100 books like Going Nowhere

By Sam Leith,

Here are 100 books that Going Nowhere fans have personally recommended if you like Going Nowhere. 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 A Link to the Past: Stories of Growing Up Gamer

Clark Nielsen Author Of Growing Up Gamer: A Video Game Memoir

From my list on reliving playing video games from your childhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

Video games have always been an important part of my life. I love playing games. I love talking about them. I love (trying) to make them. I love writing about them! Over the years, I’ve realized these various game consoles have been the backdrop to some very important milestones in my life. It’s been fun to go back and piece together which games helped me at which age. It’s been just as fun to explore this gaming relationship from the perspective of other authors/gamers. If you, too, grew up gaming, you’ll appreciate the books on this list.

Clark's book list on reliving playing video games from your childhood

Clark Nielsen Why did Clark love this book?

Of course, I have to recommend Davis’s book; we have similar titles! But in all seriousness, Davis takes a much different approach to the “gamer memoir” by focusing more on the games themselves. He reminisces about his favorite childhood games and/or games that were culturally important and does a great job highlighting what made them work (or not work) without letting modern-day feelings get in the way. Occasionally, Davis will tie the game into some real-world lesson he learned. It’s that aspect that I appreciate the most. I also try to reflect on certain games as being more than just “something fun at the time.”

By Brian J. N. Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Link to the Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In A Link to the Past: Stories of Growing Up Gamer, Brian Davis explores what it meant coming of age when video games went from something young people were expected to grow out of, to being a centrally crucial pillar of development to an entire generation. Starting in the halls of Maniac Mansion, and weaving a path through Skyrim’s majestic landscape, A Link to the Past follows the journey of one young Midwesterner’s search for identity, no matter the super villains, glitches, or threats of social alienation that stood in the way.


Book cover of Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld

Caleb J. Ross Author Of Suddenly I was a Shark! My Time with What Remains of Edith Finch

From my list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong video game obsessive. I think about video game worlds and my relationship with them in the ways most people think about family vacations to the beach or a trip with friends to Las Vegas. Every game I play is an opportunity to experience a new world, and a new culture, and to change myself along the way. Video games are a younger industry than either the music industry or the movie industry, but it’s more than 2.5x bigger than those two industries combined! There are reasons humans are so enamored by video games. The books on my list explore those reasons.

Caleb's book list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers

Caleb J. Ross Why did Caleb love this book?

David Sudnow’s Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld is perhaps the earliest account of a person’s obsession with a video game.

Sudnow’s diary-like approach to his relationship with the 1976 arcade game Breakout is captivating. It reads like improv jazz (which isn’t surprising considering Sudnow himself was an accomplished jazz pianist).

For example, here’s Sudnow describing the moments before starting the final phase of his longest game so far: “I feel the attempted seduction of the long lobbing interim, a calm before the storm, the action so laid back that I’m consciously elaborating a rhythm to be ready, set, go for a slam.”

Sudnow shows us that what might seem like simple bleeps and bloops to most people can instead be a life-affirming awakening to others. And how can something so powerful not warrant respect?

Tell your non-gaming friends: video games are poetry!

By David Sudnow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Just as the video game console market was about to crash into the New Mexico desert in 1983, musician and sociologist David Sudnow was unearthing the secrets of “eye, mind, and the essence of video skill” through an exploration of Atari's Breakout, one of the earliest hits of the arcade world.

Originally released under the title Pilgrim in the Microworld, Sudnow's groundbreaking longform criticism of a single game predates the rise of serious game studies by decades. While its earliest critics often scorned the idea of a serious book about an object of play, the book's modern readers remain fascinated…


Book cover of Gamelife: A Memoir

Caleb J. Ross Author Of Suddenly I was a Shark! My Time with What Remains of Edith Finch

From my list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong video game obsessive. I think about video game worlds and my relationship with them in the ways most people think about family vacations to the beach or a trip with friends to Las Vegas. Every game I play is an opportunity to experience a new world, and a new culture, and to change myself along the way. Video games are a younger industry than either the music industry or the movie industry, but it’s more than 2.5x bigger than those two industries combined! There are reasons humans are so enamored by video games. The books on my list explore those reasons.

Caleb's book list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers

Caleb J. Ross Why did Caleb love this book?

Where David Sudnow’s Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld focused on the flamboyant poetry of gaming, Michael W. Clune’s Gamelife opts for minimalism.

Clune himself describes the book as a memoir about computer games, which is true, and that description alone warrants inclusion in my list. Why? Any topic that can be a lens through which to reflect on one’s own life is noteworthy.

Clune isn’t a game developer recounting a life spent developing games. Clune isn’t a games industry executive doling out business advice. Clune is a gamer with a childhood he’s able to better understand when filtered through video games.

Tell your non-gaming friends: video games are therapy!

By Michael W. Clune,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In telling the story of his youth through seven computer games, critically acclaimed author Michael W. Clune (White Out) captures the part of childhood we live alone.

You have been awakened.

Floppy disk inserted, computer turned on, a whirring, and then this sentence, followed by a blinking cursor. So begins Suspended, the first computer game to obsess seven-year-old Michael, to worm into his head and change his sense of reality. Thirty years later he will write: "Computer games have taught me the things you can't learn from people."

Gamelife is the memoir of a childhood transformed by technology. Afternoons spent…


Book cover of You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

Clark Nielsen Author Of Growing Up Gamer: A Video Game Memoir

From my list on reliving playing video games from your childhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

Video games have always been an important part of my life. I love playing games. I love talking about them. I love (trying) to make them. I love writing about them! Over the years, I’ve realized these various game consoles have been the backdrop to some very important milestones in my life. It’s been fun to go back and piece together which games helped me at which age. It’s been just as fun to explore this gaming relationship from the perspective of other authors/gamers. If you, too, grew up gaming, you’ll appreciate the books on this list.

Clark's book list on reliving playing video games from your childhood

Clark Nielsen Why did Clark love this book?

Yes, this is technically a “celebrity memoir,” but Day is in a unique position of not only growing up in gaming culture but rising to fame because of it. While only two of the chapters in her book are about specific games she played, one of those games does become the basis for the show that launched her career. It’s interesting to read how she navigated the early days of YouTube and created and marketed the show with basically no budget. As someone who has frequently tried (and failed) to create game-related content of my own, it was nice to see what a self-made success story can look like.

By Felicia Day,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The instant New York Times bestseller from “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a “relentlessly funny and surprisingly inspirational” (Forbes) memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to internet stardom, and embracing her weirdness to find her place in the world.

When Felicia Day was a girl, all she wanted was to connect with other kids (desperately). Growing up in the Deep South, where she was “home-schooled for hippie reasons,” she looked online to find her tribe. The Internet was in its infancy and she became an early adopter at every stage…


Book cover of Dare

Stefanie Lozinski Author Of Magnify

From my list on Christian fantasy if you like The Lord of the Rings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have longed to move to the Shire ever since I first saw the film version of The Fellowship of the Ring. I wasn’t aware at first of Tolkien’s deep Catholic faith, but once it was pointed out to me, I was amazed at how he managed to weave Christian virtue into everything he wrote. As a long-time writer myself, I realized that I wanted to tell stories about the big stuff—love and hope, good and evil, doubt and courage—in a way that was genuine and unflinching. I think that all of the authors on this list have pulled off just that.

Stefanie's book list on Christian fantasy if you like The Lord of the Rings

Stefanie Lozinski Why did Stefanie love this book?

I just can’t help myself from recommending the entire Blades of Acktar series at every opportunity. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest Christian fantasy stories ever written. The worldbuilding is incredibly unique. This is not your typical allegorical Christian fantasy in the vein of Tolkien or Lewis. This is an alternate world, but one where Jesus and the Bible exist. At first, it’s strange, but as you fall in love with the characters, it becomes the most natural thing in the world. The world of Acktar lives and breathes, and the author absolutely excels at handling some of the most difficult parts of the Christian faith with incredible insight through the eyes of her characters—including a reformed assassin that I may or may not be in love with.

By Tricia Mingerink,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Blade never fails his mission.

Third Blade Leith Torren never questions his orders or his loyalty to King Respen until an arrow wound and a prairie blizzard drive him to the doorstep of the girls whose family he once destroyed.

Their forbidden faith and ties to the Resistance could devastate their family a second time. Survival depends on obedience, but freedom beckons. How far does he dare go to resist the king and his Blades?

No matter what Leith chooses, one thing is certain. Someone will die.

Experience the adventure of the best selling Christian kingdom adventure series today!


Book cover of River of Lies

Valerie Green Author Of Providence

From my list on fiction by British Columbia authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've loved writing since childhood when I lived in an 18th-century farmhouse in England that I was convinced was haunted. I'm now passionate about the history of British Columbia where I live today, and have written over twenty non-fiction historical books, true crime books, historical columns, and numerous articles for magazines and newspapers. My own forthcoming fictional trilogy, The McBride Chronicles, tells the story of a fictional family from the beginnings of British Columbia until present day so I can truly say I love all fiction set in our beautiful province by BC writers. I'm delighted that we have so many talented fiction writers in the province including the ones I recommend. 

Valerie's book list on fiction by British Columbia authors

Valerie Green Why did Valerie love this book?

I always enjoy a good mystery and R.M. Greenaway’s River of Lies is definitely one I would recommend. This book is the fifth in the B.C. Crime Series of mysteries by Greenaway but it was the first I had read—and it won’t be the last. The two detectives, Cal Dion and David Leith, are strong characters who come together in this book to solve a murder of a young black female janitor, a missing child case, a drowning, and an apparent suicide. Once they find the missing link between all these incidents, they are able to make progress. I found this an absorbing whodunit that held my attention to the very last page.

By R.M. Greenaway,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In rain-drenched Vancouver, detectives Dion and Leith work to separate truth from lies in two seemingly unrelated cases.

February is the month of romance, but in North Vancouver it's also become the month of murder. While the North Shore RCMP slog through the rain in the search for whoever left a young woman to die in the Riverside Secondary School parking lot - their first clue a Valentine's Day card - a toddler mysteriously vanishes from a Riverside Drive home in the midst of a dinner party.

With Constable JD Temple's full attention on the parking lot murder, Constables Dave…


Book cover of The Wrong Words

Joan Havelange Author Of Wayward Shot

From my list on whodunits where you can never guess the ending.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write whodunits because I love a good mystery and a good puzzle. I like giving clues out to the reader, sometimes red herrings, sometimes not. Three of my mysteries are set in a fictional little town in the Canadian prairies. I like showing the readers rural life with humour and mystery. Two of my mysteries are set in foreign countries I have visited. One takes place in Egypt. The other takes place on a bus tour of the Nordic countries and ends up in Moscow. I like the challenge of showing the readers the sights and the feel of the country without making the book a travel log. 

Joan's book list on whodunits where you can never guess the ending

Joan Havelange Why did Joan love this book?

Yvonne Rediger’s The Wrong Words is set on beautiful Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. The Wrong Words is a page-turning cozy mystery with all the proper investigative procedures. Adam Norcross, the main protagonist, is a man with a mysterious past. I liked how he and the female cop Bethany Leith worked together. Sometimes the male lead overpowers the female lead. But not in this story. And I didn’t guess whodunit; when that happens, that is the best.

By Yvonne Rediger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Adam Norcross is not in a good place. He recently buried his mother and now he needs something more than a power struggle between him and his mother’s cat to distract him from his grief. That something comes in the form of an assignment from his boss, Walter Shapiro, who is not a patient man. Not surprising since he reports directly to the prime minister. Shapiro interrupts Norcross’ bereavement leave to give him an assignment. Norcross’ task is to find out how the country’s most eminent climate scientist ended up dead off the highway in a mountain ravine. Was it…


Book cover of Ideas of Slavery from Aristotle to Augustine

Jerry Toner Author Of The Roman Guide to Slave Management: A Treatise by Nobleman Marcus Sidonius Falx

From my list on Roman slavery.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the Director of Studies in Classics at Churchill College, Cambridge University. My research looks at Roman cultural history, with a focus on history "from below," meaning that I'm most interested in ordinary Romans, slaves and the poor. There have been thirty-five translations of my books into sixteen languages. I come from a modest background and was the first in my family to go to university. I found moving up the social ladder a bewildering and sometimes terrifying experience. Classics back then was still an elite subject, dominated by people from wealthy backgrounds. My research interests have always reflected my fascination with those at the bottom of the social ladder.

Jerry's book list on Roman slavery

Jerry Toner Why did Jerry love this book?

Peter Garnsey was my PhD supervisor and he is a generous soul with a love of big topics. This book gives an overview of the many ways in which the ancients thought about slavery. It is true that there was no Roman abolition movement, but many ancient writers thought deeply about slavery and the issues involved. Sometimes they justified it, other times they criticised it, but throughout slavery was seen as unavoidable. The Christians called their God “dominus” just as slaves would have done their master.

By Peter Garnsey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ideas of Slavery from Aristotle to Augustine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This study, unique of its kind, asks how slavery was viewed by the leading spokesmen of Greece and Rome. There was no movement for abolition in these societies, nor a vigorous debate, such as occurred in antebellum America, but this does not imply that slavery was accepted without question. Dr Garnsey draws on a wide range of sources, pagan, Jewish and Christian, over ten centuries, to challenge the common assumption of passive acquiescence in slavery, and the associated view that, Aristotle apart, there was no systematic thought on slavery. The work contains both a typology of attitudes to slavery ranging…


Book cover of On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse

Robin Reames Author Of The Ancient Art of Thinking For Yourself: The Power of Rhetoric in Polarized Times

From my list on transforming how you think about language.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the power of language to propel everything we think—from our values and beliefs, to political views, to what we take for absolute truth. Once I learned there’s a whole field devoted to studying language called “rhetoric”—the field in which I’m now an expert—there was no turning back. Rhetoric has been around for more than 2,000 years, and since its inception, it has taught people to step back from language and appraise it with a more critical eye to identify how it works, why it’s persuasive, and what makes people prone to believe it. By studying rhetoric, we become less easily swayed and more comfortable with disagreement. 

Robin's book list on transforming how you think about language

Robin Reames Why did Robin love this book?

I love tracing things back to their roots. Rhetoric was the first discipline devoted to the study of language, and this was the first book written on that subject. Although it’s over 2,000 years old, many of Aristotle’s insights floor me with their timely relevance. 

Aristotle was the first to explain how language creates emotional effects and how negative emotions especially prompt us to act. Because it feels as though emotions well up inside our bodies, we feel that what stirs them must be real. Negative emotions are particularly persuasive in this regard because, Aristotle observed, we enjoy feeling them.

It’s fascinating to me that Aristotle discovered what brain science has discovered only recently: We’re negativity junkies, and the way we talk can change the way we feel.

By Aristotle, George A. Kennedy (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Based on careful study of the Greek text and informed by the best modern scholarship, the second edition of this highly acclaimed translation offers the most faithful English version ever published of On Rhetoric. Updated in light of recent scholarship, the new edition features a revised introduction--with two new sections--and revised appendices that provide new and additional supplementary texts (relevant ancient works).


Book cover of Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything

Kristin Cashore Author Of Winterkeep

From my list on mysteries—and solutions—you never saw coming.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reader and writer, I work with a pretty broad definition of “mystery.” You’ll find my own novels in the fantasy section of the bookstore, but my books are mysteries too — and romances, and tales of adventure, and intimate character studies, and reflections on our reality, no matter how fantastical the worlds in which they take place. I love melding genres! So when I think of my favorite mysteries, I try not to limit myself to the mystery section of the bookstore. Few things make me happier than discovering partway through a book that a mystery has been building that I didn’t even notice.

Kristin's book list on mysteries—and solutions—you never saw coming

Kristin Cashore Why did Kristin love this book?

The less I say about the plot of this book, the better your reading experience will be. I avoided reading the flap copy, and I recommend you do too. What I can promise you is this: a book set in Arizona and firmly grounded in the reality of racism and deportation in the USA, mixed together with spirituality, mythology, sci-fi pop culture, a surprising solution to a mystery, and, just possibly, aliens from outer space. Plus, beautiful writing! This is one of those books with super short chapters, each of which is a little gem. I loved it.

By Raquel Vasquez Gilliland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“In a world where we are so often dividing ourselves into us and them, this book feels like a kind of magic, celebrating all beliefs, ethnicities, and unknowns.” —The New York Times Book Review

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets Roswell by way of Laurie Halse Anderson in this astonishing, genre-bending novel about a Mexican American teen who discovers profound connections between immigration, folklore, and alien life.

It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to…


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