100 books like The Malady of Death

By Marguerite Duras, Barbara Bray (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Malady of Death fans have personally recommended if you like The Malady of Death. 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 Madame Bovary

Astrid Carlen-Helmer Author Of The Demon King’s Interpreter

From my list on capturing France's most epic love stories.

Who am I?

I am a French-American writer with a passion for young adult stories and flawed female characters. Born and raised in France in a household without a TV, I spent my entire childhood reading avidly, which in turn led me to study Literature and Film. In fact, most of my life, I have been inspired by novels that offer windows into new worlds that open up possibilities. Some of the novels from the list below feature some of my favorite characters, and provide insights into other worlds and other times. 

Astrid's book list on capturing France's most epic love stories

Astrid Carlen-Helmer Why did Astrid love this book?

Madame Bovary is the story of a woman who endlessly struggles to escape the banalities of her provincial life.

This novel makes you feel like you’re in the head of its main characters: first Charles Bovary, then Emma, his second wife and the novel’s eponymous hero. It is so realistic that upon its release, the author was taken to court for public offense against morality.

Still very modern, Emma’s drama is, to me, the discrepancy between illusions and reality. Her quest for happiness outside of her own condition and her inability to be satisfied with what she has are themes that, I believe, still resonate today.

By Gustave Flaubert, Geoffrey Wall (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A masterpiece' Julian Barnes

Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of a married woman's affair caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. Its heroine, Emma Bovary, is stifled by provincial life as the wife of a doctor. An ardent devourer of sentimental novels, she seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment, and when real life continues to fail to live up to her romantic expectations, the consequences are devastating. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for…


Book cover of Night Train

Norman Lock Author Of American Follies

From my list on the mind at play.

Who am I?

I have written stage and radio plays, poetry, short story collections, and, beginning in 2013, novels that comprise The American Novels series, published by Bellevue Literary Press. Unlike historical fiction, these works reimagine the American past to account for faults that persist to the present day: the wish to dominate and annex, the will to succeed in every department of life regardless of cost, and the stain of injustice and intolerance. In order to escape the gravity of an authorial self, I address present dangers and follies through the lens of our nineteenth-century literature and in a narrative voice quite different from my own.

Norman's book list on the mind at play

Norman Lock Why did Norman love this book?

Impulse and happenstance set the syllabus of my reading, and so it was that, shortly after reading Lydia Davis’s Madame Bovary, I chanced to see a notice for her rendering into English, from the Dutch, a selection of the very short stories written by the late A. L. Snijders. He wrote plainly, eschewing elegance and complications of form and syntax in favor of simple sentences that laid out, in workmanlike prose, his casual, wry observations of, and on, his fellow Dutchmen, Dutch women, and also Dutch animals, of whom he was fond. Here is no Modernist heroic ambition, no Postmodernist archness, no posturing, or overbearing intellectual or moral superiority. He wrote thousands of his peculiar miniatures, we are told by Davis in her foreword on the writer and on the problems of translation in general.

Those she chose for Night Train rise above anecdote or sketch, despite their Dutch…

By A L Snijders, Lydia Davis (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gorgeously translated by Lydia Davis, the miniature stories of A. L. Snijders might concern a lost shoe, a visit with a bat, fears of travel, a dream of a man who has lost a glass eye: uniting them is their concision and their vivacity. Lydia Davis in her introduction delves into her fascination with the pleasures and challenges of translating from a language relatively new to her. She also extols Snijders's "straightforward approach to storytelling, his modesty and his thoughtfulness."
Selected from many hundreds in the original Dutch, the stories gathered here-humorous, or bizarre, or comfortingly homely-are something like daybook…


Book cover of Break It Down

Norman Lock Author Of American Follies

From my list on the mind at play.

Who am I?

I have written stage and radio plays, poetry, short story collections, and, beginning in 2013, novels that comprise The American Novels series, published by Bellevue Literary Press. Unlike historical fiction, these works reimagine the American past to account for faults that persist to the present day: the wish to dominate and annex, the will to succeed in every department of life regardless of cost, and the stain of injustice and intolerance. In order to escape the gravity of an authorial self, I address present dangers and follies through the lens of our nineteenth-century literature and in a narrative voice quite different from my own.

Norman's book list on the mind at play

Norman Lock Why did Norman love this book?

It’s time I was reading Lydia Davis’s own stories, I tell myself, which are said to be remarkable, and I find that they are just that. She is nothing new to readers of serious literary fiction, having been writing her curious short stories since the late seventies. Her constructions are precise and elegant. Although plainspoken, her language is stylized and restrained in its effects. She is very much in control of her fictional creations. In some instances, they seem like exercises in logic, however Kafkaesque. Unlike Snijders’ stories, hers are more formal in tone and presentation. They have a satisfying shape and a sense of an ending that is not arbitrary.

Davis’s theater is that of consciousness. Personages in her small dramas of “the mind working” are exceptionally alert, sometimes painfully so; often they have trouble falling asleep. Their dreams have the solidity of objects. Dither and nervousness characterize…

By Lydia Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Published to huge acclaim in the US, Lydia Davis? important debut collection of 34 stories seems to assure us that reality is ordered and reasonable. However, as the characters in the stories prove, misunderstanding and confusion are inherent in everyday life.


Book cover of A Frozen Woman

Norman Lock Author Of American Follies

From my list on the mind at play.

Who am I?

I have written stage and radio plays, poetry, short story collections, and, beginning in 2013, novels that comprise The American Novels series, published by Bellevue Literary Press. Unlike historical fiction, these works reimagine the American past to account for faults that persist to the present day: the wish to dominate and annex, the will to succeed in every department of life regardless of cost, and the stain of injustice and intolerance. In order to escape the gravity of an authorial self, I address present dangers and follies through the lens of our nineteenth-century literature and in a narrative voice quite different from my own.

Norman's book list on the mind at play

Norman Lock Why did Norman love this book?

Why does an intelligent young woman who is ambitious to occupy a place of her own in the world collaborate with men, in this instance, a husband, in constructing a life that is “perfectly organized unto death?” The story, you say, is a familiar one. What makes Ernaux’s different and painful to read is her narrator’s awareness of her gradual surrender (that of Ernaux herself) to patriarchal expectations, regardless of how strenuously she would deny them, delay their satisfaction, struggle to follow her passion (for teaching and writing), and, in ever-increasing panic, remind herself that even Virginia Woolf baked pies. By what deception does she come to accept that her existence is a purposeful one, knowing that it has been arranged by others?

This abnegation to the reductive role of womb and breast is all the stranger in this book (part novel, part memoir, part sociological study) because only in…

By Annie Ernaux, Linda Coverdale (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2022 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE

A Frozen Woman charts Ernaux's teenage awakening, and then the parallel progression of her desire to be desirable and her ambition to fulfill herself in her chosen profession - with the inevitable conflict between the two. And then she is thirty years old, a teacher married to an executive, mother of two infant sons. She looks after their nice apartment, raises her children. And yet, like millions of other women, she has felt her enthusiasm and curiosity, her strength and her happiness, slowly ebb under the weight of her daily routine. The…


Book cover of Zombie Haiku: Good Poetry For Your ... Brains

James Schannep Author Of Infected (Click Your Poison)

From my list on drop dead hilarious zombie books.

Who am I?

Having completed military survival courses as well as stints in an improv comedy troupe, James Schannep knows the best zombie stories are those presented with a wry grin while staring down the end of the world. The product of an overactive imagination, the genre-hopping Click Your Poison series puts you in the driver’s seat against zombies, pirates, international spies, a detective whodunit, superheroes (and villains), exploration through a haunted house, and more! 

James' book list on drop dead hilarious zombie books

James Schannep Why did James love this book?

You’d probably be forgiven if when you think of poetry you think of love, natural beauty, or at worst, melancholic sadness. But with just 17 syllables, the author manages to bring all the grit, gore, and mayhem of the zombie apocalypse into pleasant verse. Haiku is a popular, easily approachable form of poetry (i.e. not pretentious), which makes this book a fun, light read despite its blood-spattered pages.

By Ryan Mecum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


                                                   Blood is really warm,
                                                like drinking hot chocolate
                                                 but with more screaming.

Poetry is dead. "Zombie Haiku" is the touching story of a zombie's gradual decay told through the intimate poetry of haiku. From infection to demise, readers will accompany the narrator through deserted streets and barracaded doors for every eye-popping, gut-wrenching, flesh-eating moment. The book is illustrated with over 50 photos from the zombie's point of view and designed with extra blood, pus, gore, and guts!

                                                      Biting into heads
                                              is much harder than it looks.
                                                     The skull is feisty.


Book cover of Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons

Danna Smith Author Of How Do You Haiku? A Step-by-Step Guide with Templates

From my list on hooking your kids on poetry.

Who am I?

I’ve loved words from the moment I met them. I wrote my first poem when I was eight years old and haven’t stopped yet! As a children’s book author, I love incorporating rhyme, poetry, or lyrical prose in the stories I write. I was a shy kid and often felt like my poetry wasn’t “good enough.” It is my goal to get kids excited about all forms of poetry and I want them to know that they can be poets if they want to and that writing, reading, and sharing poetry is fun and rewarding. 

Danna's book list on hooking your kids on poetry

Danna Smith Why did Danna love this book?

I love that this book incorporates riddles and haiku!

Kids can turn the pages and travel through the seasons (spring through winter) in an illustrated playful guessing game. “I am a wind bird/ sky skipper, diamond dipper,/ dancing on your string.” If you guessed a kite, you are right! A clever combination of art, riddles, and poetry wrapped up in a beautiful picture book package.

Spoiler Alert: Lion of the Sky is a firework!  Wow! 

By Laura Purdie Salas, Merce Lopez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lion of the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

you gasp as I roar,
my mane exploding, sizzling―
lion of the sky!

Haiku meet riddles in this wonderful collection from Laura Purdie Salas. The poems celebrate the seasons and describe everything from an earthworm to a baseball to an apple to snow angels, alongside full-color illustrations.


Book cover of Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku

Danna Smith Author Of How Do You Haiku? A Step-by-Step Guide with Templates

From my list on hooking your kids on poetry.

Who am I?

I’ve loved words from the moment I met them. I wrote my first poem when I was eight years old and haven’t stopped yet! As a children’s book author, I love incorporating rhyme, poetry, or lyrical prose in the stories I write. I was a shy kid and often felt like my poetry wasn’t “good enough.” It is my goal to get kids excited about all forms of poetry and I want them to know that they can be poets if they want to and that writing, reading, and sharing poetry is fun and rewarding. 

Danna's book list on hooking your kids on poetry

Danna Smith Why did Danna love this book?

A pet adoption story told completely in haiku? Yes, please!

This delightful story begins at a pet shelter when a little boy chooses a cat to take home. It is told from the point of view of the cat with “catitude” and is so clever and funny! I am more of a dog person, but this story won me over and warmed my heart! Younger kids will enjoy the story and darling illustrations while older kids will recognize the three short lines of the clever “one breath” poetry.

By Lee Wardlaw, Eugene Yelchin (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Won Ton as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Sometimes funny, sometimes touching, this adoption story, told entirely in haiku, is unforgettable.

Book Details: Format: Hardcover Publication Date: 2/15/2011 Pages: 40 Reading Level: Age 4 and Up


Book cover of Briefs

Ran Walker Author Of The Library of Afro Curiosities: 100-Word Stories

From my list on microfiction for those with limited time to read.

Who am I?

I am the author of ten collections of microfiction and poetry. I came to microfiction after having written several novels and short story collections. I just felt that I was saying more than I wanted to say. Microfiction has allowed me to completely distill my stories to the essence of what makes them tick. Of the 26 books I have written, the microfiction collections are my favorites because every word and idea is carefully measured. I am presently working on my next collection of microfiction and have no immediate plans to return to writing at longer lengths. Oddly, writing small has freed me up so I can experiment with various genres, structures, and ideas. I honestly feel microfiction has made me a much better writer.

Ran's book list on microfiction for those with limited time to read

Ran Walker Why did Ran love this book?

John Edgar Wideman is the first African-American writer I can clearly point to who took microfiction seriously enough to write an entire collection. His stories are filtered through the lens of Blackness, but that is not the major reason why I like this book. Wideman does things with language that force me to completely step back and rethink things. I find myself reading his words aloud, simply because they feel as though they transcend the page. If it were not for Wideman, I would not feel as comfortable revealing the authenticity of my experience in my work.

By John Edgar Wideman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

BRIEFS is a groundbreaking new collection of "microstories" from celebrated author John Edgar Wideman, previous winner of both the Rea and O. Henry awards saluting mastery of the short story form. Here he has assembled a masterful collage that explodes our assumptions about the genre. Wideman unveils an utterly original voice and structure-hip-hop zen-where each story is a single breath, to be caught, held, shared and savored. A relief worker's Sudan bulletin, a jogger's bullet-dodging daydreams, your neighbor's fears and fantasies, an absent mother's regrets-Wideman's storytellers are eavesdroppers and peeping Toms, diarists and haiku historians. The characters and compass points…


Book cover of If Not for the Cat

Bob Raczka Author Of Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems

From my list on children’s poetry that also appeals to adults.

Who am I?

Many people are intimidated by poetry. For a big part of my life, I was too. So much of the poetry I had been exposed to was either indecipherable or irrelevant to me. Then I discovered some poems that I loved—accessible poems about subjects I related to. I started collecting poetry books, by both adult and children’s poets. Eventually, I was inspired to write poetry of my own. Today, I’m a poetry advocate, recommending my favorites to anyone who shows interest. The satisfaction I get from poetry boils down to this: When I read a good poem, I think to myself, “Wow, I didn’t know words could do that.”

Bob's book list on children’s poetry that also appeals to adults

Bob Raczka Why did Bob love this book?

After writing 14 children’s books about art appreciation, I decided to try my hand at children’s poetry. When I read this collection of haiku by Jack Prelutsky, it was a revelation. Each poem is a first-person description of an animal, full of rich, unexpected language. By writing in first-person, Prelutsky broke one of haiku’s cardinal rules. But it worked—and inspired me to write my own collection in the first person as well. Here’s one of my favorites poems in his book:

Raucously we caw.
Your straw men do not fool us.
We burgle your corn.

By Jack Prelutsky, Ted Rand (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If Not for the Cat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seventeen haiku composed by master poet Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by renowned artist Ted Rand ask you to think about seventeen favorite residents of the animal kingdom in a new way. 

On these glorious and colorful pages you will meet a mouse, a skunk, a beaver, a hummingbird, ants, bald eagles, jellyfish, and many others. Who is who? The answer is right in front of you. But how can you tell? Think and wonder and look and puzzle it out!

A creature whispers:

If not for the cat,
And the scarcity of cheese,
I could be content.

Who is this…


Book cover of Book of Haikus

B.L. Bruce Author Of The Weight of Snow: New & Selected Poems

From my list on contemporary nature poetry.

Who am I?

My name is Bri Bruce, writing as B. L. Bruce, and am an award-winning poet and Pushcart prize nominee from California. Over the last decade and a half, my work has appeared in dozens of literary publications. I am the author of four books and Editor-in-Chief of nature-centric magazine Humana Obscura. I was raised with a wildlife biologist/avid gardener for a mother and a forestry major/backpacker/fisherman as a father. Both my parents instilled in me at a young age a love of nature. A lifetime spent outdoors inspires my work—so much so that I’ve been called a “poetic naturalist” and the “heiress of Mary Oliver.”

B.L.'s book list on contemporary nature poetry

B.L. Bruce Why did B.L. love this book?

While Jack Kerouac can arguably be synonymous with the Beat generation, the poems in this collection reveal a lesser-known and seldom seen but poignant side of Kerouac’s legacy. He distills his surroundings into short vignettes, reminiscent of the Beat style and motif, but incorporates a significant amount of nature imagery. They’re beautiful glimpses of the world through the eyes of one of America’s most influential authors.

By Jack Kerouac,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Above all, a haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture and yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi pastorella.' Jack Kerouac. Renowned for his groundbreaking Beat Generation novel "On the Road", Jack Kerouac was also a master of the haiku, the three-line, seventeen-syllable Japanese poetic form. Following in the tradition of Basho, Buson, Shiki, Issa, and other poets, Kerouac experimented with this centuries-old genre, taking it beyond strict syllable counts into what he believed was the form's essence. He incorporated his 'American' haiku in novels and in his correspondence,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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