28 books like Goat Days

By Benyamin,

Here are 28 books that Goat Days fans have personally recommended if you like Goat Days. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Once Upon A Time in the East: A Story of Growing up

Hallgrímur Helgason Author Of The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning

From my list on me-against-the-world.

Who am I?

Hallgrimur Helgason is an Icelandic artist and writer born in Reykjavik in 1959. He started out as a painter but then also took up writing. Since 1990 he has published eleven novels, the most well-known being 101 Reykjavik, which was turned into a popular film, The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning, and The Woman at 1000°. Helgason has also published 4 books of poetry and is an active political columnist. His books have been translated into 14 languages and three of them have been nominated for the Nordic Prize of Literature. Helgason won the Icelandic Literature Prize three times. In 2020 he was awarded the French medal Officier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres.

Hallgrímur's book list on me-against-the-world

Hallgrímur Helgason Why did Hallgrímur love this book?

The great Chinese British powerhouse writes about her childhood in a poor coastal village in post-Mao’s China where she’s made to live with her grandparents and life is rough and hard, especially for a girl. It’s a very atmospheric tale, that paints a vivid picture of this incredible society. It’s also a Cinderella story, about a suffering child that, thanks to incredible stubbornness and stamina, rises up to become one of the twelve (out of a million or so) applicants that are accepted into the Chinese Film School in Beijing each year. She later moves to England and her descriptions of the west are super fresh and priceless.

By Xiaolu Guo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Once Upon A Time in the East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Xiaolu Guo meets her parents for the first time when she is almost seven. They are strangers to her.

When she is born her parents hand her over to a childless peasant couple in the mountains. Aged two, and suffering from malnutrition on a diet of yam leaves, they leave Xiaolu with her illiterate grandparents in a fishing village on the East China Sea. It's a strange beginning.

A Wild Swans for a new generation, Once Upon a Time in the East takes Xiaolu from a run-down shack to film school in a rapidly changing Beijing, navigating the everyday peculiarity…


Book cover of Woman at Point Zero

Katharine Quarmby Author Of The Low Road

From my list on female characters who rise from the ashes.

Who am I?

I’m a writer who loves reading novels, encompassing everything from romance to historical and crime. I've always loved resilient female characters in the books I've read, from children’s fiction onward. When I started writing The Low Road I didn’t know that a couple of years later we as a family would experience multiple bereavement in just a few months, and that grief is imbued in every page of the novel. In The Low Road, I hope I've also paid homage to the power of women, that dogged and patient holding on and enduring of pain, that is at the heart of so many of the lives we live as girls and women.

Katharine's book list on female characters who rise from the ashes

Katharine Quarmby Why did Katharine love this book?

I read this years ago and then devoured all of Nawal el Sadawi’s books, fiction and non-fiction.

I have Iranian heritage on my birth father’s side and have always been fascinated in the life I could have lived as an Iranian girl, if I had been raised there instead of the UK.

So reading Nawal ed Sadawi’s books, set in Egypt where she was born, educated, and worked as a doctor and writer, gave me an insight I really wanted into Islamic societies and how women can live in them.

Woman at Point Zero is harrowing, brilliant, immersive, and painful, taking as its theme the story of Firdaus, who tells the story of why she has killed a man before she is executed. She explains why and her courage and eloquence have stayed with me ever since.

We need these stories of women on the edge who still, somehow, resist…

By Nawal El Saadawi, Sherif Hetata (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Woman at Point Zero as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An unforgettable, unmissable book for the new global feminist.'
The Times

'All the men I did get to know filled me with but one desire: to lift my hand and bring it smashing down on his face.'

So begins Firdaus's remarkable story of rebellion against a society founded on lies, hypocrisy, brutality and oppression. Born to a peasant family in the Egyptian countryside, Firdaus struggles through childhood, seeking compassion and knowledge in a world which gives her little of either. As she grows up and escapes the fetters of her childhood, each new relationship teaches her a bitter but liberating…


Book cover of Römische Tage

Hallgrímur Helgason Author Of The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning

From my list on me-against-the-world.

Who am I?

Hallgrimur Helgason is an Icelandic artist and writer born in Reykjavik in 1959. He started out as a painter but then also took up writing. Since 1990 he has published eleven novels, the most well-known being 101 Reykjavik, which was turned into a popular film, The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning, and The Woman at 1000°. Helgason has also published 4 books of poetry and is an active political columnist. His books have been translated into 14 languages and three of them have been nominated for the Nordic Prize of Literature. Helgason won the Icelandic Literature Prize three times. In 2020 he was awarded the French medal Officier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres.

Hallgrímur's book list on me-against-the-world

Hallgrímur Helgason Why did Hallgrímur love this book?

Germans have been in love with Italy since always, a love that found its culmination with Goethe’s famous Italienische Reise in 1816. It’s a love that lasts forever, for it’s a love that never finds fulfillment. Germans are like the stuffed up straight guy who’s in love with a lively beauty above their level, that is Italy; they’re forever stuck in the moment of enchantment, they can never grasp or really fathom their love, let alone turn it into a real affair or just begin to understand this incredible woman. Promising young German writer Strauss takes up residence in the famous Via Corso in Rome (close to Casa di Goethe), and tries to make his moment come alive under the heavy burden of history. Maybe not as urgent or dramatic as the other four books, but still here we have a one man-boy against all of Rome, all of our…

By Simon Strauss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ein Sommer in Rom Ein junger Mann kommt in die ewige Stadt, um die Gegenwart abzuschtteln. Er sucht einen eigenen Weg, fhlt fremde Zeiten in sich leben. In Rom erinnert er sich. In Rom verliebt er sich. In Rom trauert er. Er trifft auf auergewhnliche Menschen und findet seine Aufgabe: Alles wahrnehmen, nichts auslassen. Rmische Tage fhrt zu den vielen Anfngen und Enden unserer Welt und fragt, was wir morgen daraus machen. Der Erzhler zieht in eine Wohnung schrg gegenber der Casa di Goethe und die Stadt wird ihm zur Geliebten. Ihre Geschichten spielen vor seinem Auge: Der Mord an…


Book cover of Hunger

James Tyler Ball Author Of Matita: The Tragic Tale of a Writer's Pencil

From my list on the outrageous but still have serious meaning.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by absurdist comedy and ideas for as long as I can remember. At sixteen, I wrote my first book, Mr A, which followed a man who would turn into a superhero after taking LSD and his talking dog. As an adult, I continue to revel in these types of stories. I brought this passion to my chart-topping debut non-fiction book, where I interviewed several people who believe McDonald’s has interdimensional properties. Now, I hold no bars in fiction writing, having authored a ‘genius of a book’ that follows a talking pencil.

James' book list on the outrageous but still have serious meaning

James Tyler Ball Why did James love this book?

I found this book mentioned in one of Charles Bukowski’s. If Bukowski liked it, I surely would, too, I thought. This is, without a doubt, a severely strange book. Hunger followers the narrator as he desperately tries to become a successful writer while battling the hardships of starvation and homelessness. He becomes delusional with grandiose ideas and attempts to humiliate a love interest of his. This book will leave you questioning your literary choices.  

By Knut Hamsun,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the most important and controversial writers of the 20th century, Knut Hamsun made literary history with the publication in 1890 of this powerful, autobiographical novel recounting the abject poverty, hunger and despair of a young writer struggling to achieve self-discovery and its ultimate artistic expression. The book brilliantly probes the psychodynamics of alienation and obsession, painting an unforgettable portrait of a man driven by forces beyond his control to the edge of self-destruction. Hamsun influenced many of the major 20th-century writers who followed him, including Kafka, Joyce and Henry Miller. Required reading in world literature courses, the highly…


Book cover of Bhima Lone Warrior

Anand Neelakantan Author Of Asura: Tale of the Vanquished: The Story of Ravana and His People

From my list on Indian mythology.

Who am I?

Anand Neelakantan is an Indian author, columnist, screenwriter, television personality, and motivational speaker. He has authored eight fiction books in English and one in Malayalam. His debut work Asura, The Tale of the Vanquished is based on the Indian epics of Ramayana. His next book series was Ajaya-Roll of the Dice, Ajaya – Rise of Kali based on the two books on the epic Mahabharata told from Kaurava perspective. Anand's books voice the suppressed party or the defeated party. In his fifth book Vanara, the legend of Baali, Sugreeva, and Tara also follow the same pattern of expressing the defeated side.

Anand's book list on Indian mythology

Anand Neelakantan Why did Anand love this book?

Originally written in Malayalam and published in 1984, this Mahabharata-based novel won the Jnanapith award, the highest literary award in India, for M.T. Vasudevan Nair. The greatness of Mahabharata is that every character in the epic has a story worth telling about. In the dextrous hands of M. T Vasudevan Nair, the poignant tale of the second Pandava, attains a different dimension, forcing us to see the ancient epic in a new light. The book is a classic in every sense and in Malayalam, every word and punctuation has a lyrical quality. The English translation is excellent enough to create a long-lasting impact on the reader’s mind. A beautiful and lyrical book.

By M.T. Vasudevan Nair,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the story of Bhima, the second son, always second in line - a story never adequately told until one of India's finest writers conjured him up from the silences in Vyasa's narrative.

M.T. Vasudevan Nair's Bhima is a revelation:lonely; eager to succeed; treated with a mixture of affection and contempt by his Pandava brothers,and with scorn and hatred by his Kaurava cousins.Bhima battlesincessantly with failure and disappointments. He is adept at disguising his feelings,but has an overwhelmingly intuitive understanding of everyone who crosses his path.A warrior without equal, he takes on the mighty Bakasura and Jarasandha, and ultimately…


Book cover of Blood and Oil: Mohammed Bin Salman's Ruthless Quest for Global Power

Simon Henderson Author Of After King Fahd: Succession in Saudi Arabia

From my list on understanding modern Saudi Arabia.

Who am I?

British by birth, American by naturalization, Simon Henderson started in journalism as a trainee at the BBC before becoming its correspondent in Pakistan. Joining the Financial Times a year later, he was promptly sent to Iran to cover the 1979 Islamic revolution and went back again for the U.S. embassy hostage crisis. He now analyzes the Gulf states, energy, and the nuclear programs of Iran and Pakistan as the Baker fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Simon's book list on understanding modern Saudi Arabia

Simon Henderson Why did Simon love this book?

Another post-Khashoggi product, by two Wall Street Journal reporters, this volume is longer than Hubbard’s but doesn’t get as close to what may make MbS tick. Their reporting’s strength though is chronicling the initial steps of MbS’s Vision 2030 plan to transform the kingdom, and the background to his pet project – the $500 billion futuristic city of NEOM in the northwest of the kingdom.

They write: “Mohammed decided to build not just a city but a mini-kingdom. It would have cutting-edge technology and medical care, all powered by solar energy rather than oil.” The vision statement for the project reads: “The land of the future, where the greatest minds and best talents are empowered to embody pioneering ideas and exceed boundaries in a world inspired by imagination.”

By Bradley Hope, Justin Scheck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'If you've ever wondered what would happen if limitless money met limitless power, wonder no longer, it's all here...Terrifying, disturbing and ghastly' Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland

'Explosive' The Times

'[A] Crisp page-turner of a book teeming with telling detail ... Splendid' Financial Times

'The fascinating and highly entertaining tale ... Fly-on-the-wall reporting and palace intrigue worthy of Machiavelli' John Carreyrou, author of Bad Blood

Longlisted for the 2020 Financial Times / McKinsey Business Book of the Year

Blood and Oil the explosive untold story of how Mohammed bin Salman and his entourage grabbed power in the Middle East and…


Book cover of The Son King: Reform and Repression in Saudi Arabia

Simon Henderson Author Of After King Fahd: Succession in Saudi Arabia

From my list on understanding modern Saudi Arabia.

Who am I?

British by birth, American by naturalization, Simon Henderson started in journalism as a trainee at the BBC before becoming its correspondent in Pakistan. Joining the Financial Times a year later, he was promptly sent to Iran to cover the 1979 Islamic revolution and went back again for the U.S. embassy hostage crisis. He now analyzes the Gulf states, energy, and the nuclear programs of Iran and Pakistan as the Baker fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Simon's book list on understanding modern Saudi Arabia

Simon Henderson Why did Simon love this book?

London-based Professor Al-Rasheed combines the objectivity of an academic with years of criticism of the House of Saud, and her consequent life in exile. One assumes the title is an allusion to Louis XIV of France who ruled for 72 years. A tougher read than the journalistic flows of the other books listed here, it is nevertheless very solid and perceptive.

By Madawi Al-Rasheed,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 2018, journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi regime operatives, shocking the international community and tarnishing the reputation of Muhammad bin Salman, the kingdom's young, reformist crown prince. Domestically, bin Salman's reforms have proven divisive, and his adoption of populist nationalism and fierce repression of diverse critical voices-religious scholars, feminists and dissident youth-have failed to silence a vibrant and well-connected Saudi society.

Madawi Al-Rasheed lays bare the world of repression behind the crown prince's reforms. She dissects the Saudi regime's propaganda and progressive new image, while also dismissing Orientalist views that despotism is the only pathway to stable governance…


Book cover of At the Drop of a Veil

Andrea Rugh Author Of Simple Gestures: A Cultural Journey into the Middle East

From my list on Middle Eastern culture written by outsiders.

Who am I?

My quest after culture began as a child reading National Geographic and wondering about exotic peoples. Later with a PhD in anthropology and living decades in the Middle East, I had a chance to immerse myself in the lives of people going about their normal activities. Eventually their thinking became almost as familiar as my own. The anthropologist Edward Hall says culture is elusive, “and what it hides it hides most effectively from its own practitioners.” He suggests that detached outsiders sometimes see cultures more clearly than local observers who have difficulty viewing themselves dispassionately. As outsider-writers, they validate insights much like anthropologists do, through comparisons of cultural values across time and space. 

Andrea's book list on Middle Eastern culture written by outsiders

Andrea Rugh Why did Andrea love this book?

In 1945 Alireza married a member of a prominent Saudi family and went to live with him in his extended family. She recounts her experience living mainly in the company of the women of the family. Over 12 years and the birth of four children, she grows close to her Arabian family and learns to live according to their customs. The reader becomes immersed in Saudi culture in a way not easily available to an outsider and feels the same sadness as Marianne when ultimately her husband divorces her and she has to leave the family she has grown to love. 

By Marianne Alireza,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At the Drop of a Veil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Autobiography: A harem is a female group composed of a married woman's mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, children, and servants. Californian Alireza arrived in Arabia in 1945 with her husband Ali. Shew grew to lover her expanded family and the harem. After 8 years, she was summarily divorced by Ali and escaped with the children to Switzerland, then home to America.


Book cover of America's Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier

Steven A. Cook Author Of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square

From my list on understanding the Middle East.

Who am I?

Steven A. Cook is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for the Middle East and Africa studies and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S. Middle East policy. 

Steven's book list on understanding the Middle East

Steven A. Cook Why did Steven love this book?

Vitalis' meticulously researched volume is about Saudi Arabia and the United States. In lucid prose, he makes the controversial case that American oil prospectors in the 20th century recreated the patterns of domination that dominated the exploitation of resources in the American West in Saudi Arabia. The argument smashes long-held truths and myths about the origins of the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

By Robert Vitalis, Robert Vitalis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked America's Kingdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

America's Kingdom debunks the many myths that now surround the United States's "special relationship" with Saudi Arabia, or what is less reverently known as "the deal": oil for security. Taking aim at the long-held belief that the Arabian American Oil Company, ARAMCO, made miracles happen in the desert, Robert Vitalis shows that nothing could be further from the truth. What is true is that oil led the U.S. government to follow the company to the kingdom. Eisenhower agreed to train Ibn Sa'ud's army, Kennedy sent jets to defend the kingdom, and Lyndon Johnson sold it missiles. Oil and ARAMCO quickly…


Book cover of Cities of Salt

Kim Barnes Author Of In the Kingdom of Men

From my list on Arabic writers on the destruction of colonization.

Who am I?

In the 1950s, my mother and father left the red dirt of Oklahoma for the forests of Idaho to escape their families’ poverty. Instead of sharecropping, my father became a logger, but my aunt and her husband, a drilling rig roughneck, moved to the deserts of Saudi Arabia to work for Aramco and live in the American compound of Abqaiq. I remember the gifts they brought me: camel hide purses, Aladdin slippers. The Saudis, too, were experiencing rapid modernization and expanding wealth. I became fascinated by the conflict inherent in the sudden enmeshing of cultures and meteoric shift in power and privilege.

Kim's book list on Arabic writers on the destruction of colonization

Kim Barnes Why did Kim love this book?

Translated into English by Peter Theroux, this gorgeously written and emotionally stunning novel is told from the perspective of the Bedouin inhabitants during a time when Americans were arriving by the shipload to develop the oilfields they had discovered. The story is both epic and intimate (and, at points, wittily ironic) and opened my eyes to the vast destruction not only of the land and its people but the very core of their culture. Banned in several Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, this is the first volume of a trilogy (and I recommend them all). 

By Abdelrahman Munif,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first English translation of a major Arab writer's novel that reveals the lifestyle and beliefs of a Bedouin tribe in the 1930s. Set in an unnamed Persian Gulf kingdom, the story tells of the cultural confrontation between American oilmen and a poor oasis community.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and India?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and India.

Saudi Arabia Explore 23 books about Saudi Arabia
The Middle East Explore 173 books about the Middle East
India Explore 423 books about India