98 books like Without a Net

By Ana Maria Shua,

Here are 98 books that Without a Net fans have personally recommended if you like Without a Net. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories

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?

Prior to reading this book, I was unfamiliar with 100-word stories (or drabbles). Even more, I had never seen a book that consisted entirely of 100-word stories before. Each one was a distinct and thorough world unto itself. It was through this book that I began to understand the possibilities for the 100-word form. If it were not for this book, I might have never really pushed myself to understand, appreciate, and write microfiction.

By Grant Faulkner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Fissures, a collection of one hundred 100-word stories, Grant Faulkner uses the hard borders of the 100-word story form to evocatively capture the drama of the lacunae we live in, whether it's the gulf between a loved one, the natural world, or God.

"I've always thought life is more about what is unsaid than what is said," he says. "We live in odd gaps of silence, irremediable interstices that sometimes last forever. A lingering glance averted. The lover who slams the door and runs away. Unsent letters."

Faulkner, the executive director of National Novel Writing Month and the co-founder…


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 The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

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?

After wading through and translating the verbosity of Proust, she challenged herself to write very tiny stories. She is a pioneer in contemporary American literature and her work deals largely with the experiences of women, particularly those in domestic situations. Her work is sharp and pointed, often poetic and resonant. Her use of language really makes you interrogate how many words you truthfully need to tell a good story. This collection combines several of her earlier collections.

By Lydia Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis is the complete collection of short fiction from the world-renowned Lydia Davis.

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2013.

'Big rejoicing: Lydia Davis has won the Man Booker International prize. Never did a book award deliver such a true match-winning punch. Best of all, a new audience will read her now and find her wit, her vigour and rigour, her funniness, her thoughtfulness, and the precision of form, which mark Davis out as unique.

Daring, excitingly intelligent and often wildly comic [she] reminds you, in a world that likes to bandy its words…


Book cover of Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

Jennifer Lang Author Of Places We Left Behind: A Memoir-in-Miniature

From my list on home and why it isn’t obvious for everyone.

Who am I?

For my first 18 years, I slept in the same room (opposite my parents) in the same house (116 Monticello Avenue) in the same city (Piedmont) in the same state (CA) in the same country (USA), but soon after leaving for college in Evanston, IL, I pined for elsewhere and ended up peripatetic. That peripateticness plagued me, as a woman/wife/mother. While growing our family, my French husband and I moved: Israel to France to California to New York to Israel to New York to Israel. Finally, in my early fifties, I understood home is more about who you are than where you live. 

Jennifer's book list on home and why it isn’t obvious for everyone

Jennifer Lang Why did Jennifer love this book?

This book combines compressed prose with nonfiction truth-telling but it isn’t linear or a complete story as much as a snapshot of Fennelly’s childhood, home life, and keen observations.

This book showed me that the quality of writing trumps the quantity of words. Short and sparse, when well written, can find a place on a bookshelf and shine.  

By Beth Ann Fennelly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Heating & Cooling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 52 micro-memoirs in genre-defying Heating & Cooling offer bright glimpses into a richly lived life, combining the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of non-fiction into one heartfelt, celebratory book. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a wife, mother, writer and deeply original observer of life's challenges and joys.

Some pieces are wistful, some wry and many reveal the humour buried in our everyday interactions. Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs shapes a life from unexpectedly illuminating moments and awakens us to…


Book cover of The Dreaming Jewels

David Kubicek Author Of In Human Form

From my list on science fiction about outsiders.

Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to stories about outsiders, those people who are different from their peers. Outsiders may feel a deep sense of isolation. They are often ostracized or even persecuted because of their difference. Sometimes the outsiders triumph, sometimes they fail, but they are all striving to come to terms with what makes them different. I think this topic resonates with lots of people, myself included, because many of us for a variety of reasons sometimes feel isolated from others. This theme of differentness, of isolation, is a thread that runs through much of my writing.

David's book list on science fiction about outsiders

David Kubicek Why did David love this book?

This novel captured my imagination when I first read it in high school, a time when I felt especially isolated. Not only is it a good outsider story, it’s a good come-uppance story (the evil forces get their come-uppance in the end).

When he’s eight years old, Horty Bluett runs away from his abusive adoptive family and his classmates who torment him. Some carnival people, also outcasts, take him in. Horty doesn’t realize until he’s older that he is an alien, grown by alien organisms from another world, and his special power is the ability to duplicate, or “mimic”, other life forms. This talent helps him thwart the sinister carnival owner’s plans and, as an added bonus, exact revenge on his cruel adoptive father, Judge Bluett.

By Theodore Sturgeon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Life Achievement Awards

"One of the masters of modern science fiction."—The Washington Post Book World

Eight-year-old Horty Bluett has never known love. His adoptive parents are violent; his classmates are cruel. So he runs away from home and joins a carnival. Performing alongside the fireaters, snakemen and "little people," Horty is accepted. But he is not safe. For when he loses three fingers in an accident and they grow back, it becomes clear that Horty is not like other boys. And it is a difference some people might want to use.

But…


Book cover of Wave Goodbye to Charlie

Kevin Klehr Author Of Winter Masquerade

From my list on gay themed not about romance.

Who am I?

I usually write queer fiction with an urban fantasy or magic realism bent, although I’ve dabbled in dystopian novels and a couple of romance novellas. I have an interest in bringing to light modern queer works that aren’t rooted in erotica or romance because I know firsthand the misconceptions that are placed on writers of gay fiction. And too often I’ve had to find tactful ways to explain what I write when people assume I’m limited by genre.

Kevin's book list on gay themed not about romance

Kevin Klehr Why did Kevin love this book?

Charlie is homeless and lives in an abandoned carnival, just one of the places full of wonder and mystery in this novel. He is sometimes fed by a mature-aged gay couple and has an unrequited love. But he dies and we continue reading his story in a surreal version of the world he inhabited while alive. Yes, Charlie is a ghost. The carnival he still lives in has a life of its own, and he needs to protect the living who showed him kindness. A truly beautiful tale.

By Eric Arvin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wave Goodbye to Charlie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

My name’s Charlie. I’m many things, though none of them having to do with any real talent. I’m a runaway, a hustler when I need to be, a ghost when I have to scare hoodlums away from my home, and a loner who maybe reads too much. But most of all, I’m the keeper of the carnival. That’s how I see myself. I look after the place ’cause even dying things need to be cared for. Maybe it’s illegal. Maybe that rusty metal fence around the carnival is supposed to keep me out too. Or maybe me and this place…


Book cover of Bisa's Carnaval

Ana Siqueira Author Of Bella's Recipe for Success

From my list on fabulosos Latinx picture books.

Who am I?

Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher, an award-winning Brazilian children’s author, and a published author in the Foreign Language educational market. Her debut picture book is Bella’s Recipe for Disaster/Success (Beaming Books, 2021), Her forthcoming books are If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja/ Cuando Tu Niñera Es Una Bruja (SimonKids, 2022), Abuela’s Super Capa/La Super Capa De Abuela (HarperCollins 2023) - two-book deal auction, Room in Mami’s Corazon (HarperCollins 2024) and some others that can’t be announced yet. Ana is a member of SCBWI, Las Musas Books, and co-founder of LatinxPitch. You can learn more about Ana, by following her.

Ana's book list on fabulosos Latinx picture books

Ana Siqueira Why did Ana love this book?

A festive book filled with dance, culture, family, and love. The text and the illustrations bring alive this Carnaval in Olinda, Brasil. And even though this party is all about dancing and fun, in this book, this party is also about not leaving anyone behind, especially your lovely bisa (great-grandma). I love seeing all the colors and movement of the Carnaval in Olinda. This is a great book to share with kids about another culture and the universal theme of love. 

By Joana Pastro, Carolina Coroa (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bisa's Carnaval 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?

Discover the sights and sounds of Brazil through the eyes of a young girl and her great-grandmother as they share in the excitement of Carnaval!

BISA'S CARNAVAL is the 2022 Bronze Medal Winner of the Alma Flor Ada Best Latino Focused Children's Picture Book Award - English

It's time for Carnaval and Clara cannot wait to celebrate her favorite holiday with family, but especially with her great-grandmother. Even if Bisa can't attend, Clara knows the Carnaval parade will still be special.Costumed lovingly by their bisa, everyone takes to the street for the annual parade. But even among all the colors,…


Book cover of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe

Mike Thorn Author Of Darkest Hours

From my list on debut horror short story collections.

Who am I?

Mike Thorn is the author of Shelter for the Damned, Darkest Hours, and Peel Back and See. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies, and podcasts, including Vastarien, Dark Moon Digest, and The NoSleep Podcast. His books have earned praise from Jamie Blanks (director of Urban Legend and Valentine), Jeffrey Reddick (creator of Final Destination), and Daniel Goldhaber (director of Cam). His essays and articles have been published in American Twilight: The Cinema of Tobe Hooper (University of Texas Press), The Film Stage, and elsewhere. 

Mike's book list on debut horror short story collections

Mike Thorn Why did Mike love this book?

This book's heightened literary consciousness suggests a lifetime of practice, but it is, in fact, Gwendolyn Kiste's debut (she has quickly become one of contemporary dark fiction’s most celebrated, leading figures). Throughout Untether, the author examines both societal and individual forms of suffering (e.g. depression, dissociation, and the dangers of socially imposed normativities). My favorite piece is “Skin Like Honey and Lace,” which depicts a group of women who achieve social induction by taking skin from strangers and applying it to their own bodies. A staggeringly accomplished collection. 

By Gwendolyn Kiste,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A murdered movie star reaches out to an unlikely fan. An orchard is bewitched with poison apples and would-be princesses. A pair of outcasts fail a questionnaire that measures who in their neighborhood will vanish next. Two sisters keep a grotesque secret hidden in a Victorian bathtub. A dearly departed best friend carries a grudge from beyond the grave.

In her debut collection, Gwendolyn Kiste delves into the gathering darkness where beauty embraces the monstrous, and where even the most tranquil worlds are not to be trusted. From fairy tale kingdoms and desolate carnivals, to wedding ceremonies and summer camps…


Book cover of Diamond

Helen Laycock Author Of Glass Dreams

From my list on circus stories for readers eight and up.

Who am I?

I remember reading Enid Blyton’s Mr. Galliano’s Circus as a child and was fascinated more by the idea of circus life than the actual performance aspect. I still adore watching high-quality circus feats performed by acrobats and love that frisson of excitement as everyone shuffles into their seats just before showtime. When I began writing children’s books, my aim was to give the child characters room to develop resilience and courage while encountering danger and adventure without the presence of adults. In order to do this, I had to somehow remove parental figures. Running away is the perfect literary device to achieve this which is how Glass Dreams came about.

Helen's book list on circus stories for readers eight and up

Helen Laycock Why did Helen love this book?

This book is part of the Hetty Feather collection, perfect for fans of this feisty Victorian heroine.

Recounted by ‘Diamond’ (formerly Ellen-Jane), the child acrobatic wonder, this is a story about running away FROM the circus. Bought for five guineas by cruel clown Beppo, Diamond is forced to become part of the Silver Brothers’ tumbling act at Tanglefield’s Travelling Circus. Although competent, she is mistreated and unhappy, but when Hetty Feather joins the circus as ringmaster ‘Emerald’, things begin to change…

By Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Sharratt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Diamond wasn't always a star. Born to penniless parents who longed for a strong, healthy son, she was a dainty, delicate daughter - and a bitter disappointment.

Discovering an extraordinary gift for acrobatics, Diamond uses her talent to earn a few pennies, but brings shame on her family. When a mysterious, cruel-eyed stranger spots her performing, Diamond is sold - and is taken to become an acrobat at Tanglefield's Travelling Circus.

The crowds adore Diamond, but life behind the velvet curtains is far from glamorous. Her wicked master forces Diamond to attempt ever more daring tricks, until she is terrified…


Book cover of Circus Shoes

Helen Laycock Author Of Glass Dreams

From my list on circus stories for readers eight and up.

Who am I?

I remember reading Enid Blyton’s Mr. Galliano’s Circus as a child and was fascinated more by the idea of circus life than the actual performance aspect. I still adore watching high-quality circus feats performed by acrobats and love that frisson of excitement as everyone shuffles into their seats just before showtime. When I began writing children’s books, my aim was to give the child characters room to develop resilience and courage while encountering danger and adventure without the presence of adults. In order to do this, I had to somehow remove parental figures. Running away is the perfect literary device to achieve this which is how Glass Dreams came about.

Helen's book list on circus stories for readers eight and up

Helen Laycock Why did Helen love this book?

I read that Noel Streatfeild actually spent time with a travelling circus to achieve authenticity in this story. Well, you can almost smell the greasepaint and sawdust.

Rather than being sent to separate orphanages, sheltered siblings Santa and Peter run away to Cob’s Circus where their Uncle Gus performs on the trapeze. Peter learns to ride and to understand animals, and Santa learns to tumble, but they need to persuade their uncle to like them and decide to keep them. Though old-fashioned, this tale is vivid with colour and spectacle, and the atmosphere so well-captured.

By Noel Streatfeild,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When their snobbish Aunt Rebecca dies, leaving them alone and penniless, Peter and Santa are faced with the dreadful prospect of life in separate orphanages. Desperate, they run away to find their only living relative - Uncle Gus - who works in a circus.



But Gus doesn't suffer fools gladly. To fit into his world, Peter and Santa must work harder than they've ever done in their lives.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the circus, South America, and logic?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the circus, South America, and logic.

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