100 books like The Best of Saki

By Hector Hugh Munro,

Here are 100 books that The Best of Saki fans have personally recommended if you like The Best of Saki. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Dissolution

Maurice Holloway Author Of Steal a Diamond

From my list on detective books with the most memorable protagonist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for writing, and whenever I can, I try to help new writers improve their expertise so that one day they’ll complete their first book. My first book, born from a few-hundred-word short story at my writing group, turned into a three-book thriller series called FAVOURS. Since then, I’ve branched out by publishing a rom/com, a humorous ghost story as well as a standalone thriller. Agatha Christie published her first book as the result of a dare, which proves you can do it if you really want to.

Maurice's book list on detective books with the most memorable protagonist

Maurice Holloway Why did Maurice love this book?

CJ Sansom, a renowned historian, released this first fiction novel to huge acclaim. I was fascinated to find the investigator was a London lawyer during the reign of Henry VIII. It ticked all the boxes: history, a juicy murder, crime, and mystery. I was not disappointed. In my own writing, I endeavour to make my characters individual and memorable and, therefore, look for that in books I read.

The protagonist, lawyer Matthew Shardlake, has the brain, persistence, and vision of a Holmes or Poirot in uncovering the clues and is admired by all for his ability to win cases. Despite this, one thing continually erodes his confidence: he is a hunchback. Not restricted by twenty-first-century political correctness, his enemies take delight in reminding him of this. I loved the way the author handled that.

I enjoyed the detective story in an entirely different setting. It is a magnificent first book;…

By C.J. Sansom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger - the highest honor in British crime writing

From the bestselling author of Winter in Madrid and Dominion comes the exciting and elegantly written first novel in the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series

Dissolution is an utterly riveting portrayal of Tudor England. The year is 1537, and the country is divided between those faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to the king and the newly established Church of England. When a royal commissioner is brutally murdered in a monastery on the south coast of England, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's feared vicar general, summons…


Book cover of Miss Mapp

Suzette A. Hill Author Of Shadow Over Southwold

From my list on making one laugh or ponder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Privately and professionally, I've always been addicted to literature and history and stirred by the experiences that these studies reveal. Yet as a novelist (retired from college lecturing) I instinctively assume the comic or satirical mode. Whereas in analysing the poetry of perhaps T.S. Eliot, I'm totally serious, when creating a story I start to giggle. Psychiatrists might label this a defence mechanism – but I suspect it's the result of formative years spent reading social satirists such as Huxley, Greene, Wodehouse, and Waugh. While certainly no imitator, I feel that this type of literature has become insidiously bred in the bone – hence my listed choices being socially directed and often comic or acerbic. 

Suzette's book list on making one laugh or ponder

Suzette A. Hill Why did Suzette love this book?

Part of Benson’s much-loved Lucia series. Gentler than Saki, this comedy of manners (also set in a bygone England) is deliciously entertaining, with its eccentric characters gleefully etched. Miss Mapp herself – prim and genteel but with lethal eyes – is a social snooper par excellence, and whose insidious wiles and steely shafts create havoc among the gossiping residents of sedate Tilling (firmly based on the ancient Sussex town of Rye, once home to Henry James.) As they negotiate the delicate snares of bridge, golf, and “charming” tea parties, cronies and quarries alike are pawns in her ruthless game of one-upmanship. It is a game she plays with relish and practised ease... that is until, elsewhere in the series, she is upstaged by the awesome Lucia. Hilarious.

By E.F. Benson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The acclaimed author of Mapp and Lucia introduces the beloved Miss Elizabeth Mapp, a devious social climber, in this charming British comedy of manners.

In the English seaside village of Tilling, Miss Elizabeth Mapp keeps a thorough notebook about everyone’s business, including her servants. Whatever information she can’t collect through gossip, she discovers with the aid of opera glasses. Looking out from her window over High Street, she pays especially avid attention to her neighbor, Maj. Benjamin Flint, whom she has been planning for years to marry.
 
The second novel in E. F. Benson’s popular Mapp and Lucia series, which…


Book cover of Mortification: Writers’ Stories of Their Public Shame

Suzette A. Hill Author Of Shadow Over Southwold

From my list on making one laugh or ponder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Privately and professionally, I've always been addicted to literature and history and stirred by the experiences that these studies reveal. Yet as a novelist (retired from college lecturing) I instinctively assume the comic or satirical mode. Whereas in analysing the poetry of perhaps T.S. Eliot, I'm totally serious, when creating a story I start to giggle. Psychiatrists might label this a defence mechanism – but I suspect it's the result of formative years spent reading social satirists such as Huxley, Greene, Wodehouse, and Waugh. While certainly no imitator, I feel that this type of literature has become insidiously bred in the bone – hence my listed choices being socially directed and often comic or acerbic. 

Suzette's book list on making one laugh or ponder

Suzette A. Hill Why did Suzette love this book?

Probably four of my writers would not have suffered the mortification described here, but the scenarios certainly resonated with this pen-pusher!

Seventy contemporary authors – novelists, poets, biographers – describe in wincing detail the embarrassment they had sometimes felt in the course of promotional appearances: book signings, talks, interviews, etc. Their anecdotes are at once funny and cringingly painful. Distinguished names as diverse as Margaret Attwood, Val McDermid, Michael Holroyd, Edna O’Brian, Colm Tóibín, Willian Boyd, poets Thom Gunn and Simon Armitage, and a host of other literary heroes, bravely and vividly recount their worst moments under the public gaze. In some ways the humorous revelations are reassuring – evidently the eminent can be as vulnerable as the lesser known. But in reading this book, comradely laughter is tinged with a frisson of fear!

By Robin Robertson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A collection of stories from some of the world’s greatest writers about their own public humiliation.

Humiliation is not, of course, unique to writers. However, the world of letters does seem to offer a near-perfect micro-climate for embarrassment and shame. There is something about the conjunction of high-mindedness and low income that is inherently comic; something about the very idea of deeply private thoughts – carefully worked and honed into art over the years – being presented to a public audience of dubious strangers that strays perilously close to tragedy.

Here, in over eighty contributions, are stories about the writer’s…


Book cover of Why I Write

Suzette A. Hill Author Of Shadow Over Southwold

From my list on making one laugh or ponder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Privately and professionally, I've always been addicted to literature and history and stirred by the experiences that these studies reveal. Yet as a novelist (retired from college lecturing) I instinctively assume the comic or satirical mode. Whereas in analysing the poetry of perhaps T.S. Eliot, I'm totally serious, when creating a story I start to giggle. Psychiatrists might label this a defence mechanism – but I suspect it's the result of formative years spent reading social satirists such as Huxley, Greene, Wodehouse, and Waugh. While certainly no imitator, I feel that this type of literature has become insidiously bred in the bone – hence my listed choices being socially directed and often comic or acerbic. 

Suzette's book list on making one laugh or ponder

Suzette A. Hill Why did Suzette love this book?

Other than the odd dry chuckle, no major laughs here – but you certainly ponder. Slim and compact, this selection of four of Orwell’s most compelling essays is a fitting format for the prose within. Typically Orwellian, no word is wasted, none ill-used; statements are incisive, ideas sharply defined, and imagery spare yet vivid. Clarity is the keynote; probing entertainment the effect. The topics – his own literary motivation, the condition of twentieth-century England, a biting attack on sloppy verbiage and on rhetoric for political fudge, the stark yet witty vignette of a public hanging – all are lucid and provocative. His comments are as relevant today as they were in the 1940s. George Orwell and Graham Greene: what masterly writers!

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A selection of George Orwell's politically charged essays on language and writing that give context to his dystopian classic, 1984

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves-and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives-and destroyed them.

Now, Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are. Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers, and…


Book cover of The Whole Mess and Other Stories

Karen Haber Author Of That Unfortunate Problem with Grandmother's Head and Other Stories

From my list on science fiction and fantasy books that keep me reading.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began reading science fiction when I was 8 years old and "borrowed" my father’s library books until, in defense, he got me my own library card. Not only have I spent decades reading SF, I’ve written it as well. As a veteran reader and writer with plenty of kill marks on my fuselage, I'm literally married to the SF mob (Grandmaster Robert Silverberg, is my spouse). I can both walk the walk and talk the talk. And after writing 9 SF novels including a Star Trek Book and reading uncounted SF and F tales, I still think science fiction and fantasy can be a literature of ideas illuminating the human condition.

Karen's book list on science fiction and fantasy books that keep me reading

Karen Haber Why did Karen love this book?

All of these stories are superb but my favorite here is "The Last Garden," in which a woman with mother issues finds a surprising solution to them via hardware. Runnerup: "Arlington," with its brilliant use of time travel leavened by a nice dash of romance.

Jack Skillingstead is a cult writer who keeps a fine focus on the human condition, its pathos, comedy, kindness, and cruelty which he captures in surreal and satirical situations in the near and far future. I love his mordant humor, his playful imagination, and the crazy compounding situations he drops his characters into. Odd twists and unexpected endings. Very funny use of sentient hardware, 

Characters who are damaged and find healing in unexpected places, ways, and times. His notes on the background of these stories and generous essay about writing make this much more than a short story collection: the reader will gain insight into…

By Jack Skillingstead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Whole Mess and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What does it mean to be human in a universe of shifting, sometimes terrifying realities? Eighteen stories from Jack Skillingstead's second decade of publishing feature intense and surprising explorations of who we are, who we wish to be, and who we can't be.

In "The Whole Mess" a genius math professor solves a multiverse equation only to find himself pursued by ancient Masters across the many iterations of his could-have-been lives. "Straconia" gives us a Kafkaesque world where all the lost things go, including people who must first find themselves before they can find a way back home. "Tribute" looks…


Book cover of Ocean State

Diane Josefowicz Author Of Ready, Set, Oh

From my list on you’ve never heard of about Rhode Island.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Rhode Islander, I didn’t have to do too much research to write Ready, Set, Oh. I was born in Providence, and I grew up in Cranston, a suburb outside the city. After graduating from a local high school, I studied at Brown University and after years of living in different cities, fifteen years ago I settled in Providence with my family. I adore this place—we have vibrant neighborhoods, gorgeous beaches, plenty of history, and a surprisingly lively literary scene. I assembled this list to draw attention to some great but under-recognized books set in Rhode Island, either by Rhode Islanders or writers with significant connections to the Biggest Little. 

Diane's book list on you’ve never heard of about Rhode Island

Diane Josefowicz Why did Diane love this book?

In this baker’s dozen of stories, Jean McGarry reprises favorite topics—tight-knit families, fraying loves, intimations of mortality. A native Rhode Islander with ties to Providence’s blue-collar Irish community, McGarry paints the state and its inhabitants in shades as tender as they are unsparing. McGarry’s great theme is decline: Everything that starts out promising invariably goes bad. Steeped in this worldview, her characters are lively and quick with an insult—even when they’re confronted by experts who presume to know them better than they know themselves. One mordant example: A therapist finally gets a breakthrough with a tough-to-reach Rhode Islander. The patient feels relief, and the therapist urges him to attend sessions more regularly. “You’re at it again,” the patient remarks. “Save your advertisements for someone else.”

By Jean McGarry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The stories of Ocean State roll over the reader like a wave. Family pleasures, marriage, the essential moments and mysteries of a seemingly ordinary world that break into magical territory before we can brace ourselves-Jean McGarry puts us in life's rough seas with what the New York Times has called a "deft, comic, and devastatingly precise" hand.


Book cover of The Summer Without Men

Gail Crowther Author Of Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz: The Rebellion of Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton

From my list on rebellious women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer who loves writing about women. All sorts of women. Strong, witty, complicated, unlikeable, and intelligent. It is important for me to understand the lived experience of women both inside and outside my own time and cultural context. So many women live with intersecting social characteristics, norms, expectations, nearly all of which hinder or harm. Yet so many women resist and rebel to change life for others. It is this sense of solidarity through history, one group of women paving the way for others, that I find especially fascinating and hopeful. And it is why rebellious women are so crucial. They cannot, and will not, be ignored.   

Gail's book list on rebellious women

Gail Crowther Why did Gail love this book?

The protagonist of this novel, Mia Fredricksen, experiences love, loss, and emotional breakdown. But what I love about this book is when Mia starts to rebuild herself and her sense of identity (her doctor tells her “tolerating cracks is part of being alive”) we move into a joyful narrative of female strength, power, and the solidarity of female friendship. And, as the title suggests, a summer without men. What I love about this novel is the message that even if you are badly betrayed, healing is possible. 

By Siri Hustvedt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Summer Without Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Out of the blue, your husband of thirty years asks you for a pause in your marriage to indulge his infatuation with a young Frenchwoman. Do you:

a) assume it's a passing affair and play along
b) angrily declare the marriage over
c) crack up
d) retreat to a safe haven and regroup?
Mia Fredricksen cracks up first, then decamps for the summer to the prairie town of her childhood, where she rages, fumes, and bemoans her sorry fate as abandoned spouse. But little by little, she is drawn into the lives of those around her: her mother and her…


Book cover of The Poor Mouth: A Bad Story about the Hard Life

Rhys Hughes Author Of My Rabbit's Shadow Looks Like a Hand

From my list on underrated offbeat humorous fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

The world is a strange place and life can feel very weird at times, and I have long had the suspicion that a truly imaginative and inventive comedy has more to say about reality, albeit in an exaggerated and oblique way, than much serious gloomy work. Comedy has a wider range than people often think. It doesn’t have to be sweet, light, and uplifting all the time. It can be dark, unsettling and suspenseful, or profoundly philosophical. It can be political, mystical, paradoxical. There are humorous fantasy novels and short story collections that have been sadly neglected or unjustly forgotten, and I try to recommend those books to readers whenever I can.

Rhys' book list on underrated offbeat humorous fantasy

Rhys Hughes Why did Rhys love this book?

Flann O’Brien is famous for his ingenious novels, At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman, but I regard his funniest book as this short fictional memoir about life in the far West of Ireland. Originally published in Gaelic in 1941, it is a mock-pastoral farce about the customs of the remotest region in the country, where it rains all the time, but O’Brien is actually satirising the lack of mutual understanding between the local inhabitants and the modern outside world. The narrator’s adventures begin immediately after he is born and include (among many other absurdities) catastrophic pigs and the quest to climb a mountain to find an eternal fountain of whisky.

By Flann O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Poor Mouth relates the story of one Bonaparte O'Coonassa, born in a cabin in a fictitious village called Corkadoragha in western Ireland equally renowned for its beauty and the abject poverty of its residents. Potatoes constitute the basis of his family's daily fare, and they share both bed and board with the sheep and pigs. A scathing satire on the Irish, this work brought down on the author's head the full wrath of those who saw themselves as the custodians of Irish language and tradition when it was first published in Gaelic in 1941.


Book cover of Canadian Whisky: The New Portable Expert

Kevin R. Kosar Author Of Whiskey: A Global History

From my list on whiskey and whisky.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of two books on distilled spirits and have been blogging at AlcoholReviews.com since 1998. I have written about drinks, drinks history, and drinks politics for the New York Times and the American Spectator magazine. Whiskey is my favorite distilled spirit—there are so many fantastic types and brands of it. For consumers, it can be really bewildering to navigate. So, I take it as my duty to help people navigate the wide and wild world of whiskey!

Kevin's book list on whiskey and whisky

Kevin R. Kosar Why did Kevin love this book?

Canadians have been making whisky for a few centuries, but drinks experts long have given the nation’s hooch scant attention. This is understandable, as Canadian distillers spent much of the 20th century churning out an ocean of low-priced and bland-tasting blends like Seagrams 7 and Canadian Club. Times have changed, though, and Canada is producing single malts and various high-end, sophisticated whiskies that have garnered international acclaim. David de Kergommeaux is the preeminent expert on whisky in the Great North, and his book is an indispensable guide to anyone who wants to learn the what-and-how of Canadian whisky-making and its history through the current day. He also directs readers’ attention to the brands of Canadian whisky worth buying, and his recommendations are spot on.

By Davin de Kergommeaux,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Savour the bold notes and rich varieties of Canadian whisky with this fully revised, updated,  and indispensable guide.

This fully updated and revised edition of the award-winning Canadian Whisky invites you on a journey across Canada and back through time to discover the story of this unique spirit. Independent whisky expert Davin de Kergommeaux weaves a compelling narrative, beginning with the substance of Canadian whisky—grains, water, and wood—and details the process of how it’s made and how to taste it. He traces the fascinating history of the country’s major distilleries and key visionaries, and introduces the present-day players—big and small—who…


Book cover of The Curious Bartender's Whiskey Road Trip: A Coast to Coast Tour of the Most Exciting Whiskey Distilleries in the US, from Small-Scale Craft Operations to the Behemoths of Bourbon

Mike Gerrard Author Of Cask Strength: The Story of the Barrel, the Secret Ingredient in Your Drink

From my list on cocktail lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning travel and drinks writer and have worked for National Geographic, The Times, BBC Travel, American Express, AAA, Waitrose Drinks, and many more. My love of spirits and travel led to me starting the Travel Distilled website and I'm the author of Cask Strength, which tells the story of the barrel, and of the travel guides Islay Distilled and Cognac Distilled. I've visited numerous distilleries in the UK, Ireland, USA, France, Greece, Iceland, Sweden, Mexico, and elsewhere. I was persuaded to try drinking vodka for breakfast while touring Siberia. It seemed a good idea at the time but it's not a habit I've kept up.

Mike's book list on cocktail lovers

Mike Gerrard Why did Mike love this book?

Stephenson truly is a curious bartender and has written a shelfful of books about cocktails, and cocktail recipes.

My favorite books of his, though, are the more recent ones when he started looking at individual spirits, and not just what you can do with them but how and where they are made. The best is this road trip around the USA, visiting whiskey distilleries large and small, which combines drink writing and travel writing - my own two writing topics!

He visits 50 distilleries, from Vermont to California, including names you'll know, like Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam, and names you need to know, like Leopold Brothers, Wyoming Whiskey, and Garrison Brothers. It's a terrific romp of a read.

By Tristan Stephenson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Curious Bartender's Whiskey Road Trip as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Rigorously researched and richly illustrated...Meticulous in detail and gleeful in its discoveries, this trip is a joyride for any whiskey lover." Publishers Weekly

Buckle up and join bestselling author and whiskey connoisseur Tristan Stephenson on a Stateside tour and learn all there is to know about the finest whiskey and bourbon America has to offer.

Whiskey in America is a regional product that has evolved in different ways and at a differing pace depending on where you go. Tristan Stephenson's road trip enabled him to visit more than 40 unique distilleries, from long-established makers in the states that are the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in whisky, satire, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about whisky, satire, and presidential biography.

Whisky Explore 25 books about whisky
Satire Explore 151 books about satire
Presidential Biography Explore 18 books about presidential biography