79 books like A Link to the Past

By Brian J. N. Davis,

Here are 79 books that A Link to the Past fans have personally recommended if you like A Link to the Past. 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 Going Nowhere: A Life in Six Videogames

Clark Nielsen Author Of Growing Up Gamer: A Video Game Memoir

From my list on reliving playing video games from your childhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

Video games have always been an important part of my life. I love playing games. I love talking about them. I love (trying) to make them. I love writing about them! Over the years, I’ve realized these various game consoles have been the backdrop to some very important milestones in my life. It’s been fun to go back and piece together which games helped me at which age. It’s been just as fun to explore this gaming relationship from the perspective of other authors/gamers. If you, too, grew up gaming, you’ll appreciate the books on this list.

Clark's book list on reliving playing video games from your childhood

Clark Nielsen Why did Clark love this book?

This one’s an intentionally short read, fast-forwarding through Leith’s life at breakneck speed, only stopping to check in every few years to see what game he was into then. The whole thing feels like a strange fever dream or stream of consciousness, particularly in the first few chapters when his childhood memories are probably as fuzzy as the TV he played Planetoid on. Still, it’s a fascinating look at how certain games stick with you over the years. I have my own collection of games that don’t necessarily reflect my favorites of all time but certainly define key moments in my life.

By Sam Leith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Videogames are among the defining artforms of our age. They are variously adored and reviled, but their influence is felt everywhere. Every game is its own little universe – and hundreds of millions of us now spend part of our time living in those universes.
But what does it mean to play them? What does it feel like to be a member of the generation that grew up with them? Where do they take us, and what needs do they serve? In this short memoir, Sam Leith tells the story of his life through his relationship with games.
It’s a…


Book cover of Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld

Caleb J. Ross Author Of Suddenly I was a Shark! My Time with What Remains of Edith Finch

From my list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong video game obsessive. I think about video game worlds and my relationship with them in the ways most people think about family vacations to the beach or a trip with friends to Las Vegas. Every game I play is an opportunity to experience a new world, and a new culture, and to change myself along the way. Video games are a younger industry than either the music industry or the movie industry, but it’s more than 2.5x bigger than those two industries combined! There are reasons humans are so enamored by video games. The books on my list explore those reasons.

Caleb's book list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers

Caleb J. Ross Why did Caleb love this book?

David Sudnow’s Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld is perhaps the earliest account of a person’s obsession with a video game.

Sudnow’s diary-like approach to his relationship with the 1976 arcade game Breakout is captivating. It reads like improv jazz (which isn’t surprising considering Sudnow himself was an accomplished jazz pianist).

For example, here’s Sudnow describing the moments before starting the final phase of his longest game so far: “I feel the attempted seduction of the long lobbing interim, a calm before the storm, the action so laid back that I’m consciously elaborating a rhythm to be ready, set, go for a slam.”

Sudnow shows us that what might seem like simple bleeps and bloops to most people can instead be a life-affirming awakening to others. And how can something so powerful not warrant respect?

Tell your non-gaming friends: video games are poetry!

By David Sudnow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Just as the video game console market was about to crash into the New Mexico desert in 1983, musician and sociologist David Sudnow was unearthing the secrets of “eye, mind, and the essence of video skill” through an exploration of Atari's Breakout, one of the earliest hits of the arcade world.

Originally released under the title Pilgrim in the Microworld, Sudnow's groundbreaking longform criticism of a single game predates the rise of serious game studies by decades. While its earliest critics often scorned the idea of a serious book about an object of play, the book's modern readers remain fascinated…


Book cover of Gamelife: A Memoir

Caleb J. Ross Author Of Suddenly I was a Shark! My Time with What Remains of Edith Finch

From my list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong video game obsessive. I think about video game worlds and my relationship with them in the ways most people think about family vacations to the beach or a trip with friends to Las Vegas. Every game I play is an opportunity to experience a new world, and a new culture, and to change myself along the way. Video games are a younger industry than either the music industry or the movie industry, but it’s more than 2.5x bigger than those two industries combined! There are reasons humans are so enamored by video games. The books on my list explore those reasons.

Caleb's book list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers

Caleb J. Ross Why did Caleb love this book?

Where David Sudnow’s Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld focused on the flamboyant poetry of gaming, Michael W. Clune’s Gamelife opts for minimalism.

Clune himself describes the book as a memoir about computer games, which is true, and that description alone warrants inclusion in my list. Why? Any topic that can be a lens through which to reflect on one’s own life is noteworthy.

Clune isn’t a game developer recounting a life spent developing games. Clune isn’t a games industry executive doling out business advice. Clune is a gamer with a childhood he’s able to better understand when filtered through video games.

Tell your non-gaming friends: video games are therapy!

By Michael W. Clune,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In telling the story of his youth through seven computer games, critically acclaimed author Michael W. Clune (White Out) captures the part of childhood we live alone.

You have been awakened.

Floppy disk inserted, computer turned on, a whirring, and then this sentence, followed by a blinking cursor. So begins Suspended, the first computer game to obsess seven-year-old Michael, to worm into his head and change his sense of reality. Thirty years later he will write: "Computer games have taught me the things you can't learn from people."

Gamelife is the memoir of a childhood transformed by technology. Afternoons spent…


Book cover of You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

Clark Nielsen Author Of Growing Up Gamer: A Video Game Memoir

From my list on reliving playing video games from your childhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

Video games have always been an important part of my life. I love playing games. I love talking about them. I love (trying) to make them. I love writing about them! Over the years, I’ve realized these various game consoles have been the backdrop to some very important milestones in my life. It’s been fun to go back and piece together which games helped me at which age. It’s been just as fun to explore this gaming relationship from the perspective of other authors/gamers. If you, too, grew up gaming, you’ll appreciate the books on this list.

Clark's book list on reliving playing video games from your childhood

Clark Nielsen Why did Clark love this book?

Yes, this is technically a “celebrity memoir,” but Day is in a unique position of not only growing up in gaming culture but rising to fame because of it. While only two of the chapters in her book are about specific games she played, one of those games does become the basis for the show that launched her career. It’s interesting to read how she navigated the early days of YouTube and created and marketed the show with basically no budget. As someone who has frequently tried (and failed) to create game-related content of my own, it was nice to see what a self-made success story can look like.

By Felicia Day,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The instant New York Times bestseller from “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a “relentlessly funny and surprisingly inspirational” (Forbes) memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to internet stardom, and embracing her weirdness to find her place in the world.

When Felicia Day was a girl, all she wanted was to connect with other kids (desperately). Growing up in the Deep South, where she was “home-schooled for hippie reasons,” she looked online to find her tribe. The Internet was in its infancy and she became an early adopter at every stage…


Book cover of Outsiders: 22 All-New Stories From the Edge

Paul Carro Author Of The House: A Horror Novel

From my list on horror anthology story standouts.

Why am I passionate about this?

Horror spoke to me early. In fifth grade a teacher submitted my story which landed in an anthology of Maine authors alongside Stephen King. King being a local made writing real. Whether movies or books I could not consume enough of the horror genre. My local bookstore had me (a customer) curate their horror section given my knowledge and depth of reading in the field. Anthologies excited me most with so many authors packed into one volume. I detoured into producing/writing in Hollywood for years in the non-horror field. But now I author books in the genre that means the most to me. I also edit the Little Coffee Shop of Horrors Anthology series.

Paul's book list on horror anthology story standouts

Paul Carro Why did Paul love this book?

Like the title suggests, this anthology is for those on the outside. It is a weird blend of strange works from well-known authors in the industry. I tend to like anthologies such as this because it creates work somewhat out of the norm for the writers. The standout story here is from Tanith Lee. I do not recommend it purely for the story as I do not consider it the best of this bunch. What did strike me was the prose. From her first words the reader knows they are in the hands of a master. It is simply impossible to stop reading once one starts because of the incredible descriptions and tone of the story. It is technically an excerpt from one of her novels but it does wow with the beauty of the words on the page. If someone believes horror cannot be literary they have not read…

By Nancy Holder (editor), Nancy Kilpatrick (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Some of today's leading masters of speculative fiction, dark fantasy, and horror contribute a collection of original tales of the macabre in an anthology that features works by Neil Gaiman, Poppy Z. Brite, Yvonne Navarro, Tanith Lee, John Shirley, Brian Hodge, and Kathe Koja, among others. Original.


Book cover of The Metamorphosis

Luke Coulter Author Of City of Mann

From my list on seeing the world how it’s never been seen before.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in Ireland with a lot of Pink Floyd records, an active imagination, and no TV, I was almost destined to have a seemingly endless number of questions about the universe, our existence, and the purpose of it all. Finding that much could be learned from the tip of a pen (including that blue flavor is the best one) I began to read and make shapes and draw words of my own. Then, questioning the reasons I had questions, and seeking what could not be found, I found the answer to a single one—that there is far more to this world than we can ever see, and we indeed, are not alone.

Luke's book list on seeing the world how it’s never been seen before

Luke Coulter Why did Luke love this book?

His physicality transformed, Gregor awakes no longer a man, but instead, a giant grotesque creature.

As I read this masterpiece, I too understood how it is, to appear not how I desire. To sound different, to look different, to appear different than the paragon of myself I have created in my mind. And to strive to be more than this body I inhabit can give. But is this not the condition of us all?

A truly brilliant Kafka, this book created a world that is my own, yet unreal, and my reality yet a waking dream.

By Franz Kafka, Stanley Corngold (translator),

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Metamorphosis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

“When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.”

With this  startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny first sentence, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The  Metamorphosis. It is the story of a  young man who, transformed overnight into a giant  beetlelike insect, becomes an object of disgrace to  his family, an outsider in his own home, a  quintessentially alienated man. A harrowing—though  absurdly comic—meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation, The  Metamorphosis has taken its place as one  of the most widely read and influential works of  twentieth-century…


Book cover of Perdido Street Station

Noah Lemelson Author Of The Sightless City

From my list on fantasy about weird and wonderful cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in Los Angeles, I am well familiar with strange, grotesque, illogical, and wonderful cities. My love of fantasy has always been for the odd ones out, less the bucolic farmlands and forest, more for those that present a twisted mirror of modern urban life. As an amateur lover of history, I love to study the evolution, mutation, and decay of cities. I find most interesting cities, in both real life and fantasy, to be those shaped by not one single culture, but by many over history and space.

Noah's book list on fantasy about weird and wonderful cities

Noah Lemelson Why did Noah love this book?

New Crobuzon is a city as weird as its name sounds, inhabited by avian Garuda, cactus-skinned Cactacae, and the scarab beetle-headed Kephri, among many other fantastical creatures.

It’s a grimy city that if you squinted might just look a bit like Victorian-era London, albeit with more frog-people, airships, and statues crafted from harden spit. And at its center, the titular Perdido Street Station, a towering immense skyrail station, too large and labyrinthine to ever map out.

Miéville crafts a fantasy city unlike any other, plagued by government corruption, organized crime, and labor disputes, that makes New Crobuzon feel real and grounded, despite being one of the strangest cities ever put to ink.

By China Miéville,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Perdido Street Station as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the August Derleth award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Perdido Street Station is an imaginative urban fantasy thriller, and the first of China Mieville's novels set in the world of Bas-Lag.

The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of its own bewildering world. Humans and mutants and arcane races throng the gloom beneath its chimneys, where the rivers are sluggish with unnatural effluent, and factories and foundries pound into the night. For more than a thousand years, the parliament and its brutal militia have ruled over a vast array of workers and artists, spies, magicians,…


Book cover of The Lost Child: A Novel

Claire O'Callaghan Author Of Emily Brontë Reappraised

From my list on Brontë sequels, prequels, spin-offs and biographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and academic based at Loughborough University specialising in the lives, works, and afterlives of the Brontës. As a Lecturer in English, I teach and research different aspects of the Brontës writings. Alongside my own biography of Emily, I have published widely on the Brontës, including material on Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Emily Brontë’s poetry, and Charlotte's letters. I have also written about how the Brontës inspire contemporary authors, poets, and screenwriters. As well as rereading the siblings’ novels (I love Charlotte’s Shirley!), I’m fascinated by the many biographies and bio-fictions generated about this great Yorkshire family. I hope you enjoy these recommendations!

Claire's book list on Brontë sequels, prequels, spin-offs and biographies

Claire O'Callaghan Why did Claire love this book?

Caryl Phillips’s The Lost Child is a poignant novel that brings together a rewriting of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights with a reimagining of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, as well as a quick visit to the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth. In a bookended narrative, Philips gives us the backstory of how Heathcliff came to be in Liverpool before being taken to Wuthering Heights by Mr. Earnshaw. In the centre, however, is the story of Monica Johnson, a young woman living in Windrush Britain whose marriage to Julius, an African-Caribbean graduate with whom she has two children, causes a fracture with her family. An outcast like Heathcliff, The Lost Child examines Monica’s struggle to raise her sons in the north of England, showing her family’s experience with racism, trauma, and mental ill-health. Philips’s storytelling gets to the heart of what it means to be an outcast in society.

By Caryl Phillips,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award

Caryl Phillips's The Lost Child is a sweeping story of orphans and outcasts, haunted by the past and fighting to liberate themselves from it. At its center is Monica Johnson—cut off from her parents after falling in love with a foreigner—and her bitter struggle to raise her sons in the shadow of the wild moors of the north of England. Phillips intertwines her modern narrative with the childhood of one of literature's most enigmatic lost boys, as he deftly conjures young Heathcliff, the anti-hero of Wuthering Heights, and his ragged existence before Mr. Earnshaw…


Book cover of Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America

Trisha Cull Author Of The Death of Small Creatures

From my list on revealing the truth about mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

In addition to my lived experience as someone who has struggled with mental health and addiction since adolescence, I'm passionate about social justice issues related to mental illness and substance use. In June 2021, I completed a post-graduate program in Mental Health & Addictions. Throughout my studies I was able to gain a deeper understanding of how my own struggles developed and what they have come to mean to me from both a personal and clinical perspective. Now, I endeavor to pursue future writing projects in various genres that illuminate mental health issues as a relevant and timely topic of interest. I also hope to work with disenfranchised populations while pursuing my creative writing.   

Trisha's book list on revealing the truth about mental illness

Trisha Cull Why did Trisha love this book?

The late Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation is brilliantly constructed, intelligent, gritty, direct, even sardonic at times. She was a no-bullshit writer, a forerunner in the field of literary nonfiction, one of the first writers of her generation to tell the truth about mental illness and bulldoze the taboo of stigma related to this otherwise unpalatable topic.  

In this memoir, she takes us by the hand and pulls us tenderly at times, and forcefully at other times, into her intimate world of mental illness. Even as a little girl away at camp she struggles with depression and contemplations of life and death; she attempts suicide for the first time at camp. Later, as an award-winning Harvard student, we see her deteriorate further into madness, until at last she is prescribed Prozac, and things turn around. While the meds help her, she also had foresight into the dangers of pharmaceutical companies, and…

By Elizabeth Wurtzel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Elizabeth Wurtzel's New York Times best-selling memoir, with a new afterword

"Sparkling, luminescent prose . . . A powerful portrait of one girl's journey through the purgatory of depression and back." —New York Times

"A book that became a cultural touchstone." —New Yorker

Elizabeth Wurtzel writes with her finger on the faint pulse of an overdiagnosed generation whose ruling icons are Kurt Cobain, Xanax, and pierced tongues. Her famous memoir of her bouts with depression and skirmishes with drugs, Prozac Nation is a witty and sharp account of the psychopharmacology of an era for readers of Girl, Interrupted and Sylvia…


Book cover of Naked Lunch: The Restored Text

David David Katzman Author Of A Greater Monster

From my list on shattering the conventions of what a novel can be.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer, artist, and actor throughout my life, I’ve explored and enjoyed many artistic forms. While I appreciate books across many genres, I elevate to the highest level those works that manage to break conventional boundaries and create something original. In my own work, I have always challenged myself to create something unique with a medium that has never been done before. At the same time, I have sought to discover a process and resulting work that inspires readers’ own creativity and challenges them to expand their imagination. 

David's book list on shattering the conventions of what a novel can be

David David Katzman Why did David love this book?

First published in 1959, Naked Lunch was shocking then, and it still retains its power today. Both in content and structure, Naked Lunch is powerful and wholly original.  In effect, it becomes more than a work of fiction, it becomes an experience. Burroughs invented a technique called the “cut-up method,” where he cut up his coherent storyline into paragraphs, scenes, and even sentences, then reordered them both randomly and editorially. The disorder thematically represents the chaos of existence and the universe, and it also disrupts the reader. Like the book or not, it shakes you into realizing that there are possibilities beyond the conventional.

Burrough’s language is honed to a razor’s edge, and I find that many of the sentences in Naked Lunch burn like fire. The meaning of the title as Burroughs explains it is to bare the naked truth of reality on the end of a fork. From…

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

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Naked Lunch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its original publication in Paris in 1959, Naked Lunch has become one of the most important novels of the twentieth century.

Exerting its influence on the relationship of art and obscenity, it is one of the books that redefined not just literature but American culture. For the Burroughs enthusiast and the neophyte, this volume—that contains final-draft typescripts, numerous unpublished contemporaneous writings by Burroughs, his own later introductions to the book, and his essay on psychoactive drugs—is a valuable and fresh experience of a novel that has lost none of its relevance or satirical bite.


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