100 books like The Heart of a Dog

By Mikhail Bulgakov, Mirra Ginsburg (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Heart of a Dog fans have personally recommended if you like The Heart of a Dog. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Animal Farm

By George Orwell,

Book cover of Animal Farm

Ben H. Winters Author Of The Bonus Room

From the list on malevolent beasts.

Who am I?

I’ve written across genres, including mysteries like The Last Policeman and big works of alternate history like Underground Airlines. But Bedbugs—now republished as The Bonus Room—was one of my first books, and very dear to my heart. I’ve always loved books that pit a single, relatively helpless protagonist against some inexplicable force that he or she cannot begin to fathom. A force that can’t be reasoned with or bargained with. You just have to beat it. Perhaps that’s why I love these books about man vs. beast—the natural world is our friend, and animal are subservient to us…until suddenly, terrifyingly, they’re not.   

Ben's book list on malevolent beasts

Why did Ben love this book?

When we think of scary animals we think of gnashing teeth and tearing claws, but obviously Orwell’s famous parable presents a very different kind of malevolence: that of overweaning ambition and our deep-seated instinct to control.

The pigs that present themselves as heroes and then slowly, greedily, inexorable turn into murderous dictators, forcing the other animals to do their bidding and then slaughtering them when they become too old, are of course not really pig-like at all—they are human-like, and therefore all the more terrifying. 

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Animal Farm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The perfect edition for any Orwell enthusiasts' collection, discover Orwell's classic dystopian masterpiece beautifully reimagined by renowned street artist Shepard Fairey

'All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.'

Mr Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organised to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the…

Goodbye to Berlin

By Christopher Isherwood,

Book cover of Goodbye to Berlin

Peter Chapman Author Of Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World

From the list on telling stories from real life.

Who am I?

Fact is often more fascinating than fiction, and on occasions, a lot weirder too. As someone, London-based though lucky to have travelled extensively in Europe since childhood (my mother was keen to visit places where my father had been stationed in the Second World War) and more recently as a journalist (for The Financial Times, BBC, The Guardian, and others) in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, I have always been attracted to stories that strongly convey senses of time, place and the people you just happen to meet.

Peter's book list on telling stories from real life

Why did Peter love this book?

The book, set in the early 1930s, is from a fleeting period when the liberal pleasures of the German capital made it the European place to be. An English teacher of reserved social origins, Isherwood writes of the Berlin characters who enlivened his life, against the forbidding backdrop of Hitler's rise to power. Cabaret, the film adapted from the book, led Isherwood to insist his version of events was far nearer to how things were.

By Christopher Isherwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1934, Goodbye to Berlin has been popularized on stage and screen by Julie Harris in I Am a Camera and Liza Minelli in Cabaret. Isherwood magnificently captures 1931 Berlin: charming, with its avenues and cafes; marvelously grotesque, with its nightlife and dreamers; dangerous, with its vice and intrigue; powerful and seedy, with its mobs and millionaires - this was the period when Hitler was beginning his move to power. Goodbye to Berlin is inhabited by a wealth of characters: the unforgettable and "divinely decadent"Sally Bowles; plump Fraulein Schroeder, who considers reducing her Buste relieve her heart palpitations;…

Of Human Bondage

By W. Somerset Maugham,

Book cover of Of Human Bondage

Stephen Jarvis Author Of Death and Mr. Pickwick

From the list on turning you into a novelist.

Who am I?

Loads of people want to be writers and the dream can come true! It did for me. So, I want to tell people about the books that have helped to turn me into a novelist. Initially, I wrote journalistic pieces about bizarre leisure activities for various British newspapers and magazines: I lay on a bed of nails, walked on red hot coals, met people who collect bricks as a hobby...and even lost my underpants while performing on the flying trapeze! (No kidding!) But my ultimate goal was always to become a novelist. Then, one day, I discovered the subject I just had to turn into a novel. And the result was...Death and Mr. Pickwick

Stephen's book list on turning you into a novelist

Why did Stephen love this book?

This book’s magic comes from its plot. I would say it is the most unputdownable book I have ever read. But once again, it deals with a simple human experiencein this case, of a young man obsessed by a woman. There are times when you feel like shouting at the main male character: “Don’t do it! Don’t do it!” And of course he does do it, and you want to find out what happens. I remember that I recommended this novel to a friend, who didn’t believe it could be so unputdownablebut he found himself staying up until the early hours of the morning, unable to stop reading this novel. In a way, I think Of Human Bondage will influence me more as a writer in the future than it has so farbecause one day I would like to write a heavily plot-driven…

By W. Somerset Maugham,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Of Human Bondage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

"It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham," wrote Gore Vidal. "He was always so entirely there."

Originally published in 1915, Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man's yearning for freedom. This classic bildungsroman tells the story of Philip Carey, a sensitive boy born with a clubfoot who is orphaned and raised by a religious aunt and uncle. Philip yearns…

The Pyramid

By Ismail Kadare,

Book cover of The Pyramid

Simon Edge Author Of The End of the World Is Flat

From the list on where you need to read between the lines.

Who am I?

The End of the World is Flat is my fifth novel. All my previous work has used comedy to help tell a story, often viewing historical lives and themes through a light-hearted modern prism. This one reverses the process, using historical material – various accounts of Columbus’ first voyage to the Caribbean – to explore a bizarre modern movement. Because I’m critiquing gender ideology – a taboo undertaking in most of the publishing world – I’ve deliberately borrowed the allegorical methods of Bulgakov, Kadare, and, especially, Orwell. I hope the ‘samizdat’ way in which my novel has become a word-of-mouth bestseller makes that homage all the more fitting.

Simon's book list on where you need to read between the lines

Why did Simon love this book?

He’s now based in Paris, but Kadare lived much of his life under the rule of Albanian despot Enver Hoxha, who made the rest of the Eastern Bloc look like a holiday camp.

The Pyramid is set in ancient Egypt, where the Pharoah Cheops commissions the tallest-ever pyramid. He doesn’t really want one, but his advisers argue it’s a good way of keeping his population permanently involved in back-breaking labour so they have no energy to revolt.

Dozens of labourers, as dispensable as ants, die with each stone laid. What’s striking is the flippant, ironic tone of the narrative. Kadare is writing for fellow Albanians who know how cheap life can be; there’s no need to dwell on the human suffering, which is an unspoken given.

By Ismail Kadare,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A satire on Stalinist Albania under the rule of Enver Hoxha, a novel about the construction of a pyramid whose only purpose is to keep the population enslaved, enabling tyranny to flourish. Translated from the French by David Bellos. From the author of BROKEN APRIL, THE PALACE OF DREAMS and THE CONCERT.

The Master and Margarita

By Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Book cover of The Master and Margarita

Robert Wynne-Simmons Author Of Blood on Satan's Claw: or, The Devil's Skin

From the list on supernatural challenging the way we see the world.

Who am I?

I was born a polymath in Cheam, Surrey, England. Even as a child I had a passionate interest in music, architecture, film, poetry, drama, and storytelling. I lived very much in the world of my imagination and was able to apply it to a wide variety of projects. I have worked in Film, TV, Theatre, and have written scripts, plays, novels, songs, a musical, and an opera, all different in feeling. I have therefore had a special interest in innovative artistic work, and story-telling which pushes the boundaries of the imagination.

Robert's book list on supernatural challenging the way we see the world

Why did Robert love this book?

People who read The Master and Margarita will tell you that it is one of the greatest books they have ever read, but few can tell you why. It defies description.  It is truly unique. 

It opens on a blistering hot day in Moscow, a paradox in itself. The devil, seemingly out of Goethe’s Faust, is on a visit to the town. He and his strange entourage would be laughable, if they were not so lethal. Only the madness of Stalin’s paranoid Communism could have created such a story.

Bulgakov has an uncanny way of investing even the most unlikely scenes with intense realism. You never doubt him.  At times hilarious, at times terrifying, the book shows us what a fragile hold we have on reality.

By Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Master and Margarita as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Bulgakov is one of the greatest Russian writers, perhaps the greatest' Independent

Written in secret during the darkest days of Stalin's reign, The Master and Margarita became an overnight literary phenomenon when it was finally published it, signalling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere. Bulgakov's carnivalesque satire of Soviet life describes how the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow one Spring afternoon. Brimming with magic and incident, it is full of imaginary, historical, terrifying and wonderful characters, from witches, poets and Biblical tyrants to the beautiful, courageous Margarita, who will…

The Woman and the Witch

By Amanda Larkman,

Book cover of The Woman and the Witch

Amy Q. Barker Author Of Rue

From the list on women’s fiction with an unlikely heroine.

Who am I?

I'm a women's fiction novelist with a love for drama without trauma. As an avid reader myself, I write what I know—moving stories written for women and about women. In my books, I sweep you off your feet, lead your heart to a place it's never been before, make you think, make you fall in love, make you yearn for justice, make you aspire and hope and dream. And I promise a happy ending every time, or at least a realistic, thought-provoking tote of warm feelings you can take with you. I hope you enjoy my reading recommendations below! 

Amy's book list on women’s fiction with an unlikely heroine

Why did Amy love this book?

I came across this novel after I started following the author on Instagram. It was my first time dabbling in magical realism, and I found myself instantly hooked. Angie is an overweight, fifty-year-old housecleaner with a special skill—she can see the dead. Despite her best efforts to ignore her intuition, the spirits follow her, seek her out, and try to absorb and siphon her human powers. I love the arc of this novel, following the most unlikely of heroines into a death-defying struggle, where she learns that she is stronger than she ever thought possible and more importantly, she doesn’t need anyone else to save her. I rooted for her the entire way through, and now I’m excited to hear the author is making this into a trilogy.

By Amanda Larkman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Meet Angie and Frieda, two unforgettable characters who will live in your memory long after you turn the last page.

Nothing ever changes in the village of Witchford until the day a hundred year old, bad-tempered witch falls and breaks her hip, and a fifty year old cleaner decides her life is over.

Both are haunted by ghosts, but can Frieda help Angie find out what her long dead father is trying to tell her? And can Angie help Frieda fight off the wolf who circles ever closer?

A story of empowerment and friendship, 'The Woman and the Witch' explores…

A Lodging of Wayfaring Men

By Paul Rosenberg,

Book cover of A Lodging of Wayfaring Men

Wyman Wicket Author Of 23 Skiddoo: Way Back Beyond Across the Stars

From the list on magical realism for metapolitical non-fiction fans.

Who am I?

As a free man of flesh-and-blood I trust in time-tested verities and traditions; as a spiritual entity I am a man of faith; and as a thinking being I explore in my writing the malleability of consciousness and reality. Through a broad range of experiences I offer images for the minds of readers in novels of a twisted magical realism. I seek the mysteries of God, the beauty of poetry, and the freedom to explore all and everything. I am an American State National who critiques modern society, culture, and politics as an independent scholar who will not be silenced. Awaken, oh human beans, from normative conditioning and screen-gazing complacency!

Wyman's book list on magical realism for metapolitical non-fiction fans

Why did Wyman love this book?

Besides having one of the best book titles ever, this novel immediately draws readers in and is hard to put down; the action is matched by its intelligence. In it, freedom-seekers create a fast-growing, virtual society on the Internet that grows so fast it terrifies governments and their “security.” With no possibility of oversight and control, the System fights to co-opt this cyber-society before it undermines and overwhelms the dominance of corruptocrat governing elites. The free souls in this novel lead us through a clever plot wherein principles of economic freedom, individuality, and justice lead to a free market uncontrolled by tax-hungry government lackeys. Profiled here are a group of individuals determined to transcend paradigms that the human psyche often forms for us, almost autonomically, as a reaction to fear.

By Paul Rosenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Lodging of Wayfaring Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Instantly named Freedom Book of The Month and a major influence in the Cyber-underground, A Lodging of Wayfaring Men is the story of freedom-seekers who create an alternative society on the Internet - a virtual society, with no possibility of oversight or control. It grows so fast that governments and “leaders” are terrified, and fight to co-opt this cyber-society before it undermines the power of the governing elite.

The main body of the book is followed by a set of essays and a supplemental narrative that were composed as the book was being written.

For those of you who may…


By Susanna Clarke,

Book cover of Piranesi

Therese Down Author Of The Estate Agent

From the list on lighting up your imagination and your soul.

Who am I?

I love stories grounded in realism - but which also explore that there may be more to life than meets the eye; reasons beyond reason, for the way we dream, love, and think, and which come from unexpected sources. I love books whose characters really 'live', and stay with me, long after I've finished reading. I aspire to create such characters. In my novels, I seek to explore important themes from perspectives that often pitch rationality against what it cannot explain, or dismiss. The fiction I most love does this – whether it exploits mythology, suggests life beyond life, or uses magical realism to add ‘other’ dimensions to the ordinary. "There are more things… Horatio…"

Therese's book list on lighting up your imagination and your soul

Why did Therese love this book?

How to explain the appeal of this compellingly original novel? A man who no longer knows himself, exists in a place no longer known to the world; a series of halls flooded by tidal waters and populated by extraordinary statues and flocks of birds.

Narnia for grownups, Piranesi enthralled me from the start. The need to unravel the book’s mystery became an obsession, so that the story occupied my thoughts on and off all day, and I couldn’t wait to get back to it. The ‘reveal’ is as satisfying as it is unpredictable, and the writing is flawless.

Clarke had already asserted her narrative mastery with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but it is honed with Piranesi. World-class stuff.

By Susanna Clarke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction

The spectacular new novel from the bestselling author of JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL, 'one of our greatest living authors' NEW YORK MAGAZINE
Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has.

In his notebooks, day after day, he makes a clear and careful record of its wonders: the labyrinth of halls, the thousands upon thousands of statues, the tides that thunder up staircases, the clouds that move in slow procession through the upper halls. On Tuesdays and Fridays Piranesi sees his friend,…

Desolation Road

By Ian McDonald,

Book cover of Desolation Road

David Wellington Author Of Paradise-1

From the list on genre mashups in science fiction and fantasy.

Who am I?

Science fiction and Fantasy have always been about exploring new ideas in novel ways—right from the beginning, Mary Shelley saw the story of Frankenstein as a chance to explore ideas of liberation and equality that, at the time, were too uncomfortable for mainstream stories. Since then many writers have found success by mashing up sf with other literary genres to discover the boundaries—and the gray areas—between them. In my latest book I explore the deep connection between horror (the fear of the unknown) and sf (the drive toward wonder). Some of my most cherished books have similarly charted these murky borderlands.

David's book list on genre mashups in science fiction and fantasy

Why did David love this book?

I love this book for its science fiction and magical realism. This generational saga of a small town on a recently terraformed Mars is both a love letter to and an evolution on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.

McDonald wanted to capture the frontier magic of a whole new world in a way that wasn’t just moving the American West to space, and in the end he breathes new life into one of the oldest tropes of SF, the colony story.

Charming, fantastical, and witty, it shares its source material’s deep humanism even in the face of cynical realism. It may very well be my favorite novel of all time, and luckily for all of us, there’s an equally great sort of sequel, Ares Express.

By Ian McDonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It all started thirty years ago on Mars. By the time it was finished, the town of Desolation Road had been witness to every abnormality yet seen on the Red Planet. From Adam Black's Wonderful Travelling Chautauqua and Educational 'Stravaganza, to the Astounding Tatterdemalion Air Bazaar, nowhere else boasts such sights for the wandering lucky traveller.

Its inhabitants are just as storied. From Dr. Alimantando -- founder and resident genius -- to the Babooshka, a barren grandmother with a child grown in a fruit jar; from Rajendra Das, mechanical hobo whose way with machines bordered on the mystic, to the…

Book cover of The Book of Form and Emptiness

Hoa Pham Author Of The Other Shore

From the list on slippaging between worlds.

Who am I?

I want to write about the magic of the everyday and often this is seen in the slippages between worlds like the worlds of the living and the dead. Ghosts and spirits feature heavily in my work and fascinate me as a reader too. This is not in the realm of fantasy to me, ghosts are real and actual.

Hoa's book list on slippaging between worlds

Why did Hoa love this book?

This story is about Benny a teenager who can hear objects speaking and his mother, who is a compulsive hoarder.

Benny finds a group of people in a hidden wing of the local library which introduces him to a new world where he is accepted. He meets Aleph a drug user who leaves lines of poetry on paper in the books of the library and Slavoj a homeless drunk man who spouts much philosophy from his wheelchair. Ozeki makes the reality fantastic, the work is grounded in ordinary details.

The book is a beautiful portrait of a mix of characters you ordinarily would ignore and makes magic of the everyday. It's this everyday magic that I also wish to capture in my own fiction.

By Ruth Ozeki,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"No one writes like Ruth Ozeki-a triumph." -Matt Haig, New York Times bestselling author of The Midnight Library

"Inventive, vivid, and propelled by a sense of wonder." -TIME

"If you've lost your way with fiction over the last year or two, let The Book of Form and Emptiness light your way home." -David Mitchell, Booker Prize-finalist author of Cloud Atlas

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

A boy who hears the voices of objects all around him; a mother drowning in her possessions; and a Book that might hold the secret to saving them both-the brilliantly inventive new novel…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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