100 books like How We Live Now

By Bella DePaulo,

Here are 100 books that How We Live Now fans have personally recommended if you like How We Live Now. 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 Holes

Karen Samuelson Author Of Weaving Dreams in Oaxaca

From my list on books where the setting is like another character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for novels with complex characters and a memorable sense of place. The setting is key to the overall ambiance of a novel: its colors, smells, architecture, terrain, weather, flora, and fauna. My novel, Weaving Dreams In Oaxaca, takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico. The story is unique to the location because it includes the zocalo, cathedrals, outlying pueblos, food, etc. My family and I moved there for six months in 2006, and I fell in love. I sent my mother audio tapes every two weeks describing our adventures as she had become blind. I later transcribed them into twenty-two pages of detailed description of this magical city which I used in my novel.

Karen's book list on books where the setting is like another character

Karen Samuelson Why did Karen love this book?

I think this book is a great read for all ages and the setting, Camp Green Lake, is not a lake, but a dusty dry desert.

This location informs the plot. It is a punishing environment as the boys sent there are being “reformed” by making them dig huge holes in the sun all day long. Digging holes is a metaphor for digging up the secrets of the camp and the threat of snake bites and dehydration and infighting enhance the tension.

By Louis Sachar,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Holes 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?

WINNER OF THE NEWBERY MEDAL WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD SELECTED AS ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S 100 BEST YA BOOKS OF ALL TIME Stanley Yelnats' family has a history of bad luck, so when a miscarriage of justice sends him to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre (which isn't green and doesn't have a lake) he is not surprised. Every day he and the other inmates are told to dig a hole, five foot wide by five foot deep, reporting anything they find. Why? The evil warden claims that it's character building, but this is a lie. It's up…


Book cover of Evening Is the Whole Day

Maya Bernadett Author Of Stories My Grandmother Told Me: A multicultural journey from Harlem to Tohono O'dham

From my list on on the power of family to shape us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Family is one of the few truly universal experiences that all human beings have, because we all come from somewhere. Every human on Earth is raised by someone, so it’s something we can all relate to, for good or for ill. Universal experiences like family allow us as human beings to relate to others, and that common ground is what provides joy and meaning in life. I appreciate that I don’t have to have a master’s degree or PhD in family studies or family therapy to glean insights into how our families shape us. My own observations and analytical writer’s mind made me realize the importance of storytelling in keeping families together, especially across generations.

Maya's book list on on the power of family to shape us

Maya Bernadett Why did Maya love this book?

And you thought your family was crazy! Set in Malaysia, this fascinating story combines family drama with class issues, ethnic tensions, the effects of colonial rule, and even ghosts. I love how writer Preeta Samarasan evokes a mysterious, almost magical feel to the setting and characters, as the reader gets acquainted with the wealthy, yet deeply dysfunctional family at the center of the story. No matter how bitter, enraging, or disappointing these characters feel towards each other, they are still bonded together, and the story ends on a hopeful note. This family can redeem itself-even if it takes moving to another country to do it.

By Preeta Samarasan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Evening Is the Whole Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A spellbinding, exuberant first novel, set in Malaysia, that introduces us to a prosperous Indian immigrant family, as it slowly peels away its closely guarded secrets.

When the family's servant girl, Chellam, is dismissed from the big house for unnamed crimes, it is only the latest in a series of losses that have shaken six-year-old Aasha's life. Her grandmother has passed away under mysterious circumstances and her older sister has disappeared for a new life abroad, with no plans to return. Her parents, meanwhile, seem to be hiding something away - from themselves, and from one another.

As the novel…


Book cover of Home: How Habitat Made Us Human

Maya Bernadett Author Of Stories My Grandmother Told Me: A multicultural journey from Harlem to Tohono O'dham

From my list on on the power of family to shape us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Family is one of the few truly universal experiences that all human beings have, because we all come from somewhere. Every human on Earth is raised by someone, so it’s something we can all relate to, for good or for ill. Universal experiences like family allow us as human beings to relate to others, and that common ground is what provides joy and meaning in life. I appreciate that I don’t have to have a master’s degree or PhD in family studies or family therapy to glean insights into how our families shape us. My own observations and analytical writer’s mind made me realize the importance of storytelling in keeping families together, especially across generations.

Maya's book list on on the power of family to shape us

Maya Bernadett Why did Maya love this book?

Family is not just a metaphor- it resides in a physical place, and that place is home. I found this book extremely valuable because it takes an anthropological approach to the meaning of home, exploring the sociological, historical, and even scientific reasons why home is so fundamental to the human condition. The image of a hearth stands out most from this book: that the most fundamental way for humans to make food - fire - created the foundation for viewing home as a place that is crucial to our nourishment and flourishing. This basic aspect of human survival led to a space of protection, peace, comfort, and security- a home. And where there is home, there is family.

By John S. Allen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the adage goes, home is where the heart is. This may seem self-explanatory, but none of our close primate cousins have anything like homes. Whether we live in an igloo or in Buckingham Palace, the fact that Homo sapiens create homes is one of the greatest puzzles of our evolution. In Home , neuroanthropologist John S. Allen marshals evidence from evolutionary anthropology, neuroscience, the study of emotion, and modern sociology to argue that the home is one of the most important cognitive, technological, and cultural products of our species' evolution. It is because we have homes,relatively secure against whatever…


Book cover of Mending Skins

Maya Bernadett Author Of Stories My Grandmother Told Me: A multicultural journey from Harlem to Tohono O'dham

From my list on on the power of family to shape us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Family is one of the few truly universal experiences that all human beings have, because we all come from somewhere. Every human on Earth is raised by someone, so it’s something we can all relate to, for good or for ill. Universal experiences like family allow us as human beings to relate to others, and that common ground is what provides joy and meaning in life. I appreciate that I don’t have to have a master’s degree or PhD in family studies or family therapy to glean insights into how our families shape us. My own observations and analytical writer’s mind made me realize the importance of storytelling in keeping families together, especially across generations.

Maya's book list on on the power of family to shape us

Maya Bernadett Why did Maya love this book?

Family is the core of Native American identity, and nowhere is this more exemplified than in Eric Gansworth’s book Mending Skins. The book centers on two Tuscarora women, mother and daughter, and their triumphs and struggles as professional women trying to do right by their tribe. I recommend this book because it looks at the complexities of trying to keep Native families together among the backdrop of colonialism and government meddling, which was bent on destroying the Native family. Though broken, the women in this book never feel sorry for themselves, and, as the title suggests, look towards the future and ways to become whole again.

By Eric Gansworth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Welcome to the Seventh Annual Conference of the Society for Protection and Reclamation of Indian Images. Expect to find, amid all the refined cultural observations, academic posturing, and political maneuvering, an Indian who defies anyone to protect, let alone reclaim, her image. This is Shirley Mounter, a Tuscarora woman and the chief storyteller among the acerbic, eloquent, and often hilarious speakers who overflow the pages of this latest novel by the noted Onondaga writer Eric Gansworth. A lecture on Indian stereotypes by Shirley's daughter, art historian Annie Boans, calls forth Shirley's recollections, whose outpourings deposit us in the turbulent yet…


Book cover of What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures

Peter A. Bamberger Author Of Exposing Pay: Pay Transparency and What It Means for Employees, Employers, and Public Policy

From my list on (mis)managing people at work.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been studying people at work for over 40 years, starting as an undergraduate at Cornell’s School of Labor Relations. As a student, I got involved with the trade union movement in the US, and worked as an assembly-line worker and fruit picker on kibbutzim in Israel. These hands-on experiences made me want to understand and have an impact on the way people spend most of their working hours. I’ve collected survey data from literally thousands of workers in dozens of studies conducted around the world. I’ve published more articles in scholarly journals than I ever imagined possible. And while I’m still passionate about the study of work, I’ve yet to really understand it.

Peter's book list on (mis)managing people at work

Peter A. Bamberger Why did Peter love this book?

Malcom Gladwell is undoubtedly the best translator of social science research writing these days. 

What the Dog Saw is a compendium of New Yorker essays penned by Gladwell, several of which have a direct link to managing people. Two of my favorites are “Late Bloomers” – an essay on the fallacy of inherent talent, and “Most Likely to Succeed”.

These essays say a lot about employee selection and development, challenging the assumptions held by too many managers that good staff are born, not made, and that selecting top talent is the key to competitive advantage. Gladwell goes with the evidence, but does so in a super-engaging manner. 

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What the Dog Saw as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Malcolm Gladwell is the master of playful yet profound insight. His ability to see underneath the surface of the seemingly mundane taps into a fundamental human impulse: curiosity. From criminology to ketchup, job interviews to dog training, Malcolm Gladwell takes everyday subjects and shows us surprising new ways of looking at them, and the world around us. Are smart people overrated? What can pit bulls teach us about crime? Why are problems like homelessness easier to solve than to manage? How do we hire when we can't tell who's right for the job? Gladwell explores the minor geniuses, the underdogs…


Book cover of Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media

Susan Bordo Author Of TV

From my list on popular culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in 1947, in the first wave of the baby boom, and was part of the first generation to grow up immersed in television, movies, and popular music. I have always felt the force of pop culture in my life.  But it was only at a certain point that it became something that I felt I could write about and be taken seriously. Writers like Pauline Kael made it possible for me because they obviously adored popular culture but they neither puffed it up nor dumbed it down. They wrote about it with intelligence, honesty, and curiosity and also as a barometer of where people were at and where society was going. That’s what I’ve aimed at in my own writing, from my books on the male and female body to those on politics and the media to my most recent exploration of the impact of television on our lives.

Susan's book list on popular culture

Susan Bordo Why did Susan love this book?

Where the Girls Are is about a particular generation of women growing up in post War America, and the impact popular media had on their lives, both for good and for bad. It weaves wonderfully smart, often funny, always engagingly written discussions of pop music, movies, and television shows with Douglas’s own experiences at the time. It’s unabashedly feminist—but it isn’t a speech or a political manifesto. It’s an exploration of the push-pull of growing up female at a transitional time, a time in which attitudes toward women were changing, unevenly, and how pop culture reflected the tensions of the times. This book is history, memoir, sociology, media studies, all at once – immensely informative and very entertaining.

By Susan J. Douglas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where the Girls Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Media critic Douglas deconstructs the ambiguous messages sent to American women via TV programs, popular music, advertising, and nightly news reporting over the last 40 years, and fathoms their influence on her own life and the lives of her contemporaries. Photos.


Book cover of Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America

Landon Y. Jones Author Of Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers

From my list on celebrity culture and what it is doing to America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by celebrities and heroes ever since I was a child. That compulsion became something I wanted to understand. I got my chance as the head editor of People magazine. Over the years, I met more than my share of celebrities – Ronald Reagan, Tom Hanks, Malcolm X, and Princess Diana, to name only a few. I began to take notes about my brushes with fame and think about celebrities in history and why they have recently become so dominant in our culture. Celebrity Nation is the result. Enjoy it!

Landon's book list on celebrity culture and what it is doing to America

Landon Y. Jones Why did Landon love this book?

The sociologist Joshua Gamson was among the first to analyze the effects of television on our image of celebrityhood.

In Claims to Fame, he rebels against the democratization of fame and is nostalgic for the days before fame was divorced from merit.

He cites Clifford Geertz’s classic The Interpretation of Cultures to make the point that celebrities are “a powerless elite” with high status and visibility but literally no power of any kind over audiences.

And now, of course, in the age of social media, these discrepancies are magnified.

By Joshua Gamson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Moving from "People" magazine to publicists' offices to tours of stars' homes, Joshua Gamson investigates the larger-than-life terrain of American celebrity culture. In the first major academic work since the early 1940s to seriously analyze the meaning of fame in American life, Gamson begins with the often-heard criticisms that today's heroes have been replaced by pseudoheroes, that notoriety has become detached from merit. He draws on literary and sociological theory, as well as interviews with celebrity-industry workers, to untangle the paradoxical nature of an American popular culture that is both obsessively invested in glamour and fantasy yet also aware of…


Book cover of Monsters of the Gevaudan: The Making of a Beast

Benjamin Radford Author Of Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction and Folklore

From my list on (real-life) monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by monsters. Growing up I saw television shows and read books about famous ones like Bigfoot and Nessie, and always wanted to search for them and discover the truth. That led me to a degree in psychology to learn about human cognition and perception, and a career in folklore to understand how legends and rumors spread. But I also wanted field experience, and spent time at Loch Ness, in Canadian woods said to house Sasquatch, to the Amazon, Sahara, and the jungles of Central America looking for the chupacabra. Along the way became an author, writing books including Tracking the Chupacabra, Lake Monster Mysteries, Big—If True, and Investigating Ghosts

Benjamin's book list on (real-life) monsters

Benjamin Radford Why did Benjamin love this book?

There are many terrifying monsters, but few were as feared as the beast of Gévaudan, which terrorized the French countryside in the 1760s.

Said to be, variously, a werewolf, a dog-hybrid, a hyena, or some unknown beast, it was blamed for killing many dozens of villagers. The French government sent top hunters to kill the beast, and conspiracy theories ran rampant. I recommend Monsters of the Gevaudan because I love the way it blends history, folklore, and investigation into a compelling mystery.

Don’t believe the mystery-mongering TV shows offering wild theories: the truth is in this book—and it’s stranger than fiction. 

By Jay M. Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a brilliant, original rendition, Monsters of the Gevaudan revisits a spellbinding French tale that has captivated imaginations for over two hundred years, and offers the definitive explanation of the strange events that underlie this timeless story.

In 1764 a peasant girl was killed and partially eaten while tending a flock of sheep. Eventually, over a hundred victims fell prey to a mysterious creature, or creatures, whose cunning and deadly efficiency terrorized the region and mesmerized Europe. The fearsome aggressor quickly took on mythic status, and the beast of the Gevaudan passed into French folklore.

What species was this killer,…


Book cover of Berlin Calling: A Story of Anarchy, Music, the Wall, and the Birth of the New Berlin

Brian Ladd Author Of The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape

From my list on understanding 20th-century Berlin.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of cities and the ways people shape them. Living in Berlin, both before and after the Wall came down, made me aware of how the shared experiences and memories of particular places give meaning to civic life. (And for a historian it was thrilling to find a place where history was taken very seriously.) Although I have since written broader studies—of cars and cities (Autophobia) and of earlier street life (The Streets of Europe)–it was the experience of living in Berlin while learning its history that enabled me to see the layers of meaning embedded in buildings and streets.

Brian's book list on understanding 20th-century Berlin

Brian Ladd Why did Brian love this book?

1980s Berlin is famous for two things: a wild counterculture and the sudden demise of the Wall. In recalling the outsize personalities he got to know on both sides of the Wall, Paul Hockenos brings the two strands of history as close together as can be done. The music and party scene, the communes and the squats, arose during this quiet lull in the Cold War, as political, musical, and sexual misfits found their niche in the dead zones along the Wall. Most of us living in Berlin in the 80s enjoyed the peace and quiet. This book shows what most of us were missing out on.

By Paul Hockenos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Berlin Calling is a gripping account of the 1989 'peaceful revolution' in East Germany that upended communism and the tumultuous years of artistic ferment, political improvisation, and pirate utopias that followed. It's the story of a newly undivided Berlin when protest and punk rock, bohemia and direct democracy, techno and free theatre were the order of the day. Berlin Calling is a unique account of how Berlin became hip, and of why it continues to attract creative types from the world over.


Book cover of "There Is a North": Fugitive Slaves, Political Crisis, and Cultural Transformation in the Coming of the Civil War

James Traub Author Of What Was Liberalism?: The Past, Present, and Promise of a Noble Idea

From my list on the run-up to the American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a journalist and NYU professor whose primary field is American foreign policy. As a biographer, however, I am drawn to American history and, increasingly, to the history of liberalism. I am now writing a biography of that arch-liberal, Hubert Humphrey. My actual subject thus appears to be wars of ideas. I began reading in-depth about the 1850s, when the question of slavery divided the nation in half, while writing a short biography of Judah Benjamin, Secretary of State of the Confederacy. (Judah Benjamin: Counselor To The Confederacy will be published in October.) It was the decade in which the tectonic fault upon which the nation was built erupted to the surface. There's a book for me in there somewhere, but I haven't yet found it.

James' book list on the run-up to the American Civil War

James Traub Why did James love this book?

Southerners rarely spoke of "the South" until slavery began to be threatened in the 1840s; slavery made the South. The North was far more fragmented--until an anti-slavery culture took hold in the 1850s. Brooke is highly sensitive to the role of popular culture in forging that consensus--not just Uncle Tom's Cabin, the most influential novel in American history, but local theatricals and the poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier. Here was the original, unbridgeable division between red and blue states.

By John L. Brooke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked "There Is a North" as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How does political change take hold? In the 1850s, politicians and abolitionists despaired, complaining that the "North, the poor timid, mercenary, driveling North" offered no forceful opposition to the power of the slaveholding South. And yet, as John L. Brooke proves, the North did change. Inspired by brave fugitives who escaped slavery and the cultural craze that was Uncle Tom's Cabin, the North rose up to battle slavery, ultimately waging the bloody Civil War.

While Lincoln's alleged quip about the little woman who started the big war has been oft-repeated, scholars have not fully explained the dynamics between politics and…


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