Alternatives to Christie, Sedaris, Bryson
April 28, 2009 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for authors similar to Agatha Christie, David Sedaris, and Bill Bryson.

I've exhausted those three authors, and am looking for others who are similar.

Generally I want something entertaining, not depressing, not a difficult read, and somewhat the same style. We're talking fall-asleep-while-reading-at-bedtime writers, not soul-searching.

Another mystery author would be great. Already done Dashiell Hammett.

What I like about David Sedaris and Bill Bryson is the funny life-story aspect.

Thanks for any and all recommendations.
posted by fatbird to Writing & Language (29 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
For the upper-class British side of Agatha Christie, but funny, try P.G. Wodehouse (not mystery).

Have you read all the Sherlock Holmes books? Another light mystery series you could try are the Fletch novels, which aren't much like the Chevy Chase movies.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:26 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


David Rakoff (best sampled by audiobook)
posted by puckish at 7:27 PM on April 28, 2009


And Sarah Vowell, in keeping with the TAL theme.
posted by puckish at 7:28 PM on April 28, 2009


Ngiao Marsh
posted by zinfandel at 7:44 PM on April 28, 2009


I always preferred Mary Higgins Clark over Agatha Christie, so, you might want to give her a go, if you haven't already!
posted by firei at 7:47 PM on April 28, 2009


Oooh you're gonna love Tim Cahill.
posted by headnsouth at 7:51 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you haven't read Dorothy Sayers yet, I think you'll definitely enjoy her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries.
posted by bluestocking at 8:00 PM on April 28, 2009


Tony Hawks is one of my faves.

Also: I asked a question a while back that might be of interest: What are some good, light-hearted, humorous travel books?
posted by nitsuj at 8:01 PM on April 28, 2009


Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is non-twee, funny British fantasy. You can read them out of order, so dip in anywhere you like. Lots of recommendations here.

Donald E. Westlake, especially anything from his Dortmunder series.
posted by maudlin at 8:07 PM on April 28, 2009


Augusten Burrows and Jonathan Ames are very similar in style to David Sedaris and Bill Bryson.
posted by General Malaise at 8:08 PM on April 28, 2009


Greg Mathews should meet your needs very well. I just read his novel Come To Dust. It's basically noir infused with a good amount of absurdity. Good stuff, not too heavy, but quite entertaining.
posted by metagnathous at 8:11 PM on April 28, 2009


If you like Bill Bryson, you might like Peter Mayle, Stephen Clarke, and Paul Theroux. They all write fairly ironic, funny travelogue-type books.

I like the Nero Wolfe mystery series by Rex Stout. Those are totally light mysteries - they go as fast as Agatha Christies and are just as mindless and entertaining. : )
posted by gt2 at 8:27 PM on April 28, 2009


Seconding Sayers and Wodehouse.
posted by Bigfoot Mandala at 9:00 PM on April 28, 2009


If you like Bill Bryson, you'll love Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen. Do yourself a favor. Skip all the other books that people recommend to you in this thread, and read this one first. You won't regret it.
posted by alms at 9:13 PM on April 28, 2009


Georgette Heyer - love her detective fiction (here named 'thrillers', scroll to the very bottom for titles)
posted by latch24 at 9:25 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Randy Wayne White (his non-fiction essays, haven't read his Doc Ford novels) and a second recommendation for Tim Cahill.
posted by ArgentineBlonde at 9:47 PM on April 28, 2009


An hilarious travelogue is Douglas Adams's Last Chance to See.
posted by neuron at 10:15 PM on April 28, 2009


If you are into hyperintellectual feminist writers, Katha Pollitt is a good one. I also second the recommendation of David Rakoff!
posted by so_gracefully at 11:01 PM on April 28, 2009


3rd Sayers.
Also in the mystery vein, you might like Boris Akunin.
posted by juv3nal at 12:12 AM on April 29, 2009


Nonfiction - Mary Roach
Fiction - Douglas Copeland
posted by transporter accident amy at 12:18 AM on April 29, 2009


Mary Roberts Rinehart who Wikipedia calls the American Agatha Christie.
posted by x46 at 3:38 AM on April 29, 2009


Sarah Caudwell for the Agatha Christie. Also, you can check out this previous question I asked for other Agatha Christie-ish books.
posted by bluefly at 5:06 AM on April 29, 2009


Robertson Davies was an excellent Canadian author who might fit the bill. He wrote trilogies about communities/ groups of people so you get a few different life stories (albeit fictional), and his stories are usually quite dark in places, and very intelligent and funny. The Salterton trilogy (Tempest-Tost, Leaven of Malice and A Mixture of Frailties is a good one to start with.
posted by goo at 5:36 AM on April 29, 2009


Those are three of my favorite authors! :)

For more "funny life-story aspect" reading, especially if you liked Bryson's travel writings, try The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost. He moves to what he thinks is an island paradise and discovers that it's "possibly the Worst Place on Earth." I'm about halfway through this right now and it's fantastic.

You might also like A. J. Jacobs's The Know-It-All, in which he documents his efforts to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. It's basically a memoir with a lot of random trivia from the encyclopedia thrown in, and it quite often left me out of breath from laughing so hard.

Both of these authors have written another book or two.
posted by phatkitten at 6:09 AM on April 29, 2009


For the dry, self-effacing travelogue, I find Tim Moore about as close to Bryson's style as can be.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:47 AM on April 29, 2009


Thirding Cahill.
Also David Quammen for travel.
posted by qldaddy at 6:47 AM on April 29, 2009


Nthing Wodehouse. Also,

Jerome K Jerome for humour.

John Dickson Carr for mystery.
posted by prufrock at 7:25 AM on April 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sayers, again. Some people aren't huge fans of the Lord Peter novels that feature Harriet Vane, and Whose Body is also iffy, but the Lord Peter stories and other novels like Murder Must Advertise are great.
posted by rustcellar at 12:00 PM on April 29, 2009


Mary Stewart and Josephine Tey, for clever, slightly old-fashioned British mysteries.
posted by dizziest at 5:11 PM on April 29, 2009


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