100 books like Rolling Blackouts

By Sarah Glidden,

Here are 100 books that Rolling Blackouts fans have personally recommended if you like Rolling Blackouts. 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 One! Hundred! Demons!

Anders Nilsen Author Of Big Questions

From my list on deeply human graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid in the 80s the superhero comics I was obsessed with were beginning to deal with the real world in a new way. And their creators were beginning to push and pull at the boundaries of the medium with a new spirit of play and provocation. I still love comics that seriously deal with real life – its complexities and its profound weirdness – and that push the medium in new directions and reckon with its history. I also want to be absorbed and moved and to identify intently with characters. It’s what I try to do in my own work, and what I look for in that of others.

Anders' book list on deeply human graphic novels

Anders Nilsen Why did Anders love this book?

Everything Lynda Barry touches is earthy human gold.

One! Hundred! Demons! is one part memoir of a difficult childhood, one part comics how-to, and six parts warmth and humor and unruly red hair. It isn’t quite as dark as some of her other work, though it certainly gestures in that direction at times.

It also exemplifies Barry’s knack for finding beauty and delight inside the most difficult, unfair garbage life can throw at you. Such a great book.

By Lynda Barry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked One! Hundred! Demons! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspired by a 16th-century Zen monk s painting of a hundred demons chasing each other across a long scroll, acclaimed cartoonist Lynda Barry confronts various demons from her life in seventeen full colour vignettes. In Barry s hand, demons are the life moments that haunt you, form you and stay with you: your worst boyfriend; kickball games on a warm summer night; watching your baby brother dance; the smell of various houses in the neighbourhood you grew up in; or the day you realize your childhood is long behind you and you are officially a teenager. As a cartoonist, Lynda…


Book cover of Here

Anders Nilsen Author Of Big Questions

From my list on deeply human graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid in the 80s the superhero comics I was obsessed with were beginning to deal with the real world in a new way. And their creators were beginning to push and pull at the boundaries of the medium with a new spirit of play and provocation. I still love comics that seriously deal with real life – its complexities and its profound weirdness – and that push the medium in new directions and reckon with its history. I also want to be absorbed and moved and to identify intently with characters. It’s what I try to do in my own work, and what I look for in that of others.

Anders' book list on deeply human graphic novels

Anders Nilsen Why did Anders love this book?

This is the most profoundly absorbing experimental art-comic the world has ever produced.

It’s a fun book to sit with someone else and page through, backward or forward, or just ambling around, discovering things. The very simple conceit is that it’s a book that spans millions of years in time, but all happens in exactly one single space. It grew out of a six-page short story that blew people’s minds in the 80’s comics anthology Raw.

I remember hearing that the author had decided, two decades later, to expand it to book form, and wondered if that was really necessary. The short version had been such a perfect jewel of a piece. Turns out he had very good reason. 

By Richard McGuire,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From one of the great comic innovators, the long-awaited fulfillment of a pioneering comic vision. Richard McGuire’s Here is the story of a corner of a room and of the events that have occurred in that space over the course of hundreds of thousands of years.

"In Here McGuire has introduced a third dimension to the flat page. He can poke holes in the space-time continuum simply by imposing frames that act as trans­temporal windows into the larger frame that stands for the provisional now. Here is the ­comic-book equivalent of a scientific breakthrough. It is also a lovely evocation…


Book cover of Ed the Happy Clown

Anders Nilsen Author Of Big Questions

From my list on deeply human graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid in the 80s the superhero comics I was obsessed with were beginning to deal with the real world in a new way. And their creators were beginning to push and pull at the boundaries of the medium with a new spirit of play and provocation. I still love comics that seriously deal with real life – its complexities and its profound weirdness – and that push the medium in new directions and reckon with its history. I also want to be absorbed and moved and to identify intently with characters. It’s what I try to do in my own work, and what I look for in that of others.

Anders' book list on deeply human graphic novels

Anders Nilsen Why did Anders love this book?

This book is, to me, one of the true weird masterpieces of human imagination.

It is one of the things that made me want to make comics in the first place, that expanded my idea of what comics and storytelling could do. It’s deeply weird, extremely unsettling, dark, funny, and, at times, a little offensive. And it is unlike anything you will ever read anywhere else for the rest of your life.

One of its delights is how clear it is at the beginning that the author didn’t know what he was getting into when he started. He just followed his imagination, trusting completely, and ended up with something grand and unique. And none of his work after this is anything like it. Which is probably for the best.

By Chester Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A LONG-OUT-OF-PRINT CLASIC BY A MASTER OF UNDERGROUND COMICS

In the late 1980s, the idiosyncratic Chester Brown (author of the muchlauded Paying for It and Louis Riel) began writing the cult classic comic book series Yummy Fur. Within its pages, he serialized the groundbreaking Ed the Happy Clown, revealing a macabre universe of parallel dimensions. Thanks to its wholly original yet disturbing story lines, Ed set the stage for Brown to become a world-renowned cartoonist.

Ed the Happy Clown is a hallucinatory tale that functions simultaneously as a dark roller-coaster ride of criminal activity and a scathing condemnation of religious…


Book cover of Tintin in Tibet

Anders Nilsen Author Of Big Questions

From my list on deeply human graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid in the 80s the superhero comics I was obsessed with were beginning to deal with the real world in a new way. And their creators were beginning to push and pull at the boundaries of the medium with a new spirit of play and provocation. I still love comics that seriously deal with real life – its complexities and its profound weirdness – and that push the medium in new directions and reckon with its history. I also want to be absorbed and moved and to identify intently with characters. It’s what I try to do in my own work, and what I look for in that of others.

Anders' book list on deeply human graphic novels

Anders Nilsen Why did Anders love this book?

I have probably read this book more than twenty times. Maybe thirty. Maybe more.

I was six or seven the first time I read it and in my mid-forties the last time. And it has only gotten richer and more profound to me in that time. On the surface it is, like any other Tintin book, a children’s adventure comic, and if that’s all you want it’s a brilliant example of the genre.

Funny, exquisitely drawn, a cliffhanger on every page. But you don’t have to dig very far below the surface to find a deep, complicated meditation on friendship and loyalty, on determination in the face of doubt and adversity, and on discovering that the world is more mysterious and remarkable than we are accustomed to think. 

By Herge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tintin in Tibet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

The classic graphic novel. One day Tintin reads about a plane crash in the Himalayas. When he discovers thathis friend, Chang, was on board, Tintin travels to the crash site in hopes of a rescue.


Book cover of Kurdish Ethno-Nationalism versus Nation-Building States: Collected Articles

Ceren Sengül Author Of Customized Forms of Kurdishness in Turkey: State Rhetoric, Locality, and Language Use

From my list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been interested in political and social events around me, and being from Turkey, it was inevitable not to be surrounded by the news of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK that has been going on for decades. However, perhaps due to being a member of the non-Muslim minority community of Turkey myself, I have always been interested in the ‘non-mainstream’ explanations of a state-ethnic group conflict. This interest in alternative explanations led me to study an MSc in Nationalism Studies and to a PhD in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, with the focus of my thesis being Kurdishness in Turkey. 

Ceren's book list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds

Ceren Sengül Why did Ceren love this book?

It is safe to say that this book was like a holy book to me when I was doing my MSc and during my early PhD years.

Martin van Bruinessen is a scholar that everyone who has an interest in Kurdish studies should be familiar with, and this book, which is a collection of his earlier articles, is a good introduction to get acquainted with Kurds and their history.

Even though the articles in this book date back to the 1980s and to the 1990s, it is a classic book for those who want to familiarise themselves with Kurds.

The articles here are not only about Kurds of Turkey but also those of Iran and Iraq. 

By Martin van Bruinessen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kurdish Ethno-Nationalism versus Nation-Building States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of articles by Martin van Bruinessen on Kurds, Kurdish history and identity from the perspective of nationalism and nation-building in the Middle East.


Book cover of The Lycian Shore: A Turkish Odyssey

Sara Wheeler Author Of Glowing Still: A Woman's Life on the Road

From my list on travel by women to inspire a journey of your own.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the course of my so-called career as a travel writer, the ‘I’ve-Got-A Big-One’ school favoured by the male of the species has ceded ground. Women, less interested in ‘conquering,’ have pioneered a kind of creative non-fiction that suits the travel genre. I prefer it to the blokeish business of seeing how dead you can get. It notices more. As the decades unfurled – Pole to Pole, via Poland – I realised, more and more, the debt I owe to the other women who not only set sail but also unsparingly observed the world that turns within each self. 

Sara's book list on travel by women to inspire a journey of your own

Sara Wheeler Why did Sara love this book?

In many books, Freya Stark (1893 to 1993) covered mostly what we used to call the Middle and Near East – Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan.

In The Lycian Shore she sails in a small yacht along the coast of south-west Turkey. I love this book – it shows what women travel writers can do when they blend history and personal observation. I used to take her chapters apart when I started out to learn how she did it.

By Freya Stark,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of War and State Formation in Syria: Cemal Pasha's Governorate During World War I, 1914-1917

Cigdem Oguz Author Of Moral Crisis in the Ottoman Empire: Society, Politics, and Gender During WWI

From my list on the Middle East during the First World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

Studying unexplored topics has always fascinated me as a historian. Some overlooked aspects in history might shed a new light on many things that we consider obvious. I studied the Ottoman home front during the First World War from an unusual perspective by taking up the concept of moral crisis. Until very recently, talking about the First World War in the Middle East meant talking about only the European side of the story such as the famous “Lawrence of Arabia” and/or only political events that were attached to the Anglo-British rivalry. Instead, we need a “new” history of this watershed event that takes the local aspects into consideration. After all, the Great War was the most remarkable moment in the history of the Middle East which shaped its modern dynamics.

Cigdem's book list on the Middle East during the First World War

Cigdem Oguz Why did Cigdem love this book?

Based on a wide array of archival sources, the book discusses the Ottoman governance of Greater Syria during the First World War. During the war, the Ottoman government-appointed Cemal Pasa, one of the chief names of the ruling Committee of Union and Progress, as the commander of the Fourth Army and the military governor of Ottoman Arab provinces to lead a campaign against in the British-held Suez Canal. However, in addition to the military aim of this appointment, there was also a political and social one that can briefly be summarized as further centralization of the state through the “iron fist” of the governor. The book presents us the power struggle in the region between the Ottoman government, Arab leaders, Zionists, and the Central Powers (the allies of the Ottoman Empire during the war) who attempted to increase their influence in the region after the British and French were declared…

By M. Talha Çiçek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War and State Formation in Syria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During the First World War, Cemal Pasha attempted to establish direct control over Syrian and thereby reaffirm Ottoman authority there through various policies of control, including the abolishment of local intermediaries.

Elaborating on these Ottoman policies of control, this book assesses Cemal Pasha's policies towards different political groups in Syrian society, including; Arabists, Zionists, Christian clergymen and Armenian immigrants. The author then goes on to analyse Pasha's educational activities, the conscription of Syrians- both Muslim and Christian, and the reconstruction of the major Syrian cities, assessing how these policies contributed to his attempt to create ideal Ottoman citizens.

An important…


Book cover of Boy, Everywhere

Katharine Orton Author Of Nevertell

From my list on to take you on a truly epic journey.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been drawn to epic journeys. From Jules Verne’s stories exploring the lengths, depths, and breadths of the known world, to little hobbits trekking across vast fantasy scapes in order to steal from dragons, something about the huge proportions of these grand adventures has always drawn me in. Perhaps it was no wonder, then, that my first book Nevertell was set in Siberia: a place so big that its sheer size tested the limits of my imaginings. If you, too, are drawn to sprawling, epic journeys, then these five fabulous recommendations are for you.

Katharine's book list on to take you on a truly epic journey

Katharine Orton Why did Katharine love this book?

Some books get a lot of praise, and some books truly deserve it. Boy, Everywhere is one of those books. Not only does it follow an epic journey across vast distances that’s fraught with danger and strife, it also follows a child going from a life he loves in Damascus to new and challenging beginnings in England. What’s so astounding about Sami’s journey is that it could so easily be real – and for many, it is. This book will take you on a journey of understanding and empathy, as well as across continents.

By A.M. Dassu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boy, Everywhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

This debut middle-grade novel chronicles the harrowing journey taken by Sami and his family from privilege to poverty, across countries and continents, from a comfortable life in Damascus, via a smuggler's den in Turkey, to a prison in Manchester. A story of survival, of family, of bravery ... In a world where we are told to see refugees as the 'other', this story will remind readers that 'they' are also 'us'.


Book cover of The Making of the Modern Middle East: A Personal History

Vassily Klimentov Author Of A Slow Reckoning: The USSR, the Afghan Communists, and Islam

From my list on the modern Middle East and Afghanistan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of the Cold War and early post-Cold War period, focusing on Soviet/ Russian foreign policy in Afghanistan and in the Middle East in the 1970s and the 1980s. These are exciting topics on which an increasing number of new documents are released each year. I have a research project and lecture about these issues at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. But academia is my second career. Before my Ph.D., I worked as an aid worker, including for two years in the Middle East. I was in the region during the height of the Syrian crisis, notably running humanitarian multi-sector needs assessments.

Vassily's book list on the modern Middle East and Afghanistan

Vassily Klimentov Why did Vassily love this book?

I bought Jeremy Bowen’s book by chance as I searched for books about the Middle East. I wanted something different from the traditional (and sometimes a bit difficult to read) academic nonfiction book. This book appealed to me because it was written in a journalistic style and because it was as much a book about recent history as one about Bowen’s own travels and encounters in the Middle East. Well, I was not disappointed.

I really enjoyed reading Bowen’s recollections of his time in the Middle East and critical reflections on great powers’ involvement there. That is a book I felt gave a good sense of how the West has mismanaged its policies in the region during the past fifty years. 

By Jeremy Bowen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of the Modern Middle East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Spectator Book of the Year
A New Statesman Book of the Year
'An illuminating and riveting read' - Jonathan Dimbleby

Jeremy Bowen, the International Editor of the BBC, has been covering the Middle East since 1989 and is uniquely placed to explain its complex past and its troubled present.

In The Making of the Modern Middle East - in part based on his acclaimed podcast, 'Our Man in the Middle East' - Bowen takes us on a journey across the Middle East and through its history. He meets ordinary men and women on the front line, their leaders, whether…


Book cover of Dinner of Herbs: Village Life in 1960s Turkey

Lisa Morrow Author Of Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries

From my list on the heart & soul of Turkey and its people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Sydney, Australia born sociologist and writer and back in 1990 I hitchhiked through the UK, travelled in Europe and arrived in Turkey just as the Gulf War was starting. After three months in the country I was hooked. I now live in Istanbul and write about the people, culture, and history. Using my less than perfect Turkish language skills I uncover the everyday extraordinary of life in modern Istanbul and throughout the country, even though it means I’ve accidentally asked a random stranger to give me a hug and left a butcher convinced I think Turkish sheep are born with their heads on upside down.

Lisa's book list on the heart & soul of Turkey and its people

Lisa Morrow Why did Lisa love this book?

Reading Carla Grissman’s memoir of the year she lived in a small farming village 249 kilometres east of Ankara took me back to my first long stay in Turkey in 1990. I was in Göreme, Cappadocia for almost three months. It was still a small village then so Grissman’s account of her experiences thirty years earlier in a similar place, resonated with me. She found a generous people, strong communal spirit, and much happiness, and aptly named the book for Proverbs 15:17 which reads, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than feasting on a fattened ox where hatred also dwells”. Village life was basic but Grissman expressed no judgements or desire to change things. Instead, she engaged and observed, resulting in a revealing look at a way of life that still continues in parts of Anatolia today.

By Carla Grissman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Carla Grissman spent the better part of a year in the '60s living in a farming hamlet in remote Anatolia, some 250 km east of Ankara. The hospitality, the friendship and the way in which the inhabitants of Uzak Koy accepted her into their community left a deep impression, and were remembered and treasured in a private memoir. Not for some forty years was it published, and yet it is one of the most honest, clear-sighted and affectionate portraits of rural Turkey, testimony to Proverbs 15:17, 'Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than feasting on a fattened…


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