- Meg Raymond
You want adult books that have the same feeling as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. You like the nonsensical bits, the otherworldly settings, and Alice with her curiosity and sense of adventure.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is really one of a kind! So much amazing in one book! First of all, I’d recommend Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin. A fictionalized account of the later life of Alice Liddell - yes, that Alice. There have also been many “re-tellings” of Alice based on different aspects of the book! You might also like these library booklists: Fantasy Can Be Funny, Divinely, Diabolically Funny, and Modern Fairy Tales.
Some other titles that are silly and nonsensical, have settings that are otherworldly, and have a sense of adventure include...
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
I had to include this, because, really, New Orleans *is* an “otherworldly” setting, right? Ignatius J. Reilly is a beleaguered anti-hero—a “noble crusader against a world of dunces”.
Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans is selfish, domineering, deluded, tragic and larger than life—and is a noble crusader against a world of dunces. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. In magnificent revolt against the twentieth century, Ignatius propels his monstrous bulk among the flesh posts of the fallen city, documenting life on his Big Chief tablets as he goes, until his maroon-haired mother decrees that Ignatius must work. (catalog summary)
The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey
Coop is a thief. And he’s immune to magic. So he’s perfect for those heists where the supernatural set hang out. But a simple job—steal a box—turns out to be waaaay more than he bargained for.
2000 B.C. An angel stands on a mountaintop, surveying the world and its little inhabitants below. He smiles because soon, the last of humanity who survived the great flood will meet its end, too. And he's going to play a big part in it; the instrument of humanity's doom is in his pocket. Oh, must be in the other pocket....2015. Coop, a thief specializing in purloining magic objects, delivers a small box to a mysterious client. Suddenly he finds himself in the company of The Department of Peculiar Science. It seems the box isn't just a supernatural heirloom with quaint powers: it's a doomsday device. Coop's latest job could be the end of him—and the rest of the world. (catalog summary)
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Thursday Next is a literary detective—traveling into fiction to save characters from being obliterated.
In Fforde's debut, set in 1985 in an alternate London, literature is (refreshingly) so important that you can get punished for forging Byronic verses. Then someone starts kidnapping literary characters. Jane Eyre's disappearance is particularly traumatic, and Special Operative Thursday Next must stop this before it's too late. (catalog summary)
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman
The end of the world is nigh! Unless it can be saved by...what? who? Among others, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who now ride motorcycles. (Pro tip: read this and then read Humans by Donald Westlake—the two titles are vastly different, but so very similar!)
The world is going to end next Saturday, but there are a few problems—the Antichrist has been misplaced, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride motorcycles, and the representatives from heaven and hell decide that they like the human race. (catalog summary)
Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
St. Mary's is an historical research institute. Conventional research is great, but the best "primary sources" are found by time travel.
"Madeline "Max" Maxwell has stumbled on the dream of a lifetime: a career as a time-traveling historian with St. Mary's Institute of Historical Research. The researchers are under strict orders to observe only—no interaction with the locals is allowed. But from her first mission rescuing artifacts from the Great Library of Alexandria, Max realized that time travel is a dangerous activity and that history—and other historians--will go to elaborate lengths to protect themselves. (catalog summary)
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Biff tells the untold story about his BFF, Jesus of Nazareth. (You’d probably like all of Moore’s titles!)
The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years-except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work. Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Jesus from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Jesus more—except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala—and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight. (catalog summary)
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
True love with sword fights, revenge, death, and miracles. And more.
Once upon a time came a story so full of high adventure and true love that it became an instant classic and won the hearts of millions. Now in hardcover in America for the first time since 1973, this special edition of The Princess Bride is a true keepsake for devoted fans as well as those lucky enough to discover it for the first time. What reader can forget or resist such colorful characters as Westley, the handsome farm boy who risks death and much, much worse for the woman he loves; or Inigo, the Spanish swordsman who lives only to avenge his father's death; Prince Humperdinck, the eviler ruler of Guilder, who has an equally insatiable thirst for war and the beauteous Buttercup; and Buttercup . . . the princess bride, the most perfect, beautiful woman in the history of the world.
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Poor Alexia Tarabotti. She’s a spinster. She’s too tall. She’s too brown, as her father was, unfortunately, Italian. She has no soul. Which makes her perfect for Lord Maccon, who is big and loud and messy. And gorgeous. And a werewolf.
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire—and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Time travel can be tricky. If even one little thing goes wrong, the space-time continuum can be destroyed. Nick and Verity have traveled back to Victorian England to fix a small mistake. They get help from “a butler, a bulldog, the battle of Waterloo, and, above all, ...the bishop’s birdstump”.
Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He's been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop's bird stump. It's part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier. (catalog summary)
Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt
Lucien Minor is weak and small—an anomaly in a town known for big men. He gets a job at a remote castle, full of strange residents with dark secrets.
Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the bucolic hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, Lucy is a compulsive liar, a sickly weakling in a town famous for producing brutish giants. Then Lucy accepts employment assisting the Majordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux. While tending to his new post as Undermajordomo, Lucy soon discovers the place harbors many dark secrets, not least of which is the whereabouts of the castle's master, Baron Von Aux. He also encounters the colorful people of the local village—thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and Klara, a delicate beauty whose love he must compete for with the exceptionally handsome soldier, Adolphus. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery, and cold-blooded murder in which every aspect of human behavior is laid bare for our hero to observe. (catalog summary)