10 books like Borrowed Finery

By Paula Fox,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Borrowed Finery. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Suicide Index

By Joan Wickersham,

Book cover of The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order

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.

The Suicide Index

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…


Always Crashing in the Same Car

By Matthew Specktor,

Book cover of Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California

This is a memoir about being a writer—and failing. With scholarly rigor and tenderhearted sympathy, Specktor excavates the lives of artists forgotten (Carol Eastman, Eleanor Perry), underappreciated (Thomas McGuane, Hal Ashby), and notorious (Warren Zevon, Michael Cimino), while always circling back to his own benighted Hollywood upbringing, complete with a lovely tribute to his mother, a failed screenwriter. This is an angry, sad, but always somehow joyful book about not hitting it big, and I've never read anything quite like it.

Always Crashing in the Same Car

By Matthew Specktor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Always Crashing in the Same Car as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Best Book of the Year at The Atlantic

Los Angeles Times Bestseller

"[An] absorbing and revealing book. . . . nestling in the fruitful terrain between memoir and criticism." ―Geoff Dyer, author of Out of Sheer Rage

Blending memoir and cultural criticism, Matthew Specktor explores family legacy, the lives of artists, and a city that embodies both dreams and disillusionment.

In 2006, Matthew Specktor moved into a crumbling Los Angeles apartment opposite the one in which F. Scott Fitzgerald spent the last moments of his life. Fitz had been Specktor’s first literary idol, someone whose own passage through Hollywood…


Experience

By Martin Amis,

Book cover of Experience: A Memoir

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…

Experience

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**


Blood Horses

By John Jeremiah Sullivan,

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

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.

Blood Horses

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.


Elsewhere

By Richard Russo,

Book cover of Elsewhere: A Memoir

A memoir of his mother and his life in Glovershville, New York from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. It is utterly unfair that such a singular writer of fiction can be this deft at non-fiction. The best piece of advice I ever got as a writer was “Make your characters complicated…” Some characters, like Jean Russo, come complicated out of the factory. (By the way, Russo is a friend, and once told me at a book event in his honor that he felt like a fraud. So, I am in fine company). 

Elsewhere

By Richard Russo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist turns to memoir in this "intimate and powerful" account (Chicago Tribune) of his lifelong bond with his high-strung, spirited mother—and the small town she spent her life trying to escape. 

Anyone familiar with Russo’s novels will recognize Gloversville—once famous for producing nine out of ten dress gloves in the United States. By the time Rick was born, ladies had stopped wearing gloves and Gloversville was on its way out. Jean Russo instilled in her son her dream of a better life elsewhere, a dream that prompted her to follow him across the country when he went…


The Basketball Diaries

By Jim Carroll,

Book cover of The Basketball Diaries: The Classic about Growing Up Hip on New York's Mean Streets

This was another true story of someone who suffered a terrible addiction and was able to overcome it. I liked it because Jim was a regular guy and not a celebrity sharing his life story as so many of these book are. It was one of the first books that gave me inspiration to write a book. It also became a movie where Leonardo DeCaprio played Jim Carrol.

The Basketball Diaries

By Jim Carroll,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The urban classic coming-of-age story about sex, drugs, and basketball

Jim Carroll grew up to become a renowned poet and punk rocker. But in this memoir of the mid-1960s, set during his coming-of-age from 12 to 15, he was a rebellious teenager making a place and a name for himself on the unforgiving streets of New York City. During these years, he chronicled his experiences, and the result is a diary of unparalleled candor that conveys his alternately hilarious and terrifying teenage existence. Here is Carroll prowling New York City--playing basketball, hustling, stealing, getting high, getting hooked, and searching for…


Mango Rash

By Nan Sanders Pokerwinski,

Book cover of Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta

Put on your flowered shirt and place a flower in your hair to be taken away to the beautiful island of Samoa. This page-turning memoir chronicles the author’s struggles with adolescence against the backdrop of a changing Samoan culture. With lyrical language, Ms. Pokerwinski paints true-to-life scenes of the island and the Samoan people. The situations and the fascinating characters will keep you reading. I thoroughly enjoyed reliving memories of the 60s such as the music of the Beach Boys, White Rain Conditioner, and Tangee lipstick. If you witnessed life in the 60s, you will identify with the author and enjoy her humor and sass. 

Mango Rash

By Nan Sanders Pokerwinski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Moving to a South Pacific island from small town Oklahoma, sixteen year old Nancy Sanders trades cruising Main Street in search of tater tots for strolling sandy shores with islanders who feast on sea worms and summon sharks with song.



With a dash of teenage sass, MANGO RASH chronicles Nancy's search for adventure—and identity—in two alien realms: the tricky terrain of adolescence and the remote U.S. territory of American Samoa. Against a backdrop of lava-rimmed beaches, frangipani-laced air, and sensual music, Nancy immerses herself in 1960s island culture with a colorful cast of Samoan and American expat kids.



But life…


The Disappearance of Childhood

By Neil Postman,

Book cover of The Disappearance of Childhood

Postman was a hugely erudite and witty writer. When I discovered this book in the 1990s, I was immediately convinced by his argument that our modern conception of ‘childhood’ is connected with the invention of the printing press … and with human progress over succeeding centuries. I was just as convinced by his concern that the recent explosion of screen-based culture would have profound effects on childhood and, indeed, on the quality of human thought. I’m therefore deeply honoured that Toxic Childhood is now on an ‘A’ Level Sociology syllabus alongside The Disappearance of Childhood – can’t believe that we’re sitting on the same shelf!   

The Disappearance of Childhood

By Neil Postman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the vogue for nubile models to the explosion in the juvenile crime rate, this modern classic of social history and media traces the precipitous decline of childhood in America today−and the corresponding threat to the notion of adulthood.

Deftly marshaling a vast array of historical and demographic research, Neil Postman, author of Technopoly, suggests that childhood is a relatively recent invention, which came into being as the new medium of print imposed divisions between children and adults. But now these divisions are eroding under the barrage of television, which turns the adult secrets of sex and violence into popular…


The Chain

By Adrian McKinty,

Book cover of The Chain

This book made me wonder.

Rachel’s daughter has been kidnapped, and to get her back, Rachel must pay a ransom and abduct another child. The kidnapper is another mother whose child has been kidnapped—by someone else whose child has been kidnapped, by someone else whose... Well. You get the idea. As I tore through this novel, I couldn’t help wondering what I would do in that situation. Could I actually kidnap somebody else’s child? I still don’t have an answer, but watching this ingenious plot unfold was a rollercoaster ride I’ll never forget.

The Chain

By Adrian McKinty,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


When a mother is targeted by a dangerous group of masterminds, she must commit a crime to save her kidnapped daughter—or risk losing her forever—in this "propulsive and original" award-winning thriller (Stephen King).

It's something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it's a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a…


Childhood in World History

By Peter N. Stearns,

Book cover of Childhood in World History

I believe this book serves as a solid foundation for the scholarly discussions surrounding the changing paradigms of childhood throughout history and the world. I find its examinations of many different times and places fascinating. This volume explores the cultural creation of concepts of childhood and the ways they have developed and evolved as the world has become more connected, something I can relate to my own childhood experiences.

Childhood in World History

By Peter N. Stearns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Childhood in World History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in its fourth edition, Childhood in World History covers the major developments in the history of childhood from the classical civilizations to the present and explores how agricultural and industrial economies have shaped the experiences of children.

Through comparative analysis, Peter N. Stearns facilitates a cross-cultural and transnational understanding of attitudes toward the role of children in society, and how "models" of childhood have developed throughout history. He addresses the tension between regional and social/gender differences, on the one hand, and factors that encouraged greater convergence, including the experience of globalization. The book also deals with regional patterns as…


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