100 books like Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

By Ben Fountain,

Here are 100 books that Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk fans have personally recommended if you like Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

John Foot Author Of Calcio: A History of Italian Football

From my list on how sport and history cannot be separated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and journalist. I lived in Italy for over twenty years, immersing myself in the culture of that country—in every form. I decided to write Calcio after becoming aware of the centrality of football to Italian culture and politics, and around the time of the rise of a football entrepreneur to political power—Silvio Berlusconi. The book took me three years, led me to visit numerous cities, stadiums, and regions, and interview dozens of journalists, experts, and players. It was a love letter and a warning—dedicated to ‘my father who loves football, and my son, who hates it.'

John's book list on how sport and history cannot be separated

John Foot Why did John love this book?

A superb and gripping account of the hold that American Football has over a small town in the USA. In telling the story of a season, Bissinger captures the glory, tragedy, and futility of sport, and its connection to racial politics, ambition, local rivalries, and a passionate fan base. Led to a brilliant TV series. Elegiac and path-breaking.

By H.G. Bissinger,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Friday Night Lights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 25th anniversary edition of the #1 New York Times bestseller and Sports Illustrated 's best football book of all time, with a new afterword by the authorReturn once again to the timeless account of the Permian Panthers of Odessa,the winningest high-school football team in Texas history. Socially and racially divided, Odessa isn't known to be a place big on dreams, but every Friday night from September to December, when the Panthers play football, dreams can come true.With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger unforgettably captures a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the…


Book cover of The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football

Mark A. Salter Author Of Sins of the Tribe

From my list on institutional hypocrisy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like all of us, I was raised on promises, and now I’ve veered off to another perspective. I love football. I played in high school, college, and for a brief time, in the NFL (didn’t make the final roster!) Philosophy has been a life-long pursuit, but I didn’t find what I was looking for: the truth. Except for the existentialists, most of it is a mere history of how mankind thought. But philosophy has taught me how to examine the essence of important issues. That’s why I wrote a book about tribalism, because to me, tribalism is the strongest dynamic in humanity and morality is subordinate to tribalism.

Mark's book list on institutional hypocrisy

Mark A. Salter Why did Mark love this book?

I originally read this as research for my own novel and I’m so glad I did. Not all of it is about scandal, in fact my favorite parts highlighted how sports can be used to bring out the best in us. In fact, that’s what sports did for me. I loved that it also sheds light on the machinations we don’t see that are used to drive the sport. And, yes, I was horrified by some of the stories: horrified by the sexual assaults and furthermore by the rationalizations and the coverups. The feeling I had reading The System: we all want to dress ourselves in virtue, but all we really want is to win and for some, there is no price that’s too high.

By Jeff Benedict, Armen Keteyian,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year 

NCAA football is big business. Every Saturday millions of people file into massive stadiums or tune in on television as "athlete-students" give everything they've got to make their team a success. Billions of dollars now flow into the game. But what is the true cost? The players have no share in the oceans of money. And once the lights go down, the glitter doesn't shine so brightly. Filled with mind-blowing details of major NCAA football scandals, with stops at Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Missouri, BYU, LSU, Texas A&M and many more,…


Book cover of Champions Way: Football, Florida, and the Lost Soul of College Sports

Mark A. Salter Author Of Sins of the Tribe

From my list on institutional hypocrisy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like all of us, I was raised on promises, and now I’ve veered off to another perspective. I love football. I played in high school, college, and for a brief time, in the NFL (didn’t make the final roster!) Philosophy has been a life-long pursuit, but I didn’t find what I was looking for: the truth. Except for the existentialists, most of it is a mere history of how mankind thought. But philosophy has taught me how to examine the essence of important issues. That’s why I wrote a book about tribalism, because to me, tribalism is the strongest dynamic in humanity and morality is subordinate to tribalism.

Mark's book list on institutional hypocrisy

Mark A. Salter Why did Mark love this book?

I’m conflicted, two of my three kids went to Florida State and this book holds nothing back about the crimes and sins that have taken place at FSU. I felt like I was witness to a crime scene; the crimes were academic, cultural, and truly criminal. I completely believe that our higher education system is critical to our country, yet what takes place at these schools is an outrage. This is a book written by a talented journalist who took me on an objective tour of the hypocrisy we are willing to allow for our tribe to dominate.

By Mike McIntire,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With little public debate or introspection, our institutions of higher learning have become hostages to the rapacious, smash-mouth entertainment conglomerate known, quaintly, as intercollegiate athletics. In Champions Way, New York Times investigative reporter Mike McIntire chronicles the rise of this growing scandal through the experience of the Florida State Seminoles, one of the most successful teams in NCAA history.

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his Times investigation of college sports, McIntire breaks new ground here, uncovering the workings of a system that enables athletes to violate academic standards and avoid criminal prosecution for actions ranging from shoplifting to…


Book cover of I Am Charlotte Simmons

Mark A. Salter Author Of Sins of the Tribe

From my list on institutional hypocrisy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like all of us, I was raised on promises, and now I’ve veered off to another perspective. I love football. I played in high school, college, and for a brief time, in the NFL (didn’t make the final roster!) Philosophy has been a life-long pursuit, but I didn’t find what I was looking for: the truth. Except for the existentialists, most of it is a mere history of how mankind thought. But philosophy has taught me how to examine the essence of important issues. That’s why I wrote a book about tribalism, because to me, tribalism is the strongest dynamic in humanity and morality is subordinate to tribalism.

Mark's book list on institutional hypocrisy

Mark A. Salter Why did Mark love this book?

Back to fiction. I loved how everyone, including the adorable young woman from a hardscrabble background, Charlotte, took their own big bite of hypocrisy pie. Everyone, except for one character, did it and I’m not going to spoil it for you (it was the star basketball player.) I think I’ve read everything Tom Wolfe had ever written and this is his finest work. This novel took me on a ride, I was there, the emotions I felt reading it were visceral and real. At the end, the feeling I had was—what the hell is college all about? And then I answered myself: it’s four years of summer camp and I can’t wait until my youngest graduates.

By Tom Wolfe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Am Charlotte Simmons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A scandalous exploration of elite undergraduate life from the author of The Bonfire of the Vanities

Dupont University: the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition... or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a sheltered freshman from Sparta, North Carolina, who has come here on a full scholarship. But Charlotte soon learns that for the upper-crust coeds of Dupont, sex, status, and kegs trump academic achievement every time.

As Charlotte encounters Dupont's elite, she gains a new, revelatory sense of her own power, that of…


Book cover of The Things They Carried

Ellen Birkett Morris Author Of Beware the Tall Grass

From my list on a well-rounded look at Americans touched by the Vietnam War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the Vietnam War because my male relatives served and came back changed by the experience. I spent ten years as the editor of The Patton Saber, writing articles about the experience of World War II soldiers, but when I came across an idea for a novel about past life memories, I decided to focus on memories of the Vietnam War. What I love about this list is that it reflects many facets of the war, including soldiers, nurses, veterans, and the family members touched by those affected by war.

Ellen's book list on a well-rounded look at Americans touched by the Vietnam War

Ellen Birkett Morris Why did Ellen love this book?

O’Brien’s depiction of American soldiers in Vietnam was vivid and moving. It gave me a deeper understanding of the soldier’s experience. His artful use of the metaphor of what they carried revealed not only the items on hand but also the psychological baggage each soldier dealt with.

The stories were haunting and made me a full witness to the complexity of war and the many ways it is experienced. It is artfully written, moving, complex, touching and unforgettable.

By Tim O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Things They Carried as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The million-copy bestseller, which is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

'The Things They Carried' is, on its surface, a sequence of award-winning stories about the madness of the Vietnam War; at the same time it has the cumulative power and unity of a novel, with recurring characters and interwoven strands of plot and theme.

But while Vietnam is central to 'The Things They Carried', it is not simply a book about war. It is also a book about the human heart - about the terrible weight of those things we carry through…


Book cover of The Naked and the Dead

J.M. Unrue Author Of The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

From my list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an old guy. I say this with a bit of cheek and a certain amount of incongruity. All the books on my list are old. That’s one area of continuity. Another, and I’ll probably stop at two, is that they all deal with ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances—those curveballs of life we flail at with an unfamiliar bat; the getting stuck on the Interstate behind a semi and some geezer in a golf cap hogging the passing lane in a Buick Le Sabre. No one makes it through this life unscathed. How we cope does more to define us than a thousand smiles when things are rosy. Thus endeth the lesson.

J.M.'s book list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do

J.M. Unrue Why did J.M. love this book?

A masterful debut novel, post-WWII, and dealing with characters in the heat of battle, internally and externally.

I was forced to read it in eleventh grade Honors English (what they called AP pre-AP. Like I said, I’m old). I reread it for edification as a young writer and was awed by the craftsmanship. The writing is dense and requires patience. War is never pretty.

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Naked and the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed as one of the finest novels to come out of the Second World War, The Naked and the Dead received unprecedented critical acclaim upon its publication and has since enjoyed a long and well-deserved tenure in the American canon. This fiftieth anniversary edition features a new introduction created especially for the occasion by Norman Mailer.

Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows a platoon of Marines who are stationed on the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948 with the wisdom of a man twice Mailer's age and the raw courage of the young man he was, The…


Book cover of The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War

Luke Hildyard Author Of Enough: Why It's Time to Abolish the Super-Rich

From my list on wanting to eat the rich.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the Director of the High Pay Centre, a London-based think tank researching the causes and consequences of economic inequality. In most major economies, the richest 1% of the population now take up to a fifth of all income and something like a quarter to a third of all wealth. These rich jerks aren’t necessarily bad people, at least not in all cases, and we don’t literally need to eat them all. However, such extreme concentration of income and wealth is undeserved and unnecessary, and it should definitely be an overriding priority to share it in a fairer and more even way.

Luke's book list on wanting to eat the rich

Luke Hildyard Why did Luke love this book?

There are loads of good novels warning of the dangers of inequality and wealthy megalomaniacs, typically set against the backdrop of one of the many monstrous things that the super-rich have done to the rest of us throughout history.

In my view, the First World War was the worst of the lot. Society has moved on a bit since then, but I don’t doubt that the billionaire class that runs the modern world would have us all marching into the machine guns if they thought they could get away with it. Hasek’s good-humored but poignant tale of a Czech soldier serving in the army of the Habsburg Empire acts as a reminder of the need for vigilance.

By Jaroslav Hasek, Josef Lada (illustrator), Cecil Parrott (translator)

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiration for such works as Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Jaroslav Hasek's black satire The Good Soldier Svejk is translated with an introduction by Cecil Parrott in Penguin Classics.

Good-natured and garrulous, Svejk becomes the Austro-Hungarian army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of the First World War - although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. Playing cards, getting drunk and becoming a general nuisance, the resourceful Svejk uses all his natural cunning and genial subterfuge to deal with the doctors, police, clergy and officers…


Book cover of The Heroes

T.R. Napper Author Of 36 Streets

From my list on broken heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only am I a cyberpunk writer, I’m officially a Doctor of Cyberpunk. My Ph.D. thesis, The Dark Century: 1946–2046, looked at hardboiled fiction, film noir, and tech-noir (AKA cyberpunk) traditions across the past, the present, and an imagined future. It was a radical break from my previous career as an aid worker, where I ran poverty alleviation programs throughout Southeast Asia. And yet, I’ve drawn on that experience in my prose, using the experience of the cultures that I lived and worked in to breathe life into the settings for my short stories and novels. 

T.R.'s book list on broken heroes

T.R. Napper Why did T.R. love this book?

This book largely takes place over a three-day battle. It showcases the stupidity of war, the cowardice, the luck, the incompetence, and yes, sometimes even the breathtaking courage.

As you’d expect from Abercrombie–the so-called Lord of Grimdark–the ‘heroes’ are no such thing, but rather, flawed and broken individuals who go to war out of obligation or ambition or because they know no other way of life.

Joe Abercrombie writes superb action scenes. Visceral, urgent, bloody. He’s also particularly cruel to his characters. I’m not sure if he’s picking on me particularly or if it’s just the dark alchemy of his literary soul that makes him such a popular author, but he’s always a bit of a bastard to the characters I like the most.

By Joe Abercrombie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbor, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

THE HEROES

For glory, for victory, for staying alive.


Book cover of Catch-22

Daniel Fryer Author Of How to Cope with Almost Anything with Hypnotherapy: Simple Ideas to Enhance Your Wellbeing and Resilience

From my list on boost your wellbeing and heal your soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I could say I’ve had a hard life (and I have), but who hasn’t? Life is one adversity after another, and we need all the help we can get. Without that help, moods suffer, hope falters, and our souls are diminished. During my own personal journey through this quagmire called life, I have often been lifted up and out of the mud whilst reading the books I suggest below and more. These books either made me laugh and cry, made me think, or made me change the way I approached things. Quite often, they did all four at the same time. Their insights were invaluable. 

Daniel's book list on boost your wellbeing and heal your soul

Daniel Fryer Why did Daniel love this book?

Whilst on humour (including satire): it is an important part of REBT. Humor is another one of those character strengths in positive psychology (again, good for you when used appropriately). It’s not for nothing that laughter is called the best medicine (in fact, I wrote my MSc dissertation on the use of humor in psychotherapy).

Humor, especially satire, and wordplay have helped me a lot in life. Regarding those two things, this book is the best bar none. Both funny and tragic (which sums life up pretty well), considering how much saber rattling is happening today, it’s as relevant now as it has always been.

I'm sure this book will change you for the better. It may also have you challenging authority a little more than you currently do (which alone will work wonders for your mental health and well-being). 

By Joseph Heller,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Catch-22 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explosive, subversive, wild and funny, 50 years on the novel's strength is undiminished. Reading Joseph Heller's classic satire is nothing less than a rite of passage.

Set in the closing months of World War II, this is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. His real problem is not the enemy - it is his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. If Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the…


Book cover of All the Truth That's in Me

Jo Schaffer Layton Author Of Badlands

From my list on characters who go through hell, survive, and also find love.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books that entertain and uplift when characters learn and overcome. As a teenager, things happened that threw me into a painful tailspin, ending in a wilderness program for troubled kids. It taught me that I can do hard things and face challenges in life. I’ve lost loved ones, have a special needs child, divorced, been broke, earned my black belt, returned to school as a single mom for a degree, and co-founded a nonprofit to support literacy for kids. None of that was easy, but it increased my compassion and hope. Stories can be powerful reminders of human resilience, and that battle scars make someone more beautiful than before.

Jo's book list on characters who go through hell, survive, and also find love

Jo Schaffer Layton Why did Jo love this book?

I understood this story on a deep, metaphoric level.

Judith is a traumatized teen who disappeared for years and is unable to speak and explain why–which is often the plight of those who have suffered. Silence is a barrier to understanding and healing.

This book reads like poetry and transports you back in time. Life must have been difficult for early Puritan settlers–especially for anyone who was “different” or “afflicted.” The frustration and injustice! The mystery/thriller aspect had me on the edge of my seat! I really wanted things to get better for the main character, who remained graceful in the face of trauma and sadness. This story confirmed my hope that the truth is always eventually revealed and that it does set you free. It was a satisfying read!

By Julie Berry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All the Truth That's in Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Speak meets The Scarlet Letter in this literary masterpiece, the recipient of five starred reviews and nominated for the 2014 Edgar Award

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family.   Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who's owned her heart as long as she can remember--even if he doesn't know it--her childhood friend, Lucas.   But when Roswell Station…


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