100 books like The Garden of Hermetic Dreams

By Gary Lachman,

Here are 100 books that The Garden of Hermetic Dreams fans have personally recommended if you like The Garden of Hermetic Dreams. 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 Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories

G.G. Andrew Author Of Crazy, Sexy, Ghoulish

From my list on Halloween romance books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a lifelong fan of Halloween, from the time I visited my town’s haunted house as a young kid in the 1980s to watching horror movies as an adult. As a writer of romance and romantic women’s fiction, love stories are also my jam. Many people think horror and romance aren’t compatible, but I combined both in my novella series Crazy, Sexy, Ghoulish, and the books in this list prove that Halloween and romance are meant to be.

G.G.'s book list on Halloween romance books

G.G. Andrew Why did G.G. love this book?

I return to this dark, sensual collection of Angela Carter stories most autumns, often through audio book. While these are not technically romance stories, they’re what I call romance-adjacent: fairy tales centered on love and passion—and their dangers—with gorgeous language and twists that subvert your expectations.

My favorite story here is “In the Company of Wolves,” but really that’s like choosing a favorite child.

By Angela Carter,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Bloody Chamber as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an introduction by Helen Simpson. From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires and werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.


Book cover of The Dedalus Book of Surrealism: The Identity of Things

Mike Russell Author Of Strange Medicine

From my list on strange, weird, surreal short story collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hello. My name is Mike Russell. I write books (novels, short story collections, and novellas) and make visual art (mostly paintings, occasionally sculptures). I love art and books that are surreal and magical because that is the way life seems to me, and I love art and books that are mind-expanding because we need to expand our minds to perceive just how surreal and magical life is. My books have been described as strange fiction, weird fiction, surrealism, magic realism, fantasy fiction… but I just like to call them Strange Books.

Mike's book list on strange, weird, surreal short story collections

Mike Russell Why did Mike love this book?

Some of the stories in this collection, like my own stories, use surreal metaphor, expressing poetic imagery in prose form; others are more about the thrill of absurdity. Though surrealism existed before the term or movement existed (in visual art and literature e.g. Lewis Carroll, Hieronymus Bosch, etc.), Andre Breton and his mates really went for it. Here you can read works by Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel, Louis Aragon, Leonora Carrington, and more. What I love about all of these artists is their obvious joy in discovering the surreal or poetic image, a joy I know well, and their absolute passion for the importance and potency of expressing such imagery. 

By Michael Richardson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Comprised of works by authors from 17 countries, these volumes provide the most extensive assemblage of surrealist writing, much of which is here translated into English for the first time. "The Identity of Things" introduces surrealism's reworking of the fairy tale and the Gothic novel, its essays in the myths, desires and mysteries underlying modern reality.

"I went to fetch my car, but my chauffeur, who has no sense at all, had just buried it', writes Leonora Carrington in this captivating collection of tales from 17 languages."
The Observer


Book cover of The Complete Cosmicomics

Mike Russell Author Of Strange Medicine

From my list on strange, weird, surreal short story collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hello. My name is Mike Russell. I write books (novels, short story collections, and novellas) and make visual art (mostly paintings, occasionally sculptures). I love art and books that are surreal and magical because that is the way life seems to me, and I love art and books that are mind-expanding because we need to expand our minds to perceive just how surreal and magical life is. My books have been described as strange fiction, weird fiction, surrealism, magic realism, fantasy fiction… but I just like to call them Strange Books.

Mike's book list on strange, weird, surreal short story collections

Mike Russell Why did Mike love this book?

If, like me, you like to wonder at the cosmos and its apparent absurdity, this is a great collection. A lot of the humour comes from juxtaposing the mundane with the cosmic and taking a simple premise to extremes, rather like Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

By Italo Calvino,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Italo Calvino's enchanting stories about the evolution of the universe, with characters that are fashioned from mathematical formulae and cellular structures, The Complete Cosmicomics is translated by Martin McLaughlin, Tim Parks and William Weaver in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Naturally, we were all there, - dld Qfwfq said, - where else could we have been? Nobody knew then that there could be space. Or time either: what use did we have for time, packed in there like sardines?'

The Cosmicomics tell the story of the history of the universe, from the big bang, through millennia and across galaxies. It is witnessed…


Book cover of The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus

Mike Russell Author Of Strange Medicine

From my list on strange, weird, surreal short story collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hello. My name is Mike Russell. I write books (novels, short story collections, and novellas) and make visual art (mostly paintings, occasionally sculptures). I love art and books that are surreal and magical because that is the way life seems to me, and I love art and books that are mind-expanding because we need to expand our minds to perceive just how surreal and magical life is. My books have been described as strange fiction, weird fiction, surrealism, magic realism, fantasy fiction… but I just like to call them Strange Books.

Mike's book list on strange, weird, surreal short story collections

Mike Russell Why did Mike love this book?

This is the book I used to read with a torch under the bedcovers as a kid. It introduced me to many great science fiction writers. My copy had an excellent cover depicting an ice cream with an eyeball staring out of it. I loved entering the book’s different worlds. It inspired me to lie awake at night, speculating about the universe, only to awake the next morning wondering if this was the day when the school teacher would say, ‘OK enough of these spellings and sums, let’s talk about why life exists.’ I still don’t understand why it never happened.

Book cover of Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

James Stoorie Author Of AfterWitch

From my list on supernaturally troubled teenagers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As long as I can remember I have found the world a terrifying yet magical place. My first memories are of reading ghost stories, the best mirrors for my emotional experiences. As a teenager supernatural tales continued to inspire me and still do. Sometimes a starkly realistic approach can prove too dull or intrusive; far better to process or confront issues by presenting them as fantastical. When I return to these books, or discover similar stories, I listen hard to what they are trying to tell me. I won’t learn overnight for, as the villain in The Doll Maker states: “the life so short, the craft so long to learn.”

James' book list on supernaturally troubled teenagers

James Stoorie Why did James love this book?

“I’m still not certain you really are a woman?” Whenever Valerie has her period she is transported to a magical if sinister otherworld (yes, this novel was written by a man). A surreal, Freudian, East European coming-of-age fairytale that lies somewhere between Alice In Wonderland and a gothic pastiche. In the 70s it was also adapted into a film that apparently influenced Angela Carter. Not unjustifiably, the teenage experience is portrayed as a disorientating, eroticized nightmare from which Valerie must use all her wiles to escape, fending off vampiric family members after her inheritance and hypocritical authority figures keen to simultaneously sexualize her and burn her as a witch. At least she owns a set of magic earrings. “I’m acting like a sleepwalker. Is it all a dream?”

By Vitezslav Nezval, Kamil Lhotak (illustrator), David Short (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Valerie and Her Week of Wonders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written in 1935 at the height of Czech Surrealism but not published until 1945, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is a bizarre erotic fantasy of a young girl's maturation into womanhood on the night of her first menstruation. Referencing Matthew Lewis's The Monk, Marquis de Sade's Justine, K. H. Macha's May, F. W. Murnau's film Nosferatu, Nezval employs the language of the pulp serial novel to construct a lyrical, menacing dream of sexual awakening involving a vampire with an insatiable appetite for chicken blood, changelings, lecherous priests, a malicious grandmother, and an androgynous merging of brother with sister.

In…


Book cover of The Hellbound Heart

Richard S. Sargent Author Of The Horror Movie Night Cookbook: 60 Deliciously Deadly Recipes Inspired by Iconic Slashers, Zombie Films, Psychological Thrillers, Sci-Fi Spooks, and More

From my list on delicious horror stories to devour in one sitting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a student of horror since my mother first sat me down in front of the TV to watch the old monster movies with her. It's a genre for the outsiders, the underdogs, which I've certainly felt at several points throughout my life. Good horror is both an escape and a vessel to affect change in the world. Many people in my life believe horror is just boobs and blood, so I feel like it's my job to educate them. This is why I started hosting my horror movie nights, which later developed into my first cookbook. Horror is a major part of my life and I hope it gets the appreciation it deserves.

Richard's book list on delicious horror stories to devour in one sitting

Richard S. Sargent Why did Richard love this book?

It is a beautifully gruesome story about love, desire, and greed. Though I found it to be absolutely frightening, I also found it strangely comforting.

As a young gay man in the early 00s, as the AIDS epidemic was slowing down a bit, Barker's depiction of sexuality and openness was quite refreshing. I can only imagine what it must have been like reading this story for the first time as a gay man in the 1980s.

By Clive Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic tale of supernatural obsession from the critically acclaimed master of darkness—and the inspiration for the cult classic film Hellraiser

From his scores of short stories, bestselling novels, and major motion pictures, no one comes close to the vivid imagination and unique terrors provided by Clive Barker. The Hellbound Heart is one of Barker’s best—a nerve-shattering novella about the human heart and all the great terrors and ecstasies within its endless domain. It is about greed and love, desire and death, life and captivity, bells and blood. It is one of the most frightening stories you are likely to…


Book cover of The Third Policeman

Crawford Smith Author Of Laughingstock

From my list on hilarious high weirdness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved to read and laugh, and the weirder the humor, the better. It’s a strange and turbulent world out there, and sometimes, it seems like you have to laugh for crying. Fortunately, there are plenty of other talented writers and entertainers out there who share this outlook – and not just authors. Many musicians, actors, and comedians can convey this sense of cosmic absurdity, and I’m a huge fan of most of them. These books just skim the surface of the wild worldviews of kindred spirits who are capable of appreciating just how weird our society really is and can lampoon it to hilarious effect.

Crawford's book list on hilarious high weirdness

Crawford Smith Why did Crawford love this book?

This book continues to astound me. Flann O’Brien puts together such a surreal set of circumstances for his unnamed narrator that the book is hard to put down.

O’Brien doesn’t strike me as the Hunter Thompson type; this book made me wonder what they were brewing into the whiskey on the Emerald Isle. The improbability of the narrator’s criminal activity and the law enforcement response often seems like a fever dream, albeit a very entertaining one. Even though I now know the M. Knight Shyamalan twist, I still can re-read this book, thinking, “What’s next? What’s next?”

By Flann O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A masterpiece of black humour from the renown comic and acclaimed author of 'At Swim-Two-Birds' - Flann O'Brien.

A thriller, a hilarious comic satire about an archetypal village police force, a surrealistic vision of eternity, the story of a tender, brief, unrequited love affair between a man and his bicycle, and a chilling fable of unending guilt, 'The Third Policeman' is comparable only to 'Alice in Wonderland' as an allegory of the absurd.

Distinguished by endless comic invention and its delicate balancing of logic and fantasy, 'The Third Policeman' is unique in the English language.


Book cover of Mount Analogue: A Tale of Non-Euclidean and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures

Jean Muenchrath Author Of If I Live Until Morning, A True Story of Adventure, Tragedy and Transformation

From my list on adventure, healing, and growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jean Muenchrath wrote down her story to heal herself from the trauma of a life-threatening mountaineering accident, an epic survival incident, and decades of chronic pain. She then published her memoir to inspire readers to follow their dreams and to encourage them to overcome whatever challenges their life presents. Before she became an author, Muenchrath was a park ranger with the National Park Service for over thirty years. She’s led trekking tours in Nepal and Thailand and worked in Bhutan with the World Wildlife Fund. Jean enjoys traveling to foreign lands, exploring wild places and sitting quietly in meditation.

Jean's book list on adventure, healing, and growth

Jean Muenchrath Why did Jean love this book?

This book is one of my all time favorite reads. Mount Analogue is a short poetic novel. Daumal’s rich descriptions and symbolism engaged my imagination and made me think deeply about the story’s meaning. The author takes readers on a journey to a mystical place with an unusual set of characters and strange circumstances. The story revolves around an adventurous sailing and climbing expedition to a mystical mountain hidden from the world’s inhabitants which is believed to link the earth to a higher sphere of reality. It’s full of intrigue and packed with pithy philosophical statements worth pondering. Daumal’s words and descriptions are so thought-provoking, that I used a quote from this book as the opening to my memoir, If I Live Until Morning.

By René Daumal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This pataphysical journey up a mountain whose "summit must be inaccessible, but its base accessible to human beings" depicts an allegorical landscape akin to Alice in Wonderland

A beloved cult classic of surrealism, pataphysics and Gurdjieffian mysticism, René Daumal’s Mount Analogue is the allegorical tale of an expedition to a mountain whose existence can only be deduced, not observed. As its numerous editions (most now rare) over the decades attest, the book has been highly influential: Alejandro Jodorowsky's visionary 1973 film The Holy Mountain is a loose adaptation of the book, and John Zorn based an eponymous album on it.…


Book cover of Bad to the Bone

Kathleen Jowitt Author Of A Spoke in the Wheel

From my list on cycling novels that put you right in the heart of the action.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cyclist and a cycling fan. I’ve commuted through the Surrey countryside by tricycle and explored the cycling city of Cambridge by bike. I’ve stood at the side of the road to cheer on the Olympic road race, the Tour de France and the Tour of Britain, and the World Road Cycling Championships. I kept on cycling until I was eight and a half months pregnant and was reading a biography of Beryl Burton when I went into labour. There aren’t a lot of cycling novels out there, but I’m proud of having added one to that small number.

Kathleen's book list on cycling novels that put you right in the heart of the action

Kathleen Jowitt Why did Kathleen love this book?

I wasn’t following professional cycling in the bad old days of systematic doping, but this book made me feel like I was therenot just at the roadside, but in the peloton.

The charactersthe good, the bad, and the downright repulsive, are all caught in a system that grinds down the best and brings out the worst, and I couldn’t look away. I wanted integrity to prevail, I wanted justice done, but most of all, I wanted to know what happened next.

Then there’s the prose, which is so bright and vivid that I found a new favourite line in almost every chapter. It’s compulsive, stylish, and cynicalrather like the sport itself.

By James Waddington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bad to the Bone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Waddington employs a cheerful surrealism to convey the superhuman status of his cyclists and the designer violence of his killer. The encounters with death are funny rather than frightening and the narrator is omnipotent, stylish and amused. Waddington's descriptions of racing, and they are many and enthralling, have the rhythm and intensity of poetry. You're riding with your wheel an inch from the author's, carried along by the surge of the pack, normal life and normal people no more than a muted clamour on the roadside. It's exhilarating stuff.'
Joe Cogan in The Independent on Sunday

'Racy thriller in which…


Book cover of There Will Come Soft Rains

Jackson Arthur Author Of Giving Up Your Ghosts

From my list on making you fall in love with horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

An intense passion for horror fiction, both adult and teen, began very early in my life, and has never dimmed or faltered through the years. There is a depth of humanity, light and dark, that exists in this form of writing, and horror writers are not afraid to get their hands dirty. When I create my stories, I remember the books that formed this passion, the stepping stones that brought me here. These stories have shown me how beautiful horror can truly be. And, with every tale that I weave, I try to live up to their example. 

Jackson's book list on making you fall in love with horror

Jackson Arthur Why did Jackson love this book?

Technically, this is a short story, but its importance to me is no less crucial. Ray Bradbury is the king of language and subtle surrealism and this story ticks all of those boxes. I remember being assigned this in High School and I wasn’t initially thrilled at being forced to read it. In terms of short stories, this one is near perfect. It says so much in very little words, and it affected me long after finishing it. Its beauty is in its simplicity. After reading this, I fell head over heels in love with the short story form, an obsession that I still have. A good short story can be like a classic song, powerful and eternal.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked There Will Come Soft Rains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There Will Come Soft Rains


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