100 books like Googie

By Alan Hess,

Here are 100 books that Googie fans have personally recommended if you like Googie. 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 Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir

Chris Lukather Author Of Homes by Byrd: The Art & Architecture of Robert Byrd and His Son, Gary

From my list on Southern California architecture history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in art and architecture. I studied Fine Arts at CalArts. I’ve written three books on Mid-century home builders and designers, William Mellenthin, Jean Vandruff, and Robert Byrd, whose life and work in Southern California had gone mostly unnoticed during their lifetimes—with very little information written about them in the press. I spent three years on each book working with the families to uncover their lives and place in local history. This is information that would have otherwise been lost. When you research the life of one person in this profession, you inevitably learn about the life and work of others—some famous, some not. 

Chris' book list on Southern California architecture history

Chris Lukather Why did Chris love this book?

D.J. Waldie’s writing reminds me of a Raymond Carver short story. His short, deliberate style draws the reader in immediately. You are hooked.

He walks to work. He lives in his parent’s original tract home, part of a planned development built in the 1950s in Lakewood, CA. It was the first one on the west coast. Waldie observes his friends and neighbors, the neighborhood, and its unique place in Southern California history.

After my parent’s divorce, my father lived in Lakewood and Long Beach, so I spent a lot of time down there when I was a kid. Does anyone remember Buffums department store?

By D.J. Waldie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since its publication in 1996, Holy Land has become an American classic. In "quick, translucent prose" (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times) that is at once lyrical and unsentimental, D. J. Waldie recounts growing up in Lakewood, California, a prototypical post-World War II suburb. Laid out in 316 sections as carefully measured as a grid of tract houses, Holy Land is by turns touching, eerie, funny, and encyclopedic in its handling of what was gained and lost when thousands of blue-collar families were thrown together in the suburbs of the 1950s. An intensely realized and wholly original memoir about the way…


Book cover of Fritz B. Burns and the Development of Los Angeles

Chris Lukather Author Of Homes by Byrd: The Art & Architecture of Robert Byrd and His Son, Gary

From my list on Southern California architecture history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in art and architecture. I studied Fine Arts at CalArts. I’ve written three books on Mid-century home builders and designers, William Mellenthin, Jean Vandruff, and Robert Byrd, whose life and work in Southern California had gone mostly unnoticed during their lifetimes—with very little information written about them in the press. I spent three years on each book working with the families to uncover their lives and place in local history. This is information that would have otherwise been lost. When you research the life of one person in this profession, you inevitably learn about the life and work of others—some famous, some not. 

Chris' book list on Southern California architecture history

Chris Lukather Why did Chris love this book?

I was born in Burbank, CA. This book details the early land development deals made by Fritz Burns for new single-family homes in Burbank and the surrounding area beginning in the 1930s.

Fritz Burns was an innovator, showman, and very successful businessman. His office once occupied the historic House of Tomorrow located at the corner of Highland Ave. and Wilshire Blvd. that he commissioned architects Walter Wurdeman and Welton Becket to design and build.

He also helped develop the Kaiser tract homes in the San Fernando Valley, and some of the first large hotels in Hawaii in the 1950s. When driving around the neighborhoods of Southern California I’m always searching for historically important buildings and residences.

By James Thomas Keane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fritz B. Burns and the Development of Los Angeles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Keane, James Thomas


Book cover of Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles

Chris Lukather Author Of Homes by Byrd: The Art & Architecture of Robert Byrd and His Son, Gary

From my list on Southern California architecture history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in art and architecture. I studied Fine Arts at CalArts. I’ve written three books on Mid-century home builders and designers, William Mellenthin, Jean Vandruff, and Robert Byrd, whose life and work in Southern California had gone mostly unnoticed during their lifetimes—with very little information written about them in the press. I spent three years on each book working with the families to uncover their lives and place in local history. This is information that would have otherwise been lost. When you research the life of one person in this profession, you inevitably learn about the life and work of others—some famous, some not. 

Chris' book list on Southern California architecture history

Chris Lukather Why did Chris love this book?

Having lived in West Hollywood for many years, I have always been interested in the beautiful and historically significant courtyard apartment buildings found throughout the city.

One of the more famous buildings, the Villa Primavera (seen in the Gloria Grahame, Humphrey Bogart film, In a Lonely Place) was designed and built by Arthur and Nina Zwebell in 1923. Their story is quite fascinating, since neither one was formerly trained or a licensed architect.

He designed the building’s exterior, while she designed the interior as well as the furniture.

By Stefanos Polyzoides, Roy Sherwood, J. Tice , Julius Shulman (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As cities throughout the U.S. struggle with housing shortages, valuable lessons can be learned from the principles thatunderlie the design of the courtyard house. Whether humble or sumptuous in scale, courtyards create a sense of privacyand enhance quality of life by creating the impression of green space for their residents.

Now available in its fifth printing, Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles documents the historical, technical, and cultural forces that shaped the development of this distinctive West Coast building type. The authors's in-depth research andanalysis is enhanced by the inclusion of numerous plans and technical drawings. Julius Shulman's sensuous black-and-whitephotographs document…


Book cover of Case Study Houses: 1945-1962

Chris Lukather Author Of Homes by Byrd: The Art & Architecture of Robert Byrd and His Son, Gary

From my list on Southern California architecture history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in art and architecture. I studied Fine Arts at CalArts. I’ve written three books on Mid-century home builders and designers, William Mellenthin, Jean Vandruff, and Robert Byrd, whose life and work in Southern California had gone mostly unnoticed during their lifetimes—with very little information written about them in the press. I spent three years on each book working with the families to uncover their lives and place in local history. This is information that would have otherwise been lost. When you research the life of one person in this profession, you inevitably learn about the life and work of others—some famous, some not. 

Chris' book list on Southern California architecture history

Chris Lukather Why did Chris love this book?

Esther McCoy has long been admired for her writing on architecture in Southern California, particularly on the Case Study House program from 1945-1962.

This is a remarkable story of a once-in-a-lifetime program sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine that brought together legendary architects, hopes and dreams, and some fantastic Mid-century Modern Homes.

Many of these Case Study homes are still standing today, and some are available to tour. You can also look up the addresses of these homes and drive by yourself.

By Esther McCoy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since the popular Museum of Contemporary Art exhibit of 1989, Blueprint for Modern Living, much attention has been paid to the pioneering work done by the architects of the Case Study Program. Sponsored by John Entenza's Art & Architectue Magazine, the Case Study Houses program brought new thinking, techniques, and materials to post-war California house building. Contains the work of Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, Craig Ellwood, Pierre Koenig, Richard Neutra, William Wurster, and others.


Book cover of Love and War in California

Jim Miller Author Of Drift

From my list on urban wandering and subterranean history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach literature, Labor Studies, and writing at San Diego City College and have written three San Diego-based novels: Drift, Flash, and Last Days in Ocean Beach, along with Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See, a radical history of San Diego that I co-wrote with Mike Davis and Kelly Mayhew. Both as a writer and as a daily wanderer on the streets of San Diego, I have a passion for the psychogeography of the city space and a deep curiosity for and love of the people I encounter there.

Jim's book list on urban wandering and subterranean history

Jim Miller Why did Jim love this book?

In this moving novel, the late great Oakley Hall took me back to World War II era San Diego. What I love about it is it paints a much fuller portrait of the lost city of old than he does in his first San Diego-based novel.

This book is filled with wonder, dread, love, and longing but what makes it noteworthy is its keen eye toward history and the darkness at the heart of the city’s streets and neighborhoods—and at the center of the war itself. 

By Oakley Hall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love and War in California as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sweeping Novel of a Twentieth-Century California Life

Love and War in California tells the story, through the eyes of Payton Daltrey, of the last sixty years of an evolving America.
The award-winning author Oakley Hall begins his newest work in 1940s San Diego, where his endearing, wide-eyed narrator must define his identity in terms of self, family, and World War II. As his classmates disappear into the war one by one, he becomes obsessed with abuses of power and embroiled with the charming, dangerous Errol Flynn; with the Red Baiting of the American Legion; with the House Un-American Activities…


Book cover of War and Millie McGonigle

Charlotte Herman Author Of My Chocolate Year: A Novel with 12 Recipes

From my list on for children on WW2 at home and across the ocean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on Chicago’s home front during WW2. President Roosevelt wanted everyone—adults and children—to do their part for the war effort. So we neighborhood kids formed a Victory club, where we marched around singing, “Let’s Remember Pearl Harbor,” and other patriotic songs. And though we had fun, we understood the meaning of the gold stars in the windows, and knew that terrible things were happening on the other side of the world. There are so many wonderful books set during this time period, and I can never read enough of them. These books, along with my memories, are what inspire me to write historical fiction of my own.

Charlotte's book list on for children on WW2 at home and across the ocean

Charlotte Herman Why did Charlotte love this book?

Even though I lived across the country from San Diego where this story takes place, and even though I was several years younger than Millie McGonigle, the picture of home front USA during WW2 is familiar in many ways. Soldiers and sailors filled the streets of Chicago, and kids scanned the sky for “enemy planes.” There was the fear of polio, the struggles with rationing, and the shortage of bubble gum. 

This story is filled with humor and memorable characters. But most memorable of all is Millie, who tries to deal with the death of a grandmother and her worries about the war getting closer to home. And even though she’s obsessed with drawing in her Book of Dead Things, she comes to understand what her grandmother had told her when she said, “Whatever is lost stays alive if you remember it.”

By Karen Cushman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Newbery Award-winning author of Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife's Apprentice tells a heartfelt and humorous story of WWII on the homefront.

Millie McGonigle lives in sunny California, where her days are filled with beach and surf. It should be perfect--but times are tough. Hitler is attacking Europe and it looks like the United States may be going to war. Food is rationed and money is tight. And Millie's sickly little sister gets all the attention and couldn't be more of a pain if she tried. It's all Millie can do to stay calm and feel in control.

Still--there's…


Book cover of Boy Underground

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From my list on dogs as supporting characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dogs make great supporting characters, adding drama or humor or pathos, and revealing so much about the humans in the story. I discovered this in writing my first novel: The narrator’s dog keeps her grounded when things go wrong and makes it possible for her to keep going through difficult times. For the reader, he provides levity and depth without turning it into a book about a dog. I had a great model – I used my own dog Boris, even appropriating his name. I think of the fictional Boris as real-life Boris’s best self.

Ellen's book list on dogs as supporting characters

Ellen Barker Why did Ellen love this book?

Boy Underground is a coming-of-age story of four teen-aged boys in rural California who each go underground at some point, literally or figuratively.

Akira is a terrier and can’t go with her family when they are forced into a Japanese internment camp, and she, too, goes underground.

Catherine Ryan Hyde unfolds this story with a subtle voice that resonates with compassion for the boy hiding from the law, the boy sent to the camp, the boy living with his own secret, and the boy who drops out of school to enlist.

And the dog, who is a pawn in the great drama of WWII as it plays out in this remote corner of America.

By Catherine Ryan Hyde,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During WWII, a teenage boy finds his voice, the courage of his convictions, and friends for life in an emotional and uplifting novel by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

1941. Steven Katz is the son of prosperous landowners in rural California. Although his parents don't approve, he's found true friends in Nick, Suki, and Ollie, sons of field workers. The group is inseparable. But Steven is in turmoil. He's beginning to acknowledge that his feelings for Nick amount to more than friendship.

When the bombing of Pearl Harbor draws the US into World War II,…


Book cover of All Ships Follow Me: A Family Memoir of War Across Three Continents

Sophie Poldermans Author Of Seducing and Killing Nazis: Hannie, Truus and Freddie: Dutch Resistance Heroines of WWII

From my list on World War II heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Dutch author and lawyer specialized in international criminal law. My expertise is the role of women leaders in times of conflict, crisis, and change – especially during war and in post-conflict societies. Women are traditionally portrayed as victims, while it is precisely women who show genuine leadership skills in times of conflict, crisis, and change. I've done research on women’s armed resistance in the Netherlands in WWII, and am an expert on the lives and resistance work of Hannie Shaft and the sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen. In addition, I've done research in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and saw the same patterns in these conflicts and the impact on the generations after. 

Sophie's book list on World War II heroines

Sophie Poldermans Why did Sophie love this book?

A remarkable and incredibly brave epic saga of a young woman struggling with the inheritance of her father who grew up in the colonial era of the Netherlands in the Dutch East Indies and who had been interned in a concentration camp by the Japanese as a child and her mother who had been abandoned as a little girl at the end of WWII because her parents were Nazi sympathizers and were therefore imprisoned. The author grew up in California, USA, with many questions about her family’s identity and secrets in the war. A courageous book breaking the taboo of shedding light on ‘the other side.’ The author is a personal friend of mine.

By Mieke Eerkens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Ships Follow Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An engrossing, epic saga of one family’s experiences on both sides of WWII, All Ships Follow Me questions our common narrative of the conflict and our stark notions of victim and perpetrator, while tracing the lasting effects of war through several generations.

In March 1942, Mieke Eerkens’ father was a ten-year-old boy living in the Dutch East Indies. When the Japanese invaded the island he, his family, and one hundred thousand other Dutch civilians were interned in a concentration camp and forced into hard labor for three years. After the Japanese surrendered, Mieke’s father and his family were set free…


Book cover of Displacement

José Pimienta Author Of Twin Cities

From my list on being in a new place (physical or emotional).

Why am I passionate about this?

Coming-of-age stories have always appealed to me because of their focus on an internal struggle. They’re usually juxtaposed with a changing landscape or moving to a new place. In broad strokes, coming-of-age stories focus on personal identity and our place in our day-to-day world. As someone who’s born in the US but grew up on the Mexican side but currently lives in California, the questions of what aspects of me are American and which are Mexican have been ongoing. With that in mind, these five books speak to me in a profound way, and I'm happy they exist as comics. 

José's book list on being in a new place (physical or emotional)

José Pimienta Why did José love this book?

This book depicts the complexities of generational trauma. Kiku, our protagonist, discovers that she can go back in time and experience what her ancestors went through during the second world war. Kiku Hughes dives into the daily lives of citizens living in Japanese internment camps. It’s a brave look at the complicated relationship a person can have with the place they live in, given the difficulties their ancestries have gone through. Also, Kiku Hughes is an amazing illustrator. The bulk of the storytelling is through her depictions of the United States throughout different decades. 

By Kiku Hughes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Displacement as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II.

These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself 'stuck' back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class. She witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties and suffered greatly, but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive.


Book cover of A Walk in the Clouds

Melody Carlson Author Of Looking for Leroy

From my list on vineyards.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first time I visited a vineyard was as a child with my mother and grandparents. Driving to San Francisco from Oregon, we stopped to tour a Sonoma vineyard and winery there. Later, as a young adult touring Western Europe, I became intrigued by the vineyards there. Something about the beauty of gently rolling slopes of green vines tugged on me. And I found the science and art of winemaking fascinating. Even the history of wine-making is noteworthy. And I love that Jesus’ first miracle was transforming ordinary water into extraordinary wine. So using the setting of a vineyard for my novel just felt right. And it was a fun adventure!

Melody's book list on vineyards

Melody Carlson Why did Melody love this book?

This is a beautiful story set in Post WW 2 era about a young woman on her way home from college. She is ‘in trouble’ and in need of a good friend. Her family of Spanish/Mexican heritage owns a vineyard in California and is very traditional. She meets up with a young soldier, also on his way home. He offers to help her... and the magic, as well as the trouble, begins. This is a lovely romantic story... a celebration of fate and true love. 

By Deborah Chiel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Walk in the Clouds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a magical romance about a soldier returning from war in 1945 to a broken marriage, who meets a woman sobbing by the side of the road. She is pregnant, her boyfriend has left her and she doesn't know how she is going to face her parents and family. He accompanies her and becomes involved.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in California, presidential biography, and World War 1?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about California, presidential biography, and World War 1.

California 382 books
World War 1 900 books