100 books like When the Lights Go Out

By Carys Bray,

Here are 100 books that When the Lights Go Out fans have personally recommended if you like When the Lights Go Out. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Never Let Me Go

Suzanne Heywood Author Of Wavewalker: A Memoir of Breaking Free

From my list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm fascinated by these books about coming of age because they all share elements of my own experience. While I was growing up, I was told by my parents that my life on board our boat Wavewalker was ‘privileged’ and that I was lucky not to live a ‘boring’ life like other children. It took me a long time to question this view, and even longer to find an escape. As an adult looking back, I now know that many of the things I was told by my parents were not true. That experience of growing up and discovering that what you have been told is not right is deeply disturbing, while also being liberating.

Suzanne's book list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out

Suzanne Heywood Why did Suzanne love this book?

I love Kazuo Ishiguro’s work and this is my favourite book of his.

Never Let Me Go is the fictional story of a childhood that initially seems acceptable, despite the early indications that something strange is going on. As the story proceeds, however, it becomes clear that this is a horrific world, one in which children are being grown for their organs.

But the power of the story for me is not the revelation itself but the way in which it is revealed, layer by layer, as the characters become older and more knowing. That experience of becoming aware that all is not right with your world, and then trying to come to terms with that, is something I can resonate with.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Never Let Me Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most acclaimed novels of the 21st Century, from the Nobel Prize-winning author

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense…


Book cover of The Chrysalids

TP Wood Author Of 77° North

From my list on stirring your heart and imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

It’s Saturday, 5 p.m. If you could peer back in time to the late ’60s, you’d find me plunked in front of our new colour RCA Victor, a Swanson TV dinner steaming before me, and the theme…da-da-DAAA-da-da-da-da-DAAAA, announcing my favourite show: Star Trek. I absorbed the logic of Mr. Spock, the passion of Dr. McCoy, and the fantastical world of Klingons, wormholes, and warp drives. Add to that a degree in history and English, and it set the stage for my passion to read and write in genres of science fiction and magical realism. I hope you find these books as stimulating and thought-provoking as I did.  

TP's book list on stirring your heart and imagination

TP Wood Why did TP love this book?

The Chrysalids – my inaugural dive into science fiction in the late sixties – hooked me from the first paragraph.

Wyndham creates a dystopian world of post-nuclear destruction where genetic mutations abound, and if discovered, culled from a civilization steeped in a stark biblical ideology. The Chrysalids track protagonist David Strorm as he safeguards his six-toed friend, Sophie, and ultimately connects with a band of telepaths offering new world hope.

I loved this book because of its adolescent hero and his defiance against a society that was morally corrupt. 

By John Wyndham,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Chrysalids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the community of Waknut it is believed mutants are the products of the Devil and must be stamped out. When David befriends a girl with a slight abnormality, he begins to understand the nature of fear and oppression. When he develops his own deviation, he must learn to conceal his secret.


Book cover of The Rapture

Jane Rogers Author Of The Testament of Jessie Lamb

From my list on believable British stories set in the near future.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing my eighth novel, The Testament of Jessie Lamb, I had to move the story into the future in order to explore the topics I was trying to understand. I think through writing: sometimes I feel it is only through writing that I really engage with the world. Work on Jessie Lamb entailed a lot of scientific and future research, and after that I read more and more future fiction, with an increasing appetite for the work of writers who are really interested in exploring where we are headed as a species, and how we might try to survive the damage we have inflicted on the earth.

Jane's book list on believable British stories set in the near future

Jane Rogers Why did Jane love this book?

Here’s another novel about ecological catastrophe, but with the addition of a violent and delusional female prophet, who predicts the very dates upon which disasters will occur. I had been meaning to read Jensen for years, but was finally reminded to by discovering that she is a fellow member of Extinction Rebellion.

I was completely gripped by The Rapture, which managed to be unpredictable right to the very end. For once, I honestly can’t say better than The Daily Mail: A gripping tale of love, death and religion, set in the not-too-distant future… deliciously apocalyptic and jammed full of ideas, this is storytelling at its rapturous best.

By Liz Jensen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a merciless summer of biblical heat and destructive winds, Gabrielle Fox's main concern is a personal one: to rebuild her career as a psychologist after a shattering car accident. But when she is assigned Bethany Krall, one of the most dangerous teenagers in the country, she begins to fear she has made a terrible mistake. Raised on a diet of evangelistic hellfire, Bethany is violent, delusional, cruelly intuitive and insistent that she can foresee natural disasters - a claim which Gabrielle interprets as a symptom of doomsday delusion. But when catastrophes begin to occur on the very dates Bethany…


Book cover of Salt Lick

Jane Rogers Author Of The Testament of Jessie Lamb

From my list on believable British stories set in the near future.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing my eighth novel, The Testament of Jessie Lamb, I had to move the story into the future in order to explore the topics I was trying to understand. I think through writing: sometimes I feel it is only through writing that I really engage with the world. Work on Jessie Lamb entailed a lot of scientific and future research, and after that I read more and more future fiction, with an increasing appetite for the work of writers who are really interested in exploring where we are headed as a species, and how we might try to survive the damage we have inflicted on the earth.

Jane's book list on believable British stories set in the near future

Jane Rogers Why did Jane love this book?

I came across Salt Lick when hunting for novels on the topic of climate breakdown.

I was looking for writers who go beyond the doom and gloom, to find either rays of hope or at the very least a story where life and love might survive. For me, hope was an essential element in Jessie Lamb’s story. And in Salt Lick, Allison does deliver a dogged kind of hope for her strange trio of wandering central characters.

Beyond that, she delivers bewitchingly beautiful prose; her first page is a masterclass in description.

By Lulu Allison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

'A compelling fable of decline, a lament for a way of life, and a warning about what society is already becoming. It is a capsule of England and its dystopian present ... as sad and angry as it is memorable' Ronan Hession

'Salt Lick is that rare beast - imaginative, risky storytelling where every sentence is a gift' Heidi James

Britain is awash, the sea creeps into the land, brambles and forest swamp derelict towns. Food production has moved overseas and people are forced to move to the cities for work. The countryside…


Book cover of Nowhere Better Than Here

Polly Farquhar Author Of Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream

From my list on middle-grade books where setting makes the story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books where the setting is just as big and alive as the characters. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a familiar place or someplace new: if a vivid setting is a key element of the story, I’m in. I think it’s because I grew up in one of those small towns in the beautiful middle of nowhere where if someone asks where you’re from, it’s just easier to say someplace else. I wanted to see the world, and books let me do that. I also wanted validation in reading—and writing—about the small places I knew, and books let me do that, too.  

Polly's book list on middle-grade books where setting makes the story

Polly Farquhar Why did Polly love this book?

I love how this book is the perfect example of how the setting makes a story: the flooded coastal Louisiana town of Boutin, Jillian, and all its residents are the story.

If a place disappears, will its stories also disappear? Jillian doesn’t only see the seemingly inevitable problems; rather, she becomes part of the solution by taking part in ecology projects and collecting the oral histories of the town’s residents. As Jillian says, if she can’t save the land, she can save the stories.

I also love the centered and matter-of-fact way this book handles family problems. Bonus points for all the cooking and great food.

By Sarah Guillory,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nowhere Better Than Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

For thirteen-year-old Jillian Robichaux, three things are sacred: bayou sunsets, her grandmother Nonnie's stories, and the coastal Louisiana town of Boutin that she calls home.

When the worst flood in a century hits, Jillian and the rest of her community band together as they always do - but this time the damage may simply be too great. After the local school is padlocked and the bridges into town condemned, Jillian has no choice but to face the reality that she may be losing the only home she's ever had.

But even when all hope seems lost, Jillian is determined to…


Book cover of The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate

Jorge Daniel Taillant Author Of Meltdown: The Earth Without Glaciers

From my list on science from a cryo activist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jorge Daniel Taillant is a cryoactivist, a term he coined to describe someone that works to protect the cryosphere, ie. the Earth’s frozen environment. Founder of a globally prized non-profit protecting human rights and promoting environmental justice he helped get the world’s first glacier law passed in South America. He now devotes 100% of his time to tackling climate change in an emergency effort to slow global warming … and to protect glaciers.

Jorge's book list on science from a cryo activist

Jorge Daniel Taillant Why did Jorge love this book?

As a climate activist and lover of glaciers and glaciation, I took a special interest in David Archer’s book, The Long Thaw. Archer takes us in and out of ice ages, explaining with surprisingly understandable prose just how ice ages are formed, their predictable cycles, why they’re important, and how with current climate change trends and impacts, we just may have missed the onramp to the next one. That could put us into a Hothouse Earth scenario not seen since the times of the dinosaurs. Archer masterfully brings science to the layperson. If we think that the year 2100 is a marker in the sand for climate change, think again. Archer reveals that the chilling (or heating) reality of climate change just might be forever. 

By David Archer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The human impact on Earth's climate is often treated as a hundred-year issue lasting as far into the future as 2100, the year in which most climate projections cease. In The Long Thaw, David Archer, one of the world's leading climatologists, reveals the hard truth that these changes in climate will be "locked in," essentially forever. If you think that global warming means slightly hotter weather and a modest rise in sea levels that will persist only so long as fossil fuels hold out (or until we decide to stop burning them), think again. In The Long Thaw, David Archer…


Book cover of The Swimmers

Una Mccormack Author Of Star Trek: Picard: Second Self

From my list on speculative fiction crackling with feminist themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science fiction writer who loves my chosen genre for the promises it makes for the worlds that we can have—and the warnings that it offers for the worlds that might be ours if we don’t take care. I’ve picked books for people who like their thinking to be challenged, and who also long for the world to be a much better place. These are the kinds of books I love to readand the kinds of books I try to write. 

Una's book list on speculative fiction crackling with feminist themes

Una Mccormack Why did Una love this book?

Earth has suffered devastating environmental collapse and is now a world of jungles and monsters. The last remnants of humanity are split between those clinging to the surface, and those who have removed themselves to the upper atmosphere. We follow Pearl, living in an isolated forest region, suddenly taken to the stars. A vivid and luscious reimagining of Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea

By Marian Womack,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A richly imagined eco-gothic tale." - The Guardian

"Exquisitely realised." - The Times

After the ravages of the Green Winter, Earth is a place of deep jungles and monstrous animals. The last of the human race is divided into surface dwellers and the people who live in the Upper Settlement, a ring perched at the edge of the Earth s atmosphere.

Bearing witness to this divided planet is Pearl, a young techie with a thread of shuvani blood, who lives in the isolated forests of Gobari, navigating her mad mother and the strange blue light in the sky. But Pearl…


Book cover of Great Adaptations

Emily Andrews Author Of Climate Adaptation: Accounts of Resilience, Self-Sufficiency and Systems Change

From my list on adaptation to climate change.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the publication of our book, Climate Adaptation: Accounts of Resilience, Self-Sufficiency and Systems Change, I have worked closely with activists and academics from around the world, hearing more about the work they do and the unique and individual ways they have made adaptations within their communities. This experience has allowed me to have a deeper understanding of climate adaptation as a topic, both in a scientific and a cultural sense, thus meaning I have been more readily able to recognise the qualities of a great adaptation book!

Emily's book list on adaptation to climate change

Emily Andrews Why did Emily love this book?

Great Adaptations explores different adaptation strategies explored around the world, analysing which should be supported and which are to be avoided. This book also shows the various approaches between countries and global communities, all of whom face different environmental challenges. This book is written in short chapters, focusing on separate topics, meaning it is a great read to pick up and put down as and when you like. 

By Morgan Phillips,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Climate change adaptation. A hope-fuelled necessity on the road to a transformed world? Or the last act of the doom-merchant who has given up?

There are great ways to adapt to the climate crisis that confronts us, but there are disastrous ways too. In this book, Morgan Phillips takes us from the air-conditioned pavements of Doha and the 'cool rooms' of Paris, to the fog catchers of Morocco and the agro-foresters of Nepal. He makes an often-neglected topic engaging and relatable at precisely the moment the climate movement is waking up to it.
A just transition is at stake. Great…


Book cover of Whole Earth Discipline

K. Ullas Karanth Author Of Among Tigers: Fighting to Bring Back Asia's Big Cats

From my list on the world’s most popular wild animal.

Why am I passionate about this?

This is a unique tale of exciting personal encounters with wild tigers as well my hard science that revealed their mysterious world. Readers will experience the conflicts, violence, and corruption, inherent to struggle to recover the charismatic, dangerous predator. Among Tigers is not the usual doomsday prophecy, but a clear roadmap for how we can grow tiger populations to new levels of abundance. While it does not gloss over the very real challenges, overall, it delivers a message of reasonable hope to nature lovers worldwide. I have scientifically researched tigers and, fought passionately to save them, making me uniquely qualified to tell this story like no one else can. 

K.'s book list on the world’s most popular wild animal

K. Ullas Karanth Why did K. love this book?

I love tigers and nature. But through a half-century of experience and science in my own struggle to save tigers in an ancient, crowded nation aspiring for modernity and prosperity for its citizens, I have realized that we cannot hope to rewind the clock of material progress back to save wild nature by rejecting technology. Brand, the original counter-culture Guru, boldly shook off such baggage at an advanced age, and became a passionate, early advocate of ecomodernism, which tries to decouple human needs from nature in an effort to save nature through tools of modern science. I arrived independently at similar conclusions after years of hard scientific study of tigers, as well as my lived experiences of Indian society in transition. I believe Brand’s clearheaded manual provides a succinct introduction to ideas I have outlined in my own book as a framework to get to a world harboring ten times…

By Stewart Brand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An icon of the environmental movement outlines a provocative approach for reclaiming our planet

According to Stewart Brand, a lifelong environmentalist who sees everything in terms of solvable design problems, three profound transformations are under way on Earth right now. Climate change is real and is pushing us toward managing the planet as a whole. Urbanization?half the world?s population now lives in cities, and eighty percent will by midcentury?is altering humanity?s land impact and wealth. And biotechnology is becoming the world?s dominant engineering tool. In light of these changes, Brand suggests that environmentalists are going to have to reverse some…


Book cover of The Discovery of Global Warming

Jeffrey Bennett Author Of A Global Warming Primer: Pathway to a Post-Global Warming Future

From my list on the science, consequences, and solutions to global warming.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an astronomer and educator (Ph.D. Astrophysics, University of Colorado), and I’ve now been teaching about global warming for more than 40 years (in courses on astronomy, astrobiology, and mathematics). While it’s frustrating to see how little progress we’ve made in combatting the ongoing warming during this time, my background as an astronomer gives me a “cosmic perspective” that reminds me that decades are not really so long, and that we still have time to act and to build a “post-global warming future.” I hope my work can help inspire all of us to act while we still can for the benefit of all.

Jeffrey's book list on the science, consequences, and solutions to global warming

Jeffrey Bennett Why did Jeffrey love this book?

I’ve known for a long time that scientific understanding of global warming has a long history, but I didn’t know very many of the details.

This book filled the gaps in my knowledge, and reminded me that while we still have a lot to learn, the basic science behind global warming has been known for more than a century. I also really appreciate the way this book describes some of the many efforts that have been undertaken to call attention to this issue – many dating back to decades before most people had ever heard of it.

By Spencer R. Weart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The award-winning book is now revised and expanded.

In 2001 an international panel of distinguished climate scientists announced that the world was warming at a rate without precedent during at least the last ten millennia, and that warming was caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases from human activity. The story of how scientists reached that conclusion-by way of unexpected twists and turns-was the story Spencer Weart told in The Discovery of Global Warming. Now he brings his award-winning account up to date, revised throughout to reflect the latest science and with a new conclusion that shows how the scientific…


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