100 books like Brothers

By William Goldman,

Here are 100 books that Brothers fans have personally recommended if you like Brothers. 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 House of Stairs

Aella Black Author Of Lock Down

From my list on YA about experiments gone wrong.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a former book editor turned writer and a lover of literature in all forms. Young adult literature will forever be my favorite. Though I’m no longer “young,” I have two teenagers who love YA as much as I do and we bond over these stories. Since one prefers contemporary & urban fantasy, and the other likes dystopian & epic fantasy, I read a lot of everything! I particularly enjoy books with characters who triumph over extreme adversity, and if you do too, then you'll like the books on this list.

Aella's book list on YA about experiments gone wrong

Aella Black Why did Aella love this book?

This book was written in the mid-70s and “set in a dystopian America in the near future.” Fortunately, our present isn’t quite like this. Five 16-year-old orphans awaken to find themselves in a building with no ceiling, walls, or floor—only endless flights of stairs in every direction. It’s a story about human nature and the human condition, as well as a cautionary tale about government control. Supposedly written for young readers (what we’d consider “middle grade” today), I believe it’s better suited for teens and adults.

By William Sleator,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This chilling, suspenseful indictment of mind control is a classic of science fiction and will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.

One by one, five sixteen-year-old orphans are brought to a strange building. It is not a prison, not a hospital; it has no walls, no ceiling, no floor. Nothing but endless flights of stairs leading nowhere--except back to a strange red machine. The five must learn to love the machine and let it rule their lives. But will they let it kill their souls?  

"An intensely suspenseful page-turner." --School Library Journal

"A riveting suspense novel with…


Book cover of Time Out of Joint

Jesse Karp Author Of Those That Wake

From my list on a world under secret control.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1970s, still in contention for America’s most paranoid decade (thanks, Watergate). Practically everything I watched, listened to or read (right down to my beloved superhero comics) was asking, what’s hiding behind the world around you? I don’t think of myself as a paranoid guy – I don’t, for instance, believe in a real life Deep State – but these are the sorts of stories that resonate for me. Taken less literally, they do ask worthwhile and still disturbingly relevant questions: what is beneath the world you know and see every day? What is right in front of you, both good and bad, that you aren’t seeing?

Jesse's book list on a world under secret control

Jesse Karp Why did Jesse love this book?

Suburbanite Ragle Gumm is overcome with a sense of urgency to play a bizarre newspaper game every day. He’s so good at it, he makes a living from its cash prizes. But lately, his world seems to be fraying around him. Things he sees and knows are suddenly...not. And if you can’t trust the very ground you’re standing on, what’s left? This takes the whole “maybe my world isn’t what I think it is” idea about as far as it can go, and it was just about the first story to ever do that. The best, most satisfying book I ever read about a banal, mundane world that turns out to be anything but.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ragle Gumm is an ordinary man leading an ordinary life, except that he makes his living by entering a newspaper contest every day - and winning, every day.

But he gradually begins to suspect that his life - indeed his whole world - is an illusion, constructed around him for the express purpose of keeping him docile and happy. But if that is the case, what is his real world like, and what is he actually doing every day when he thinks he is guessing 'Where Will The Little Green Man Be Next?'


Book cover of House

Jesse Karp Author Of Those That Wake

From my list on a world under secret control.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1970s, still in contention for America’s most paranoid decade (thanks, Watergate). Practically everything I watched, listened to or read (right down to my beloved superhero comics) was asking, what’s hiding behind the world around you? I don’t think of myself as a paranoid guy – I don’t, for instance, believe in a real life Deep State – but these are the sorts of stories that resonate for me. Taken less literally, they do ask worthwhile and still disturbingly relevant questions: what is beneath the world you know and see every day? What is right in front of you, both good and bad, that you aren’t seeing?

Jesse's book list on a world under secret control

Jesse Karp Why did Jesse love this book?

It’s about the simplest idea you can hang a story on: three people discover a house in the wilderness and explore it. But this short, black and white, silent graphic novel just sucked me deeper and deeper into the terror of a place that seems to grow impossibly larger, even as your pathway through it becomes narrower and narrower until...well, it’s pretty dark stuff. Simmons’s art is also inky black, but visualizes the concepts at play with beautiful power. There is a terrible force behind the scenes here, but you can never know what it is and you can never defeat it.  

By Josh Simmons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This adventurous, silent graphic novel demonstrates the solid strength of this young cartoonist's storytelling ability. Whether plunging into the watery depths of a sinkhole that has obviously swallowed part of a town or entering the uncertain hidden corridors of the house, every turn is captured with intensity by Simmons' scratchy pen. Page composition and panel arrangements are masterfully coordinated to reflect the characters' increasingly claustrophobic panic as the story reaches its crescendo, and to cause a similar and palpable reaction in the reader. House is Josh Simmons' first full-length graphic novel after years of honing his craft on the humorous,…


Book cover of The End of the World

Jesse Karp Author Of Those That Wake

From my list on a world under secret control.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1970s, still in contention for America’s most paranoid decade (thanks, Watergate). Practically everything I watched, listened to or read (right down to my beloved superhero comics) was asking, what’s hiding behind the world around you? I don’t think of myself as a paranoid guy – I don’t, for instance, believe in a real life Deep State – but these are the sorts of stories that resonate for me. Taken less literally, they do ask worthwhile and still disturbingly relevant questions: what is beneath the world you know and see every day? What is right in front of you, both good and bad, that you aren’t seeing?

Jesse's book list on a world under secret control

Jesse Karp Why did Jesse love this book?

It’s the post-modern apotheosis of all conspiracy theories: convince enough people something is true, it becomes true. Doesn’t matter how far-fetched – the Earth is flat, the world is overcome with Bigfoots, shape-changing lizardmen are secretly controlling everything – convince enough people, and it happens.  Except, who’s trying to convince people? And who’s trying to stop them? And are either of them on our side? It’s really a bottomless hole in the most enjoyable way (if paranoid fables are your thing): no matter how bad you realize it is, it’s actually worse. But wait, it’s even worse than that. And even worse than that. This is an ongoing comic series (even the art makes reality seem haunted and insubstantial), so while there are already several collected editions, there’s no end in sight.

By James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds (artist),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Best of 2021 Lists:
New York Public Library
Entertainment Weekly
Indigo
And more...

"A wonderfully dizzy mixture of Men in Black, John Carpenter, Stephen King, The Matrix, and 1970s conspiracy thrillers."- Forbes

"A story for our zeitgeist. SIMMONDS' art invokes Bill Sienkiewicz."- Entertainment Weekly

"It is FANTASTIC. Can't wait to read the whole series!"- Patton Oswalt

COLE TURNER has studied conspiracy theories all his life, but he isn't prepared for what happens when he discovers that all of them are true, from the JFK Assassination to Flat Earth Theory and Reptilian Shapeshifters. One organization has been covering them up for…


Book cover of The Quantum Spy: A Thriller

Keith Thomson Author Of Once a Spy

From my list on spy books that will make you paranoid.

Why am I passionate about this?

I played semi-professional baseball in France in 1986. If your baseball career has brought you to France, you should be rethinking your professional aspirations. No problem, I thought. I will write. I like to write. To my dismay, publishers were not fans of novels about French baseball players. The world of espionage I became acquainted with in Europe, however….

Keith's book list on spy books that will make you paranoid

Keith Thomson Why did Keith love this book?

Ignatius’s most recent novel is in many respects a mashup of books no. 1 and 2 on this list: terrific storytelling and the latest spy recent tech: You’ll conclude that it’s just a matter of time until “bad actors” (spy speak for “bad guys”) can hack your brain. At the same time, you’ll enjoy the story.

By David Ignatius,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A hyper-fast quantum computer is the digital equivalent of a nuclear bomb; whoever possesses one will be able to shred any encryption and break any code in existence. The question is: who will build one first, the U.S. or China?

In this gripping thriller, U.S. quantum research labs are compromised by a suspected Chinese informant, inciting a mole hunt of history-altering proportions. CIA officer Harris Chang leads the charge, pursuing his target from Singapore to Mexico and beyond. Do the leaks expose real secrets, or are they false trails meant to deceive the Chinese? The answer forces Chang to question…


Book cover of The Puzzle Palace: A Report On NSA, America's Most Secret Agency

Jim Popkin Author Of Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America's Most Dangerous Female Spy--And the Sister She Betrayed

From my list on nonfiction spy books to read in one day.

Why am I passionate about this?

I covered the FBI and CIA for years, first as a print reporter in Washington and then as the head of the NBC News investigative unit. So I have covered my fair share of spy scandals, and with my colleague Pete Williams helped NBC break the story of Robert Hanssen’s arrest. I was immediately drawn to the Ana Montes Cuba spy story when it broke and then learned that Montes had bought her condo from my close friend and college roommate, John. That meant I had spent hours inside Ana’s DC apartment, and that odd connection rooted me in her story in a deeper way.  

Jim's book list on nonfiction spy books to read in one day

Jim Popkin Why did Jim love this book?

In fairness, I could not read this 600-page-plus intelligence agency classic in one day. But I sure tried.

This book is a blockbuster, pulling back the curtain on the super-secretive National Security Agency, NSA, in a way no one has before or since. I remember the sensation this book made when it came out, and have had the honor of getting to know Jim Bamford a bit over the years.

By James Bamford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this remarkable tour de force of investigative reporting, James Bamford exposes the inner workings of America's largest, most secretive, and arguably most intrusive intelligence agency. The NSA has long eluded public scrutiny, but The Puzzle Palace penetrates its vast network of power and unmasks the people who control it, often with shocking disregard for the law. With detailed information on the NSA's secret role in the Korean Airlines disaster, Iran-Contra, the first Gulf War, and other major world events of the 80s and 90s, this is a brilliant account of the use and abuse of technological espionage.


Book cover of CIA Improvised Sabotage Devices

Keith Thomson Author Of Once a Spy

From my list on spy books that will make you paranoid.

Why am I passionate about this?

I played semi-professional baseball in France in 1986. If your baseball career has brought you to France, you should be rethinking your professional aspirations. No problem, I thought. I will write. I like to write. To my dismay, publishers were not fans of novels about French baseball players. The world of espionage I became acquainted with in Europe, however….

Keith's book list on spy books that will make you paranoid

Keith Thomson Why did Keith love this book?

Exploding wine bottles, guns constructed out of pipes, bullets made of teeth, aspirin explosives: If these sound like props from a B spy movie, it's because, again, truth > fiction. In the early-1970s, the Central Intelligence Agency spent a great deal of effort developing myriad weapons for sabotage. The results were this seventy-two-page illustrated manual, published in 1977 and distributed to American operatives likely to find themselves in situations requiring such improvisation. The manual is also invaluable for writers.

By USA Government,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked CIA Improvised Sabotage Devices as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

, Brand New Desert Publications Clean and Tight OS O


Book cover of A Head Full of Ghosts

Tyler Paterson Author Of Dark Satellites

From my list on transport to the heart of spooky season.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an October baby born during a full moon, into a small New England town notorious for their connection to the Salem Witch Trials. My house was for sure haunted growing up, I’ve had a lot of nightmares over the years, and I found solace in the horror genre. Though my true background is in comedy having studied with Second City Chicago, the experience afforded me the opportunity to explore the more pained and shadowed sides of myself as a tool to write relevant material. I learned to focus those explorations into narratives and create stories with a lot of heart that highlight my own quest to uncover inner peace.

Tyler's book list on transport to the heart of spooky season

Tyler Paterson Why did Tyler love this book?

A fellow New Englander, Tremblay took me by complete surprise with this novel. In the past, I saw horror defined by slashers, gore, and jump scares. This novel helped me understand that modern horror is a bit savvier and more nuanced, with a stronger focus on emotional suffering.

I really connected with the struggling working-class family and sympathized with their decision to let a documentary film crew create a series about their clearly struggling daughter. The film crew intended to market the girl as possessed by a demon, which the family signs off on in order to collect a desperately needed financial boost.

It expertly explores the hardships of the middle class, sibling love, and the societal hush-hush of mental illness. Plus, it’s got some twists and turns to that made my blood run absolutely cold.

By Paul Tremblay,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked A Head Full of Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show.Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls the terrifying events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets…


Book cover of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory

Mark Fenster Author Of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture

From my list on understanding conspiracy theories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a law professor who, among other things, writes about the culture and law of secrecy. I’ve written two books: Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, the second edition of which was published in 2008, and The Transparency Fix: Secrets, Leaks, and Uncontrollable Government Information (2017). I hold a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I teach at the University of Florida.

Mark's book list on understanding conspiracy theories

Mark Fenster Why did Mark love this book?

Hofstadter’s Paranoid Style is more a work of historiography than history and attempted to explain the rise of a right-wing “paranoia” to a liberal intellectual audience in the early 1960s. By contrast, Jesse Walker’s book offers a more detailed, engaging, and sympathetic history of U.S. conspiracy theories and the individuals and groups who have made and circulated them. It’s funny and deadpan, with a keen eye for subcultural details and the singular American oddballs that have traveled from the margins to the mainstream. As Walker demonstrates, Qanon is not the first example of a bizarre, syncretic set of beliefs that has attracted a surprisingly large number of adherents.

By Jesse Walker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The United States of Paranoia is a history of America's demons. Conspiracy theories, Walker explains, aren't just a feature of the fringe: They've been a potent force across the political spectrum, in the center as well as the extremes, from the colonial era to the present. Walker argues that conspiracy stories need to be read not just as claims to be either believed or debunked but as folklore. When a tale takes hold, it says something true about the anxieties and experiences of the people who believe and repeat it, even if it says nothing true about the objects of…


Book cover of Hellfire

Tiffany Tsao Author Of The Majesties

From my list on riddles, wrapped in a mystery, inside an engima.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I started writing The Majesties, I wanted the narrative to be a continual excavation of secrets, one after the other. This sort of multi-layered story has always intrigued me and my fascination with it has influenced all my written work so far. I am particularly fascinated by books where characters unconsciously keep secrets from themselves, and where the line between the “real” and the fantastic is blurred beyond recognition. Sometimes it’s not just about solving a mystery, but articulating its mysteriousness—giving it flesh and bone, stitching its parts together, and bringing it to life through words.

Tiffany's book list on riddles, wrapped in a mystery, inside an engima

Tiffany Tsao Why did Tiffany love this book?

This novel starts out in an almost Mrs. Dallowayish way—Lovely has gone out for the day to buy something. Then you realise that Lovely at the age of forty has never gone out by herself for a day. Then, as the day unfolds, the novel brings you backward into the past as you find out about Lovely and Beauty’s paranoid and controlling mother, the oppressiveness of their home life, the dark secret at the heart of their parents’ marriage…

By Leesa Gazi, Shabnam Nadiya (translator),

Why should I read it?

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


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in paranoia, espionage, and spies?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about paranoia, espionage, and spies.

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