I've read some great books on gaming lately. Here are my recommendations with links to the (American) Amazon Kindle store where I bought 'em. I'd love to hear yours.
The PC Gaming Reader: A best-of compilation from the PC Gamer UK magazine. Articles that deconstruct specific games and discuss gaming in general. Reviews and previews and retrospetives. Many giants of games journalism here like Graham Smith, Richard Cobbett, Tom Francis, and Kieron Gillen. A very entertaining read that had me laughing out loud more than once. Very well worth twice the $4 they ask, and I'll likely read it again and again over the years.
The Making of Prince of Persia by Jordan Mechner: The logs and journals of Jordan Mechner that talk as much about his games as his life, ambitions, and his nagging desire to work in film rather than the infuriating budding games industry. He's an articulate fellow and an engaging, earnest writer. You can read most of this content on his website for free but it's good enough to warrant the succinctly edited and compiled Kindle version.
Masters of Doom by David Kushner: This author has a real verve for taking history and weaving it into a narrative. The successes, strains, and eventual falling out of "the two Johns" make for a good story and shed light on the intricacies and dedication invested in Apogee's and id's technologically innovative games. John Romero was good enough to reply to my correspondence confirming that the story and characters, warts and all, are accurate and fair though a tad caricatured for dramatic effect.
Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto by David Kushner: The story of Rockstar Games, its parent Take Two, its founders the Houser brothers, and its opponent Jack Thompson. It's written in a similar format to Masters of Doom but I somehow didn't enjoy this one as much. Still, not unlike the GTA games themselves, this is a story of British folk and their outsiders' view of, and adjustment to, American life. Some enlightening discussion about censorship and the great burden the ESA bears to publicly defend the medium. The book's greatest feat is to cast the ridiculed, disbarred, and disgraced Jack Thompson as a sympathetic person with reasonable motivations based on his love for his child. I must commend Kushner for his even-handed omniscient.
This Gaming Life by Jim Rossignol: A book about a medium of escapism that is a story of escapism in and of itself. Jim's autobiographical tales of his double life of a daytime banker and midnight fragger hit very close to home for me, and I cheered him on as he described the order of events that led to his seemingly preordained career in games journalism. With this established he continues on, interviewing gamers and developers, visiting faraway places, all in pursuit of answers to the question WHY DO WE GAME? It's serious and silly, philosophical and introspective, and, heartwarmingly paradoxical, equally introverted and extroverted. This book will strike a meaningful chord with anyone who can't quite put their finger on whether gaming is a hobby, a way of life, a waste of time, or all of the above. It's a book that leaves you full by asking more questions than it answers.