10 books like The Paying Guests

By Sarah Waters,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Paying Guests. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley

By Patricia Highsmith,

Book cover of The Talented Mr. Ripley

This suspense novel is a leader in the field of deceptive protagonists. Ripley adapts another’s persona alongside his own, but even as he plays both roles he knows that it will all have to end at some point. He is aware of what he’s doing, yet this is coupled with great self-deception: ‘I’m a good person really.’ His vulnerability is shown in his fear of being judged. At heart he is a lonely man, driven by obsession and jealousy. Ripley is a complex, well-drawn character - I’d love to see his personality profile!

The Talented Mr. Ripley

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Talented Mr. Ripley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's here, in the first volume of Patricia Highsmith's five-book Ripley series, that we are introduced to the suave Tom Ripley, a young striver seeking to leave behind his past as an orphan bullied for being a "sissy." Newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante, and Ripley begins a deadly game. "Sinister and strangely alluring"…


A Beautiful Crime

By Christopher Bollen,

Book cover of A Beautiful Crime

In Bollen’s fourth novel, the boyishly handsome, 25-year-old Nick Brink meets the older and more remote Clay Guillory at the funeral of Clay’s boyfriend/benefactor, Freddy Van der Haar. Freddy, whose name is synonymous with American royalty, was one of the few remaining vestiges of the old New York gay scene. House poor, Freddy bequeathed Clay his shambling Venetian palazzo and a collection of counterfeit antiques. Nick falls for Clay, and they escape to Venice. To fund their new Continental lifestyle, they cook up a plan to con Richard West, a wealthy American retiree who has a sentimental affection for the Van der Haar name and fondness for acquiring antiques. Even as their criminal behavior begins to accrue a body count, we’re seduced by that all-too-recognizable outsider’s desire to belong to a place. For these men, Venice isn’t just a city but a way of seeing themselves, of imagining their futures.

A Beautiful Crime

By Christopher Bollen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An L.A. Times Book Prize Finalist | An O Magazine Best Book of the Year

“Stylish… a compelling take on the eternal question of how good people morph into criminals. Terrific.”—People, Book of the Week

From the author of The Destroyers comes an "intricately plotted and elegantly structured" (Newsday) story of intrigue and deception, set in contemporary Venice and featuring a young American couple who have set their sights on a risky con.

When Nick Brink and his boyfriend Clay Guillory meet up on the Grand Canal in Venice, they have a plan in mind—and it doesn’t involve a vacation.…


Carved in Bone

By Michael Nava,

Book cover of Carved in Bone: A Henry Rios Novel

One of the qualities of mystery fiction that continues to draw me to the genre is the complex interplay between past and present. Nava’s 8th Rios novel utilizes separate narrative lines that resonate and then, like a parallel perspective drawing, converge in a powerful emotional twist. The first line is the story of Bill Ryan, a young gay man who, after being cast out of his home in Illinois, flees to 1970s San Francisco to discover himself and the gay community. The second line is Rios’s recovery from alcoholism and his investigation of Ryan’s suspicious death during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Ryan and Rios serve as foils: Ryan is a man losing the war with his self-loathing. Rios, in contrast, is winning his war.

Carved in Bone

By Michael Nava,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

November, 1984. Criminal defense lawyer Henry Rios, fresh out of rehab and picking up the pieces of his life, reluctantly accepts work as an insurance claims investigator and is immediately is assigned to investigate the apparently accidental death of Bill Ryan. Ryan, part of the great gay migration into San Francisco in the 1970s, has died in his flat of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty gas line, his young lover barely surviving. Rios’s investigation into Ryan’s death–which Rios becomes convinced was no accident–tracks Ryan’s life from his arrival in San Francisco as a terrified 18-year-old to his transformation into…


Eileen

By Ottessa Moshfegh,

Book cover of Eileen

Moshfegh’s first novel opens with the narrator “very unhappy and angry all the time.” She is the sinister version of SNL’s Mary Catherine Gallagher, unflinchingly honest, acerbically observant, self-absorbed, and in love with her own nastiness. “Didn’t she know I was a monster, a creep, a crone? How dare she mock me with courtesy when I deserved to be greeted with disgust and dismay?” Though she becomes obsessed with beautiful Rebecca, it’s the caustic Eileen we can’t look away from, no matter how much we might want to.

Eileen

By Ottessa Moshfegh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize and chosen by David Sedaris as his recommended book for his Fall 2016 tour.

So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was twenty-four years old then, and had a job that paid fifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes-a prison for boys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terrible landlord I had years later, and so to…


Misery

By Stephen King,

Book cover of Misery

I first read this novel a long time ago, my freshman year in high school. I read it during English class, hiding Misery inside the class copy of The Catcher In the Rye during “class reading time,” because Stephen King was so much more interesting to me than J.D. Salinger. I love how trapped the main character is (the author Paul Sheldon) in Misery, and I knew that I wanted to create that same feeling with my narrator Cielo—her being trapped in a ruined neighborhood with flooding all around. King creates tension in every single scene, propelling the reader forward and that’s something I aspire to do in my trilogy.)

Misery

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the exciting build-up to publication of Stephen King's new mainstream novel, LISEY'S STORY, enjoy this world-famous classic novel on audio.


Rosemary's Baby

By Ira Levin,

Book cover of Rosemary's Baby

Written in 1967, this short book packs a psychological wallop. It also influenced so many thrillers to come. I love to laugh, and this is a little bit of comedy, and a little bit of social commentary, all wrapped up in a horror story. It’s not gory in a physical sense. But we recognize the universal experience: the murderous betrayal of trust, which is central to so much psychological suspense. People are not what they seem, it seems.

Rosemary's Baby

By Ira Levin,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Rosemary's Baby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The Swiss watchmaker of the suspense novel' Stephen King

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor-husband, Guy, move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them; despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.

As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to…


I Capture the Castle

By Dodie Smith,

Book cover of I Capture the Castle

I credit this book for rekindling my love for fiction after years spent reading non-fiction art and marketing books. I couldn’t believe the hours I found to read when I didn’t think I had any! I Capture the Castle plunges us immediately into the thoughts of a most unusual teenage girl, Cassandra Mortmain, who lives in a decrepit castle with her generally loveable but dysfunctional family. The first-person narrative and the descriptions of artistic poverty brought to us through the eyes and pen of Cassandra herself are delightful. Although her own love story is not tied up neatly with a bow at the end (It’s more of a coming-of-age story than a romance), quirky and memorable Cassandra certainly is!

I Capture the Castle

By Dodie Smith,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked I Capture the Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World.

A wonderfully quirky coming-of-age story, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, author of The Hundred and One Dalmatians is an affectionately drawn portrait of one of the funniest families in literature.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is illustrated by Ruth Steed, and features an afterword by publisher Anna South.

The eccentric Mortmain family have been rattling around in a…


The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

I confess I saw the 1963 movie with Julie Harris when I was a teenager before I read the book, but the book is as usual better than any film version that has been made. The appeal for me definitely comes down to the standard haunted house trope – my favourite basis for any scary story. Shirley Jackson uses a buildup of fear rather than horror to get a response from the reader which I think is far more effective. The story centres around a group of people staying at Hill House to investigate possible paranormal activity, and the creepy late-night goings on are excellently placed to make the reader feel very on edge. I particularly liked the use of characters with very different personalities to illustrate how different people react to fear.

The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…


The Town House

By Norah Lofts,

Book cover of The Town House

There was no such thing as YA when I was the right age for it. I went straight from the school stories of Enid Blyton to bonkbusters, bodice-rippers, and sweeping historical sagas the size of building bricks. The Suffolk trilogy was always my favourite of those, because its sweep was so stupendous. (Book one opens in the 1300s and Book three ends well into the twentieth century.) The Town House world is so physical, so brutal, so strange to modern eyes. The food, the clothes – my God, the plumbing! – the relentless scrabble to survive for all but the very rich, make this novel and, to some extent, its two sequels a completely immersive read. I particularly love that Lofts pays as much attention to the lowly folk who keep the place going as to the owners of the manor house. 

The Town House

By Norah Lofts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first volume of a trilogy set in Suffolk and spanning five centuries of a family's history. In 1391 Martin Reed was bound to the soil by the feudal system, but his resentment flared in open defiance and, encouraged by the woman he loved, he broke free to begin a new life.


Greengates

By Robert Cedric Sherriff,

Book cover of Greengates

The Baldwins live a small but happy life in London, until the bombshell day when Mr. Baldwin retires. He loses his raison d’etre, but his wife too has her life upended by his constant presence. Slowly their domestic bliss begins to unravel. Until they decide to do something beyond radical: they move to the county – to Greengates, a spanking new 1930s villa – and a thrilling fresh start together. I really mean “thrilling” too. This quiet and affectionate exploration of a couple remaking their humdrum life moves me to tears, even while the fascinating details of equipping and running a “new” house charms my socks off. 

Greengates

By Robert Cedric Sherriff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Greengates


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