83 books like The Savage God

By A. Alvarez,

Here are 83 books that The Savage God fans have personally recommended if you like The Savage God. 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 Stranger

Angel Dionne Author Of Sardines

From my list on Books that depict the existential pains of human existance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to believe that my own characters struggle with being human. They struggle with their bitterness, their relations to others (or lack thereof), and their unresolved guilt. What happens when guilt is left unresolved? What happens when someone enters into a state of self-imposed isolation? These are topics I enjoy exploring in my work. I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a child. My mother deserves all the credit. At bedtime, rather than reading bedtime stories to me from a book, she would make up a story and then ask me to do the same. This helped me to develop a lifelong love for reading and writing.

Angel's book list on Books that depict the existential pains of human existance

Angel Dionne Why did Angel love this book?

I first read the English translation of this book during my undergraduate studies. The first time I read it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. Something about it disturbed me, made me feel sick, and made me question what it means to be human.

I felt myself called to read it again years later and, just recently, I picked it up a third time. Mersault’s indifference in relation to his experiences and to society forced me to question my own views concerning the meaning of life.

By Albert Camus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the intrigue of a psychological thriller, The Stranger—Camus's masterpiece—gives us the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach. With an Introduction by Peter Dunwoodie; translated by Matthew Ward.

Behind the subterfuge, Camus explores what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd" and describes the condition of reckless alienation and spiritual exhaustion that characterized so much of twentieth-century life. 

“The Stranger is a strikingly modern text and Matthew Ward’s translation will enable readers to appreciate why Camus’s stoical anti-hero and ­devious narrator remains one of the key expressions of…


Book cover of House of Leaves

Valentina Cano Repetto Author Of Sanctuary

From my list on horror books in which the setting is another character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fanatic of horror, especially Gothic horror since I was about eight years old when I read all of Poe’s short stories. It’s the genre I read most often and the one I’m dedicated to writing about. For me, the most effective horror novels have a setting that is as rich and fully developed as any of the characters. You can battle vampires, zombies, and all of the other delightful monsters out there, but how do you battle what’s trapped in the walls around you? How do you fight a home that hates you? Or one that loves you too much to let you go? It’s endlessly fascinating.

Valentina's book list on horror books in which the setting is another character

Valentina Cano Repetto Why did Valentina love this book?

This is a book as sprawling and twisting as the house in question. It’s one people love or hate, or love to hate, but for me, it was an immersive and chilling experience. The idea that a house can grow around you, that you can get trapped and lost within it, is horrifying and yet so attractive. This is one of those novels that gives you those “someone’s behind me” chills until you’re just one huge shivering mass. 

The story and the way that the author tells the story is unsettling in every sense. You never know fully what’s coming. What’ll appear on the next page or the next corridor. 

By Mark Z. Danielewski,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked House of Leaves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A novelistic mosaic that simultaneously reads like a thriller and like a strange, dreamlike excursion into the subconscious.” —The New York Times

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations,…


Book cover of Teatro Grottesco

Adam Washington Author Of The Misophorism Trilogy

From my list on depressive reads that are free of platitudes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was young, I’ve suffered from Major Depressive Disorder, coupled with chronic pain that surfaced when I was in middle school. Being in constant pain—mental and physical—obviously drains the spirit. I found no hope whatsoever in phrases such as, “It gets better.” When you have chronic pain, that statement means nothing, because you know it won’t. These books, however, offered me something that I hadn’t encountered before: someone acknowledging that, although it may never get better, there is still something for me here, whatever form it takes. These books do not shame depressives, they console (and even commiserate) with them, and I hope you find them as fulfilling as I have.

Adam's book list on depressive reads that are free of platitudes

Adam Washington Why did Adam love this book?

Similar to Cioran, Ligotti has a profoundly dark worldview, but not one that is unearned.

Ligotti’s own experiences with anhedonia and despair seep through his writing. I cannot get enough of it. Through his prose, he creates his own world wherein doom is assured and life seems like a poorly written, performed, and directed play that is in profoundly bad taste.

It may seem like work like this would depress you, but for me, it gives me a sense of understanding. Someone out there, even if it’s just Ligotti’s characters, has felt that gloom.

By Thomas Ligotti,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Teatro Grottesco as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thomas Ligotti is often cited as the most curious and remarkable figure in horror literature since H. P. Lovecraft. His work is noted by critics for its display of an exceptionally grotesque imagination and accomplished prose style. In his stories, Ligotti has followed a literary tradition that began with Edgar Allan Poe, portraying characters that are outside of anything that might be called normal life, depicting strange locales far off the beaten track, and rendering a grim vision of human existence as a perpetual nightmare. The horror stories collected in Teatro Grottesco feature tormented individuals who play out their doom…


Book cover of The Trouble with Being Born

Adam Washington Author Of The Misophorism Trilogy

From my list on depressive reads that are free of platitudes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was young, I’ve suffered from Major Depressive Disorder, coupled with chronic pain that surfaced when I was in middle school. Being in constant pain—mental and physical—obviously drains the spirit. I found no hope whatsoever in phrases such as, “It gets better.” When you have chronic pain, that statement means nothing, because you know it won’t. These books, however, offered me something that I hadn’t encountered before: someone acknowledging that, although it may never get better, there is still something for me here, whatever form it takes. These books do not shame depressives, they console (and even commiserate) with them, and I hope you find them as fulfilling as I have.

Adam's book list on depressive reads that are free of platitudes

Adam Washington Why did Adam love this book?

The Trouble with Being Born is, in my opinion, Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran’s swan song.

Cioran presents a bleak worldview in which history is simply a long string of failures. Paradoxically, however, it’s almost life-affirming. Personally, I can hardly stand the creep of New Age philosophies and attitudes into mental health discussion, part of which inspired my book.

Constant lectures on how I ought to view life, how I ought to cope, and how I ought to “heal,” a word that’s been beaten to death, pretty much had the opposite effect on me. Instead of feeling understood, I felt alone. Contrarily, Cioran offers no such platitudes.

Through his bleak reflections, he offers reassurances that no matter how difficult life can become, we ought to stay our course—or, at least, that it’s too late to do anything about it.

By E M Cioran, Richard Howard (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A love of Cioran creates an urge to press his writing into someone’s hand, and is followed by an equal urge to pull it away as poison.”—The New Yorker

In this volume, which reaffirms the uncompromising brilliance of his mind, Cioran strips the human condition down to its most basic components, birth and death, suggesting that disaster lies not in the prospect of death but in the fact of birth, "that laughable accident." In the lucid, aphoristic style that characterizes his work, Cioran writes of time and death, God and religion, suicide and suffering, and the temptation to silence. Through…


Book cover of Red Heir

Jane Buehler Author Of The Forest Bride

From my list on romance set in a lighthearted, cozy fantasy world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved fantasy worlds and romantic stories, but in recent years I’ve found it harder to read stories with extreme violence or trauma. When I started writing fiction, I planned to write a fantasy romance with a kingdom and a battle, but I couldn’t do it—my characters organized a nonviolent revolution and formed a democratic system of governance instead. I reconsidered and decided to write what I call cozy fantasy romances. So many types of romance novels could be set in a fantasy world, such as an office romance or road trip comedy. I’ve been searching for these types of romance novels—fun, lighthearted romances set in a fantasy world—and am slowly finding them.

Jane's book list on romance set in a lighthearted, cozy fantasy world

Jane Buehler Why did Jane love this book?

This book made me laugh out loud so many times—it's the funniest fantasy I have ever read. An oddball crew breaks into the protagonist’s prison cell to rescue a prince, so the protagonist claims to be the prince and is rescued along with his cellmate.

The journey back to the prince’s country is a road trip comedy with a wacky cast... but amid all the crude jokes are real emotional moments and characters being kind to each other. The protagonist can’t stop himself from falling for the prince and grows as a person in the process. Nothing about the story ever gets too serious, and the bad bits happen quickly and without prolonged trauma. I loved everything about it.

By Lisa Henry, Sarah Honey,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of In the Wake of Suicide: Stories of the People Left Behind

Sophie Stocking Author Of Corridor Nine

From my list on coming to peace with your hippy parent’s suicide.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian writer, and a mother of three. I think I do qualify as an ACOH (Adult Child of Hippies). My mom taught elementary school, and my dad was a university professor, but otherwise they fully embraced the hippy movement. It was a rich childhood in terms of nature, literature, art, and foreign cultures, but dysfunctional and confusing on the emotional front. Sadly, dropping a lot of acid leads to a lifetime of anxiety and depression. My father descended into mental illness and opiate addiction when I was an adult, eventually leading to his suicide. I came to terms with his death by writing Corridor Nine

Sophie's book list on coming to peace with your hippy parent’s suicide

Sophie Stocking Why did Sophie love this book?

This helpful book digs into the stigma of suicide, how it has been viewed as taboo, and how the bodies of people who committed suicide have traditionally even been denied burial. The people left behind find themselves isolated by their shame and the fear that others will shy away from a topic considered sinful in most religions. This was certainly my experience. Had my father died of cancer or a heart attack, I would have talked openly of his death and received a lot of support. But I felt his mental illness, addiction, and suicide too dark a topic to impose on anyone.

Happy, functional families don’t go through things like this. It was an extension of the shame I’d internalized as a child growing up with socially divergent parents who struggled with mental health issues. Alexander, who lost her own mother to suicide, gives links to survivor support groups,…

By Victoria Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Wake of Suicide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Breathtaking stories of incredible power for anyone struggling to find the meaning in the suicidal death of a loved one--and for all readers seeking writing that moves and inspires. After author Victoria Alexander's mother took her life, she spent the next ten years collecting stories from people, like herself, who have walked through one of life's most difficult journeys. The result is a beautifully written book of powerful, spellbinding stories told by those who were left behind--parents, children, spouses, lovers, friends, and colleagues. In the Wake of Suicide offers survivors the understanding, compassion, and hope they need to guide them…


Book cover of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

John A.A. Logan Author Of The Survival of Thomas Ford

From my list on spiritual freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been searching for spiritual freedom since the age of four when I was sent to school. Soon I recognised books as an escape from the limitations of the physical world and into the dream world. Each of the five books below have made serious contributions to this psycho-spiritual escape plan, and have lifted my spirit to that higher dimension of freedom. I live in the Scottish Highlands, as my ancestors did, in a misted swirl of ghostly archetypes, mountains, deer, lochs, and brooding skies. Even here though, an escape tunnel is needed into the deepest realm of mind, where the stories and mystery hide away until the moment needed. 

John's book list on spiritual freedom

John A.A. Logan Why did John love this book?

Impossible to fathom how Carson McCullers could have distilled such wisdom into her soul by age twenty-three, and then produced this book. The passions and losses, violence and ambition, guilts and loves, of her cast of small-town 1930s Americana characters, wander across the pages like spectres disrupted by a shifting wind. 

The lost, struggling to hear each other's songs above their own pain, but continuing to try through the long night, no matter the chance of success. 

I first bought a copy of this in Sandusky, Ohio, in 1993, on a day off from working at Cedar Point Amusement Park, entranced as I read the first pages standing up in a mall bookshop, the after-echoes of rumbling roller-coasters pummelling my ears and spirit.

By Carson McCullers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


The beloved classic that turned Carson McCullers into an overnight literary sensation and one of the Modern Library's top 20 novels of the 20th century.

"A remarkable book...From the opening page, brilliant in its establishment of mood, character, and suspense, the book takes hold of the reader."

In a Georgia Mill town during the 1930s, an enigmatic John Singer, draws out the haunted confessions of an itinerant worker, a doctor, a widowed cafe owner, and a young girl. Each yearns for escape from small town life, but the young girl, Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (loosely based on McCullers), finds…


Book cover of Another Country

L.A. Fields Author Of Riot Son

From my list on yearning and revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of over a dozen books featuring LGBT love stories across genres, including novels and short stories, contemporary and historical, young adult and scholarly pastiche. As my writing experience grows, I gain the skill to venture into new areas of literature by consulting quintessential classics like these. This list is about stories of yearning and revolution—books that are either set in times of social upheaval, contain radical personal evolutions, or both. The people portrayed in these stories each pine desperately for something: a better life, a better world, or the one they love. As a collection, these books contain an excellent education in love, loss, and liberty.

L.A.'s book list on yearning and revolution

L.A. Fields Why did L.A. love this book?

Set against the backdrop of the sociopolitical turmoil of the 1960s, James Baldwin’s Another Country captures a diverse group of friends in cities both foreign and domestic (NYC and France) who are struggling with interconnected issues of race, sexuality, gender, and class.

As history repeats itself in the 21st century, there is wisdom in reviewing how people survived the last round of radical social upheaval. They did so without losing themselves, nor their opportunities to forge meaningful human connections in the melee.

How do you learn from ex-lovers? How do you make peace with the dead? How do you stay sane when the world is hassling you over unchangeable characteristics you’re working to embrace rather than despise? These characters are trying to build something real on shifting sands, and their stories are still relatable today.

By James Baldwin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Another Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A masterwork... an almost unbearable, tumultuous, blood-pounding experience' Washinton Post

When Another Country appeared in 1962, it caused a literary sensation. James Baldwin's masterly story of desire, hatred and violence opens with the unforgettable character of Rufus Scott, a scavenging Harlem jazz musician adrift in New York. Self-destructive, bad and brilliant, he draws us into a Bohemian underworld pulsing with heat, music and sex, where desperate and dangerous characters betray, love and test each other to the limit.

'In Another Country, Baldwin created the essential American drama of the century' Colm Toibin


Book cover of Survivor

Guy Portman Author Of Necropolis

From my list on darkly humorous fiction stocking fillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a dark fiction author. As far back as anyone can remember I have been an introverted creature, with a rapacious appetite for knowledge, a dark sense of humour, and an insatiable appetite for books. Having written eight darkly humorous works of fiction and read dozens of titles that fall into this genre, I believe that I am the ideal person to provide you with recommendations for darkly humorous fiction stocking fillers this Christmas. Think of me as the Santa of darkly humorous fiction. My titles include the Necropolis Series. Their protagonist is Dyson Devereux – a cultured council worker and compulsive murderer with sardonic tendencies.

Guy's book list on darkly humorous fiction stocking fillers

Guy Portman Why did Guy love this book?

Tender Branson, the last survivor of the Creedish Church cult, has hijacked an airplane, which is flying on autopilot. His mission now is to dictate his life story onto its black box before the plane crashes.

Survivor is an innovative and erudite social commentary, brimming with satirical observations. Amongst the targets for its irreverent dark humour are death, The Bible, and suicide hotlines. In this reader’s opinion, Survivor is a work of undoubted genius, and one of the author’s best novels.

By Chuck Palahniuk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tender Branson-last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult-is dictating his life story into the recorder of Flight 2039, cruising on autopilot at 39,000 feet somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. He is all alone in the airplane, which will crash shortly into the vast Australian outback. But before it does, Branson will unfold the tale of his journey from an obedient Creedish child and humble domestic servant to an ultra-buffed, steroid- and collagen-packed media messiah.


Book cover of Seppuku: A History of Samurai Suicide

Antony Cummins Author Of The Book of Ninja: The Bansenshukai - Japan's Premier Ninja Manual

From my list on hidden Japan and the real samurai.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am not the type of person who likes to say “you are wrong” in fact I am the type of person who likes to say “let us add this to the whole story”. When you picture Japan you do not picture: slavery, snake dancers, or even samurai removing their shoes outdoors in a gesture of politeness to a superior, you do not imagine Italian Jesuits, western traders, pirates, and Chinese samurai, but they are all a part of actual samurai life. It is my task to add those lost items to our understanding of Japan and the samurai, but of course, in addition to this, I have to correct the story of the ninja, simply because it is a false one. The shinobi as they should be known were disfigured in the 20th century and I want to reveal their true face.

Antony's book list on hidden Japan and the real samurai

Antony Cummins Why did Antony love this book?

Who does not know about Seppuku, or Hara-kiri (also incorrectly said as Hari-Kari)? Andrew in his book gives a great in-depth discussion about its history, its customs, and its position in Japanese society. I have no idea why this book is not a best seller. I know I have used it in my own books more than once. People think they know about ritual suicide in Japanese culture, but more often than not it is “movie knowledge” and Andrew’s book is a solid piece of research on the subject, it should be in every samurai fan’s book collection. 

By Andrew Rankin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A collection of thrilling samurai tales tracing the history of seppuku from ancient times to the twentieth century. The history of seppuku -- Japanese ritual suicide by cutting the stomach, sometimes referred to as hara-kiri -- spans a millennium, and came to be favoured by samurai as an honourable form of death. Here, for the first time in English, is a book that charts the history of seppuku from ancient times to the twentieth century through a collection of swashbuckling tales from history and literature.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in suicide, Western culture, and God?

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