100 books like Blue Pages

By Eleanor Perry,

Here are 100 books that Blue Pages fans have personally recommended if you like Blue Pages. 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 Jaws Log

Carleton Eastlake Author Of Monkey Business

From my list on what Hollywood is really like.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been a Hollywood writer for thirty years, and now written a novel that although satirical still accurately describes the creation of a TV series, I’ve long been amazed at how many Hollywood stories – including films made in Hollywood – offer fantasies that have even less to do with the reality of love and work in film and television than Game of Thrones does with the real Middle Ages. I’ve written fantasy myself, but for people fascinated by Hollywood, or who want to work in film and TV, there’s a reason too to read books that capture the reality, especially when like the books listed here, they do so astonishingly well.

Carleton's book list on what Hollywood is really like

Carleton Eastlake Why did Carleton love this book?

In my book club I’m known as Second Carl, since Carl Gottlieb has been a member far longer than I. In fact, I was still a lawyer in Washington, D.C. secretly dreaming about Hollywood but never suspecting I’d someday myself work on a Spielberg TV series, when I read this short, fast, now revered account of the filming of Spielberg’s breakout film. It proved to be a deeply accurate and comprehensive description – and warning – about what life and work on location and in Hollywood itself would be like. It’s also so engagingly readable and relevant, a Broadway musical based on the book is in tryouts as I write these words.

By Carl Gottlieb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of 3 Oscars [registered] and the highest grossing film of its time, "Jaws" was a phenomenon, and this is the only book on how 26-year-old Steven Spielberg transformed Peter Benchley's best-selling novel into the classic film it became. Hired by Spielberg as a screenwriter to work with him on the set while the movie was being made, Carl Gottlieb, and actor and writer, was there throughout the production that starred Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss. After filming was over, with Spielberg's cooperation, Gottlieb chronicled the extraordinary year-long adventure in "The Jaws Log", which was first published in…


Book cover of Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting

Carleton Eastlake Author Of Monkey Business

From my list on what Hollywood is really like.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been a Hollywood writer for thirty years, and now written a novel that although satirical still accurately describes the creation of a TV series, I’ve long been amazed at how many Hollywood stories – including films made in Hollywood – offer fantasies that have even less to do with the reality of love and work in film and television than Game of Thrones does with the real Middle Ages. I’ve written fantasy myself, but for people fascinated by Hollywood, or who want to work in film and TV, there’s a reason too to read books that capture the reality, especially when like the books listed here, they do so astonishingly well.

Carleton's book list on what Hollywood is really like

Carleton Eastlake Why did Carleton love this book?

This book coined the maxim far and away the most quoted in Hollywood to this day: “Nobody knows anything.” I first read it the year before I broke in. My copy is heavily annotated with yellow highlighter and red pen; a black paperclip still marks the second of Goldman’s two capitalized maxims, “Screenplays are structure.” The value of this book to anyone wanting to understand – or survive in – Hollywood is that, ironically, Goldman, one of the most successful screenwriters and novelists in Hollywood history, knew almost everything, not only about screenwriting, but also the psychology, cautious care, and perilous feeding of actors, directors, executives, and the rest of the Hollywood zoo. It’s both a textbook and survival guide, illustrated with a veteran’s vivid stories about life behind the tinsel.

By William Goldman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Adventures in the Screen Trade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now available as an ebook for the first time!

No one knows the writer's Hollywood more intimately than William Goldman. Two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter and the bestselling author of Marathon Man, Tinsel, Boys and Girls Together, and other novels, Goldman now takes you into Hollywood's inner sanctums...on and behind the scenes for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, and other films...into the plush offices of Hollywood producers...into the working lives of acting greats such as Redford, Olivier, Newman, and Hoffman...and into his own professional experiences and creative thought processes in the crafting of screenplays. You get…


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.


Book cover of What Makes Sammy Run?

Carleton Eastlake Author Of Monkey Business

From my list on what Hollywood is really like.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been a Hollywood writer for thirty years, and now written a novel that although satirical still accurately describes the creation of a TV series, I’ve long been amazed at how many Hollywood stories – including films made in Hollywood – offer fantasies that have even less to do with the reality of love and work in film and television than Game of Thrones does with the real Middle Ages. I’ve written fantasy myself, but for people fascinated by Hollywood, or who want to work in film and TV, there’s a reason too to read books that capture the reality, especially when like the books listed here, they do so astonishingly well.

Carleton's book list on what Hollywood is really like

Carleton Eastlake Why did Carleton love this book?

Despite wars, plagues, and technological revolutions, the psychology of Hollywood endures and Schulberg’s novel about screenwriters in pre-World War Two Hollywood remains an obligatory read for anyone contemplating a life in showbusiness or wanting, as a member of the audience, to have a deeper understanding of the business. The book still so accurately describes the challenges of a writer’s life and work, that when I served on the Writers Guild of America West’s board, I’d sometimes read passages from the book to the rest of the board members during our discussions of potential strike issues or matters affecting Guild unity. Schulberg’s eloquent yet plain-spoken insights were simply still that valuable, convincing – and entertaining.

By Budd Schulberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Makes Sammy Run? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What Makes Sammy Run?

Everyone of us knows someone who runs. He is one of the symp-toms of our times—from the little man who shoves you out of the way on the street to the go-getter who shoves you out of a job in the office to the Fuehrer who shoves you out of the world. And all of us have stopped to wonder, at some time or another, what it is that makes these people tick. What makes them run?

This is the question Schulberg has asked himself, and the answer is the first novel written with the indignation…


Book cover of Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories

Alistair Owen Author Of The Art of Screen Adaptation: Top Writers Reveal Their Craft

From my list on writing for the big screen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of four books of interviews with filmmakers: Smoking in Bed: Conversations with Bruce Robinson (a Guardian Book of the Year), Story and Character: Interviews with British Screenwriters, Hampton on Hampton (an Observer Book of the Year), and The Art of Screen Adaptation: Top Writers Reveal Their Craft. I have written original and adapted screenplays and stageplays, on spec and to commission; contributed film interviews and reviews to UK magazines and newspapers; chaired Q&A events at book and screenwriting festivals; and recently published my first novel, The Vetting Officer. My next nonfiction project is a book of conversations with bestselling author and screenwriter William Boyd, for Penguin.

Alistair's book list on writing for the big screen

Alistair Owen Why did Alistair love this book?

“You never really succeed,” Andrew W. Marlowe tells the editors of Tales from the Script, “You always fail at a higher level.” So: first you can’t finish your script, then you can’t get it read, then you can’t sell it, then you can’t get it made, then it’s made – but badly. Or, in Marlowe’s case, it’s made into Air Force One and you’re asked to repeat the trick. “Even when you get to the top there’s this realization: ‘Okay, the view is great, but tomorrow I gotta get up and start climbing the mountain again.’” If you find that depressing, don’t be a screenwriter. If you see it as a challenge, read on…

By Peter Hanson, Paul Robert Herman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Few modern art forms are as misunderstood as the craft of creating movie scripts, but "Tales from the Script" puts readers in the trenches of the Hollywood development process. Readers will revel in the exploits of Shane Black ("Lethal Weapon"), John Carpenter ("Halloween'), Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption"), Nora Ephron ("When Harry Met Sally"), William Goldman ("The Princess Bride"), David Hayter ("Watchmen"), Bruce Joel Rubin ("Ghost"), Paul Schrader ("Taxi Driver"), Ron Shelton ("Bull Durham"), and dozens of others. They'll learn how these writers surmounted the incredible odds against breaking into Hollywood, transformed their ideas into films that topped the box…


Book cover of Stealing Hollywood

Marshall Dotson Author Of Actions and Goals: The Story Structure Secret

From my list on story structure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a student of story structure for decades. As a novelist, this initially started as a means to learn as much as I could from those with more experience than myself, but quickly grew into a passion. I read everything on the subject I could get my hands on and eventually began analyzing the plots of novels and movies for myself, amalgamating what I had learned with my own theories and insights which coalesced into a wholly new structural paradigm. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of working with many talented screenwriters and novelists to help them shape their stories using Six Act Structure. 

Marshall's book list on story structure

Marshall Dotson Why did Marshall love this book?

I read Alexandra’s book years ago and she’s since released several revised editions. This book provides an insightful history of the 3-act and eight sequence structures she uses, and offers invaluable insight into overcoming the pitfalls of the dreaded “second-act sag”. But perhaps the most important lesson her book instilled in me is the importance of taking the time to analyze the structure of your own favorite movies and novels to understand why they resonate with you. She calls this your Master List and it’s a tool that every writer should have in their toolbox to improve their craft. 

By Alexandra Sokoloff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Are you finally committed to writing that novel or screenplay, but have no idea how to get started? Or are you a published author, but know you need some plotting help to move your books and career up to that next level? You CAN write better books and scripts—by learning from the movies. Screenwriting is based on a simple (and powerful) structure that you already know from watching so many movies and television shows in your lifetime. And it's a structure that your reader or audience unconsciously expects, and is crucial for you to deliver. In this textbook of the…


Book cover of The Moon's a Balloon

Reid Mitenbuler Author Of Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation

From my list on Hollywood history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only am I fascinated by old Hollywood history, I’m also interested in the creative processes that produce great art. Everyone approaches their craft a little differently, and it’s always illuminating to discover how different people do what they do. In my own work, I like to explore how creative people come to their Eureka! moments, and hope that I’ll be able to learn something from their experiences.

Reid's book list on Hollywood history

Reid Mitenbuler Why did Reid love this book?

This book opens with an absolutely breathtaking passage, one of my favorite openings in any book ever. One imagines Niven narrating his memoir poolside, gripping a cigarette and a martini in the same fist, his pince-nez mustache dancing up and down while he describes, in sordid detail, old-school Hollywood at its most louche. If you want a book that brings alive the atmosphere of a bygone era, this is it.

By David Niven,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moon's a Balloon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

David Niven is remembered as one of Britain's best-loved actors. The archetypal English gentleman, he starred in over ninety films. He is equally remembered as the author of this classic autobiography. In his first volume, he remembers his childhood and school days, his time at Sandhurst and his early army service. He recalls America during the prohibition era and days in Hollywood before the Second World War. Of the war itself, he tells of family life back in Britain and his time on the front line in France and Germany. THE MOON'S A BALLOON is a wonderful record of a…


Book cover of The Last Time As We Are

Seth Brown Author Of The Disapproval of My Toaster

From my list on human poetry for an increasingly inhuman world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been writing poetry since second grade, although oddly it took me until after college (where I was Class Poet) to start writing poetry that *gasp* didn't rhyme. (Did I mention I grew up on Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein?) I started attending local poetry slams and then poetry festivals like WordXWord, and listening and performing there showed me what poetry could be. Poems can crystalize in a few lines a universal truth you've felt for years but been unable to express. I think that's amazing. (I also think it's better with a dash of humor mixed in, because I'm a humor columnist and I'm biased.)

Seth's book list on human poetry for an increasingly inhuman world

Seth Brown Why did Seth love this book?

There's a good chance you're familiar with his poem “What Teachers Make”, from his other book. But this is the book that has his most poignant and human poems, including “Tony Steinberg: Brave Seventh Grade Viking Warrior”, which has long been one of my partner's favorite poems, and accomplishes in a few minutes of words what many Hollywood movies try and fail to accomplish with a full cast, two hours, and hundreds of millions of dollars: It alternately makes you laugh and cry. Which I say as someone who has seen it performed many times, and it still makes me laugh every time, and still makes me cry every time.

By Taylor Mali,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Time As We Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You don't need a classroom to be a teacher, and you don't need to be a teacher to help someone learn a lesson. Taylor Mali's poetry explores this truth in entertaining and plainspoken ways because "the last thing this world needs is another poem" ("The Call to What We Know"). Whether discussing the language of love or the love of language, the poems contained in The Last Time As We Are prove that "He who dares to teach must never cease to learn." Not since Taylor Mali has there been a poet the likes of Taylor Mali-he is a man…


Book cover of Artistic Differences

Peter Lefcourt Author Of The Deal: A Novel of Hollywood

From my list on the glitter and insanity of Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many novelists – all the way back to F. Scott Fitzgerald --  writing for film and television has been my day job. The pay is obscenely good, and it leaves you time to write what you really love – fiction. Most writers in Hollywood have a love/hate relationship with the movie business – described by some wit as “a crapshoot masquerading as a business masquerading as an art form.” And the books I am recommending express this mixture of scorn and reverence with humor and compassion. In my book The Deal I am clearly biting the hand that fed me over the years – but why not? As that old humorist Albert Camus said, “There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.”

Peter's book list on the glitter and insanity of Hollywood

Peter Lefcourt Why did Peter love this book?

This poorly known novel by a television writer deserves more attention. It concerns a writer on a TV sitcom that is plagued by an impossible actress/star who makes everybody’s lives miserable by her egotistical behavior. The revenge that the writer, Jimmy Hoy, contrives for her is both funny and appropriate. There are laugh-out-loud moments in this book that will make you roar.

By Charlie Hauck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the disarmingly charming and ruthlessly domineering Geneva Holloway lets her star temperament get out of hand, Jimmy Hoy, a writer for the "Geneva Holloway Show," joins with the show's other writers in plotting the perfect revenge


Book cover of Eve's Hollywood

Emily Beyda Author Of The Body Double

From my list on the squalor and splendor of Los Angeles.

Why am I passionate about this?

It’s safe to say that I love LA. While my home town is often dismissed as being little more than a string of shopping malls strung together by freeways, to me, it’s a place like nowhere else in the world. In a city fueled by cinema, LA’s outsider magic is hard to capture, but I find it fascinating when novelists make the attempt. With my first novel, The Body Double, I take a surreal deep dive into the mystery and magic of this strange city—inspired, in no small part, by my five favorite books about Los Angeles. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Emily's book list on the squalor and splendor of Los Angeles

Emily Beyda Why did Emily love this book?

I’m a little biased with this one, because Eve was my neighbor growing up and something of a literary fairy godmother, but there are few writers who capture the spirit of Los Angeles with more fascination and ease. Her work is messy—delightfully so, like eavesdropping on that friend who always has the craziest stories to tell about her exploits, and her prose captures her inimitable personality. She notices things about Los Angeles that will make you fall in love with the city all over again, or book your first visit if you’re from out of town. Perfect for readers who want to feel a sense of intimacy with their books, or people like me who love listening in on gossip, the messier the better. Eve always delivers!

By Eve Babitz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A legendary love letter to Los Angeles by the city's most charming daughter, complete with portraits of rock stars at Chateau Marmont, surfers in Santa Monica, prostitutes on sunset, and Eve's own beloved cat, Rosie. 

Journalist, party girl, bookworm, artist, muse: by the time she’d hit thirty, Eve Babitz had played all of these roles. Immortalized as the nude beauty facing down Duchamp and as one of Ed Ruscha’s Five 1965 Girlfriends, Babitz’s first book showed her to be a razor-sharp writer with tales of her own. Eve’s Hollywood is an album of  vivid snapshots of Southern California’s haute bohemians,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Hollywood, screenwriting, and presidential biography?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Hollywood, screenwriting, and presidential biography.

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