100 books like The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear

By Walter Moers, John Brownjohn (translator),

Here are 100 books that The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear fans have personally recommended if you like The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Mount

M.P. Kozlowsky Author Of Rose Coffin

From my list on fantasy books you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like with my own writing (at least I hope), I always drift toward surprises, originality, and unbounded imagination. I want the books others only whisper about, books too unique and odd for the mainstream. I want outliers and rule breakers. Authors who challenge their readers and make us question the world and our roles in it. And in what better realm to do this than in fantasy? These are books to seek out, each one worth going the extra mile to track down. Happy hunting.

M.P.'s book list on fantasy books you’ve never heard of

M.P. Kozlowsky Why did M.P. love this book?

In this science fantasy novel, humans, like horses, are used as riding mounts by a race of weak-legged aliens who have taken over Earth centuries earlier. Charley is a mount and, like most other humans, content with his role, prideful even. However, when he meets his father, an escaped mount leading assaults on the human stables, he is forced to confront the slave/master relationship he has always relied upon. Unique and utterly fascinating, The Mount is guaranteed to keep readers entranced.

By Carol Emshwiller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mount as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

* Philip K. Dick Award Winner * Best of the Year: Locus, Village Voice, San Francisco Chronicle, Book Magazine * Nominated for the Impac Award Charley is an athlete. He wants to grow up to be the fastest runner in the world, like his father. He wants to be painted crossing the finishing line, in his racing silks, with a medal around his neck. Charley lives in a stable. He isn't a runner, he's a mount. He belongs to a Hoot: The Hoots are alien invaders. Charley hasn't seen his mother for years, and his father is hiding out in…


Book cover of The Lying Carpet

M.P. Kozlowsky Author Of Rose Coffin

From my list on fantasy books you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like with my own writing (at least I hope), I always drift toward surprises, originality, and unbounded imagination. I want the books others only whisper about, books too unique and odd for the mainstream. I want outliers and rule breakers. Authors who challenge their readers and make us question the world and our roles in it. And in what better realm to do this than in fantasy? These are books to seek out, each one worth going the extra mile to track down. Happy hunting.

M.P.'s book list on fantasy books you’ve never heard of

M.P. Kozlowsky Why did M.P. love this book?

Part graphic novel, part brain teaser, The Lying Carpet is about a statue of a little girl that awakens in a grand, strange house. Her name is Faith and she wishes to know how she came to be, and the only one who can tell her is a lying carpet in the shape of a tiger who offers her numerous and confounding possibilities. A great introduction to philosophy and a story for readers of all ages, a book to be opened again and again and again. A timeless classic.

By David Lucas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Imagine a disused living room in a grand house. In it is a tiger rug and a statue of a little girl. But is the tiger a real tiger, a fake or a magical carpet? Is the little girl real but bewitched or just a stone statue and will she ever come to life? By turns comical and lugubrious, the tiger gives the little girl plenty of versions of the truth, but how will she decide what is true and will she be able to break free?

A parable about outgrowing your childhood and becoming what you want to be,…


Book cover of The Eyes of the Dragon

Charlene Williams Author Of Unexpected Places

From my list on a supernatural twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a big believer in ghosts. I love to read about them both in fiction and in nonfiction. I think ghosts can be used to elevate a plot in so many ways, either in subtle ways via background influences or overtly by making the supernatural entity a vital character. Beyond ghosts, there are so many ways the supernatural and its various creatures/forms can add layers to a text. Not all supernatural stories have to be a horror story. I also enjoy comedic ones and ones that relay a meaningful message. It’s not the things we see that fascinate me; it’s the things we don’t see.

Charlene's book list on a supernatural twist

Charlene Williams Why did Charlene love this book?

I adored this book because it was not of the typical Stephen King variety. I did, of course, enjoy the rich kingdom that King weaves, but the very ingenious escape of one of the main characters nailed it for me.

I like it when things are not easily guessed, and I love it more when books are so creative that you remember details 30 years after you’ve read them.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Eyes of the Dragon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the kingdom of Delain, a young prince must struggle against powerful forces to gain his rightful inheritance.


Book cover of Maze: A Riddle in Words and Pictures

M.P. Kozlowsky Author Of Rose Coffin

From my list on fantasy books you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like with my own writing (at least I hope), I always drift toward surprises, originality, and unbounded imagination. I want the books others only whisper about, books too unique and odd for the mainstream. I want outliers and rule breakers. Authors who challenge their readers and make us question the world and our roles in it. And in what better realm to do this than in fantasy? These are books to seek out, each one worth going the extra mile to track down. Happy hunting.

M.P.'s book list on fantasy books you’ve never heard of

M.P. Kozlowsky Why did M.P. love this book?

With the subtitle Solve The World's Most Challenging Puzzle, how could one resist a dive into this fantastic world? Each page number represents a different room in a strange mansion with clues and riddles littered throughout. At less than 100 pages, one might think it’s quite simple, when in fact there are people still lost within the maze, unable to escape - very few have managed to find their way to the center and out again without looking up the correct path. Good fantasy is always immersive, but rarely like this.

By Christopher Manson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maze as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

This is not really a book. This is a building in the shape of a book...a maze. Each numbered page depicts a room in the maze. Tempted? Test your wits against mine. I guarantee that my maze will challenge you to think in ways you've never thought before. But beware. One wrong turn and you may never escape!


Book cover of Portnoy's Complaint

Zachary Zane Author Of Boyslut: A Memoir and Manifesto

From my list on overcoming sexual shame.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the sex and relationship advice columnist at Men’s Health Magazine, I’m obviously pretty damn obsessed with sex. I find it fascinating on so many levels, which is why I not only have a ton of it but also made it my career. For so long, I struggled with sexual shame, and one thing I realized as a writer is that I’m not special. Sure, I’ve probably been to more sex parties than you, but if I’m struggling with shame, being bisexual, and embracing my kinks, then other folks are, too. And just like I’m obsessed with sex, I’ve become obsessed with helping others remove sexual shame.

Zachary's book list on overcoming sexual shame

Zachary Zane Why did Zachary love this book?

This is THE book for neurotic hypersexuals. It set the genre. I think it’s wild, brilliant, horny, thoughtful, introspective, delusional, and absurd at the same time. I mean, for the love of God, there’s no plot! It’s the protagonist (Alex Portnoy) rambling to a psychologist about his clear Oedipal Complex. The man is torn, trying to be a good Jewish boy who betters the world, but he has some nasty sexual desires (and messed-up feelings about his sexual partners) that are holding him back. 

This book is one of my obsessions. (It’s fitting, given the obsessive nature of the book.) Ironically, I felt really seen and sane while reading it. No, I’m not as neurotic and horny as Alex, but boy, do I struggle with some of the same obsessive thought patterns as that man!

By Philip Roth,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Portnoy's Complaint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The most outrageously funny book about sex written' Guardian

Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933-)]:A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature.

Portnoy's Complaint tells the tale of young Jewish lawyer Alexander Portnoy and his scandalous sexual confessions to his psychiatrist.

As narrated by Portnoy, he takes the reader on a journey through his childhood to adolescence to present day while articulating his sexual desire, frustration and neurosis in shockingly candid ways.

Hysterically funny and daringly intimate, Portnoy's Complaint was an immediate bestseller upon its publication…


Book cover of A Bell for Adano

Joseph Guzzo Author Of Mousetrap, Inc.

From my list on inspired me to become a writer and my son a reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first job upon graduating from college was working for an invention-marketing firm. This wasn’t my intention; armed with a degree in journalism, I was ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, the country was enduring a recession, and after six months of unemployment, I was happy to be offered a copywriting position. So often during the two years I spent there, I would think to myself, “This could make such a great novel.” It took me a while—and with more than a few rejections along the way—but inspired by the writers and books I’ve included in my collection, I finally got around to penning my own tale.

Joseph's book list on inspired me to become a writer and my son a reader

Joseph Guzzo Why did Joseph love this book?

I was a senior in high school, and my English teacher gave us customized reading recommendations. He thought I might like this book. He had no idea. Though often a serious work—it’s set in World War II Italythis novel exudes charm like nothing I’d ever read. There are books, TV shows, plays, and movies that you may like or even love, but when they charm you? You never forget them. Also, there’s a minor character in the book who shares my last name. I returned the favor in my novel by giving my protagonist the last name Adano.

By John Hersey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Bell for Adano as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic novel and winner of the Pulitzer Prize tells the story of an Italian-American major in World War II who wins the love and admiration of the local townspeople when he searches for a replacement for the 700-year-old town bell that had been melted down for bullets by the fascists. Although stituated during one of the most devastating experiences in human history, John Hersey's story speaks with unflinching patriotism and humanity.


Book cover of The Easter Parade

Joseph Guzzo Author Of Mousetrap, Inc.

From my list on inspired me to become a writer and my son a reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first job upon graduating from college was working for an invention-marketing firm. This wasn’t my intention; armed with a degree in journalism, I was ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, the country was enduring a recession, and after six months of unemployment, I was happy to be offered a copywriting position. So often during the two years I spent there, I would think to myself, “This could make such a great novel.” It took me a while—and with more than a few rejections along the way—but inspired by the writers and books I’ve included in my collection, I finally got around to penning my own tale.

Joseph's book list on inspired me to become a writer and my son a reader

Joseph Guzzo Why did Joseph love this book?

I’m both inspired and depressed by this book. Yes, the book itself is on the depressing side, but what truly saddens me about it is that I’ll never write as well as Richard Yates. He packs so much into this 57,000-word work that it almost defies logic. Still, he’s an inspiration as a writer, and I will always use him as a guidepost. No one’s ever going to confuse me with Michael Jordan, either, but I’m still going to shoot hoops (poorly) in my driveway.

By Richard Yates,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Easter Parade, first published in 1976, we meet sisters Sarah and Emily Grimes when they are still the children of divorced parents. We observe the sisters over four decades, watching them grow into two very different women. Sarah is stable and stalwart, settling into an unhappy marriage. Emily is precocious and independent, struggling with one unsatisfactory love affair after another. Richard Yates's classic novel is about how both women struggle to overcome their tarnished family's past, and how both finally reach for some semblance of renewal.


Book cover of Hit Man

Joseph Guzzo Author Of Mousetrap, Inc.

From my list on inspired me to become a writer and my son a reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first job upon graduating from college was working for an invention-marketing firm. This wasn’t my intention; armed with a degree in journalism, I was ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, the country was enduring a recession, and after six months of unemployment, I was happy to be offered a copywriting position. So often during the two years I spent there, I would think to myself, “This could make such a great novel.” It took me a while—and with more than a few rejections along the way—but inspired by the writers and books I’ve included in my collection, I finally got around to penning my own tale.

Joseph's book list on inspired me to become a writer and my son a reader

Joseph Guzzo Why did Joseph love this book?

Lawrence Block has written, I don’t know, 33,000 books? That’s inspiration alone. But in Keller, the mononymous title character of Hit Man and star of numerous short stories, he compels readers to root for someone who’s not exactly committing good deeds. I find that intriguing, and Chapel Fox, the antihero of my story within a story, travels down a similar road. You’ll find yourself cheering him on. You shouldn’t.

By Lawrence Block,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Keller is an ordinary man - who kills people for a living. But then a hit goes wrong, and more than one life is at stake...
'Absolutely riveting ... Block is terrific' Washington Post

Keller is an assassin - he is paid by the job and works for a mysterious man who nominates hits and passes on commissions from elsewhere. Keller goes in, does the job, gets out: usually at a few hours' notice. Often Keller's work takes him out of New York to other cities, to pretty provincial towns that almost tempt him into moving to the woods and…


Book cover of Wizard of the Crow

Mara Kardas-Nelson Author Of We Are Not Able to Live in the Sky: The Seductive Promise of Microfinance

From my list on understand our unequal world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about inequality in international development, American communities, environmental movements, and workplaces. I’ve been doing this reporting for over a decade. I’ve also worked in global health, an experience that has given me a first-hand glimpse into the depths and texture of inequality we have manufactured in our current world, including within the organizations and movements that purportedly challenge such global inequality. As a reader, I’m equally passionate about immersive nonfiction and fiction. I’ll dive into anything that’s driven by a good story.

Mara's book list on understand our unequal world

Mara Kardas-Nelson Why did Mara love this book?

I should start by saying that Thiong'o has recently been accused, by his son, of beating his former wife, claims I take very seriously (and which has put my reading of Thiong'o’s female characters in a new light).

In this book, I found a sharp, cunning satire of despotic post-colonial governments working with and shaped by international funders and Western policymakers. Having worked in NGOs, I found Thiong'o’s characterization of “development” to be darkly funny and cringe-worthily accurate.

By Ngugi Wa Thiong'o,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Informed by traditional African storytelling, discover Ngugi wa Thiong'o's masterpiece.

To honour the Ruler's birthday, the Free Republic of Aburiria set out to build a tower; a modern wonder of the world that will reach the gates of Heaven. But behind this pillar of unity a battle for control of the Aburirian people rages. Among the contenders: the eponymous Wizard, an avatar of folklore and wisdom; the corrupt Christian Ministry; and the nefarious Global Bank.


Book cover of Our Man in Havana

Nick Davies Author Of El Flamingo

From my list on fast-paced escapism with a comedic edge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an actor turned journalist and writer. After a series of roles on low-budget movies and forgettable soap operas, I moved to Latin America to write about travel and life and all the heartbreak and humour it entails. El Flamingo follows the misadventure of a struggling actor who gets mistaken for a rogue assassin in Mexico and is forced to assume the mysterious identity in order to survive. It is a preposterous plot that could never happen in real life, yet the essence of it all was inspired by places I went, people I crossed paths with, and a sense of adventure that, to me, was authentic. 

Nick's book list on fast-paced escapism with a comedic edge

Nick Davies Why did Nick love this book?

This one is a classic in the satirical espionage genre; a fish-out-of-water protagonist, the story being set in Cuba and taking aim at the MI6 Intelligence Service during the Cold War years. While it embraces its initial silliness, it ultimately embeds an important message into the narrative.

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Our Man in Havana as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

MI6’s man in Havana is Wormold, a former vacuum-cleaner salesman turned reluctant secret agent out of economic necessity. To keep his job, he files bogus reports based on Charles Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare and dreams up military installations from vacuum-cleaner designs. Then his stories start coming disturbingly true…
 
First published in 1959 against the backdrop of the Cold War, Our Man in Havana remains one of Graham Greene’s most widely read novels. It is an espionage thriller, a penetrating character study, and a political satire of government intelligence that still resonates today. This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by…


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