100 books like Failure to Communicate

By Kaia Sønderby,

Here are 100 books that Failure to Communicate fans have personally recommended if you like Failure to Communicate. 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 The Deep

Matt Weber Author Of Brimstone Slipstream

From my list on fantasy that reimagines society.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science fiction is rightly famous for experimenting with new and strange social worlds, but fantasy tends to fall back on the usual feudal tropes: the whims of kings, the valor of knights, the always-temporary powerlessness of farm boys, the technicalities of succession. Which is a shame, because fantasy provides just as much opportunity to reimagine what society could look like. That’s what I try to do in my books, and at my job, where I’m working to bring 21st-century data literacy and quantitative reasoning to a state government stuck resolutely in the ’90s. When I think of books that have done what I’m trying to do, these five are at the front of my mind.

Matt's book list on fantasy that reimagines society

Matt Weber Why did Matt love this book?

This book is about how trauma can force you to choose between memory and sanity… and how this problem gets worse when you live in a society of telepaths.

Said telepaths are the mer-person descendants of enslaved Africans who threw themselves off the boats from Africa to the Americas, but the emotional core of the book makes the deep weirdness of the premise pretty much an afterthought. 

By Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson , Jonathan Snipes

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society-and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award-nominated song "The Deep" from Daveed Diggs's rap group clipping.

Yetu holds the memories for her people-water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners-who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one-the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on…

Book cover of On the Edge of Gone

Ada Hoffmann Author Of The Outside

From my list on science fiction by autistic authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an autistic science fiction writer myself, and I’ve been reviewing autistic science fiction, fantasy, and horror books for over a decade on my “Autistic Book Party” blog. I’ve learned a huge amount in this time about authors like me and what we have to offer the book world. Autistic people are called unimaginative, but that description couldn’t be more wrong – many of us use our imaginations as a richly detailed escape and coping mechanism. There are many more of us out there today than anyone else realizes, from famous, award-winning names to obscure authors using their unique view of the world to create works of imagination, insight, and beauty.

Ada's book list on science fiction by autistic authors

Ada Hoffmann Why did Ada love this book?

A comet is about to strike the Earth. Denise, an autistic teenager in the near-future Netherlands, struggles to secure a place for herself, her mother, and her sister on a generation ship bound to escape the coming devastation. Duyvis deconstructs myths about ableism, family relationships, survival dilemmas, and the value of human lives in this wrenching but compassionate and ultimately hopeful book.

By Corinne Duyvis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Edge of Gone 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?

A thrilling, thought-provoking novel from one of young-adult literature's boldest new talents.

January 29, 2035. That's the day the comet is scheduled to hit-the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise's drug-addicted mother is going, they'll never reach the shelter in time. A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter-a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits.…

Book cover of Nophek Gloss

Rohan Oduill Author Of Cold Rising

From my list on science fiction books with working class heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having spent thirty years working as a chef, I was always going to have working-class heroes in my stories. When someone said this is uncommon in science fiction, I didn’t believe them. But then I couldn’t think of any. I started searching through my bookshelves, and still, I couldn’t find enough to fill this list. I asked on socials and eventually found five books. 

It would seem natural that in a science fiction world of adventure and exploration, the professionals would be at the forefront. But I am pretty sure that the toilet cleaners on the Death Star would still have a story or two to tell.

Rohan's book list on science fiction books with working class heroes

Rohan Oduill Why did Rohan love this book?

It became obvious to me early in this book that Nophek Gloss was written by someone who works with their hands. Not only in how the action was choreographed but also in how the world was described.

This brings a real world feel to the writing as we join Caiden helping his father with the menial tasks that keep a farming community running. Soon after, his whole world is destroyed. But as Caiden escapes and throws in with a ragtag bunch of aliens and a ship with a conscience, we can appreciate his point of view as someone who has seen so little of the universe but is suddenly exposed to multitudes of new and unusual things as he adventures into the unknown.

This book is for sci-fi fans who enjoy great worldbuilding, interesting aliens, and action throughout.

By Essa Hansen,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Nophek Gloss as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



In this dark, dangerous, roller coaster of a debut, a young man sets out on a single-minded quest for revenge across a breathtaking multiverse filled with aliens, mind-bending tech, and ships beyond his wildest imagining. Essa Hansen's is a bold new voice for the next generation of science fiction readers.

Caiden's planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope…

Book cover of Ninefox Gambit

Andrew Sweet Author Of Southern Highlands: Obi of Mars

From my list on sci-fi featuring world-changing female badasses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved science fiction. My father was an Asimov junkie, and our house was packed with science fiction novels and stories from Azimov to Heinlein to Wyndham and Wilhelm. I began writing science fiction in high school, yet only recently published my first 4 novels (one of which won a Bookfest award). I hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science (bioinformatics), and I stay on top of science to inform my writing. It’s through this background that I select novels, seeking out new tropes and ideas in technological advancement. Each of these novels I mention exceeded my expectations and then some. Pick one up today—you won’t be disappointed!

Andrew's book list on sci-fi featuring world-changing female badasses

Andrew Sweet Why did Andrew love this book?

When I received Ninefox Gambit for Christmas, I have to say that I was blown away. What I loved the most about it wasn’t just that Yoon Ha Lee dropped me in the middle of a war and hit the ground running (from lazer blasts!) The tactician Shuos Jedao leads Cheris into an inner battle that turns out to be even more consequential than the war itself. And when finally the question arises of “who is right” in the conflict, something that the good soldier Cheris has never asked herself before, the answer depends on who’s answering. Cheris, like all of us, must decide for herself whether the secrets of Jedao’s past are true, or whether she’s having her strings pulled.

By Yoon Ha Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times Best-Selling Author - Nominated for the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Series - Winner of the 2016 Locus Award - Nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Awards

When Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for her unconventional tactics, Kel Command gives her a chance to redeem herself, by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles from the heretics. Cheris's career isn't the only thing at stake: if the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris's best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that…

Book cover of I Am Odd, I Am New

Argyro Graphy Author Of The Adventures of Bentley Hippo: Inspiring Children to Accept Each Other

From my list on how disability does not define a person.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have seen a huge shift in the way others look at me and treat me since losing complete vision in one eye. I’m now labeled. It’s not fun, it’s disturbing and sad, and even though my appearance has slightly changed, I have not. “my disability does not define who I am” I may smile, but it doesn’t mean I don’t struggle and we can all use some kind words and encouragement and not be so judgmental.

Argyro's book list on how disability does not define a person

Argyro Graphy Why did Argyro love this book?

A beautifully written story reassuring kids that it is ok to be different and it is written through the eyes of a 10-year-old. Very powerful and an eye-opener to those that may not know what Autism looks like or what we look like to an Autistic child.

By Benjamin Giroux, Roz MacLean (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through the eyes of 10-year-old Benjamin Giroux, being odd is different, and different is a good thing. This is what the then fifth-grader hoped to convey in his poem, beginning every few sentences with "I am," about what it is like to live with autism. Inspired by a school assignment, Benjamin's raw and emotional words poured out onto the page, but when he feared they were not any good, his parents shared the poem with friends and family. Little did they know that it would go viral and end up inspiring thousands of strangers who identified with him to share…

Book cover of Leaving's Not the Only Way to Go

Laina Villeneuve Author Of Birds of a Feather

From my list on neurodiverse women who love women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was thrown into the deep end to learn about autism when our first son was diagnosed as autistic. As first-time parents, how were we to know that the struggles we faced went beyond the norm? We also have twins, one of whom is ADHD and the other dyslexic. Thus, not only have I spent a lot of time learning about autism, but I also enjoy turning to fiction to learn how others both struggle and find solutions. I started writing because the bedtime routine with my kiddos was very difficult. Nearly twelve years later, I am still using my writing to overcome the obstacles in my life. 

Laina's book list on neurodiverse women who love women

Laina Villeneuve Why did Laina love this book?

One of the things I love most about this book is how much Georgia learns about herself by raising an autistic daughter.

I have found the same to be true as my wife and I are raising an autistic son. The more I learn about him, the more I learn about myself. It is a wonderful experience to see myself mirrored in a character. Though Georgia and Lauren face many obstacles, Georgia’s daughter, Hannah, keeps pulling them back together.

I am a sucker for a cute kid who knows more about what the grownups in their lives need than they do. 

By Kay Acker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leaving's Not the Only Way to Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lauren Ashburn left a promising job to help her family in Vermont take care of her dying father. Now that he’s gone, Lauren has every intention of returning to her old life―the vibrant, successful one her father had always expected her to have. But Lauren discovers that she feels adrift without his strict guidance.

Georgia Solomon designs homes for others. But as a bisexual autistic woman, she rarely feels at home herself. When her best friend dies suddenly, leaving her alone with their young daughter, her little slice of happiness vanishes.  Now Georgia finds herself struggling to navigate a world…

Book cover of The Pattern Seekers: How Autism Drives Human Invention

Suzanne Goh, MD Author Of Magnificent Minds: The New Whole-Child Approach to Autism

From my list on autism: strengths-based, neurodivergent.

Why am I passionate about this?

My journey began as a high school camp counselor at the Ability Center of Greater Toledo in Ohio. As I worked with children who had neurodevelopmental differences and collaborated with a co-counselor who had cerebral palsy, I saw how people with differences were marginalized and devalued despite being insightful, empathetic, passionate, funny, and talented. My appreciation for their strengths and perspectives shaped my approach as a pediatric neurologist, BCBA, neuroscientist, researcher, and founder of Cortica, which is focused on a whole-child, neurodivergent-affirming approach to care for autism and other neurodevelopmental differences. Reading is an important way for me to stay connected to the strengths-based lens I began cultivating in my teens.

Suzanne's book list on autism: strengths-based, neurodivergent

Suzanne Goh, MD Why did Suzanne love this book?

As a clinician and researcher, I’ve come to appreciate neurodivergent people’s boundless capacity for innovation and creativity. This book by Simon Baron-Cohen argues that these strengths that I’ve observed over the everyday course of my work have helped to advance humanity’s progress for tens of thousands of years.

Autistic people, Baron-Cohen argues, have a distinct ability to identify and manipulate “if-then” patterns, leading to advancements in everything from agricultural and hunting practices to musical instruments and modern digital technology. I share his belief that we must do more to nurture autistic people’s innate abilities, recognize their talents, and advocate for an inclusive world that allows them to share their gifts far and wide.

By Simon Baron-Cohen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking argument about the link between autism and ingenuity.
Why can humans alone invent? In The Pattern Seekers, Cambridge University psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen makes a case that autism is as crucial to our creative and cultural history as the mastery of fire. Indeed, Baron-Cohen argues that autistic people have played a key role in human progress for seventy thousand years, from the first tools to the digital revolution.
How? Because the same genes that cause autism enable the pattern seeking that is essential to our species's inventiveness. However, these abilities exact a great cost on autistic people, including social…

Book cover of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Susan Emshwiller Author Of Thar She Blows

From my list on first-person narrators navigating screwed-up lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by first-person points of view. In writing plays and screenplays, I couldn’t write the inner thoughts of my characters. Now, in novels and short stories, I do that almost exclusively, even if the stories contain multiple narrators. I love the Unreliable Narrator—whether it is someone too young to understand what they are witnessing, someone who is in denial, or mentally ill, or a non-human experiencing the world in an odd way—the discrepancy between their view and mine delights me. I love discovering all those inner thoughts, fears, anxieties, and desires. These first-person stories let me into another’s experience and allow me to empathize with a whole new perspective.  

Susan's book list on first-person narrators navigating screwed-up lives

Susan Emshwiller Why did Susan love this book?

This stunning book puts me in the head of a young boy with a neurodivergent way of seeing the world. I picked up this book before a cross-country flight and couldn’t stand that we landed, and I would have to stop reading for the drive home.

It immersed me in Christopher’s dilemma of trying to make sense of people. The most trivial things become massive. I was hurtled along with him for a harrowing, incredible journey. Profoundly moving!

By Mark Haddon,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year

'Outstanding...a stunningly good read' Observer

'Mark Haddon's portrayal of an emotionally dissociated mind is a superb achievement... Wise and bleakly funny' Ian McEwan

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the…

Book cover of Nadia Revisited: A Longitudinal Study of an Autistic Savant

Ellen Winner Author Of How Art Works: A Psychological Exploration

From my list on the value of children’s art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a life-long love affair with the arts. I intended to become an artist, but ultimately became a psychologist researching psychological aspects of the arts. My first book, Invented Worlds, examined the key questions and findings in the psychology of the arts. In Gifted Children: Myths and Realities, I wrote about gifted child artists. My Arts & Mind Lab at Boston College investigated artistic development in typical and gifted children, habits of mind conferred by arts education, and how we respond to works of art. The walls of my home are covered with framed paintings by young children, often side by side paintings by professional artists.

Ellen's book list on the value of children’s art

Ellen Winner Why did Ellen love this book?

Nadia was a severely autistic and mentally challenged child who, at age 3, drew horses that in important respects rivalled those by Leonardo da Vinci. Nadia was clearly a case of “savant syndrome” – an individual severely impaired in most areas but with one island of genius-level skill. Psychologist Lorna Selfe first wrote about this amazing case in 1977. In 2011, Selfe tells us what happened to Nadia’s drawing ability as she grew older and why her drawings regressed sharply to a more primitive level. This book will introduce you to the many theories put forth to explain this strange almost eerie phenomenon. It will help you think about the difference between artistic giftedness in the context of autism and mental challenges versus such giftedness in the context of an otherwise typically developing child.

By Lorna Selfe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book re-examines the case of Nadia, discovered as a child aged six, who had been drawing with phenomenal skill and visual realism from the age of three, despite having autism and severe learning difficulties. The original research was published in 1977 and caused great international interest. Nadia Revisited updates her story and reconsiders the theories that endeavour to explain her extraordinary talent.

As well as summarising the central issues from the original case study and presenting her remarkable drawings, the book explains Nadia's subsequent development and present situation in light of the recent research on autistic spectrum disorders and…

Book cover of Bitsy Bat, School Star

Nyasha Williams Author Of I Am Somebody

From my list on encouraging kids to step into their power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I identify as an author, creator, and activist and when I write, I write calling forth the world that our Ancestors dreamed of and deserved and our future generations need. We often forget the power we have as individuals and how that power is amplified in community. I write towards that power being recognized in kids and for them to see how any change they step into can be nurtured and expanded by others. Stepping into Ancestral Veneration, I realize that I never write alone. My Ancestors are always present in my writing, co-creating towards building a sustainable, regenerative, just, decolonized, Indigenized, and liberated world. 

Nyasha's book list on encouraging kids to step into their power

Nyasha Williams Why did Nyasha love this book?

Kaz Windness, the author-illustrator wrote Bitsy for herself and anyone who is neurodivergent and experiencing something for the first time.

Bitsy is nervous about starting school and her family makes space for her to practice and prepare for her first night at school. She begins school and tries to go about the day in ways that feel natural to her but is quickly judged by others, being expected to do things the way her classmates do things.

While Bitsy had a rough first day, she is reminded that she is a star by being herself. She steps into her power and heads into her second day of school to help others do the same. My biological niece from my maternal-side was just recently diagnosed with autism. I was happy to be able to add this book to her bookshelf as she is navigating the world. 

By Kaz Windness,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bitsy Bat, School Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A little bat struggles to fit in only to learn to celebrate differences in this heartfelt picture book from an autistic perspective about starting school, making friends, and seeing what makes each person special.

Bitsy is a little bat with big star dreams of making friends at her new school. But when she arrives, Bitsy doesn't feel like she fits in. The other kids sit on their chairs, but sitting upright makes Bitsy dizzy. The other kids paint with their fingers, but Bitsy would rather use her toes. Everyone tells Bitsy she's doing things wrong-wrong-wrong, so she tries harder...and ends…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in autism, Europe, and presidential biography?

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