100 books like Wise Blood

By Flannery O'Connor,

Here are 100 books that Wise Blood fans have personally recommended if you like Wise Blood. 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 Sing, Unburied, Sing

Lucy Blue Author Of The Devil Makes Three

From my list on hauntings.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a goth chick from the American South, I’m obsessed with stories of old evil from the past finding its way into the present. I even live in a haunted house, a disintegrating Craftsman built in 1901. Our ghosts are very cozy, two cat-loving maiden ladies who were co-presidents of the local temperance society. We’ve given up on keeping liquor in our liquor cabinet; bottles cracking and leaking, glassware broken for no reason. And we’ve gotten so used to seeing and hearing their famous cat, Tom, we barely react anymore—a huge orange tabby tomcat who runs past our feet and jumps on the foot of our bed. 

Lucy's book list on hauntings

Lucy Blue Why did Lucy love this book?

Reading this book made me stop writing my own Southern gothic ghost book in the middle, rethink it completely, and start over again from scratch, and I wasn’t even mad about it. It’s just that good. It’s about thirteen-year-old Jojo and his family—his much-loved and very much dying grandmother, his strong, silent, and protective grandfather, his wild child mother, Leonie, his baby sister, Kayla, who looks to Jojo to keep her safe, and his white father, Michael, who just got out of jail. Everybody has secrets, and everybody sees ghosts. This literary novel won the National Book Award, but I promise you, horror readers, it will scare you silly and break your heart. 

By Jesmyn Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018 WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2017 ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2017 SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE NEW STATESMAN, THE FINANCIAL TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, TIME AND THE BBC Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalist for the Kirkus Prize Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award 'This wrenching new novel by Jesmyn Ward digs deep into the not-buried heart of the American nightmare. A must' Margaret Atwood 'A powerfully…


Book cover of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales

Eric Schwitzgebel Author Of The Weirdness of the World

From my list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

What I love about philosophy (I’ve been a philosophy professor at the University of California, Riverside, since 1997) is not its ability to deliver the one correct answer to the nature of the world and how to live but rather its power to open our mind to new possibilities that we hadn’t previously considered; its power to blow apart our presuppositions, our culturally given “common sense” understandings, and our habitual patterns of thinking, casting us into doubt and wonder. The science writing, fiction, and personal essays I love best have that same power.

Eric's book list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world

Eric Schwitzgebel Why did Eric love this book?

Every time I revisit Sacks, especially this book, I am blown away anew at people’s ability to create meaning and value in the face of severe cognitive disability.

A man’s capacity to categorize objects is so impaired that when he moves to leave the room, he mistakenly reaches for his wife’s head instead of his hat. How can he even get through the day? With the help of familiar routines, his loving spouse, and music.

A “lost mariner” can’t retain any new information longer than a few minutes and still thinks he’s living decades ago, but he finds meaning in the timeless ceremonies of his religion. A man repeatedly throws his own leg out of bed and is surprised to find himself on the floor again….

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrating Fifty Years of Picador Books

If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self - himself - he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.

In this extraordinary book, Dr. Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients struggling to adapt to often bizarre worlds of neurological disorder. Here are people who can no longer recognize everyday objects or those they love; who are stricken with violent tics or shout involuntary obscenities, and yet are gifted with…


Book cover of The Stories of John Cheever

Sameer Pandya Author Of Members Only

From my list on men who can’t get their sh*! together.

Why am I passionate about this?

For whatever reason, I have always been interested in sad men. Successful men can be boring. It is failure, and how men manage it when success is the primary marker of masculinity, that I find interesting as a subject for fiction. Even when I was in my 20s, I liked reading novels about men suffering mid-life crisis. And now that I am squarely in middle age, novels that were about the future are now novels about the present.    

Sameer's book list on men who can’t get their sh*! together

Sameer Pandya Why did Sameer love this book?

I have returned to many of these stories over and over again through the years—for Cheever’s prose, for his sense of what makes men tick. On one level, I can’t quite relate to white suburban husbands in upstate New York in the 1950s and 60s. And yet, somehow, they seem profoundly familiar. 

By John Cheever,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

John Cheever's Collected Stories explores the delicate psychological frameworks of 20th century suburbia.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY HANIF KUREISHI

This outstanding collection by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist John Cheever shows the power and range of one of the finest short story writers of the last century. Stories of love and of squalor, they include masterpieces such as 'The Swimmer' and 'Goodbye, My Brother' and date from the time of his honourable discharge from the Army at the end of the Second World War.


Book cover of The Unconsoled

Jon Bassoff Author Of Beneath Cruel Waters

From my list on that are relentlessly twisted.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I completed one of my early novels, a really demented one called Factory Town, a fellow author emailed me with great concern for my mental health. He was convinced I was heading down a dark cave that I couldn’t be rescued from. But it wasn’t true. Writing and reading these dark novels doesn’t make me depressed. It makes me feel creatively revitalized. Dark literature reminds us that being alive is painful—but it’s also wonderful. I hope to never spend any real time with people as terrifying as the ones I’ve found on these pages. But I’m incredibly thankful they were a part of my imagined world for a time. 

Jon's book list on that are relentlessly twisted

Jon Bassoff Why did Jon love this book?

I’ve always been fascinated by surrealism and expressionism—and The Unconsoled takes those dreamlike images and expresses them in a fascinating and disorienting story. Reading this novel makes you feel like you’re trapped in a terrifying and anxious nightmare—and I mean that in the best possible way. The novel uses dream logic: characters appear out of thin air and morph into other characters. The setting is a strange labyrinth in some nameless European city. If you like David Lynch movies, you’ll dig this. If you’re looking for a linear narrative, stay away!

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel Klara and the Sun is now available*

Ryder, a renowned pianist, arrives in a Central European city he cannot identify for a concert he cannot remember agreeing to give . . .

On first publication in 1995, The Unconsoled was met in some quarters with bewilderment and vilification, in others with the highest praise. One commentator asked, 'Has Ishiguro gone for greatness or has he gone mad?' Over the years, this uniquely strange and extraordinary novel about a man whose life has accelerated beyond his control has come to be seen by many as being the…


Book cover of The Butcher Boy

Chris Harding Thornton Author Of Little Underworld

From my list on hilarious books that rip your heart from your chest.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of my favorite writers, Ralph Ellison, said art could "transform dismal sociological facts" through "tragi-comic transcendence." For me, finding humor in the horrific is a means of survival. It's a way of embracing life's tragedy and finding beauty. My two novels, Pickard County Atlas and Little Underworld, try to do that.

Chris' book list on hilarious books that rip your heart from your chest

Chris Harding Thornton Why did Chris love this book?

I read this novel when I was twenty-two years old.

I remember exactly where I was (in the kitchen of a dilapidated apartment I loved) and what time of day I read it (early afternoon until early evening). I cackled and sobbed (I am not a sobber), and afterward, I couldn’t get the main character’s voice out of my head for days. He narrated everywhere I went and everything I did.

Before then, I’d always written casual nonsense for my own entertainment, but I knew afterward I wanted to do that—I wanted to make people laugh, horrify them, and put their hearts through the wringer. 

By Patrick McCabe,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Butcher Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in Ireland, this book tells the story of teenage hero Francie Brady. Things begin to fall apart after his mother's suicide - when he is consumed with fury and commits a horrible crime. Committed to an asylum, it is only here that he finally achieves peace. Shortlisted for the 1992 Booker Prize.


Book cover of Annihilation

Dwain Worrell Author Of Androne

From my list on suspenseful science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

To be honest, and this will sound strange, but suspense is the air I breathe. I’m a pretty calm, boring human being, and the only thing that gets my heart pumping are films, TV, books, and video games in this genre. Suspense and thrillers are genres that make up ninety percent of the entertainment that I consume, and one hundred percent of the entertainment that I write.

Dwain's book list on suspenseful science fiction

Dwain Worrell Why did Dwain love this book?

What can I say about Annihilation? It’s a novel where the reader isn’t quite sure what is going on, nor can any two readers agree on what they just read and that’s the amazing part about it.

Hypnosis, genetic deviation, and something utterly alien make this such an intense read. And that suspense is heightened because there is a level of mystery and weirdness in Jeff VanderMeer’s world, where things aren’t quite grounded in the reality that we are used to.

By Jeff VanderMeer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A contemporary masterpiece' Guardian

THE FIRST VOLUME OF THE EXTRAORDINARY SOUTHERN REACH TRILOGY - NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ALEX GARLAND (EX MACHINA) AND STARRING NATALIE PORTMAN AND OSCAR ISAAC

For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border - an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness.

The Southern Reach, a secretive government agency, has sent eleven expeditions to investigate Area X. One has ended in mass suicide, another in a hail of gunfire, the eleventh in a fatal cancer epidemic.

Now four women embark on the…


Book cover of The Killer Inside Me

Scott Montgomery Author Of Austin Noir

From my list on crime with a whole lot of Texas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent over twenty years over (fifteen in Texas) recommending crime fiction as a bookseller in a couple of prominent stores. Texas and its writers have always fascinated me. Now that I get to call myself one, I am connected more to the genre literature of my adopted state and have an insider's view as both writer and resident.

Scott's book list on crime with a whole lot of Texas

Scott Montgomery Why did Scott love this book?

Still one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read from one of the great noir artists.

Thompson gets into the mind of Lou Ford, a psychotic killer who works as a sheriff’s deputy in a West Texas town. The book skillfully maneuvers through Ford dealing with his own crimes and the political maneuvering and blackmail plots in the town that build into an explosion.

This book showed me how turning down the volume in a story can be effective in a novel.

By Jim Thompson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Killer Inside Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is a pillar of the community in his small Texas town, patient and thoughtful. Some people think he's a little slow and boring but that's the worst they say about him. But then nobody knows about what Lou calls his 'sickness'. It nearly got him put away when he was younger, but his adopted brother took the rap for that. But now the sickness that has been lying dormant for a while is about to surface again and the consequences are brutal and devastating. Tense and suspenseful, The Killer Inside Me is a brilliantly sustained masterpiece…


Book cover of Quartet In Farewell Time

Eleanor Cooney Author Of Death in Slow Motion: A Memoir of a Daughter, Her Mother, and the Beast Called Alzheimer's

From my list on if great writing is your reason to live.

Why am I passionate about this?

I took an early plunge into literature because of my very smart, highly literate parents, and it shaped my young brain. When my brilliant mother came down with Alzheimer’s, I had been a professional published writer for years, with a penchant for the non-pollyanna side of life. Here was the perfect subject matter. My aim was to take on her disintegration and downfall and turn it into art, to produce something as pitiless and unladylike as the disease itself. If people learn something about Alzheimer’s by reading it, that’s fine. But my larger purpose was to do her (and my) ordeal justice via the powers she bestowed on me.

Eleanor's book list on if great writing is your reason to live

Eleanor Cooney Why did Eleanor love this book?

Mary Durant was my mother. This was her first novel, published in 1963. When I read it, the proverbial light bulb popped to life in my very young head: I recognized the real-life people and events upon whom the characters and plot were based, and because of that familiarity, saw the way my mother had changed things around, invented circumstances, conversations and fashioned composite characters to create a story. It was a behind-the-scenes crash course in the art of fiction-writing, the marvelous synthesis by which the novelist spins fact and invention into literature. And I understood that really good fiction, though technically a "made up" story, is always imbued with Truth with a capital "T," and that great writing and Truth are inextricably intertangled.

My mother was a first-rate writer and reader, and because of her, I was initiated into the quasi-secret bandwidth of real literature. The key: it’s all…

By Mary B. Durant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Quartet In Farewell Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Shark Net: Memories and Murder

Eleanor Cooney Author Of Death in Slow Motion: A Memoir of a Daughter, Her Mother, and the Beast Called Alzheimer's

From my list on if great writing is your reason to live.

Why am I passionate about this?

I took an early plunge into literature because of my very smart, highly literate parents, and it shaped my young brain. When my brilliant mother came down with Alzheimer’s, I had been a professional published writer for years, with a penchant for the non-pollyanna side of life. Here was the perfect subject matter. My aim was to take on her disintegration and downfall and turn it into art, to produce something as pitiless and unladylike as the disease itself. If people learn something about Alzheimer’s by reading it, that’s fine. But my larger purpose was to do her (and my) ordeal justice via the powers she bestowed on me.

Eleanor's book list on if great writing is your reason to live

Eleanor Cooney Why did Eleanor love this book?

This is a memoir by a great Australian writer of literary fiction. Set in Perth in the late 40s, the 50s, and early 60s, this book is not fiction, but it’s as profoundly satisfying as a fine novel, and the author uses, with great artistry and authority, certain conventions of fiction. It’s coming-of-age interwoven with the chilling true-crime story of a lurking serial killer, who turns out to have close ties to the author’s own family; one of the victims is a boy the author knew. Perth, on the southwest coast of Australia, bordered by the Indian Ocean on one side and the vast Australian outback on the other, is often called the most isolated city in the world. It’s known for being a bland, safe place with a low crime rate, making it the perfect sundrenched-but-sinister setting for scandal, murder, and awakening sexuality. Drewe is a powerful writer, and…

By Robert Drewe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Robert Drew has written a moving and unpretentious memoir of a precocious youth, a bittersweet tribute to youth's optimism."-Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

A "spiced and savory memoir" (The New York Times) of the dark life hidden in a sunny seaside Australian community.

Written with the same lyrical intensity and spellbinding prose that has won Robert Drewe's fiction international acclaim, The Shark Net is set in a city haunted by the menace of an elusive serial killer. Drewe's middle class youth in the seaside suburbs of Perth, Australia-often described as the most isolated city in the…


Book cover of One Good Turn

Eleanor Cooney Author Of Death in Slow Motion: A Memoir of a Daughter, Her Mother, and the Beast Called Alzheimer's

From my list on if great writing is your reason to live.

Why am I passionate about this?

I took an early plunge into literature because of my very smart, highly literate parents, and it shaped my young brain. When my brilliant mother came down with Alzheimer’s, I had been a professional published writer for years, with a penchant for the non-pollyanna side of life. Here was the perfect subject matter. My aim was to take on her disintegration and downfall and turn it into art, to produce something as pitiless and unladylike as the disease itself. If people learn something about Alzheimer’s by reading it, that’s fine. But my larger purpose was to do her (and my) ordeal justice via the powers she bestowed on me.

Eleanor's book list on if great writing is your reason to live

Eleanor Cooney Why did Eleanor love this book?

Atkinson is a Scottish author who blends the murder mystery genre with superb writing. The result is startling, and not quite like anything we’ve seen before. As a murder mystery, this novel has it all. Set in Edinburgh, it’s rich with suspense, wild plot twists, a cast of truly memorable and unruly characters who are all, mostly unbeknownst to them, in an elaborate dance with one another. Atkinson tantalizes us with wicked secrets until the very last page. Darkly comic humor permeates throughout, and as we aficionados of dark humor know, it is the flip side of deep empathy for poor struggling, suffering humanity. Her rendering of a man dying from a blow to the head, told from the point of view of the victim in the last seconds of his life, could not have been written better by James Joyce himself.

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Atkinson's bright voice rings on every page, and her sly and wry observations move the plot as swiftly as suspense turns the pages of a thriller."-San Francisco ChronicleTwo years after the events of Case Histories left him a retired millionaire, Jackson Brodie has followed Julia, his occasional girlfriend and former client, to Edinburgh for its famous summer arts festival. But when he witnesses a man being brutally attacked in a traffic jam - the apparent victim of an extreme case of road rage - a chain of events is set in motion that will pull the wife of an unscrupulous…


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