100 books like The Fall

By Albert Camus,

Here are 100 books that The Fall fans have personally recommended if you like The Fall. 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 Don Quixote

Clancy Martin Author Of How Not to Kill Yourself: A Portrait of the Suicidal Mind

From my list on teaching you how not to kill yourself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the subject of suicide because I have lived with suicidal thinking all of my life, have made multiple suicide attempts, have lost loved ones to suicide, and have so many new friends who are survivors of suicide attempts. I am a philosophy professor and writer who spends a lot of his time thinking about the meaning of life, and reading other philosophers, writers, and thinkers who have taught us about the meaning of life. I think the Buddha is especially smart and helpful on this question, as are the existentialist philosophers.

Clancy's book list on teaching you how not to kill yourself

Clancy Martin Why did Clancy love this book?

Look, you’re often going to feel like life is meaningless. Maybe you’re right. But don’t give up.

Like Quixote, you have the power of your noble heart, and the wealth of your imagination. But you also have your Sancho Paza, to keep you moving practically forward. It all will likely come to a ridiculous end. But that’s okay, so long as you’re laughing at yourself along the way.

It is funny. We’re allowed to be funny. We’re supposed to laugh at ourselves and at each other.

By Miguel De Cervantes, Edith Grossman (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY HAROLD BLOOM. Widely regarded as the world's first modern novel, and one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote de La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. Unless you read Spanish, you've never read Don Quixote.


Book cover of Candide

Michael Contarino Author Of The Environmental Alarmist: A Political Satire

From my list on satires for crazy times.

Why am I passionate about this?

The worst of all deceptions, said Plato, is self-deception. Perhaps it is also the most common. I'm fascinated by the human capacity to believe nonsense, and also by the power of satire to weaken twaddle’s hold on us. As a political science professor, and as a political speechwriter, I often used humor to expose sloppy thinking, debunk untruths, and open minds. Especially today, satire is one of the best ways to show the high price we pay for our delusions. Satire alone will not end our collective folly, but laughing at rather than denying what we're doing to the natural environment can be a step on the road to change.

Michael's book list on satires for crazy times

Michael Contarino Why did Michael love this book?

Candide is wonderful for many reasons, but above all because it is an equal opportunity parody.

Voltaire spares no one as he spoofs the usual suspects, such as religion, colonialism, and the nobility, but also the Enlightenment’s excessive optimism, philosophical speculation, and rationalism. Voltaire’s greatest setups are favored upon young Candide’s mentor, Dr. Pangloss who, in the face of every monstrous, absurd tragedy that befalls Candide, insists that all is well in this “best of all possible worlds.”

I also love that this crazy, tragic farce ends with a cautiously optimistic invitation to “cultivate our garden,” – to leave philosophical speculation to the philosophers, and instead to focus on concrete efforts to make the world a better place

By Voltaire,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Enriched Classics offer readers accessible editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and commentary. Each book includes educational tools alongside the text, enabling students and readers alike to gain a deeper and more developed understanding of the writer and their work.

A classic work of eighteenth century literature, Candide is Voltaire's fast-paced novella of struggle and adventure that used satire as a form of social critique. Candide enlists the help of his tutor, Dr. Pangloss, to help him reunite with his estranged lover, Lady Cunegonde. But the journey welcomes many unexpected challenges, and overcoming or outwitting the…


Book cover of The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War

Tom Strelich Author Of Dog Logic

From my list on satires with one thing in common.

Why am I passionate about this?

I consider myself not only a student of satire, but also as a master practitioner with an innate and instinctive aptitude for it—like those born with perfect pitch or hand-eye coordination, kind of like an idiot savant, only hopefully without the idiot part. Satire is the perfect literary platform because it allows both the writer and the reader to explore the landscape of the human experience, the absurdity, the grandeur, the mystery, the horror—not with a sermon or a polemic or a sigh, but with a laugh and a nodding smile of recognition.

Tom's book list on satires with one thing in common

Tom Strelich Why did Tom love this book?

It was thick book, a satire, and new translation from Czech, and I loved the illustrations, the setting, and that the new translation was restoring all of the salty language excised from the original/bowdlerized translation.

It’s the story of a simple dog breeder, presumed to be an imbecile (an acceptable term at the time), drafted into the army and his adventures making his way to WWI—always outwitting his (imbecilic) superiors and betters along the way.

It’s satirical, hilarious, often scatological, and the best part is that the book ends (because the author died) before he gets to the actual war, so we get to imagine Švejk surviving the war and moving to Florida in the ‘20s to raise Greyhounds or whatever.

It’s really good, in fact, I might just read it again.

By Jaroslav Hasek, Josef Lada (illustrator), Cecil Parrott (translator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiration for such works as Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Jaroslav Hasek's black satire The Good Soldier Svejk is translated with an introduction by Cecil Parrott in Penguin Classics.

Good-natured and garrulous, Svejk becomes the Austro-Hungarian army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of the First World War - although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. Playing cards, getting drunk and becoming a general nuisance, the resourceful Svejk uses all his natural cunning and genial subterfuge to deal with the doctors, police, clergy and officers…


Book cover of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Tom Strelich Author Of Dog Logic

From my list on satires with one thing in common.

Why am I passionate about this?

I consider myself not only a student of satire, but also as a master practitioner with an innate and instinctive aptitude for it—like those born with perfect pitch or hand-eye coordination, kind of like an idiot savant, only hopefully without the idiot part. Satire is the perfect literary platform because it allows both the writer and the reader to explore the landscape of the human experience, the absurdity, the grandeur, the mystery, the horror—not with a sermon or a polemic or a sigh, but with a laugh and a nodding smile of recognition.

Tom's book list on satires with one thing in common

Tom Strelich Why did Tom love this book?

Because it was not only a thick* book, but it proved that you can think a book is crap one day, and absolutely love it the next**. 

I was going to have an impacted wisdom tool chiseled out and wanted a book for my convalescence. It had a great cover, so I flipped open to the first page and read the opening line—something like, “Amoebas don’t have bones…”.

I bought it and had the wisdom tooth removed, which evidently actually removed the wisdom needed to appreciate the writing.

Time passed, and I gave the book another try—evidently the wisdom had returned because what had once been chaotic and confusing and stupid, was now delightfully random and effortlessly insightful, and really really fun. I loved this book.

* At least it seemed thick to me at that age.

** Actually, it wasn’t the next day, it was actually about a year…

By Tom Robbins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Even Cowgirls Get the Blues as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Starring Sissy Hanshaw-flawlessly beautiful, almost. A small-town girl with big-time dreams and a quirk to match-hitchhiking her way into your heart, your hopes, and your sleeping bags...

Featuring Bonanza Jellybean and the smooth-riding cowgirls of Rubber Rose Ranch. Chink; a lascivious guru of yams and yang. Julian; a Mohawk by birth; asthmatic aesthete and husband by disposition. Dr. Robbins, preventive psychiatrist and reality instructor...

Follow Sissy's amazing odyssey from Virginia to chic Manhattan to the Dakota Badlands, where FBI agents, cowgirls, and ecstatic whooping cranes explode in a deliciously drawn-out climax...


Book cover of CivilWarLand in Bad Decline: Stories and a Novella

Damien Owens Author Of Duffy and Son

From my list on funny but, y'know, good.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Irish novelist and occasional screenwriter. My latest book, Duffy and Son, is my sixth. I can be drawn in by any well-told tale, of course, but I’ve always had the strongest reaction to stories with at least some element of comedy. I don’t know, I just find books in which no one says anything funny to be deeply unrealistic. It infuriates me when any piece of fiction is viewed as ‘lesser’ because there’s a chance it might make you smile. The books listed here will definitely make you smile. If you give them a chance, I hope you find them as worthy of your time as I did.

Damien's book list on funny but, y'know, good

Damien Owens Why did Damien love this book?

I could have picked anything by George Saunders, really. He’s the closest thing I have to a personal deity. Such is the level of awe and wonder that he invokes in me, I actually find him difficult to discuss. It’s like trying to look directly at the sun.

Suffice it to say that CivilWarLand in Bad Decline—the title refers to a failing theme park—is like all of his other short story collections. It’s beautiful and wise and heart-breaking and deeply intelligent and, yes, desperately funny. I would pay a lot of money to be able to read it again for the first time. 

By George Saunders,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked CivilWarLand in Bad Decline as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its publication in 1996, George Saunders’s debut collection has grown in esteem from a cherished cult classic to a masterpiece of the form, inspiring an entire generation of writers along the way. In six stories and a novella, Saunders hatches an unforgettable cast of characters, each struggling to survive in an increasingly haywire world. With a new introduction by Joshua Ferris and a new author’s note by Saunders himself, this edition is essential reading for those seeking to discover or revisit a virtuosic, disturbingly prescient voice.
 
Praise for George Saunders and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
 
“It’s no exaggeration to…


Book cover of Gulliver's Travels

Travis Jeppesen Author Of Settlers Landing

From my list on when you need a heavy dose of satire.

Why am I passionate about this?

Given the state of the world today, laughter truly is the best coping mechanism. The best satire is all about excess in design, intention, characterization, and deployment of attitude. The more extreme, the better; leave restraint to the prudish moralists! 

Travis' book list on when you need a heavy dose of satire

Travis Jeppesen Why did Travis love this book?

In the most elegant piss-take on the travel writing genre ever crafted, Swift’s hero traverses lands impossibly strange and, well, just impossible, giving satire a whole new modus operandus: expanding the cosmos!

Whenever I start to feel blue about living in an era that seems to underrate imaginativeness – especially in literature, I go back to Swift, who always reminds me that there is a path veering toward the limitless, and that path will never disappear. 

By Jonathan Swift,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Gulliver's Travels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 11, 12, 13, and 14.

What is this book about?

'Thus, gentle Reader, I have given thee a faithful History of my Travels for Sixteen Years, and above Seven Months; wherein I have not been so studious of Ornament as of Truth.'

In these words Gulliver represents himself as a reliable reporter of the fantastic adventures he has just set down; but how far can we rely on a narrator whose identity is elusive and whoses inventiveness is self-evident? Gulliver's Travels purports to be a travel book, and describes Gulliver's encounters with the inhabitants of four extraordinary places: Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, and the country of the Houyhnhnms. A consummately skilful…


Book cover of Gerard Philey's Euro-Diary: Quest for a Life

Steve Sheppard Author Of A Very Important Teapot

From my list on books to make you laugh by authors you’ve (probably) never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Steve Sheppard and I’m arguably the best person in the UK to create this list as I am myself the archetypal funny author whom nobody has heard of, having written three comedy spy thrillers, two out (A Very Important Teapot and Bored to Death in the Baltics) and one on the way (Poor Table Manners), all published by a genuine indie publisher, Claret Press. I would have loved to include a funny thriller in my list, but sadly, they are not to be found–not without resorting to farce and slapstick anyway.

Steve's book list on books to make you laugh by authors you’ve (probably) never heard of

Steve Sheppard Why did Steve love this book?

This is another fictional diary but different again. To say I enjoyed it is an understatement. This is a witty, engaging, satirical romp of a journal with laugh-out-loud moments, an empathetic everyman protagonist, a full cast of colourful supporting characters, and a rich background, mainly in Amsterdam.

I whipped through the book in a couple of days and was left hoping that we might find out what happens to Gerard "next year." All in all, thoroughly entertaining.

By Brendan James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gerard Philey's Euro-Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Blonde Roots

Chika Unigwe Author Of The Middle Daughter

From my list on re-imaginings of history, classics and myths.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love reading adaptations of classics which complicate the original texts in interesting ways, I have just written one myself, The Middle Daughter. Transcultural adaptations, particularly remind us that we are all members of one human family, dealing with the same kind of problems across time and space and cultures. In these times of deepening polarization, it's important to see that there's more that unites us than not.

Chika's book list on re-imaginings of history, classics and myths

Chika Unigwe Why did Chika love this book?

Blonde Roots reimagines the transatlantic slave trade. In this world, Africans are the ones enslaving Europeans, and shipping them to “Afrika.”

The provocative reversal of roles is a gateway to discussing issues of race, identity, capitalism, notions of beauty, and the legacy of slavery.

Humorous and thought-provoking, this novel is one that stays with you for all the ways it challenges its readers.

By Bernardine Evaristo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

FROM THE BOOKER PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR OF GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER

LONGLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2009
WINNER OF THE ORANGE YOUTH PANEL AWARD 2009
FINALIST FOR THE HURSTON WRIGHT LEGACY AWARD 2010

'A phenomenal book. It is so ingenious and so novel. Think The Handmaid's Tale meets Noughts and Crosses with a bit of Jonathan Swift and Lewis Carroll thrown in. This should be thought of as a feminist classic.' Women's Prize for Fiction Podcast

Welcome to a world turned upside down. One minute, Doris, from England, is playing hide-and-seek with her sisters in the fields behind their cottage.…


Book cover of The Mouse That Roared

Eric Sporer Author Of A Man Eating Chicken

From my list on to laugh in the face of insanity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a joker at heart and was always the class clown. I currently write on my own humor website, A Man Eating Chicken. I started drawing comics in grade school and grew into writing comedic prose in high school. There was never a goal for any of this; it was all pre-internet, so I didn’t realize that humor could be published anywhere. As I got older, I was able to find some books that really spoke to my sensibilities. The books on this list really showed me the power and possibilities of humor and influenced my own writing.

Eric's book list on to laugh in the face of insanity

Eric Sporer Why did Eric love this book?

While I grew up at the tail end of the Cold War, there was something in The Mouse that Roared that really spoke to me. The way that it takes an already absurd reality to an extreme really spoke to my own sensibilities and humor. History books tell the facts, but stories like this reflect how absurd the geopolitical culture must have felt to most people. It’s akin to Dr. Strangelove, not only in being a Cold War satire, but in the absurd and extreme nature of the farce. It influenced my own political satire heavily.

By Leonard Wibberley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Leonard Wibberley's classic political satire, a tiny backwards country decides the only way to survive a sudden economic downturn is to declare war on the United States and lose to get foreign aid - but things don't go according to plan.

The Mouse That Roared was made into a successful feature film starring Peter Sellers.

Books in The Grand Fenwick Series:

Books 2 through 5 are best read after The Mouse That Roared, but all of the books can be read and enjoyed at any point in the series.

Book 1: The Mouse That Roared
Book 2: The Mouse…


Book cover of Wonder Boys

Leslie Stella Author Of Permanent Record

From my list on the world of academia, prep schools, and campus life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Chicago-based writer whose novels explore the triumph of the underdog, and nobody is more underdoggy than a teenage self-loathing loner. I am proud that my novel, Permanent Record, was selected by Library Services for Youth in Custody for their 2014 “In the Margins” Book Award, a list that highlights literature with appeal for youths who are in restrictive custody and youths from street culture. I love the academic setting of the books on my list because it reminds me of when my own possibilities were limitless, when I was free to imagine who I would be outside the confines of my school.

Leslie's book list on the world of academia, prep schools, and campus life

Leslie Stella Why did Leslie love this book?

Complicated relationships often exist between teachers and students, but many novels paint one or the other as the enemy. In Wonder Boys, we have a joyous but still complicated friendship between Grady Tripp, a pot-smoking English professor who has lost his way, and his student James Leer, a budding writer who is emotionally troubled. I can relate to both the “going nowhere” middle-aged Grady and the troubled teen, James. The plot devices of the tuba, dead dog, and snake (most of it) that end up in Grady’s trunk somehow provide both gravitas and humor.

By Michael Chabon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A deft parody of the American fame factory and a piercing portrait of young and old desire, WONDER BOYS is a modern classic from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY.

Grady Tripp is an over-sexed, pot-bellied, pot-smoking, ageing wunderkind of a novelist now teaching creative writing at a Pittsburgh college while working on his 2,000-page masterpiece, WONDER BOYS. When his rumbustious editor and friend, Terry Crabtree, arrives in town, a chaotic weekend follows - involving a tuba, a dead dog, Marilyn Monroe's ermine-lined jacket and a squashed boa constrictor.

A novel of elegant imagination, bold…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in satire, existentialism, and Vienna?

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