10 books like Goat Days

By Benyamin,

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

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Once Upon A Time in the East

By Xiaolu Guo,

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

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.

Once Upon A Time in the East

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…


Woman at Point Zero

By Nawal El Saadawi, Sherif Hetata (translator),

Book cover of Woman at Point Zero

A feministic milestone, a must-read for all activists and people engaged in the battle for a better society. It tells the story of Firdaus, a young woman coming of age in the male-dominant Egyptian society, who never eyes an escape from the hardships and trials imposed on her by senseless men. It’s such a strong description of women as an underclass, as slaves in a male dominant society, that it changes your basic outlook on life. “Every single man I did get to know filled me with but one desire: to lift my hand and bring it smashing down on his face.– Firdaus

Woman at Point Zero

By Nawal El Saadawi, Sherif Hetata (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…


Römische Tage

By Simon Strauss,

Book cover of Römische Tage

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…

Römische Tage

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…


Hunger

By Knut Hamsun,

Book cover of Hunger

Hamsun's account of a man’s refusal to die of starvation in 1880s Kristiania. His protagonist yearns for life and love as he pursues the impulses of his subconscious, even though they seem to only lead to his further degradation and destruction. Is there a deeper purpose to this apparent madness? Perceptions, sensations, and fears, all assail the young man's soul, even as he tries to write another article for the local newspaper editor or attempts to hide the fact his trousers are falling apart. The sight on the street of the woman he calls Ylayali, and the yearning aroused, keeps him alive a little longer, as reality becomes a stranger and the normal world of humanity left behind. 

This is one of only two novels I have ever read three times, taking a 10-year break between those reads to process and absorb. 

Hunger

By Knut Hamsun,

Why should I read it?

2 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…


Bhima Lone Warrior

By M.T. Vasudevan Nair,

Book cover of Bhima Lone Warrior

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.

Bhima Lone Warrior

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…


Blood and Oil

By Bradley Hope, Justin Scheck,

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

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.”

Blood and Oil

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…


The Son King

By Madawi Al-Rasheed,

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

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.

The Son King

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…


At the Drop of a Veil

By Marianne Alireza,

Book cover of At the Drop of a Veil

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. 

At the Drop of a Veil

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.


Cities of Salt

By Abdelrahman Munif,

Book cover of Cities of Salt

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). 

Cities of Salt

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.


America's Kingdom

By Robert Vitalis,

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

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.

America's Kingdom

By 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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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