95 books like Always Crashing in the Same Car

By Matthew Specktor,

Here are 95 books that Always Crashing in the Same Car fans have personally recommended if you like Always Crashing in the Same Car. 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 The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order

Tom Bissell Author Of The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam

From my list on trying to understand your parents.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a journalist, fiction writer, and screenwriter, as well as the author of ten books, the most recent of which is Creative Types and Other Stories, which will be published later this year. Along with Neil Cross, I developed for television The Mosquito Coast, based on Paul Theroux’s novel, which is now showing on Apple TV. Currently, I live with my family in Los Angeles.

Tom's book list on trying to understand your parents

Tom Bissell Why did Tom love this book?

This striking, intense, and beautifully meditative book offers a daughter struggling to understand her father in the wake of his suicide. It’s structured, yes, like an index, which does nothing to dilute its immense emotional power. There’s a lot of love and anger in this book, yet it’s told with extraordinary calm and exemplary clarity. Simply put, The Suicide Index is one of the most inventive, affecting memoirs I’ve ever read—a drop-everything-and-read-this-now book if there ever was one.

By Joan Wickersham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sixteen years ago, Joan Wickersham's father shot himself in the head. The father she loved would never have killed himself, and yet he had. His death made a mystery of his entire life. Using an index - that most formal and orderly of structures - Wickersham explores this chaotic and incomprehensible reality. Every bit of family history - marriage, parents, business failures - and every encounter with friends, doctors, and other survivors exposes another facet of elusive truth. Dark, funny, sad, and gripping, at once a philosophical and deeply personal exploration, "The Suicide Index" is, finally, a daughter's anguished, loving…


Book cover of Experience: A Memoir

Edmund Gordon Author Of The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography

From my list on writers’ lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning biographer and critic. My essays and reviews appear regularly in the London Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement, and I teach literature and creative writing at King’s College London. I’ve always loved stories about the lives of great writers – stories that seek to illuminate genius, without ever explaining it away.

Edmund's book list on writers’ lives

Edmund Gordon Why did Edmund love this book?

This is a magnificent autobiography, a work of intricate self-portraiture that takes in everything from the author’s dental troubles, through his relationship with his father, to his reaction to his cousin’s murder. Amis’s comic energy and stylistic brio are on sizzling display throughout, but so are qualities that aren’t often associated with his fiction: gentleness, generosity, emotional vulnerability…

By Martin Amis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this remarkable work of autobiography, the son of the great comic novelist Kingsley Amis explores his relationship with his father and writes about the various crises of Kingsley's life, including the final one of his death. Amis also reflects on the life and legacy of his cousin, Lucy Partington, who disappeared without trace in 1973 and was exhumed twenty years later from the basement of Frederick West, one of Britain's most prolific serial murderers.

**ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE 21st CENTURY**


Book cover of Borrowed Finery: A Memoir

Tom Bissell Author Of The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam

From my list on trying to understand your parents.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a journalist, fiction writer, and screenwriter, as well as the author of ten books, the most recent of which is Creative Types and Other Stories, which will be published later this year. Along with Neil Cross, I developed for television The Mosquito Coast, based on Paul Theroux’s novel, which is now showing on Apple TV. Currently, I live with my family in Los Angeles.

Tom's book list on trying to understand your parents

Tom Bissell Why did Tom love this book?

Paula Fox, the late great novelist and revered children’s book author, wrote a wonderful memoir of effectively not having parents. Oh, Fox’s parents were around, but they were drunk, careless, and inattentive, often shuffling young Paula to and from locales as varied as Hollywood and pre-Revolutionary Cuba. Her parents are depicted in this memoir as both monstrous and sympathetic, providing aspiring memoirists with a model of artful ambivalence. The book is also filled with extraordinary walk-ons by Orson Welles, James Cagney, Stella Adler, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s a beautiful book by one of the most effortlessly commanding writers this country has ever produced. (Full disclosure: As a twenty-eight-year-old greenhorn editor, I had the pleasure of line-editing this book, which wasn’t editing so much as polishing silver.)

By Paula Fox,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An astonishing, devastating memoir of a 1930s American childhood. A New York Times Best Book of 2001

Born in the 1920s to young, bohemian parents, Paula Fox was left at birth in a Manhattan orphanage. Rescued by her grandmother, Fox eventually landed with a gentle, poor minister in upstate New York. Uncle Elwood, as he came to be known, gave Paula a secure and loving home for many years, but her parents constantly re-surface. Her father is a good-looking, hard-drinking Hollywood screenwriter (among his credits is The Last Train to Madrid, which Graham Greene declared was 'the worst movie I…


Book cover of Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter's Son

Tom Bissell Author Of The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam

From my list on trying to understand your parents.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a journalist, fiction writer, and screenwriter, as well as the author of ten books, the most recent of which is Creative Types and Other Stories, which will be published later this year. Along with Neil Cross, I developed for television The Mosquito Coast, based on Paul Theroux’s novel, which is now showing on Apple TV. Currently, I live with my family in Los Angeles.

Tom's book list on trying to understand your parents

Tom Bissell Why did Tom love this book?

Sullivan is probably best known today for his instant-classic essay collection Pulphead, but I actually prefer his first book, Blood Horses, a memoir he wrote in the aftermath of losing his beloved sportswriter father, whose special focus was horse racing and the Kentucky Derby. Sullivan, who cares nothing about horses and horse racing, tries to get closer to his lost father by covering the grand race and learning everything about the sport, and horses, that he can. This puts Sullivan on the grounds of the Kentucky Derby on the morning of September 11, 2001, while standing next to the Saudi owner of a celebrated racing horse. What happens when the Saudi’s phone starts ringing is too good to spoil here. An extraordinary memoir.

By John Jeremiah Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One evening late in his life, veteran sportswriter Mike Sullivan was asked by his son what he remembered best from his three decades in the press box. The answer came as a surprise. 'I was at Secretariat's Derby, in '73. That was ... just beauty, you know?'

John Jeremiah Sullivan didn't know, not really, but he spent two years finding out, journeying from prehistoric caves to the Kentucky Derby. The result is Blood Horses, a wise, humorous and often beautiful memoir exploring the relationship between man and horse and the relationship between a sportswriter's son and his late father.


Book cover of Hollywood's Golden Year, 1939: A Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration

Thomas S. Hischak Author Of 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

From my list on 1939 Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing books about film, theatre, and popular music since 1991 but my love of old movies goes back much further. Before VCRs, DVDs, and streaming, one could only catch these old films on television (often cut to allow for commercial time) or revival houses. Today even the more obscure movies from 1939 are attainable. Writing 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year gave me the opportunity to revisit dozens of old favorites and to see the many also-rans of that remarkable year.

Thomas' book list on 1939 Hollywood

Thomas S. Hischak Why did Thomas love this book?

Ted Sennett is one of the most prolific and widely-read writers about Hollywood and this book on 1939 is one of his very best works. It is filled (one might even say, stuffed) with behind-the-scenes stories. The writing is sometimes critical and analytical rather than gushing as in some of Sennett's many coffee table books. He concentrates on only seventeen 1939 movies so one doesn't get a full picture of that amazing year of movies. It's good to see some lesser-known classics like Midnight and Angels Have Wings included in the seventeen.

By Ted Sennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hollywood's Golden Year, 1939 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book on the famous year 1939 an epic year for great classic films.


Book cover of Zeroville

Tyler Schwanke Author Of Breaking In

From my list on movie lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tyler Schwanke is a writer and a filmmaker. He holds an MFA from Hamline University, and his short stories have been widely published in online journals and literary magazines, including Chaotic Merge, Havik, and Fiction Southeast. He is also a graduate of the New York Film Academy and Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he was awarded a Minnesota Film and TV Grant. Several of his award-winning short films have played at festivals across the country. Tyler lives in the Minneapolis with his wife and their dog. Breaking In is his debut novel.

Tyler's book list on movie lovers

Tyler Schwanke Why did Tyler love this book?

Possibly my favorite book ever (only time will tell) this novel is a fever dream of Ike “Vikar” Jerome’s journey into Hollywood starting in 1969 and expanding over a decade.

With a tattoo of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor from A Place in the Sun on his bald head, this novel reads like Forrest Gump in the way that Vikar shows up at historical moments in Hollywood’s golden age, making friends with thinly veiled Hollywood titans as they get their start in the film industry. 

By Steve Erickson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Erickson, Steve


Book cover of Hollywood

Steve Saroff Author Of Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder

From my list on literary that mix old noir with modern themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

20 years ago a software company I founded had been acquired and my life should have been good. Instead, it was a Herculean mess. I had just been fired by a billionaire whom I had accused of crimes, and now I was out of work and broke. It would still be four more years before Bernie Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison (where he became blind and demented and died) for the world’s largest fraud. But when I was writing the first words of Paper Targets, the executives who had pulled me into their world of the “Lie” were freely strutting on the World Stage of Greed. 

Steve's book list on literary that mix old noir with modern themes

Steve Saroff Why did Steve love this book?

Bukowski didn't thieve, solve crimes, or use high-tech. In fact, he worked hard and was poor and isolated most of his life. But he lived in the fringe of the noir world, and beat on his machines—manual typewriters, then an IBM Selectric, and finally, with some fame and money, a computer. He was South of his No North, real and genuine for so long that when Hollywood knocked, he was ready for them. This book is his first-hand account of the dumb ego and stupid money that goes into making a movie. Hilarious and dark at the same time. A poet's novel.

By Charles Bukowski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'What will you do?'
'Oh, hell, I'll write a novel about writing the screenplay and making the movie.'
'What are you going to call it?'
'Hollywood.'

Henry Chinaski has a penchant for booze, women and horse-racing. On his precarious journey from poet to screenwriter he encounters a host of well-known stars and lays bare the absurdity and egotism of the film industry. Poetic, sharp and dangerous, Hollywood - Bukowski's fictionalisation of his experiences making the film Barfly - explores the many dark shadows to be found in the neon-soaked glare of Hollywood's limelight.


Book cover of The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper

Shawn Levy Author Of The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont

From my list on Hollywood glamour and sleaze.

Why am I passionate about this?

Shawn Levy is the author of 11 books of biography and pop culture history, including The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont, Paul Newman: A Life, Rat Pack Confidential, and Ready, Steady, Go! The Smashing Rise and Giddy Fall of Swinging London. He was the longtime film critic of The Oregonian newspaper and KGW-TV in his beloved home city of Portland. He has written a history of the women pioneers of standup comedy which will be published by Doubleday in 2022 and at work on a podcast about the dark connections of politics and show business.

Shawn's book list on Hollywood glamour and sleaze

Shawn Levy Why did Shawn love this book?

Before he became a writer of potboiler novels and true-crime journalism, Dominick Dunne was a film and television producer and a social butterfly who also happened also to be an avid amateur photographer. This memoir of his Hollywood days, which resulted in a crash-and-burn from which he emerged as a writer, is filled with intimate, candid images of such friends (not all faithful) as Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Paul Newman, and Frank Sinatra, as well, of course, as Dunne and his family. There are dreamy and even eye-popping tales throughout, and if you're at all familiar with Dunne's books or magazine writing, you'll marvel at how so much of it so neatly dovetails with the life he actually lived and, thankfully, captured on film and in these frank and candid pages.

By Dominick Dunne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mesmerizing, revelatory text combines with more than two hundred photographs -- most of them taken by the author -- in a startling illustrated memoir that will both astonish and move you.

When Dominick Dunne lived and worked in Hollywood, he had it all: a beautiful family, a glamorous career, and the friendship of the talented and powerful. He also had a camera and loved to take pictures. These photographs, which Dunne carefully preserved in more than a dozen leatherbound scrapbooks -- along with invitations, telegrams, personal notes, and other memorabilia -- record the parties, the glittering receptions, the society weddings,…


Book cover of Play It as It Lays

Ava Barry Author Of Double Exposure

From my list on cool, culty Los Angeles.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been drawn to stories of miserable rich people, especially tales of how old money contorts lineage into something rotten. I grew up in Northern California, and while my family was comfortable, we weren’t part of the tennis club and yachting elite. During my childhood, we spent a lot of time exploring abandoned properties. It was a passion that I kept when I moved to Los Angeles as an adult and started to explore forgotten parts of Hollywood’s past. Los Angeles has always fascinated me because it embodies extreme wealth and extreme poverty: like the American dream itself, it straddles both extremes and promises everything while guaranteeing nothing.

Ava's book list on cool, culty Los Angeles

Ava Barry Why did Ava love this book?

I read this book for the first time when I was in high school, and it made me realize that main characters aren’t always good people. Maria Wyeth is a selfish, broken actress who stumbles through a series of bad decisions. She cares about nothing, not even herself, but the language is so beautiful and evocative of a 1960s Los Angeles that you can’t help wondering what happens.

If nothing else, pick it up for the laissez-faire attitude of the extremely wealthy and beautiful before the age of social media.

By Joan Didion,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A profoundly disturbing novel that ruthlessly dissects American life in the late 1960s, from the author of The White Album and The Year of Magical Thinking.

Benny called for a round of Cuba Libres and I gave him some chips to play for me and went to the ladies' room and never came back.

Somewhere out beyond Hollywood, hollowed-out actress Maria Wyeth's life plays out in a numbing routine of perpetual freeway driving. In her early thirties, divorced from her husband, dislocated from friends, anesthetized to pain and please, Wheth is a woman who has run out of both desires…


Book cover of The Last Tycoon: The Authorized Text

Scott Brooks Author Of And There We Were and Here We Are

From my list on if you love old black-and-white movies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a New Yorker with a background in the performing arts. Though a lifelong reader and bookstore loiterer, my early writing career was focused on the stage as well as the pursuit of a career in screenwriting. This led to many years writing and producing theatre as well as working in film and TV both as a writer and in production. The books I've chosen, I feel influenced the American language in the last century, an influence reflected in the tone of the novels and films from that period described by scholars as “Between the Wars.” It's a period that fascinates me for it exists now only in books and movies and is therein preserved.

Scott's book list on if you love old black-and-white movies

Scott Brooks Why did Scott love this book?

As perfectly tragic as one of his Jazz Age characters, Fitzgerald drank himself to death before finishing this novel which in my opinion, could have been his best. Like Gatsby, Monroe Stahr is an eloquent, rich, and isolated character, pining for a mysterious woman. He is a hugely successful movie mogul in the golden age of Hollywood, and Fitzgerald’s contempt for the studio system’s treatment of writers is here on full satirical display. The sparse prose sparkles with diamond-like harshness and clarity as the doomed love affair plays out. I’m sure it's his least known novel since it is technically “unfinished,” but most editions publish Fitzgerald’s unfinished future chapters, his pass at the ending as well as his notes and outlines, making this a master class in novel writing.

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Last Tycoon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

F. Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940 before he finished this novel. This text purges the printers' errors and editorial interventions that have appeared in previous editions. The tragic centre of the book is film producer Monroe Stahr, who sees film as art, rather than a money-making device.


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