100 books like Zazie in the Metro

By Raymond Queneau, Barbara Wright (translator),

Here are 100 books that Zazie in the Metro fans have personally recommended if you like Zazie in the Metro. 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 Tenth of December: Stories

Giselle Leeb Author Of Mammals, I Think We Are Called

From my list on genre-bending stories to fire your imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had no expectations about what the first short stories I wrote would end up being like. Although I’d read mostly realistic literary fiction before starting to write, most of my stories included fantastical elements. This set me off reading and writing stories categorised as weird, cross-genre, slipstream, magical realist, fantastic, fabulist, horror, soft sci-fi, and surreal. The thing that struck me was how slippery these categories are. But what unites them is their openness to unbounded imagination. Like a lens concentrating a fire, their strange and fantastical techniques amplify feelings and reality in unique ways, while always paying attention to language. It’s been a thrilling, exciting ride!

Giselle's book list on genre-bending stories to fire your imagination

Giselle Leeb Why did Giselle love this book?

One of my top short story writers, the word ‘unique’ was invented for Saunders. Selling in the literary category, he has a vernacular style all his own. His stories comment on American society and the horrors of capitalism but never shove a message down your throat. Saunders is simply immersed in these concerns and it comes out naturally in his writing. His stories contain sci-fi and futuristic elements, and use these, as well as a deadpan surrealism, to comment on the now. The story I will never forget from this collection is "The Semplica Girl Diaries", in which ‘Semplica Girls’, women from ‘third-world’ countries, are trafficked to be used as human lawn ornaments. Saunders faces things head-on, with dark hilarity.

By George Saunders,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**ESCAPE FROM SPIDERHEAD NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX - STARRING CHRIS HEMSWORTH AND MILES TELLER** The prize-winning, New York Times bestselling short story collection from the internationally bestselling author of Lincoln in the Bardo 'The best book you'll read this year' New York Times 'Dazzlingly surreal stories about a failing America' Sunday Times WINNER OF THE 2014 FOLIO PRIZE AND SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2013 George Saunders's most wryly hilarious and disturbing collection yet, Tenth of December illuminates human experience and explores figures lost in a labyrinth of troubling preoccupations. A family member recollects a backyard pole dressed for…


Book cover of A Confederacy of Dunces

Toby LeBlanc Author Of Dark Roux

From my list on South Louisiana culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in Scott, Louisiana, I didn’t know that everyone else in the United States did not get Mardi Gras off from school and work. I thought everyone knew some French. Crawfish boils were a natural, expectable part of every spring. South Louisiana is a world unto itself. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate my heritage, my Cajun lineage, and the sometimes-befuddling ways we Louisianians look at that world. Between conversations with elders, reading historical documents, and even looking at land transfer maps, I’ve become even more grounded in what being from this little wet corner of the world means. 

Toby's book list on South Louisiana culture

Toby LeBlanc Why did Toby love this book?

This Pulitzer Prize winner remains a time-tested testament to the absurdity that is New Orleans.

I felt like I’d met every one of the characters at least twice in my own walks on the streets of this storied city. I could even taste the Lucky Dogs. This is one of the few books to have me consistently laugh out loud. You can even take a picture with the statue of Ignatius J Reilly (the main character) on Canal Street.

By John Kennedy Toole,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Confederacy of Dunces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF THE BBC'S 100 NOVELS THAT SHAPED OUR WORLD

'This is probably my favourite book of all time' Billy Connolly

A pithy, laugh-out-loud story following John Kennedy Toole's larger-than-life Ignatius J. Reilly, floundering his way through 1960s New Orleans, beautifully resigned with cover art by Gary Taxali
_____________

'This city is famous for its gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, and lesbians . . . don't make the mistake of bothering me.'

Ignatius J. Reilly: fat, flatulent, eloquent and almost unemployable. By the standards of ordinary folk he is pretty much…


Book cover of My Life and Hard Times

James W. Morris Author Of Rude Baby

From my list on literary fiction to laugh out loud.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I wrote a series of plays with my family as characters. Everyone (even the dog and cat) had lines that demonstrated their quirks, except me—the sane and reasonable one. When I performed these playlets for my mother (performing all parts, since no one else would co-operate) she laughed so hard she cried, and it’s fair to say my subsequent writing career has been an attempt to recapture the feelings that experience generated. Beginning as a joke writer (including a stint working for Jay Leno), I now focus on literary fiction, though humor is always a part of my work.

James' book list on literary fiction to laugh out loud

James W. Morris Why did James love this book?

I received a copy of this book as a gift on my eleventh birthday, and by the time I’d finished reading it, I had decided to become a writer. What seems at first to be a simply-written series of reminiscences from Thurber’s boyhood in Columbus, Ohio is in fact a fake (or at least exaggeration-filled) memoir, full of tales about charmingly addled characters and unlikely incidents. The chapter entitled “The Dog that Bit People” is my personal favorite.

By James Thurber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Life and Hard Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Bantam Classic, published in 1961. Cover and spine a little rough. Book appears to be unopened (unread). Pages lightly tan with age. Clean, bright used copy with tight binding. NEVER a library book./jl


Book cover of The Dead Father

James W. Morris Author Of Rude Baby

From my list on literary fiction to laugh out loud.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I wrote a series of plays with my family as characters. Everyone (even the dog and cat) had lines that demonstrated their quirks, except me—the sane and reasonable one. When I performed these playlets for my mother (performing all parts, since no one else would co-operate) she laughed so hard she cried, and it’s fair to say my subsequent writing career has been an attempt to recapture the feelings that experience generated. Beginning as a joke writer (including a stint working for Jay Leno), I now focus on literary fiction, though humor is always a part of my work.

James' book list on literary fiction to laugh out loud

James W. Morris Why did James love this book?

I studied the post-modernists in college, and find Barthelme to be the funniest and most likable of that group. His collection of short fiction, Sixty Stories, is my desert island book, but he also wrote a few novels that I like, especially The Dead Father. The dead father looms large in the ethos of his society, and is also literally big—3,200 cubits long. And the dead father is not really dead—though all agree he’s past his prime. So, a road trip is organized: nineteen of his followers attach a cable to drag the massive, complaining figure to a cliff at the edge of the world. A truly witty and absurd little book.

By Donald Barthelme,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Dead Father is a gargantuan half-dead, half-alive, part mechanical, wise, vain, powerful being who still has hopes for himself--even while he is being dragged by means of a cable toward a mysterious goal. In this extraordinary novel, marked by the imaginative use of language that influenced a generation of fiction writers, Donald Barthelme offered a glimpse into his fictional universe. As Donald Antrim writes in his introduction, "Reading The Dead Father, one has the sense that its author enjoys an almost complete artistic freedom . . . a permission to reshape, misrepresent, or even ignore the world as we…


Book cover of The story of the Paris Metro: from 1900 to the current day

Mark Ovenden Author Of Underground Cities: Mapping the tunnels, transits and networks underneath our feet

From my list on subways and urban trains.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mark Ovenden is a broadcaster, lecturer and author who specialises in the design of public transport. His books include ’Transit Maps of The World’ - an Amazon Top 100 best-seller - and a dozen others covering cartography, architecture, typography, way finding and history of urban transit systems, airline routes and railway maps. He has spoken on these subjects across the World and is a regular on the UK's Arts Society lecture circuit. His television and radio programmes for the BBC have helped to explain the joys of good design and urban architecture. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and after many years living in cities like London, Paris, New York and Manchester…now enjoys a more rural life on the Isle of Wight.

Mark's book list on subways and urban trains

Mark Ovenden Why did Mark love this book?

The most detailed of all English books on the history of the Paris Metro and arguably the most informative on engineering, construction, signalling and rolling stock. With a level of detail bordering on the obsessive, Lamming probes the very heart of what makes this most impressive of World metro systems tick. The difficulties of building the first lines through the honeycombed quarries below Paris, and the first tunnels under the Seine are articulated in immense detail. With hundreds of engineers illustrations and archive photos there is little to compare this book with in the English language.

By Clive Lamming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The story of the Paris Metro as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

nan


Book cover of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Kate Strasdin Author Of The Dress Diary: Secrets from a Victorian Woman's Wardrobe

From my list on featuring fashion.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember I have been absolutely gripped by the stories that old clothes can tell. From visiting fashion museums as a child to collecting books on the subject, I was drawn to the shapes, the fabrics, and the tales. I can remember a curator once telling me that clothes are the closest we can get to people in the past. They are the ghostly outlines of our ancestors and that has stayed with me. We give so much away about ourselves through the clothes we choose to wear and so they really do matter.

Kate's book list on featuring fashion

Kate Strasdin Why did Kate love this book?

I love the importance of objects that lies at the very centre of this book.

It is easy to write off the idea of fashion as superficial and unimportant but through the eyes of Mrs Harris and her ambitions to own a Dior dress from Paris, we can appreciate the beauty of a garment, the joy of its construction and the skill of its makers.

When cleaning lady Mrs. Harris sees a Dior dress hanging in the wardrobe of one of her clients, she dares to dream that she might one day own one. The quest takes her to Paris and to the atelier of Dior, with friendships emerging along the way.

By Paul Gallico,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Charmed by her employers' beautiful wardrobe, Mrs. 'Arris, a London charwoman, visits the Dior salon in Paris


Book cover of The Kill

Mary Soderstrom Author Of Concrete: From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future

From my list on to design a workable, walkable, wonderful city.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to say I'm a born-again pedestrian. After a childhood in car-friendly Southern California, I moved first to the San Francisco Bay Area and then to Montreal. There I discovered the pleasures of living in walkable cities, and over the years I've explored them in a series of books about people, nature, and urban spaces in which the problems of spread-out, concrete-heavy cities take a front-row seat. The impact of the way we've built our cities over the last 100 years is becoming apparent, as carbon dioxide rises, driving climate changes. We must change the way we live, and the books I suggest give some insights about what to do and what not to do.

Mary's book list on to design a workable, walkable, wonderful city

Mary Soderstrom Why did Mary love this book?

Sometimes it's helpful, even encouraging, to discover that problems we face today were faced by people in the past.  Emile Zola wrote a series of novels about Paris in the mid-19th century at a time when the City of Light was being rebuilt along pretty extraordinary lines. At the same time that poor people were being tossed out of their substandard housing, some people were making fortunes speculating in real estate. The Kill focuses on the personal dramas of people on both sides of the equation, with quite a lot of sex thrown in to spice things up.

By Émile Zola, Brian Nelson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'It was the time when the rush for spoils filled a corner of the forest with the yelping of hounds, the cracking of whips, the flaring of torches. The appetites let loose were satisfied at last, shamelessly, amid the sound of crumbling neighbourhoods and fortunes made in six months. The city had become an orgy of gold and women.'

The Kill (La Curee) is the second volume in Zola's great cycle of twenty novels, Les Rougon-Macquart, and the first to establish Paris - the capital of modernity - as the centre of Zola's narrative world. Conceived as a representation of…


Book cover of Upright Beasts

S.G. Browne Author Of Lost Creatures: Stories

From my list on genre-bending literary short story collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always enjoyed short story collections. Starting with Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, I became a fan of the short form. And as a burgeoning writer, writing short stories was the best way for me to learn the craft of storytelling. While I started out writing supernatural horror, I gradually found myself combining horror, fantasy, and science fiction with dark comedy and social satire, creating a blend of genres. Several of the short story collections I recommend here were instrumental in my evolution as a short story writer and inspired a number of the stories in my latest collection, Lost Creatures.

S.G.'s book list on genre-bending literary short story collections

S.G. Browne Why did S.G. love this book?

When it comes to short story collections I definitely have a type, as Upright Beasts is a blend of fantasy, horror, dark humor, and the surreal. And if we’re talking about genre-bending, no one does it quite like Lincoln Michel. His stories are strange and familiar, funny and sad, whimsical and disturbing, twisted and delightful. Sometimes all at the same time. Much like the other authors and collections I’ve listed here, these stories inspired my own writing and made me want to be a better writer. That’s what I want in the fiction I read: to not only be entertained but challenged.

By Lincoln Michel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Praise for Lincoln Michel: "Lincoln Michel is one of contemporary literary culture's greatest natural resources."-Justin Taylor, Vice Time passes unexpectedly or, perhaps, inexactly at the school. It's hard to remember what semester we are supposed to be in. Several of the clocks still operate, but they don't show the same time. The red bells, affixed in every room, erupt several times each day, yet the intervals between the disruptions wax and wane with an unknown algorithm. The windows are obscured by construction paper murals. Consequently, the sun rises and falls in complete ignorance of those of us attending the school.…


Book cover of Things We Do in the Dark

Mallika Narayanan Author Of In the Dark I See You

From my list on Suspense/thriller books with great plot twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer of suspense/thrillers and psychological thrillers, I’ve always loved thrillers and suspense books where I can’t guess the ending. And this list of books is additionally close to my heart because of the way they made me feel when I read them: breathless; restless to know how they were going to end; and most of all, they made me think about and question the psychology of the characters. I hope you will like them as much as I did!

Mallika's book list on Suspense/thriller books with great plot twists

Mallika Narayanan Why did Mallika love this book?

I inhaled this gripping thriller in one sitting! It really made me go, wait, what? The author did a phenomenal job keeping me focused on certain details, while twirling other important details in the background. So when it all pieced together, I was truly in awe.

The twists in the book kept me hooked all through. Just when I thought, ah, I think I know where this is going, the very next chapter would make me change my mind. The pacing of this book added to the thrills.

I loved the writing and the characterization. This book, to me, is a great example of combining a most-loved genre while representing important voices and exploring and debunking assumptions. The main character is Filipino-American and I loved reading about the experience through the character’s eyes and told over many years so there’s a clear arc of the changes that time has brought…

By Jennifer Hillier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Things We Do in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Paris Peralta is arrested in her own bathroom-covered in blood, holding a straight razor, her celebrity husband dead in the bathtub behind her-she knows she'll be charged with murder. But as bad as this looks, it's not what worries her the most. With the unwanted media attention now surrounding her, it's only a matter of time before someone from her long hidden past recognizes her and destroys the new life she's worked so hard to build, along with any chance of a future.

Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby Reyes, known as the Ice Queen, was convicted of a similar murder…


Book cover of In My Fashion

Dana Thomas Author Of Fashionopolis: Why What We Wear Matters

From my list on fashion in Paris.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dana Thomas is the author of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano and the New York Times bestseller Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. Thomas began her career writing for the Style section of The Washington Post, and for fifteen years she served as a cultural and fashion correspondent for Newsweek in Paris. She is currently a contributing editor for British Vogue, and a regular contributor to The New York Times Style section and Architectural Digest. She wrote the screenplay for Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams, a feature documentary directed by Luca Guadagnino. In 2016, the French Minister of Culture named Thomas a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. She lives in Paris.

Dana's book list on fashion in Paris

Dana Thomas Why did Dana love this book?

Ballard was the Paris editor for American Vogue between the wars, before returning to New York to help run the glossy. In 1960, she published her memoir, In My Fashion, a wonderful snapshot not only of the fashion industry during the European Modernist era, but also of life as a young single American woman in Paris at its most Paris-y. You don’t have to be a fashion lover to love this book.

By Bettina Ballard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bettina Ballard, Paris-based correspondent and later Fashion Editor for US Vogue, was at the centre of the fashion world from the 1930s to the ’50s and an intimate of Coco Chanel, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Elsa Schiaparelli. With journalistic flair, she captures the spirit of pre-war Paris, the working methods of the fashion greats and the transformation of the post-war fashion industry with the arrival of Dior.


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