, but it’s never too late to discover a brilliant author.

This was my first foray into Bradbury’s oeuvre and I was captivated by his electric prose. You can always tell when an author had fun writing something, and Bradbury’s excitement bled through the page as to be outright infectious. The story itself is a straightforward good vs evil tale: a sinister carnival (and its proprietor Mr. Dark) that comes into the town, bringing death and corruption with it; the townspeople battle against the forces of evil.

Highly atmospheric and chockful of early 20th-century circus nostalgia, it is also replete with tender and philosophical moments. But regardless of the darkness, Bradbury, like Gaiman, allows room for hope. Hope in the face of overwhelming darkness, hope found in simple things; in the community and relationships, be they familial or other. I enjoyed every…

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Something Wicked This Way Comes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of Ray Bradbury’s best-known and most popular novels, Something Wicked This Way Comes, now featuring a new introduction and material about its longstanding influence on culture and genre.

For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all…


Book cover of Relic

Wayne Thomas Batson Author Of Dreamtreaders

From my list on fantasy with a unique ingredient or twist.

Who am I?

I believe with all of my heart that each one of us was created with two achingly powerful inner drives: 1) the longing for new worlds and 2) the desperate urge to do something meaningful. I simply could never believe that human beings are all simply cosmic accidents produced by some sort of cosmic casino. I believe God created people and gave us each an instinct to seek our true home. The books I write—all 22 of them—are tales of flawed individuals, thrown into unexpected, life-changing events, and given the chance to journey through many astoundingly lush worlds, all in an effort to do the seemingly impossible.

Wayne's book list on fantasy with a unique ingredient or twist

Wayne Thomas Batson Why did Wayne love this book?

It may surprise you that I’m a devout Christian man but absolutely love the horror genre.

The Relic is more of a modern fantasy/mystery combined with horror, but it is truly one of the most chilling books I’ve ever read. Something murderous is on the loose at the New York Museum of Natural History, and this thing is anything but natural.

I believe this is the first book in the series to feature FBI Special Agent Pendergast. He is the coolest reiteration of Sherlock Holmes since Conan-Doyle. Not derivative by any means. Pendergast, however, has an affinity for cases with supernatural threads running through.

The coolest thing about Pendergast is that he often is the catalyst who helps other more reluctant characters reach their heroic potential. 

By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Museum of Natural History is built over a subterranean labyrinth of neglected specimen vaults, unmapped drainage tunnels and long-forgotten catacombs.

And there's something down there.

When the mutilated bodies of two young boys are discovered deep within the museum's bowels, Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta of the NYPD fears a homicidal maniac may be at large. FBI agent Aloysius X.L. Pendergast believes they may be facing something much worse.

As the death toll mounts, and with the opening of the museum's new 'Superstition' exhibition just days away, the two men must work together to prevent a massacre.

'Sit back,…


Book cover of The Haunting of Hiram

Griselda Heppel Author Of The Fall of a Sparrow

From my list on ghost stories.

Who am I?

I write adventure and mystery stories for children aged 9 - 13, involving battles with mythical creatures, dangerous pacts with demons, and other supernatural chills. My first book, Ante’s Inferno, won the People’s Book Prize and a Silver Wishing Shelf Award. For The Fall of a Sparrow, I drew on my love of ghost stories, not just for their scariness but also for their emotional complexity: ghosts don’t haunt just for the sake of it. They need something only the main character can give. Friendship, perhaps, a companion in their loneliness… or something much darker. Here’s my choice of classic stories in which ghosts pursue a wide – and sometimes terrifying – variety of agendas.

Griselda's book list on ghost stories

Griselda Heppel Why did Griselda love this book?

A delightful, bonkers story in which 12-year-old Alex MacBuff, Laird of ancient Castle Carra, is not so much haunted by a motley collection of ghosts as brought up by them from babyhood. For battle-hardened Krok the Viking, heartbroken Victorian governess Miss Spinks, spoilt 5-year-old poltergeist Flossie, retired vampire Stanislaus and failed Hellhound Cyril, Alex is the centre of their world, and they will do anything to help him. Anything, that is, except stop haunting the crumbling, much-loved but unaffordable Castle Carra that Alex needs to sell to Texan billionaire Hiram Hopgood. Which is awkward… as a ghost-free castle is part of the deal.

By Eva Ibbotson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Haunting of Hiram as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

'I will buy your castle,' declared Hiram C. Hopgood. 'But only if there are no ghosts!'

Alex MacBuff can't afford to keep his beloved Castle Carra, and an American millionaire has made him an offer he can't refuse. The castle is shipped all the way to Texas, but its ghostly inhabitants, including Krok the Viking warrior and a hell-hound called Cyril, follow their home across the Atlantic. How can Alex stop them haunting Hiram and also save the millionaire's daughter from an evil ransom plot?

The Haunting of Hiram is a wonderfully spooky young-fiction title from the award-winning author of…


Book cover of Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory

Mitch Horowitz Author Of Daydream Believer: Unlocking the Ultimate Power of Your Mind

From my list on the extra-physical potentials of the mind.

Who am I?

I'm a PEN Award-winning historian of alternative spirituality and a writer-in-residence at the New York Public Library. I track the impact and substance of supernatural beliefs—a source of fascination since my Queens, NY, boyhood—in books including Occult America, The Miracle Club, and Uncertain Places. I often say that if you do not write your own history, it gets written for you—usually by people who may not care about or even understand the values that emanate from your work. Given my personal dedication to the spiritual search, I call myself a believing historian (which most historians of religion actually are). I labor to explore the lives, ideas, and practices behind esoteric spirituality.

Mitch's book list on the extra-physical potentials of the mind

Mitch Horowitz Why did Mitch love this book?

I have been praising this book for years and have no plans to stop anytime soon. Using investigatory skills and a keen sense of human pathos, journalist and NPR producer Horn tells the full-circle story of the parapsychology lab founded by the Rhines. She doggedly and accurately presents the “unbelievable” findings of the Duke lab and the struggle of its founders to swim against a tide of orthodox reaction. As a work of history, it is significant—and as a piece of dramatic historiography it is enthralling. 

By Stacy Horn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Author Stacy Horn dissects all the things that go bump in the night—ghosts, poltergeists, your ex-boyfriend Klaus—in [her] macabre book.”
 —Marie Claire


A fascinating, eye-opening collection of “Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory,” Unbelievable by Stacy Horn explores science’s remarkable first attempts to prove—or disprove—the existence of the paranormal. A featured contributor on the popular NPR program “All Things Considered,” Horn has been praised by Mary Roach, bestselling author of Spook, for her “awe-fueled curiosity [and] top-flight reporting skills.” Horn attacks a most controversial subject with Unbelievable—a book that will appeal to…


Book cover of Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural

Nicole Cushing Author Of Mothwoman

From my list on paranormal investigation.

Who am I?

I’m a weirdo, so of course I’m attracted to the idea that the universe may be weird, too. I like the idea that the universe is able to hold itself together ninety-nine percent of the time, but every once in a while it just has to let its freak flag fly. Even if paranormal experiences are nothing more than waking dreams, they may still be worth our attention (the same as any dream). Even if such experiences aren’t objectively “real”, they’re subjectively fascinating. I love exploring the line between reality and unreality. Like Fort, I don’t believe it to be as cut and dry as mainstream science would have us believe.

Nicole's book list on paranormal investigation

Nicole Cushing Why did Nicole love this book?

Charles Fort was the o.g. paranormal investigator. One hundred years ago, he made a sweeping study of all the weird stuff mainstream science refuses to examine. Even now we use the word “Fortean” to describe the study of ghosts, bigfoot, ufos, ESP, etc. Steinmeyer’s biography reveals the complicated man behind the adjective. 

Was Fort a kook? Not really. Steinmeyer reveals him to be more of a gadfly, playfully thumbing his nose at science but never investing too much belief in his own eccentric theories, either. For Fort, the real and the unreal were two sides of the same coin. His quarrel was with those who insisted the quarter only had heads and refused to investigate the possible existence of tails.

By Jim Steinmeyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'I am the first disciple of Charles Fort. Henceforth I am a Fortean'

Since Ben Hecht wrote this line in reviewing The Book of The Damned in 1919, Charles Fort - whose very name spawned an adjective, Fortean, defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as 'relating to or denoting paranormal phenomena' - has so divided opinion that to Theodore Dreiser he was "the most fascinating literary figure since Poe;" to The New York Times he was "the enfant terrible of science;" and to HG Wells he was "one of the most damnable bores who ever cut scraps from out of…


Book cover of Kiss Me Deadly

Julie Embleton Author Of Bound

From my list on not-your-usual vampire, werewolf, and witch.

Who am I?

The idea of paranormal beings living amongst us makes me irrationally giddy. It constantly distracts me as I wonder how they blend into society and live behind their closed doors. Happy to explore these possibilities, I love to read and write books where wolves, vamps, and witches are put through the wringer as they navigate a world that’s sometimes hidden, and other times not. Tenacious females, gutsy heroes, and heinous villains inhabit my dark paranormal and epic fantasy realms, but with added twists that make them not-your-usual paranormal tales. When not torturing my characters, I can be found reading tarot as I live my own otherworldly life in Dublin, Ireland. 

Julie's book list on not-your-usual vampire, werewolf, and witch

Julie Embleton Why did Julie love this book?

"A necromancer and a vampire walk into a cemetery…and if you’re wondering how this joke ends, that makes two of us." Nickel City ticks all the boxes for reasons why I’ll deprive myself of sleep for a book. The cast leaps out of the pages; Sera the witty, brave, but soft-hearted heroine, her friend/ex-girlfriend, Dev, a feisty, sharp-tongued vampire hunter, and then Nate, the brooding vampire who Sera just can’t ignore. Three deadly enemies forced to work together against evil; what can go wrong, eh? Thomas slays with this enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance. With delicious simmering tension and laugh-aloud moments, it’s a clever, gripping read that now has me addicted to visiting cemeteries in the hopes of bumping into a certain vampire.

By Jessie Thomas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A necromancer and a vampire walk into a cemetery…and if you’re wondering how this joke ends, that makes two of us.I’m Seraphina Mason, Buffalo’s only resident necromancer. While other people are on normal sleep schedules doing regular human things, I spend my nights conjuring spirits, resurrecting the dead, and sometimes a bit of poltergeist removal, if you need it. But I’m not even the most dangerous nocturnal creature lurking around the cemeteries. That’s where vampire Nathaniel Caligari waltzes in—all devastating eternal beauty and brooding charm, ready to ruin my life. He’d rather have a wooden stake shoved through his chest…


Book cover of The Fountain Overflows

Ursula DeYoung Author Of Shorecliff

From my list on families from the mid-twentieth century.

Who am I?

I grew up in a small seaside town north of Boston. I have three siblings, and we always spent a few weeks every summer with our cousins in a rented house somewhere in New England—a new place each year. I became a bookworm at a young age, and I’ve always loved reading novels about big families that capture both the magic and the conflicts inevitable with many siblings and relatives. I was also an anglophile, and I tended to gravitate toward books written in earlier decades, particularly those of the mid 20th century. When I began writing my own novels, it seemed natural to set them in those fascinating earlier times.

Ursula's book list on families from the mid-twentieth century

Ursula DeYoung Why did Ursula love this book?

Toward the end of her career, Rebecca West wrote an unusually autobiographical novel, retelling her Edwardian childhood with the wisdom and sadness of hindsight. The Fountain Overflows, published in 1956, describes the struggles of an artistic family with a fiercely devoted mother and an impossibly wayward father. West brilliantly describes the hard work and ambitions of gifted children, but the book is mainly memorable for its strange, semi-magical atmosphere and the sense it gives readers of revisiting a lost world—for hanging over this book is the shadow of the First World War, a cataclysm that finally arrives in the sequel, This Dark Night.

By Rebecca West,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The lives of the talented Aubrey children have long been clouded by their father's genius for instability, but his new job in the London suburbs promises, for a time at least, reprieve from scandal and the threat of ruin. Mrs. Aubrey, a former concert pianist, struggles to keep the family afloat, but then she is something of a high-strung eccentric herself, as is all too clear to her daughter Rose, through whose loving but sometimes cruel eyes events are seen. Still, living on the edge holds the promise of the unexpected, and the Aubreys, who encounter furious poltergeists, turn up…


Book cover of Confessions of a Ghost-hunter

Marc Hartzman Author Of Chasing Ghosts: A Tour of Our Fascination with Spirits and the Supernatural

From my list on ghosts written by people who might now be ghosts.

Who am I?

Though I’ve always found the idea of survival after death fascinating, it was my interest in Modern Spiritualism that really sparked the desire to write Chasing Ghosts. That era (mid-1800s to the early 1900s) was a time when millions confidently believed they could communicate with the dead. Of course, this was only the tip of the paranormal iceberg. So I continued the journey into the lore of haunted places, ancient cultural beliefs, and scientific endeavors to find evidence for paranormal experiences or to debunk it. As a historian of the weirder pages of the past, this topic endlessly fascinates me. I hope it will for you as well. 

Marc's book list on ghosts written by people who might now be ghosts

Marc Hartzman Why did Marc love this book?

Harry Price is one of history’s great ghost hunters. In this book, you’ll hear his tales about his remarkable adventures at the Borley Rectory—which he has called the most haunted house in England—his investigation of a talking mongoose, and much more. Price discusses his methods, his tools, the behind-the-scenes experiences that pulled him into such unusual cases, and of course, his findings. 

By Harry Price,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Confessions of a Ghost-hunter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Harry Price devoted his life to the study of paranormal phenomena, leading him to become one of the most famous 20th centuries psychical/supernatural researchers of all time.This book contains a comprehensive study of some of Price’s most interesting cases which had taken place over his lifetime of investigation into a variety of paranormal events. From an allegedly haunted mansion from the days of his youth to his initial encounters with the famous Borley Rectory, the house that gained infamy as "the most haunted house in England" after its ten-year-long paranormal investigation by Price himself.Other investigations covered in this book include…


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