100 books like Reno's Big Gamble

By Alicia Barber,

Here are 100 books that Reno's Big Gamble fans have personally recommended if you like Reno's Big Gamble. 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 Reno

Sandra V. McGee Author Of The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler

From my list on the Reno divorce ranch era.

Who am I?

I’m the co-author of The Divorce Seekers, an intimate glimpse into life on Nevada’s most exclusive divorce ranch, the Flying M E. From 1947-1949, my late husband, William L. “Bill” McGee, was the dude wrangler on the Flying M E, twenty miles south of Reno. We spent four years gathering photos (many from former guests on the ranch or their offspring) and conducting interviews. My book is the only book on the subject written from the perspective of a former divorce ranch wrangler. I’ve become passionate about this subject and, thanks to my work on this book, am now regarded as an “expert” on the Nevada divorce ranch era.

Sandra's book list on the Reno divorce ranch era

Sandra V. McGee Why did Sandra love this book?

Published in 1941, you might have to do a little searching to find this book. Max Miller, a former newspaperman, recaptures the glamour of Reno in its heyday as “Divorce Capital of the World”. The prose is racy and fun.

By Max Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"This book is one of a Special Limited Edition printed expressly for and presented with the compliments of the Reno Club, Inc."


Book cover of A Reporter At Large: Dateline: Pyramid Lake, Nevada

Sandra V. McGee Author Of The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler

From my list on the Reno divorce ranch era.

Who am I?

I’m the co-author of The Divorce Seekers, an intimate glimpse into life on Nevada’s most exclusive divorce ranch, the Flying M E. From 1947-1949, my late husband, William L. “Bill” McGee, was the dude wrangler on the Flying M E, twenty miles south of Reno. We spent four years gathering photos (many from former guests on the ranch or their offspring) and conducting interviews. My book is the only book on the subject written from the perspective of a former divorce ranch wrangler. I’ve become passionate about this subject and, thanks to my work on this book, am now regarded as an “expert” on the Nevada divorce ranch era.

Sandra's book list on the Reno divorce ranch era

Sandra V. McGee Why did Sandra love this book?

In 1949, renowned journalist A. J. Liebling went to Reno for a divorce. He stayed at the remote Pyramid Lake Ranch, thirty-four miles north of Reno at Sutcliffe, Nevada. In what can only be described as “vintage Liebling,” he writes about his stay on the ranch and the challenges of being surrounded by so many women. As Liebling says, “I have never been reluctant to buy a lady a drink, but there were thirty-eight ladies in residence at the ranch, and this offered a problem in economics.” In 1956, Arthur Miller stayed at the Pyramid Lake Ranch for a divorce so he could marry Marilyn Monroe. Miller got the idea for The Misfits during his residency on the ranch.

By A.J. Liebling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Reporter At Large as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1949, renowned journalist A. J. Liebling came to Reno to obtain a divorce, which required that he establish residency in Nevada for a period of six weeks. Liebling stayed at a guest ranch on the shores of Pyramid Lake. While there, his reporter's curiosity was engaged by a bitter dispute raging between the Paiutes and non-Indian squatters who were claiming the most agriculturally productive lands of the reservation and the waters feeding the lake that was the economic and spiritual heart of the Paiutes' ancient culture.

Liebling recorded the litigation over the fate of the Pyramid Lake Reservation lands…


Book cover of Reno

Sandra V. McGee Author Of The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler

From my list on the Reno divorce ranch era.

Who am I?

I’m the co-author of The Divorce Seekers, an intimate glimpse into life on Nevada’s most exclusive divorce ranch, the Flying M E. From 1947-1949, my late husband, William L. “Bill” McGee, was the dude wrangler on the Flying M E, twenty miles south of Reno. We spent four years gathering photos (many from former guests on the ranch or their offspring) and conducting interviews. My book is the only book on the subject written from the perspective of a former divorce ranch wrangler. I’ve become passionate about this subject and, thanks to my work on this book, am now regarded as an “expert” on the Nevada divorce ranch era.

Sandra's book list on the Reno divorce ranch era

Sandra V. McGee Why did Sandra love this book?

As with all of the books in the Images of America series, this book, written by 30-year veteran journalist Guy Clifton, is beautifully illustrated with informative and generous captions. Mr. Clifton’s love for his city and the people who live there is evident. He has met most of the people he writes about, many who allowed him to use images never before published.

By Guy Clifton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reno has always been a small town where big things happen. Long before it adopted the slogan "The Biggest Little City in the World," Reno was visited by presidents, the nation's elite, and those drawn to the city's wide-open, live-and-let live attitude. "The Fight of the Century," between heavyweight boxers Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries brought Reno worldwide attention in 1910, and the legalization of gambling and liberalization of divorce laws in 1931 made the city a national destination. At the same time, Reno never lost its small-town feel, with generations of families and scores of familiar faces building long-standing…


Book cover of Reno Now and Then

Sandra V. McGee Author Of The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler

From my list on the Reno divorce ranch era.

Who am I?

I’m the co-author of The Divorce Seekers, an intimate glimpse into life on Nevada’s most exclusive divorce ranch, the Flying M E. From 1947-1949, my late husband, William L. “Bill” McGee, was the dude wrangler on the Flying M E, twenty miles south of Reno. We spent four years gathering photos (many from former guests on the ranch or their offspring) and conducting interviews. My book is the only book on the subject written from the perspective of a former divorce ranch wrangler. I’ve become passionate about this subject and, thanks to my work on this book, am now regarded as an “expert” on the Nevada divorce ranch era.

Sandra's book list on the Reno divorce ranch era

Sandra V. McGee Why did Sandra love this book?

Besides knowing everything about Reno history, Neal Cobb and Jerry Fenwick have carefully photographed and juxtaposed the “now and the then” images of Reno sites and captioned the images in detail. The books (there are two volumes) beckon a walking trip through various neighborhoods, books in hand, comparing the past with the present.

Book cover of Desert of the Heart

Mari SanGiovanni Author Of Greetings From Jamaica, Wish You Were Queer

From my list on LGBTQ+ books that are also movies (…or should be).

Who am I?

When I was young and just figuring out the whole gay thing, I had to cross state lines to see the one gay movie and smuggle out the one library book I was too afraid to check out. In the 1970s and 80s I grew up knowing I was part of a group that was rarely talked about, aside from jokes. I've enjoyed so many stories that didn't represent me. If the struggle is real, I want to see, hear, and feel the whole messy bunch of it. I like the uncomfortable process of writing, and make promises that I later break: I can always tone this part down later…and then I never do.

Mari's book list on LGBTQ+ books that are also movies (…or should be)

Mari SanGiovanni Why did Mari love this book?

I loved this book because it was the ultimate slow-burn romance coupled with an older woman coming out story, which was truly original at the time. As is almost always the case, the novel is better than the movie, but this one brilliantly made the transition to the film renamed Desert Hearts, which was helped by the amazing chemistry between the actresses and a director that did not shy away from sex scenes which were both graphic, yet beautiful. 

Set back in the 1950s, this sizzling & heartwarming matchup is the trifecta of opposites attract: class, age, and attitude towards coming out, this book was a romance with substance, sprinkled with a bit of comedy, my favorite recipe. 

By Jane Rule,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in the late 1950s, this is the story of Evelyn Hall, an English Professor, who goes to Reno to obtain a divorce and put an end to her disastrous 16-year marriage. While staying at a boarding house to establish her six-week residency requirement she meets Ann Childs, a casino worker and fifteen years her junior. Physically, they are remarkably alike and eventually have an affair and begin the struggle to figure out just how a relationship between two women can last.

Desert of the Heart examines the conflict between convention and freedom and the ways in which the characters…


Book cover of Take Down

J.L. Delozier Author Of Con Me Once

From my list on Las Vegas-based crime novels featuring cons.

Who am I?

I love the psychology behind a good con. Con artists are the ultimate anti-heroes - masterful manipulators and highly observant, but unscrupulous at heart. And after reading a GQ article on “real-life superheroes” – people who dress up in homemade costumes and patrol their neighborhoods – I became fascinated by that psychology, too. Las Vegas is the capital of con and Cons—a unique city bursting with swindlers and cosplayers decked out in full regalia. What better place to set a crime novel? And thus—voilaCon Me Once was born.

J.L.'s book list on Las Vegas-based crime novels featuring cons

J.L. Delozier Why did J.L. love this book?

The tagline says it all – “Whoever says crime doesn’t pay isn’t doing it right.” Pubbed in 2015, this book is often compared to Ocean’s Eleven as it contains the same main elements: the con artist and his experienced crew, the girl, Vegas. What’s opposite is the focus – this book emphasizes plot over character. While I love this book’s complex con-within-a-con, Billy Cunningham is not particularly likable as a main character. If you enjoy Vegas’s dark side, this book and its two sequels, Bad Action and Super Con, are for you. 

By James Swain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Whoever says crime doesn't pay isn't doing it right.

There are hundreds of casinos in Las Vegas, and Billy Cunningham knows how to rip off every one. His scams are a thing of beauty-so perfectly orchestrated that onlookers believe he and his crew are winning fair and square. In a town where bosses will kill to protect their profits, Billy can't afford to make mistakes, but even the best-laid plans can go wrong...

Desperate to keep his team out of jail, Billy agrees to help stop a legendary family of thieves from taking down a casino. But he has no…


Book cover of Burn for Me

J.L. Gribble Author Of Steel Victory

From my list on blending fantasy and alternate history.

Who am I?

With a graduate degree in Writing Popular Fiction (seriously, someone gave me a degree for writing an urban fantasy book), I know that genres are nothing more than marketing terms that tell bookstores which shelves to put the books on. As an author, combining genres and subverting their topes allows me to stretch their potential and tell fresh stories that might not find an easy home on a single shelf, so it’s also important for me to read and support those making the same attempts. Stories that adhere to strict reader expectations will always find a home, but I’ve always had way more fun exploring the other possibilities.

J.L.'s book list on blending fantasy and alternate history

J.L. Gribble Why did J.L. love this book?

It might look like another romance novel slipped into this list by mistake, but Andrews elevates a typical paranormal romance plot by placing it in an extraordinary open-world urban fantasy setting and emphasizing the main character’s relationship with her family over her love life. Nevada and her loved ones would rather live quiet lives than welcome society’s scrutiny by exposing abilities that are extraordinary even in a world socially ruled by magical dynasties. This book proves explosive magical fights can occur in a world where the response is live-streaming and not an immediate cover-up attempt.

By Ilona Andrews,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand-new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire ...Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career-a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire. Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan-a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn…


Book cover of Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness

Sherman Alexie Author Of You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir

From my list on understanding bipolar disorder.

Who am I?

I'm an enrolled member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians. I grew up in Wellpinit, Washington, on the Spokane Indian Reservation. In 2010, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder but I now believe that I’ve struggled with the disorder since childhood. I'm a novelist, poet, short fiction writer, and filmmaker. I've won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the PEN Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Sherman's book list on understanding bipolar disorder

Sherman Alexie Why did Sherman love this book?

This is the memoir of a world-famous Olympic athlete who also lived a secret life as an elite sex worker in Las Vegas. Hamilton is brutally honest about one of the most distressing and dangerous symptoms of bipolar disorder: hypersexuality. After her secret was made public Hamilton could have retreated into shamed silence but she instead chose to reveal all that she'd learned about the link between her bipolar mania and sexual impulsivity. This is a courageous book.

By Suzy Favor Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The former middle distance Olympic runner and high-end escort speaks out for the first time about her battle with mental illness, and how mania controlled and compelled her in competition, but also in life. This is a heartbreakingly honest yet hopeful memoir reminiscent of Manic, Electroboy, and An Unquiet Mind. During the 1990s, three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton was the darling of American track and field. An outstanding runner, a major sports apparel spokesperson, and a happily married wife, she was the model for an active, healthy, and wholesome life. But her perfect facade masked a…


Book cover of Where We Live

Kindra Neely Author Of Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting

From my list on to help process big emotions.

Who am I?

I’m deeply passionate about helping others find ways to work through their emotions. After surviving a mass shooting in 2015 the first place I turned to was the library. I quickly found myself frustrated and lacking when I couldn’t find books to help me understand what I was going through and what to expect next. It was terribly discouraging as I found it difficult to express myself to my loved ones. When I started to find books like the ones on this list, it opened a world to me that I had to be a part of – books that help people process difficult emotions. 

Kindra's book list on to help process big emotions

Kindra Neely Why did Kindra love this book?

I won’t lie, this is a difficult one for me to get through having survived a mass shooting myself. As an anthology, it serves as a powerful testimony to the survivors of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting which took the lives of 60. What I think is unique about this anthology is that several artists and authors collaborated on pieces that share social perceptions on a myriad of issues surrounding mass shootings in the U.S. Where We Live serves as a near time capsule dedicated to the effects of the deadliest single incident mass shooting.  

By Mike Allred, Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Brandon , Kurt Busiek , Amy Chu , Kelly Sue DeConnick , Neil Gaiman , Kieron Gillen , Mike Mignola , Mark Millar , Greg Pak , James Robinson , Gail Simone , Brandon Graham , Rob Williams

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On October 1, 2017, Las Vegas, Nevada suffered the worst mass shooting in modern American history, resulting in 58 deaths and over 500 injured. It broke my heart. Las Vegas is my home. I felt like something needed to be done to help in a unique way." - JH WILLIAMS III, Artist & Curating Editor

This "unique way" was the genesis of the WHERE WE LIVE anthology-a riveting collection of both fictional stories and actual eye-witness accounts told by an all-star line-up of the top talent working in comics today. All the creators have graciously volunteered their time and talent…


Book cover of Forgotten Man: How Circus Circus's Bill Bennett Brought Middle America to Las Vegas

Mark Bollman Author Of Basic Gambling Mathematics: The Numbers Behind the Neon

From my list on people who challenged Las Vegas.

Who am I?

I’ve been playing card games since childhood, and have had a parallel interest in the mathematics behind the games for nearly as long. While I didn’t visit Las Vegas in person until 2000, the stories of how that city was built around the gaming industry quickly came to fascinate me. Digging into the details of the people who have made that city what it is and have come to make their way in the desert has been a fascinating sidelight that has enhanced my recent work writing books on gambling mathematics.

Mark's book list on people who challenged Las Vegas

Mark Bollman Why did Mark love this book?

Forgotten Man is a natural follow-up to Grandissimo, as it tells the story of Bill Bennett, the casino executive who took over Circus Circus from Jay Sarno and built it into a successful resort catering to low-rolling visitors to Nevada. 

Bennett had a rocky start in the business world in Phoenix before moving into the gaming industry at Circus Circus, and his path to a successful career in casino management is told entirely through interviews with those who knew him and worked with him.

By Jack Sheehan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When listing the top movers and shakersin the history of Las Vegas gaming,Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, and HowardHughes inevitably garner a mention.But such a list is incomplete without BillBennett - the Forgotten Man.While Wynn and other resort operatorscatered to high-rollers, Bennett focusedon middle-class Americans to fillhis hotel rooms and play his slot machines.He transformed Circus Circus from astruggling curiosity into the Strip's mostsuccessful resort.Forgotten Man, told through in-depthinterviews with family members, friends,employees, and others who knew Bennett,tells the story of a man who as much asanyone built modern Las Vegas.Bennett shared the lead with SteveWynn in reinventing the Strip during…


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