100 books like The Invention of Morel

By Adolfo Bioy Casares, Ruth L. C. Simms (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Invention of Morel fans have personally recommended if you like The Invention of Morel. 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 Unlimited Dream Company

Martin B. Reed Author Of The Hammond Conjecture: The Third Reich meets the Swinging Sixties, cyberpunk meets neuroscience, in a comic meta-thriller

From my list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a student in 1968-71 (see photo) and the memories of that vanished world still haunt me. When I was supposed to be studying relativity and topology I was reading Blake and Jung, Marcuse and Mao—all misfits in their own way. After a long and undistinguished career as a mathematics lecturer in far-flung locations—Lesotho, New Guinea, Uxbridge—I retired in 2019 to write speculative comic fiction which would bring the Swinging Sixties back to life. Something of a misfit myself, I look at today's world and ask despairingly, “Is this really happening?” The books on my list provide me some solace.

Martin's book list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality

Martin B. Reed Why did Martin love this book?

Published in 1979, but it reads like 1960s psychedelia. The hero, Blake, descends—literally—on the sleepy riverside town of Shepperton (where Ballard himself lived), and conjures it and its inhabitants into a sensual Amazonian Eden. I imagine Ballard walking the streets each day and seeing visions: flamingos perched atop the filling station, orchids overrunning the hardware store, his neighbours throwing off their business suits and coupling naked in their front gardens. Seeing, like his hero’s namesake, "a world in a grain of sand, or heaven in a wildflower." The rich prose, evocative but never repetitive, works the same magic on the reader.  

By J.G. Ballard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With a new introduction by John Gray and striking new cover from the artist Stanley Donwood, the author of 'Cocaine Nights' brings you the story of suburban London transformed into an exotic dreamworld.

When a light aircraft crashes into the Thames at Shepperton, the young pilot who struggles to the surface minutes later seems to have come back from the dead. Within hours everything in the dormitory suburb is surreally transformed. Vultures invade the rooftops, luxuriant tropical vegetation overruns the quiet avenues, and the local inhabitants are propelled by the young man's urgent visions through ecstatic sexual celebrations towards an…


Book cover of Against Nature (À Rebours)

Michelle Facos Author Of An American in Pandemic Paris: A Coming-of-Retirement-Age Memoir

From my list on Paris for foodies and historians.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began writing about Paris at age 7. It figured as the central location for my uncompleted novel (4 chapters), Mystry (sic) at Oak Hall Manor, undoubtedly inspired by public television’s French language program that aired daily at noon when I was a child and by tales told by my French Alsatian grandmother and her siblings. Paris was my primary destination on my first trip to Europe, and I’ve spent many extended stays for art history research (who can write about 19th-century French art without privileging Paris?), lecturing, and writing, as well as for hanging with friends, swing dancing, and just being in, for me, the world’s most wonderful city.

Michelle's book list on Paris for foodies and historians

Michelle Facos Why did Michelle love this book?

I always recommend this short read to anyone wanting to understand the weird, dystopic side of the late 19th-century Symbolist movement. Written in 1884 at the beginning of the avant-garde art movement that launched 20th-century modernism and abstraction, Huysmans tells the tale of an aristocrat repulsed by a Paris transformed by urbanization, commercialization, and massive immigration who builds himself a ‘Fortress of Solitude’ in a quiet suburb and interacts with the world through his imagination with the help of a loyal servant who maintained his physical milieu, silently serving meals and performing domestic tasks. Who doesn’t want to know more about a man determined to beautify his environment by commissioning a jeweler to embed precious stones into the shell of his pet tortoise?

By J. K. Huysmans,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Against Nature (À Rebours) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in French under the title “À Rebours” in 1884 and translated into English in 1926, “Against Nature”, also known as “Against the Grain”, is a book by Joris-Karl Huysmans and is well described by its subtitle “A Novel Without a Plot”. The premise of the novel is simple and follows the seclusion of Jean des Esseintes, the last member of a once powerful and noble family. Having lived an extremely decadent life in 19th-century bourgeois Parisian society, Des Esseintes finds himself disgusted with the life he once led and retreats to a house in the countryside. He is…


Book cover of Remainder

Martin B. Reed Author Of The Hammond Conjecture: The Third Reich meets the Swinging Sixties, cyberpunk meets neuroscience, in a comic meta-thriller

From my list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a student in 1968-71 (see photo) and the memories of that vanished world still haunt me. When I was supposed to be studying relativity and topology I was reading Blake and Jung, Marcuse and Mao—all misfits in their own way. After a long and undistinguished career as a mathematics lecturer in far-flung locations—Lesotho, New Guinea, Uxbridge—I retired in 2019 to write speculative comic fiction which would bring the Swinging Sixties back to life. Something of a misfit myself, I look at today's world and ask despairingly, “Is this really happening?” The books on my list provide me some solace.

Martin's book list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality

Martin B. Reed Why did Martin love this book?

If you were suddenly awarded 8.5 million pounds, what would you do with it? Would you take the advice of the financial consultants and invest it sensibly? How boring. If you were a visionary you might create a sensual paradise of your imagination. But if you are just an ordinary young working-class Londoner? You might remember an instant—on holiday, or at a party—when you felt happy and content, and decide to recreate it. 

This time the writing is sparse and matter-of-fact. I hardly noticed as the hero’s project proceeds gradually, logically into realms of absurdity, told with deadpan humour. For me, speculative fiction involves a world that is recognisable and familiar—but which gradually becomes ‘curiouser and curiouser’.

It’s a story that makes you think—though without telling you what to think.

By Tom Mccarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Traumatised by an accident that involves something falling from the sky and leaves him eight and a half million pounds richer, our hero spends his time and money obsessively reconstructing and re-enacting memories and situations from his past: a large building with piano music in the distance, the familiar smells and sounds of liver frying and spluttering, lethargic cats lounging on roofs until they tumble off them...But, when this fails to quench his thirst for authenticity, he starts reconstructing more and more violent events, including hold-ups and shoot-outs.


Book cover of Fu-Manchu: The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu

Martin B. Reed Author Of The Hammond Conjecture: The Third Reich meets the Swinging Sixties, cyberpunk meets neuroscience, in a comic meta-thriller

From my list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a student in 1968-71 (see photo) and the memories of that vanished world still haunt me. When I was supposed to be studying relativity and topology I was reading Blake and Jung, Marcuse and Mao—all misfits in their own way. After a long and undistinguished career as a mathematics lecturer in far-flung locations—Lesotho, New Guinea, Uxbridge—I retired in 2019 to write speculative comic fiction which would bring the Swinging Sixties back to life. Something of a misfit myself, I look at today's world and ask despairingly, “Is this really happening?” The books on my list provide me some solace.

Martin's book list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality

Martin B. Reed Why did Martin love this book?

At first glance, a pulp fiction potboiler in which Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie (clones of Holmes and Dr. Watson) struggle to foil the devilish plans of an evil mastermind. But as the pair are thrust into ever more fantastical dangers, I started to wonder. Is Nayland Smith’s obsession with Fu Manchu (like Holmes with Moriarty) making him see the Chinaman’s omnipotent hand behind every crime? And Dr. Petrie, the narrator (like Watson a blinkered stuffed shirt) becomes infatuated with Fu Manchu’s beautiful Egyptian slave/concubine Karameneh. Even more improbably, she falls in love with him, according to his account. Are the two Englishmen actually living out their own (or their author’s) fantasies?

I love to wallow in the pure excitement and polished prose of these pre-war thrillers. I penned my own homage in the Chinatown chapter of my own book.  

By Sax Rohmer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The greatest genius whom the powers of evil have put on the earth for centuries", Fu Manchu - an agent of the Si-Fan - seeks to climb the ladder of the secret society's hierarchy, then to pave the way for conquest of his native land of China. He is pursued by Commissioner Sir Denis Nayland Smith and his compatriot Dr. Petrie, the narrator of these fast-paced, mood-drenched adventures.


Book cover of The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Kelley Skovron Author Of No Filter

From my list on deliciously dark horror novels that are more sad than scary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of over 15 novels written for kids, teens, and adults across several genres. The thing all my books have in common is that they are sad and they are dark. My most recent novel is my most distilled, compressed delivery of deliciously dark sadness yet! Oddly, I'm rarely sad in real life. My daughter suggested that I write books to get the darkness out of my head and onto the page, which I think is very insightful (she is my kid, after all). I enjoy the beauty in the breakdown, I savor the sublime catharsis of tragedy, and I want to share that perspective with everyone.

Kelley's book list on deliciously dark horror novels that are more sad than scary

Kelley Skovron Why did Kelley love this book?

Neil Gaiman has probably had more of an impact on my brain and my writing than any other author. Selecting just one of his many incredible "dark and sad" books was a real challenge for me.

I settled on this one, in part because it is the perfect bookend to my previous recommendation, Doll Bones, in that it eloquently expresses the quiet joys, fears, and sorrows of childhood, as seen through the eyes of an adult who knows full well the meaning of loss, and the cost of things we can barely recognize, much less understand, when we are young.

Like the narrator of the book, I feel the ever-widening gulf between myself and my own memories. I also see it beginning for my offspring, who have both recently entered adulthood, and my heart breaks for all three of us.

By Neil Gaiman, Elise Hurst (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Ocean at the End of the Lane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 'BOOK OF THE YEAR'

AN ACCLAIMED WEST END THEATRE PRODUCTION *****

'Neil Gaiman's entire body of work is a feat of elegant sorcery. He writes with such assurance and originality that the reader has no choice but to surrender to a waking dream' ARMISTEAD MAUPIN

'Some books just swallow you up, heart and soul' JOANNE HARRIS

'Summons both the powerlessness and wonder of childhood, and the complicated landscape of memory and forgetting' GUARDIAN

---

'My favourite response to this book is when people say, 'My childhood was nothing like that - and it was as if…


Book cover of The Shadow at The Bottom of The World

Benjamin Kane Ethridge Author Of Black & Orange

From my list on atmospheric books for autumn.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a novelist who has primarily written in the dark fantasy and horror genre, which often embraces all things autumn. My first novel Black & Orange, its sequel, Nomads, and supplemental short story collection, Reaping October, all take place in autumn and focus on an encroaching dimension of darkness that would change life as we know it. Halloween isn’t just a holiday, it’s a different existence altogether. Having a love for the season and being its steadfast student, I’ve explored these atmospheric themes for decades. I have a solid opinion on what stories take you there.

Benjamin's book list on atmospheric books for autumn

Benjamin Kane Ethridge Why did Benjamin love this book?

Thomas Ligotti writes dark magical realism short stories. The Shadow at the Bottom of the World is an unforgettable collection written by a modern master of atmosphere. His stories rarely have complicated plots, but the feeling they leave you with is the whole point. In the thousands of books I’ve read, I can safely say he writes like no other-- he enshrouds your spirit with dread. The title story showcases a small town that encounters the arrival of a threatening breed of darkness. Written with the stunning imagery of Bradbury, the mysticism of Lovecraft, and the disquieting tone of William S. Burroughs, this collection will have you brightening the blaze in the fireplace, just to make the shadows retreat.

By Thomas Ligotti,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A longtime Lovecraft devotee, who has extended the weird tale to the next level via the likes of Borges and Burroughs, Thomas Ligotti is usually published as part of a general anthology of horror writers. But now Ligotti has pulled together a collection of his favorite fiction, both old and new, representing his best and most characteristic works.

Thomas Ligotti's stories are perhaps best described as dark magical realism. Many of his stories center on the distorted perspective of a frequently doomed narrator. The title story, "The Shadow at the Bottom of the World," reimagines a kind of Bradbury-like small…


Book cover of The House of the Spirits

Kevin Chen Author Of Ghost Town

From my list on family saga books that unravel dark secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have 7 sisters and 1 brother. I was the 9th child in my family. To get a son who would carry on the family heritage, my parents tried 7 times without any success. After 7 unwanted daughters, my brother finally arrived. Then they had me as the second boy in the family. The plot twist was: I am gay. I turned out to be the 8th unwanted daughter because of my sexuality. Coming from this small-town big family full of superstitions and secrets, I am naturally drawn to dramatic family stories with many dark and psychological twists.

Kevin's book list on family saga books that unravel dark secrets

Kevin Chen Why did Kevin love this book?

This novel is a graphic and passionate family saga. I came from a big family and could totally relate to the story of many generations.

I read it in one math class in high school and got punished by the teacher. I clearly remember the teacher’s distorted face when he threw my book out of the window. “Could this crap be more important than math?” I said YES. Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand yeses.

He failed me, which was fine. Allende’s magical realism allowed me to aspire to become a novelist. I did become a writer, and I would still say YES to my math teacher.

By Isabel Allende,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Spectacular...An absorbing and distinguished work...The House of the Spirits with its all-informing, generous, and humane sensibility, is a unique achievement, both personal witness and possible allegory of the past, present, and future of Latin America.” —The New York Times Book Review

Our Shared Shelf, Emma Watson Goodreads Book Club Pick November/December 2020!

The House of the Spirits, the unforgettable first novel that established Isabel Allende as one of the world’s most gifted storytellers, brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political…


Book cover of The Shore

Winnie M. Li Author Of Complicit

From my list on stories to fuel your feminist fire.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an author and activist, I use fiction as a way of exploring social issues which mean a lot to me. As a woman of color, that means writing protagonists who encounter sexism, racism, class, and geographic inequality—but who combat those injustices in inventive and heroic ways. For me, the story is always about being human: trying to understand why a character acts a certain way in a certain situation. After all, aren’t we all trying to pursue our own desires against a backdrop of societal expectations? A good storywhether fiction or non-fictionbrings these conflicts to emotional, vivid life, and roots them in a reality we can all relate to. 

Winnie's book list on stories to fuel your feminist fire

Winnie M. Li Why did Winnie love this book?

I loved this atmospheric debut, often described as a collection of interlinked short stories. Set on an isolated group of islands off the coast of Virginia, the stories span more than two centuries of the same family’s history: from the 19th century and far ahead into a post-apocalyptic, post-pandemic future. There are intimations that a supernatural ‘second sight’ runs in the family and the book’s Southern Gothic vibe is nothing short of intriguing. But for all the hints of magic realism, the focus on female characters contending with obstacles of class and gender at different points in history is rooted in an understandable reality. Beautifully written descriptions of the natural environment, poignant characters, and local color all demonstrate Taylor’s imagination to be visionary and impressive. 

By Sara Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An ambitious, Baileys prize-nominated debut set in an unforgettable place, introducing a powerful new voice in fiction

The Shore: a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it's a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian's bold choice to escape an abusive home only to find herself with a…


Book cover of The Cicada Tree

Jeffrey Dale Lofton Author Of Red Clay Suzie

From my list on the unique life of outsider children in the South.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a child of the South, hailing as I do from Warm Springs, Georgia, best known for Roosevelt’s Little White House. My family, indeed the entire community as far as I can tell, were in the thrall of conservative Christian values that had no room for people like me—gay (although I had no word for it for a long time) and physically misshapen (something to be hidden under layers of clothing). I was a boy and then teenager living on the fringes, always on the outside looking in, seeking approval or defiantly hiding to process the uniquely Southern dysfunction around me. I know these protagonists. They’re my people.

Jeffrey's book list on the unique life of outsider children in the South

Jeffrey Dale Lofton Why did Jeffrey love this book?

The Cicada Tree is a wonderful Southern Gothic magical realism mash-up leavened with humor and illuminating reflections on the human condition told in voices that drip with authentic Southernisms. Analeise Newell, this novel’s protagonist, is a complex, not-as-kind-as-she-knows-she-should-be eleven-year-old who drinks whiskey and is a piano prodigy. Her close friendship with Etta Mae, a budding coloratura soprano, sheds light on accepted racial inequities in the Deep South of the 1950s, building to (in the author’s words) a “chain of cataclysmic events with life-altering consequences-all of it unfolding to the maddening whir of a cicada song.” 

By Robert Gwaltney,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Cicada Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WHEN AN ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD, WHISKY DRINKING, PIANO PRODIGY ENCOUNTERS A WEALTHY FAMILY POSSESSING SUPERNATURAL BEAUTY, HER ENSUING OBSESSION UNLEASHES FAMILY SECRETS AND A CATACLYSMIC PLAGUE OF CICADAS. The summer of 1956, a brood of cicadas descends upon Providence, Georgia, a natural event with supernatural repercussions, unhinging the life of Analeise Newell, an eleven-year-old piano prodigy. Amidst this emergence, dark obsessions are stirred, uncanny gifts provoked, and secrets unearthed.
During a visit to Mistletoe, a plantation owned by the wealthy Mayfield family, Analeise encounters Cordelia Mayfield and her daughter Marlissa, both of whom possess an otherworldly beauty, a lineal trait regarded as…


Book cover of Things in Jars

Tonya Mitchell Author Of The Arsenic Eater's Wife

From my list on historical fiction books with gothic vibes that will give you the creeps.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved Gothic fiction since I was a teen, though back then, I didn’t know it was Gothic. I just liked the creepiness, the often-isolated heroine, and the things-aren’t-what-they-seem murkiness of the stories. One of my first reads was Jane Eyre, which has remained a favorite. Though I didn’t like history in school (too much memorization!), I read several historical fiction books from different eras that fascinated me. These things, combined with another genre favorite—mystery/thriller, led to my first book. It turns out that all those things I’d gravitated to in my decades of reading became the things I most wanted to write about - mystery/thriller historical fiction with elements of Gothic. 

Tonya's book list on historical fiction books with gothic vibes that will give you the creeps

Tonya Mitchell Why did Tonya love this book?

Nobody does characters like Jess Kidd. Every person in this story is bizarre—a monster, misfit, or malefactor—yet not one feels contrived. I adored Bridie Devine, a small, rotund, pipe-smoking detective who begins to see the same ghost everywhere she goes.

Bridie’s quarry is a strange girl who’s been kidnapped and might (depending on who you ask) have supernatural powers or be a “lovely grotesque” who’s caught the eye of collectors. I fell in love with Kidd’s imaginative Victorian London, where nothing is as it seems, and evil lurks around every bend.

By Jess Kidd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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