The best satire books 📚

Browse the best books on satire as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Naked Lunch: The Restored Text

Naked Lunch: The Restored Text

By William S. Burroughs Jr., James Grauerholz, Barry Miles

Why this book?

The granddaddy of the borderland novel. An alien-scape of the good ol’ U. S. of A. No plot, no continuity, no narrative arc, no bourgeois psychology, no discernible structure, no comforting signposts whatsoever, just line after line of acidic corrosive prose whose sureshot relentless honesty will leave the perfect reader with lingering discomfort and a heady state of pure exhilaration. And it’s damn funny. This obsessively thorough psychic exploration of one drug-addled consciousness ensures that its elaborate mapping touches somewhere upon your own. And it’s damn funny. Pay special attention to the insects.

From the list:

The best liminal books guaranteed to drive you out of your skull

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Book cover of Cooking with Fernet Branca

Cooking with Fernet Branca

By James Hamilton-Paterson

Why this book?

A fantastic parody of the Italian food/holiday/romance novels that saturated the market in the 90s and 00s, this novel feels as wine-soaked as its cover. Hilarious, tipsy, and over-the-top. The characters are wild, the circumstances are campy and it makes for a very fun read. Cook the recipes--if you dare.

From the list:

The best novels about food

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Book cover of Wizard of the Crow

Wizard of the Crow

By Ngugi Wa Thiong'o

Why this book?

The Wizard of the Crow tells the story of an African president who wants to be all-mighty, his body grows and grows and grows to the point that the president is on the verge of blowing up. Ngugi wa Thiong’o is not only one of the greatest Kenyan/African writers of the 20th century, he is also one of the few to have shown that extensive presidential powers can become a threat to the president himself. This idea very much influenced my book and I try to show that a powerful president must rely on alliances with his best and…

From the list:

The best books on African presidents and their history

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Book cover of The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear

The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear

By Walter Moers

Why this book?

Bluebears, as everyone knows, have 27 lives. Here we read of 13 of them. And a half. We read of Minipirates, ocean waves that teach speech, wise dinosaurs, nocturnal academies, and tornadoes inhabited by old men. Dizzying, hilarious, and tremendously fun, with gorgeous illustrations throughout, this book will charm even the most armored of readers.
From the list:

The best fantasy books you’ve never heard of

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Book cover of The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley

The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley

By Colin Thompson, Amy Lissiat

Why this book?

The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley is a book that, well, the first time I read it my mind was blown. This is a self-help book for all humans in a picture book. It takes our thirst to live forever, to always want more, be more, see more, do more, look better, and compares that with the wonderful Riley, who is happy with some fruit and maybe a couple of slugs on Tuesday or Friday.

He likes a little stick that can scratch his back.
He looks like Riley. Why would he want to look like anything else?…

From the list:

The best kid’s books on living a great life

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Book cover of The Business

The Business

By Iain M. Banks

Why this book?

Banks is a freak of nature: he wrote sci-fi of the pinkest blood as well as prize-winning literary fare; all it took to indulge this duality was the use of a spare initial. The Business is one of the subtler interlopers: a minimalist, monochrome cover and a tale of corporate greed. Banks dials what could have been a staid techno-thriller up to 11 with killer prose, a razor-sharp protagonist, and outrageous flirting with the edges of possibility: magnates who get their jollies beaching cruise liners, hollowed-out mountain lairs, revving supercars to the destruction around the Swiss mountains. This is a…

From the list:

The best high-brow books that’ll change your mind about science fiction

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