100 books like My Dirty Dumb Eyes

By Lisa Hanawalt,

Here are 100 books that My Dirty Dumb Eyes fans have personally recommended if you like My Dirty Dumb Eyes. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

Thalia Verkade Author Of Movement: how to take back our streets and transform our lives

From my list on letting you perceive the world differently.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing my first book, I found out how dependent my thinking about the world beyond my doorstep was on language made up by engineers (“Please don’t block the driveway”). Engineering language defined how I saw the street. It was a shock to realize how severely this had limited my thinking about public space but also a liberation to become aware of this: now I could perceive streets in completely new and different ways. The books I recommend all have made me perceive the world differently. I hope they do the same for you. Also, see the recommendations by my co-author, Marco te Brömmelstroet.

Thalia's book list on letting you perceive the world differently

Thalia Verkade Why did Thalia love this book?

This book made me see life on Earth in a new way.

Fungi live mostly underground, much less visible than plants or animals. When Merlin Sheldrake started studying fungi at Cambridge, he did this in the Department of Plant Sciences. There is no Department of Fungi Sciences, which helps explain why scientists know so little about them and why society keeps regarding them as less important than plants or animals.

Merlin explains fungi are closer to animals than plants. They are crucial, fascinating, and intelligent beyond ways Western man has words for. He uses language in a sensitive and creative new way to describe and visualize the fungi world. This book is not for fungi lovers (I’m not one); it is for anyone who wants to expand his view of life.

By Merlin Sheldrake,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked Entangled Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A “brilliant [and] entrancing” (The Guardian) journey into the hidden lives of fungi—the great connectors of the living world—and their astonishing and intimate roles in human life, with the power to heal our bodies, expand our minds, and help us address our most urgent environmental problems.

“Grand and dizzying in how thoroughly it recalibrates our understanding of the natural world.”—Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—Time, BBC Science Focus, The Daily Mail, Geographical, The Times, The Telegraph, New Statesman, London Evening Standard, Science Friday

When we think…


Book cover of The Song of Achilles

Terry Bartley Author Of Tyranny of the Fey

From my list on casually queer sci-fi fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy, especially anything involving superheroes or D&D-style adventure. For the longest time, I had to find queer representation through subtle glances and creative readings of characters. I loved these stories for the sci-fi and fantasy elements, but it was frustrating that every love story that came up was straight. It didn’t feel possible for queer love to be a part of a plot, and even when there was a queer character it had a “very special episode” vibe to it. Finally, queer characters are becoming part of the story, and it doesn’t have to be a “big deal.”

Terry's book list on casually queer sci-fi fantasy

Terry Bartley Why did Terry love this book?

The Song of Achilles is such as beautifully written book that perfectly weaves together a queer love story with a proper Greek epic.

It was so fulfilling to follow Patroclus and Achilles as they grew up. The attraction grows subtly and feels very natural. The fantasy elements feel very matter-of-fact and never take away from the incredibly relatable character moments.

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

27 authors picked The Song of Achilles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**OVER 1.5 MILLION COPIES SOLD**
**A 10th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION, FEATURING A NEW FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR**

WINNER OF THE ORANGE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
THE INTERNATIONAL SENSATION
A SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Captivating' DONNA TARTT
'I loved it' J K ROWLING
'Ravishingly vivid' EMMA DONOGHUE

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms…


Book cover of It's All Absolutely Fine

Emily McGovern Author Of Twelve Percent Dread

From my list on to alleviate dread.

Why am I passionate about this?

Twelve Percent Dread is about the curious state of anxiety that underpins living in the 21st Century, when we’re aware of so many current and looming disasters. However, it’s a bit of a misleading title, my book is actually very funny! Most of my work is built around stuffing as many jokes in as possible, and I want the reader to really chuckle and feel joy when they read it. In this book, the jokes come from the state of anxiety that the characters work themselves into. Assuming you, the reader, also experiences a certain level of dread throughout the day, here’s a list of books that will hopefully help relieve it.

Emily's book list on to alleviate dread

Emily McGovern Why did Emily love this book?

Another comic book—this is a collection of Ruby’s comics which are both very silly and always have an emotional core of truth to them. Her loose art style is incredibly evocative of the chaotic experience that is being alive, which is something I also wanted to capture in my own book. Reading her work is like talking to your cleverest and most sensitive friend, who sees the world in a slightly tilted way that reveals a deeper truth. And it’s very, very funny. Her work is also available widely on social media as Ruby Etc so I recommend starting there.

By Ruby Elliot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's All Absolutely Fine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It’s All Absolutely Fine is an honest and unapologetic account of day-to-day life as a groaning, crying, laughing sentient potato being for whom things are often absolutely not fine. Through simple, humorous drawings and a few short narratives, the book encompasses everything from mood disorders, anxiety, and issues with body image through to existential conversations with dogs and some unusually articulate birds.

Building on Rubyetc's huge online presence, It's All Absolutely Fine includes mostly new material, both written and illustrated, and is inspirational, empowering, and entertaining. Hope and tenacity abound in this book that is as heartening as it is…


Book cover of It Might Be An Apple

Emily McGovern Author Of Twelve Percent Dread

From my list on to alleviate dread.

Why am I passionate about this?

Twelve Percent Dread is about the curious state of anxiety that underpins living in the 21st Century, when we’re aware of so many current and looming disasters. However, it’s a bit of a misleading title, my book is actually very funny! Most of my work is built around stuffing as many jokes in as possible, and I want the reader to really chuckle and feel joy when they read it. In this book, the jokes come from the state of anxiety that the characters work themselves into. Assuming you, the reader, also experiences a certain level of dread throughout the day, here’s a list of books that will hopefully help relieve it.

Emily's book list on to alleviate dread

Emily McGovern Why did Emily love this book?

Another comic book, which is actually a Japanese picture book for children. It’s about exploring the power of your imagination—is the apple you are looking at actually an apple, or could it be something else? I read this when it came out and I was floored by the joyous curiosity it inspires, as well as the beautiful ligne-claire style artwork. It definitely helps to relieve dread in that it makes you think like a child again, opening up the world to endless possibilities. Glorious.

By Shinsuke Yoshitake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It Might Be An Apple as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It Might Be an Apple is a boisterous, philosophical shaggy dog story for young children - and probably a few adults. The story follows a child's hilarious, wildly inventive train of thought through all the things an apple might be if it is not, in fact, an apple. Distrusting the apple's convincing appearance, the child's imagination spirals upwards and outwards into a madcap fantasy world - maybe it's a star from outer space with tiny aliens on board? Perhaps it wants a cool hairstyle? Does it feel scared, or snore at night? Children can see what all these crazy, funny…


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 Hitler's Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich

Brian E. Crim Author Of Planet Auschwitz: Holocaust Representation in Science Fiction and Horror Film and Television

From my list on the history of horror and science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of twentieth century Germany and the Holocaust, but I am also a voracious consumer of popular culture. How do I justify spending so much time watching and analyzing horror and science fiction film and television? Well, write a book about it, of course. The first thing I realized is that many other brilliant scholars have thought about why this imagery permeates contemporary culture, even if I asked different questions about why. I hope you are as inspired and enlightened by this book list as I was.

Brian's book list on the history of horror and science fiction

Brian E. Crim Why did Brian love this book?

Eric Kurlander is a brilliant historian of modern Germany who finally treats this topic with the seriousness it deserves. Lots of charlatans and amateurs on the History Channel love to speculate about the Nazis and the occult, but Kurlander brings a historian’s rigor to the subject and reveals a complex relationship between the supernatural and the Nazi worldview. Among his findings is that key Nazi figures used the vast propaganda machinery, including film, to depict its “racial enemies” as monstrous. Kurlander also breaks down absurd beliefs like World Ice Theory and determines the truth behind Hitler’s fascination with the “Spear of Destiny.”

By Eric Kurlander,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hitler's Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The definitive history of the supernatural in Nazi Germany-the occult ideas, esoteric sciences, and pagan religions touted by the Third Reich in the service of power

"[Kurlander] shows how swiftly irrational ideas can take hold, even in an age before social media."-Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"A careful, clear-headed, and exhaustive examination of a subject so lurid that it has probably scared away some of the serious research it merits."-National Review

The Nazi fascination with the occult is legendary, yet today it is often dismissed as Himmler's personal obsession or wildly overstated for its novelty. Preposterous though it was, however,…


Book cover of The American Monomyth

Barry Spector Author Of Madness at the Gates of the City: The Myth of American Innocence

From my list on American addiction to innocence.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a student of mythology and archetypal psychology, I invite you to interrogate your assumptions about self and society, to consider the narratives that we all take for granted. We live between great polar opposites. One is how our leaders embody old, toxic stories. The other asks who we might become if we imagine new ones. But only by dropping our sense of innocence and acknowledging the depths of our darkness can we open ourselves to the possibilities of real transformation. I invite you inside our mythic walls, to examine what it means to be an American. I hope to facilitate a collective initiation and invite you to think mythologically.

Barry's book list on American addiction to innocence

Barry Spector Why did Barry love this book?

My introduction to world mythology was Joseph Campbell, who described a nearly universal narrative – or monomyth – in which a young man (such as Christ, Percival, or the Buddha) ventures from his land, defeats opponents or temptations and returns with a critical gift for his people.

America, however, inverted this myth in profoundly important ways. In our story, repeated over three centuries in thousands of sermons, novels, movies, television, and video games, an innocent and racially pure community is threatened by evil (usually non-white).

When democratic institutions fail to suppress the threat, a selfless superhero arrives – from elsewhere – to defeat the villains and restore the community to harmony. Then, however, disdaining the feminine values of community and relationship, this hero disappears (often into the West).

I realized that he is the model for both our ideas of distant fathering as well as our unshakable belief in American…

By Robert Jewett, John Shelton Lawrence,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sociology


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 The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in 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?

Daniel Boorstin’s The Image is an amazing study by the former Librarian of Congress that first set in place many of the ideas about celebrities that are still with us today.

“The celebrity is a person who is known for [their] well-knowness,” Boorstin wrote. He describes “pseudo-events”, the manufactured illusions that we mistake for reality in a media-saturated world.

Drawing on examples like Charles Lindbergh, Boorstin shows how we come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety. Thus, the heroes of the past are blurred before our eyes and eventually disappear.

The Image is the first book I read about celebrity and it remains one of the best.

By Daniel J. Boorstin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1962, this wonderfully provocative book introduced the notion of “pseudo-events”—events such as press conferences and presidential debates, which are manufactured solely in order to be reported—and the contemporary definition of celebrity as “a person who is known for his well-knownness.” Since then Daniel J. Boorstin’s prophetic vision of an America inundated by its own illusions has become an essential resource for any reader who wants to distinguish the manifold deceptions of our culture from its few enduring truths.


Book cover of Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting

Michael E. Heyes Author Of Margaret's Monsters: Women, Identity, and the Life of St. Margaret in Medieval England

From my list on understanding monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

What could possibly captivate the mind more than monsters? As a kid, I eagerly consumed books from authors like R.L. Stine, Stephen King, and HP Lovecraft. I watched George Romero, Wes Craven, and John Carpenter, and played games like Dungeons and Dragons, Vampire: The Masquerade, and The Call of Cthulhu. When I discovered monster studies in my PhD years—a way to read monsters as cultural productions that tell us something about the people that create them—I was hooked. Ever since, I get to continue reading my favorite books, watching my favorite movies, and playing my favorite games. It’s just that now someone’s paying me to do it.

Michael's book list on understanding monsters

Michael E. Heyes Why did Michael love this book?

Ok, you’ve read Cohen and Monsters and the Monstrous. This monster stuff is getting pretty good, and you might be able to feel around the edges a bit. How does it apply to contemporary America which “no longer believes in monsters?” This is where Poole’s book comes in. Poole walks through monstrosity in the US from Columbus’ first steps to just shy of 2020. All the juicy topics that Americans have used monsters for—sex, race, and politics—emerge in this monstrous tour de force of US history. This is one of the first books I recommend to my students.

By W. Scott Poole,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Monsters arrived in 2011aand now they are back. Not only do they continue to live in our midst, but, as historian Scott Poole shows, these monsters are an important part of our pastaa hideous obsession America cannot seem to escape. Poole's central argument in Monsters in America is that monster tales intertwine with America's troubled history of racism, politics, class struggle, and gender inequality. The second edition of Monsters leads readers deeper into America's tangled past to show how monsters continue to haunt contemporary American ideology. By adding new discussions of the American West, Poole focuses intently on the Native…


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