91 books like The Unlimited Dream Company

By J.G. Ballard,

Here are 91 books that The Unlimited Dream Company fans have personally recommended if you like The Unlimited Dream Company. 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 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 Invention of Morel

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?

A friend recommended this book when I told her about my Shepherd theme. A neurotic fugitive, hiding on a deserted island, discovers that he is not alone. This novella is classed as magical realism—there’s a foreword by Borges—but like my book it eventually provides a scientific explanation for the strange occurrences. And like almost all my other choices, it’s a first-person narration, so we are kept wondering how much is true. It flags a bit after the initial premise, but once the revelations start, it grips you. Amazingly for a book written in 1964, its speculations address issues at the forefront of digital technology and science today. I won’t say more, except: don’t read the introduction or foreword, which contain plot spoilers!     

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

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of the Screw and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Set on a mysterious island, Bioy's novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious.

 

Inspired by Bioy Casares's fascination with the movie star Louise Brooks, The Invention of Morel has gone on to live a secret life of its own. Greatly admired by Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, and Octavio Paz, the novella helped…


Book cover of Visco

Denise Baden Author Of Habitat Man

From my list on climate fiction to give you hope for our lovely planet.

Why am I passionate about this?

My day job is as a sustainability academic, so it’s hard to escape concern for our future and what we’re doing to our wonderful planet. I seek refuge in writing fiction. For me, if I can write the solutions, then maybe people will adopt them. But first and foremost, I love fiction as an escape, so I write and seek out books that make me happy and are filled with love and hope and exciting ideas to keep you turning the page. I also run the Green Stories project which hosts free writing competitions to help us imagine positive visions of a sustainable society.

Denise's book list on climate fiction to give you hope for our lovely planet

Denise Baden Why did Denise love this book?

We may have visions of what a sustainable society might look like, but how could we possibly get there?

This story imagines a giant music festival which allows free access to those who need care and their carers and designs a care-based mini-society. But they love it so much, no one wants to go home when the music stops. So they don’t!

David Fell brings to this novel all the knowledge he has gained in his years working as a sustainability consultant, and packages it with engaging characters and an exciting plot.

By David Fell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jo Castle, Londoner and thirty-something firefighter, wants to save the world by being the opposite of Jack Reacher. She starts with care – care for her friends and family, care for community, care for the planet. Together with best friend Miranda, step-brother Mike and ex-boyfriend Robert, Jo turns a giant music festival on an island in the River Thames into the living city of Visco. Visco is a ‘carnival of care’, a radical experiment that challenges the very bedrock of capitalism. The story of its emergence, and how it overcomes the Establishment, is a ray of hope in dark times.


Book cover of Sweet Thames Run Softly

Richard Mayon-White Author Of Discovering London's Canals: On foot, by bike or by boat

From my list on the fascinating beauty of English waterways.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love rivers. The flow of water gives a sense of timelessness, the reflection of light from the surface brightens the colours on the banks and the wider stretches make a feeling of space. I have messed about in boats all my life and I am happiest on inland waterways. What I enjoyed as recreation alongside a medical career has grown into a vocation in my retirement. The more people who know about our beautiful rivers, the better the chances that we can protect them from exploitation and carelessness. 

Richard's book list on the fascinating beauty of English waterways

Richard Mayon-White Why did Richard love this book?

Sweet Thames Run Softly is a classic of natural history literature. 

It is reputed to have been read by British servicemen during World War II to remind them of home and peace. It is just as evocative today.  It describes a journey down the River Thames in a punt, and it meanders in the same way as the river does. 

The beauty lies in the text and the charm is in the author’s etchings. This is a book that I read time and again, whenever I want inspiration or solace.

By Robert Gibbings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sweet Thames Run Softly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, Robert Gibbings launched his home-made punt on the River Thames and began a slow journey downstream, armed with a sketchpad and a microscope. From the river's source at the edge of the Cotswold Hills to the bustle of London's docks, Sweet Thames Run Softly is a charming, often eccentric, account of an artist-naturalist adrift in English waters. First published as the Battle of Britain raged overhead, this gentle boating tale was an antidote to the anxieties of wartime and became an immediate best-seller. Our new edition includes the original engravings…


Book cover of Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog

David Baboulene Author Of Ocean Boulevard

From my list on humorous travel that also deliver great stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I only read humour, and it was my passion to write humour. When I was lucky enough to find myself travelling the world and working on cargo ships, the source material presented itself, and I took my chance. Publishers were wary of the crudity inherent to a sailor’s life, so I present myself as if P.G. Wodehouse himself had gone to sea. I am the butt of all the pranks, and horrified by what I see around me. So I was able to write a book that addresses the truth of a shipboard life… but leaves the suggested extremes to your imagination!

David's book list on humorous travel that also deliver great stories

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

Growing up, I only read humour.

I just love to laugh and when a book has you making the pictures in mind for yourself and laughing out loud, there really is nothing better. And Three Men in a Boat sends me directly to the floor every time I read it, and I will never stop reading it as long as I live.

It is rightly a classic and still in the shops nearly 140 years later. My book is a homage to Three Men in a Boat. I followed the style and form, and acknowledge Jerome K Jerome in my front-matter.

My book is really 15 Men in a Boat, and if it is even 10% as good as Three, I will rightly be very proud of myself (if not my mathematics).

By Jerome K. Jerome,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Three Men in a Boat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), published in 1889, is a humorous account by English writer Jerome K. Jerome of a two-week boating holiday on the Thames from Kingston upon Thames to Oxford and back to Kingston. The book was initially intended to be a serious travel guide, with accounts of local history along the route, but the humorous elements took over to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages seem a distraction to the comic novel. One of the most praised things about Three Men in a Boat is how undated it…


Book cover of Offshore

Jane McMorland Hunter Author Of Urban Nature Every Day: Discover the natural world on your doorstep

From my list on novels set by the River Thames in London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in London most of my life, and what I love most about it are the wild places, the spots where the city and nature rub shoulders. When reading fiction, ‘place’ matters a lot to me, and if I am familiar with the setting, I like it to be accurate. That said, I love a little fantasy to stretch the boundaries. As well as being a writer and editor, I have worked part-time in bookshops for over forty years, and during that time, I must have read hundreds of novels set in and around London. These are five of my absolute favourites.

Jane's book list on novels set by the River Thames in London

Jane McMorland Hunter Why did Jane love this book?

I have always liked the idea of living in a houseboat on the River Thames. This wonderful story simultaneously fed my fantasies and made me realise it might not be as idyllic as I imagined.

The houseboats on Battersea Reach are like a small village–each character is an individual yet integral part of the whole, their fortunes rising and falling with the tide. Through these characters, the book paints a picture of sixties London, swinging yet also unforgiving for those who slip between the cracks. Penelope Fitzgerald lived on a barge in Battersea, and I think much of the story is based on personal experience.

What I particularly liked was the sense of the houseboat dwellers not quite belonging, being offshore in more ways than one. 

By Penelope Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE
FEATURED ON BBC'S BETWEEN THE COVERS BOOK CLUB

Penelope Fitzgerald's Booker Prize-winning novel of loneliness and connecting is set among the houseboat community of the Thames, with an introduction from Alan Hollinghurst.

On Battersea Reach, a mixed bag of the temporarily lost and the patently eccentric live on houseboats, rising and falling with the tide of the Thames.

There is good-natured Maurice, by occupation a male prostitute, by chance a receiver of stolen goods. And Richard, an ex-navy man whose boat, much like its owner, dominates the Reach. Then there is Nenna, an abandoned wife…


Book cover of Original Sin

Jane McMorland Hunter Author Of Urban Nature Every Day: Discover the natural world on your doorstep

From my list on novels set by the River Thames in London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in London most of my life, and what I love most about it are the wild places, the spots where the city and nature rub shoulders. When reading fiction, ‘place’ matters a lot to me, and if I am familiar with the setting, I like it to be accurate. That said, I love a little fantasy to stretch the boundaries. As well as being a writer and editor, I have worked part-time in bookshops for over forty years, and during that time, I must have read hundreds of novels set in and around London. These are five of my absolute favourites.

Jane's book list on novels set by the River Thames in London

Jane McMorland Hunter Why did Jane love this book?

I need crime novels to have a good backstory–characters that grip me beyond the murder, burglary, or kidnapping. The setting of this story, in the world of publishing in a building on the bank of the River Thames, fulfills everything I could want.

As a detective, Adam Dalgliesh is intriguing; he is highly respected but intensely private, a published poet who lives alone in a flat overlooking the river, all of which made me want to know more about the man, as well as the crime he has to solve. 

By P. D. James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major Channel 5 series

'The Queen of Crime.' New York Times

The Peverell Press, a two-hundred-year-old publishing firm housed in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames, is certainly ripe for change. But the proposals of its ruthlessly ambitious new managing director, Gerard Etienne, have made him dangerous enemies - a discarded mistress, a neglected and humiliated author, and rebellious colleagues and staff. When Gerard's body is discovered bizarrely desecrated, there is no shortage of suspects and Adam Dalgliesh and his team are confronted with a puzzle of extraordinary complexity and a murderer who is prepared to strike…


Book cover of The Secret River

Rebecca Hazell Author Of The Grip of God: Book One of The Tiger And The Dove

From my list on by women that sweep you to another time and place.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved fairytales, myths, and history since childhood. After graduating with honors in Russian and Chinese history, I’ve been researching and writing for decades. My work ranges from educational materials to award-winning nonfiction books for children on the theme of heroism. I’ve traveled the world, partly for research, but mostly out of a passion for discovery. My last nonfiction work was a book about women writers. I also penned a historical trilogy that started out as one book, plotted out when I was eighteen. It grew. And, returning full circle to my first loves, my most recent book for children is a traditional Buddhist tale from ancient India.

Rebecca's book list on by women that sweep you to another time and place

Rebecca Hazell Why did Rebecca love this book?

This book was my introduction to Australian literature. I loved its eloquent evocation of a world totally new and mysterious to its characters. Although I was vaguely familiar with Australia’s penal colony past and with the destruction wrought on Aboriginal lives and culture, this book brought it home. I deeply appreciated the way it took me into the minds of men and women, most of them well-meaning but ignorant, and showed me how they missed the point of where they were and how to thrive there. The tragedy of that ignorance resonates with me, since I see it all around the world. 

By Kate Grenville,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE
WINNER OF THE 2006 COMMONWEALTH WRITERS' PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE IMPAC DUBLIN PRIZE

London, 1806. William Thornhill, happily wedded to his childhood sweetheart Sal, is a waterman on the River Thames. Life is tough but bearable until William makes a mistake, a bad mistake for which he and his family are made to pay dearly.

His sentence: to be transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. Soon Thornhill, a man no better or worse than most, has to make the most difficult decision of his life.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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