10 books like Boom Town

By Sam Anderson,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Boom Town. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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And Still the Waters Run

By Angie Debo,

Book cover of And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes

People were shocked to read about the Osage murders, but those who’ve read Angie Debo just had to sigh and shake their heads since it’s nothing new. Her 1936 work opened my eyes to the systematic devastation of the tribes, bite by bite. Forced off their homelands with removal, they were promised to hold land in Oklahoma “as long as the waters run,” but it wasn’t more than a few decades before allotment narrowed tribal holdings and opened up more land to be taken. With Native peoples not even legal citizens, anyone with money had to have a guardian, a breeding ground for amoral administrators to siphon off as much as they wanted.

And Still the Waters Run

By Angie Debo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked And Still the Waters Run as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Debo's classic work tells the tragic story of the spoliation of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole nations at the turn of the last century in what is now the state of Oklahoma. After their earlier forced removal from traditional lands in the southeastern states--culminating in the devastating 'trail of tears' march of the Cherokees--these five so-called Civilized Tribes held federal land grants in perpetuity, or "as long as the waters run, as long as the grass grows." Yet after passage of the Dawes Act in 1887, the land was purchased back from the tribes, whose members were then…


The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck,

Book cover of The Grapes of Wrath

I’m always shocked at how many must-reads and banned-books lists Steinbeck’s masterpiece shows up on. The term “okie” still rubs some people the wrong way, feeling that stigma their (and even my) grandparents felt at struggling through the Dust Bowl and another wave of agricultural depression in the 1950s. Steinbeck gives a captivating portrayal of the experience living in or leaving Oklahoma, but it’s the interspersed chapters with other perspectives that always linger in my mind, whether the tractor-driver for the factory-farm that sold out his people for $3.00 (thirty silver dimes) or the waitress who lies about candy being two-for-a-penny instead of five cents each so some kids can buy them. People are capable of the greatest purposeful good or the worst indifferent evil.

The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Grapes of Wrath as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I've done my damndest to rip a reader's nerves to rags, I don't want him satisfied.'

Shocking and controversial when it was first published, The Grapes of Wrath is Steinbeck's Pultizer Prize-winning epic of the Joad family, forced to travel west from Dust Bowl era Oklahoma in search of the promised land of California. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and powerlessness, yet out of their struggle Steinbeck created a drama that is both intensely human and majestic in its scale and moral vision.


The World According to Garp

By John Irving,

Book cover of The World According to Garp

I first read Garp in my early 20s, back when I was single, working at a grocery store in Chicago, pining for the love and companionship of someone I hopefully would one day meet. I reread it last year, now in my early 30s, in love with someone who I now share a home with in New York. Garp is a perfect example of what life, and stories about it, feel like to me—how our time on Earth is spent holding on to things we can only lose. In my 20s, Garp stirred up dreams of domestic artistic bliss but now, finally with someone to lose, Garp feels like a flashing sign to keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times, as our shared roller coaster dips into the dark ahead of us.

The World According to Garp

By John Irving,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A masterpiece from one of the great contemporary American writers.

'A wonderful novel, full of energy and art, at once funny and heartbreaking...terrific' WASHINGTON POST

Anniversary edition with a new afterword from the author.

A worldwide bestseller since its publication, Irving's classic is filled with stories inside stories about the life and times of T. S. Garp, struggling writer and illegitimate son of Jenny Fields - an unlikely feminist heroine ahead of her time.

Beautifully written, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP is a powerfully compelling and compassionate coming-of-age novel that established John Irving as one of the most imaginative writers…


Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

By Andrea Lawlor,

Book cover of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

This is a book for shapeshifters, flaneurs, adventurers, queers of all kinds, people who long for the world to crack open and deliver us a polymorphous adventure. I have rarely felt that a book was speaking so directly to me. I read the entire thing on an airplane to Paris and have spent the next five years thinking about it. Paul is the perfect protagonist for me, because his desires make him curious, and he pursues whatever the next thing is without fear or hesitation. This book gave me a gentle reminder to be brave in my choices, and also to let my unknowing lead me. A good companion for when you’ve blown it all up!

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

By Andrea Lawlor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is quite simply one of the most exciting - and one of the most fun - novels of the decade.' Garth Greenwell

It's 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a lesbian best friend, makes zines, and is a flaneur with a rich dating life. But Paul's also got a secret: he's a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women's Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in…


Broad Band

By Claire L. Evans,

Book cover of Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet

Both my first book Curveball and my new book touch on how losing access to information can only shrink someone’s ability to live their life effectively which, in an age where most of us have a near-constant Internet connection, can feel unimaginable, and yet, Broad Band proves that is more likely than we think. Evan’s book attempts to reframe the history of computing by recentering the often forgotten women at the center of that story, asking us to reimagine what our digital informational landscape could have looked like if care for everyone in our communities was more central to that story.

Broad Band

By Claire L. Evans,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you loved Hidden Figures or The Rise of the Rocket Girls, you'll love Claire Evans' breakthrough book on the women who brought you the internet--written out of history, until now.

"This is a radically important, timely work," says Miranda July, filmmaker and author of The First Bad Man. The history of technology you probably know is one of men and machines, garages and riches, alpha nerds and brogrammers--but from Ada Lovelace, who wrote the first computer program in the Victorian Age, to the cyberpunk Web designers of the 1990s, female visionaries have always been at the vanguard of technology…


Tales of the City

By Armistead Maupin,

Book cover of Tales of the City

What can be said about the Tales of the City books that hasn’t already been said? My love for the books has everything to do with Maupin himself—when he started the series as a correspondent at The Pacific Sun, he was newly out, a framed photograph of him shaking hands with Nixon in The White House hanging on his apartment wall. To me, the books were Maupin’s way of writing himself as a fallible gay man out into the complexities of the world, learning to be a more empathetic person one chapter at a time. Not every story finds its mark (what was with those cannibals in More Tales of The City) but on the whole, they’re extraordinary. 

Tales of the City

By Armistead Maupin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NAMED AS ONE OF THE BBC'S 100 MOST INSPIRING NOVELS

Now a Netflix series starring Elliot Page and Laura Linney . . .

'It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco.' Oscar Wilde

Mary Ann is twenty-five and arrives in San Francisco for an eight-day holiday.

But then her Mood Ring turns blue.

So obviously she decides to stay. It is the 1970s after all.

Fresh out of Cleveland, naive Mary Ann tumbles headlong into a brave new world of pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes, spaced-out neighbours and outrageous parties. Finding a…


Killers of the Flower Moon

By David Grann,

Book cover of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

David Grann “stumbled upon” this sordid mystery, in the process reviving forgotten crimes committed in the 1920s. Killers of the Flower Moon centers on lucrative oil rights pegged to reservation land out West owned by the Osage Indian tribe, whose members begin turning up dead under suspicious circumstances. Questions go unanswered for years until J. Edgar Hoover’s nascent FBI takes over the investigation.

The closing chapters are a coda of sorts about lingering racial injustice. Grann enters the narrative, but pulls it off without becoming a distraction. Killers of the Flower Moon is a compelling, important read and now would be a good time to dive in. The pandemic-delayed movie—directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Robert DiNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio—hits theaters this spring.

Killers of the Flower Moon

By David Grann,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Killers of the Flower Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST FACT CRIME
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NON-FICTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION
**SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY MARTIN SCORSESE STARRING LEONARDO DICAPRIO AND ROBERT DE NIRO**

'A riveting true story of greed, serial murder and racial injustice' JON KRAKAUER
'A fiercely entertaining mystery story and a wrenching exploration of evil' KATE ATKINSON
'A fascinating account of a tragic and forgotten chapter in the history of the American West' JOHN GRISHAM

From the bestselling author of The Lost City of Z,…


The Nation Must Awake

By Mary E. Jones Parrish,

Book cover of The Nation Must Awake: My Witness to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921

It wasn’t until HBO’s Watchmen that most people learned of the Tulsa Race Massacre, though a few of us who paid attention in tenth-grade history remember a line or two about a “riot” back in Tulsa before the book moved on to talk about something else. This book gives chilling firsthand accounts, both from the author as well as other survivors, who experienced the demolition of an entire community strictly out of prejudice, fear, and hate. It’s a good reminder that it can happen anywhere, any time if we let it.

The Nation Must Awake

By Mary E. Jones Parrish,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mary Parrish was reading in her home when the Tulsa race massacre began on the evening of May 31, 1921. Parrish's daughter, Florence Mary, called the young journalist and teacher to the window. "Mother," she said, "I see men with guns."

The two eventually fled into the night under a hail of bullets and unwittingly became eyewitnesses to one of the greatest race tragedies in American history.

Spurred by word that a young Black man was about to be lynched for stepping on a white woman's foot, a three-day riot erupted that saw the death of hundreds of Black Oklahomans…


Rebel Cities

By David Harvey,

Book cover of Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution

I am inspired by David Harvey’s impassioned Marxist perspective, which makes clear that people not only have a right to the city on its own terms but that this demand must be a political waystation to a much broader anti-capitalist movement. The city functions as a critical site of political revolt (think Paris Commune or the protests against the murder of George Floyd) but Harvey persuasively argues that such protests will be reabsorbed into dominant capitalist practices of displacement, decline, and dispossession unless they are organized on an anti-capitalist platform.

Rebel Cities

By David Harvey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Long before Occupy, cities were the subject of much utopian thinking. They are the centers of capital accumulation as well as of revolutionary politics, where deeper currents of social and political change rise to the surface. Do the financiers and developers control access to urban resources or do the people? Who dictates the quality and organization of daily life? Rebel Cities places the city at the heart of both capital and class struggles, looking at locations ranging from Johannesburg to Mumbai, from New York City to S o Paulo. Drawing on the Paris Commune as well as Occupy Wall Street…


Humans of New York

By Brandon Stanton,

Book cover of Humans of New York: Stories

I had someone in my language class in my master's program whose whole life changed by being one of the stories from the book Humans of New York. I was so inspired and realized the power of one single image. I also like this book because every time you open it you learn something new. Not many photo books can do that.

Humans of New York

By Brandon Stanton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times Bestseller!

With over 500 vibrant, full-color photos, Humans of New York: Stories is an insightful and inspiring collection of portraits of the lives of New Yorkers.

Humans of New York: Stories is the culmination of five years of innovative storytelling on the streets of New York City. During this time, photographer Brandon Stanton stopped, photographed, and interviewed more than ten thousand strangers, eventually sharing their stories on his blog, Humans of New York.

In Humans of New York: Stories, the interviews accompanying the photographs go deeper, exhibiting the intimate storytelling that the blog has become…


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