10 books like On the City Wall

By Rudyard Kipling,

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

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The Tale of Kieu

By Nguyen Du,

Book cover of The Tale of Kieu: Truyen Kieu

The Tale of Kieu is an early 19th Century epic poem and the cornerstone of Vietnamese literature. Adapted from a 17th Century Chinese novel, it is the story of a beautiful, well-to-do young woman forced into prostitution to save her family from destitution in a time of great government corruption and civil unrest. The poem is so revered in Vietnam that there is a popular branch of fortune-telling that uses it for predictions, and Kieu’s sacrifice is seen as mirroring the sacrifices Vietnamese have made in times of war and hardship, even across the centuries before the poem was written. The poem is bejewelled with beautiful lines, and presents a unique depiction of a woman who retains her dignity despite the many who try to rob her of it.

The Tale of Kieu

By Nguyen Du,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Tale of Kieu is an epic poem in Vietnamese written by Nguyen Du (1766-1820), and is widely regarded as the most significant work of Vietnamese literature. In 3,254 verses, written in luc bat (6/8) meter, the poem recounts the life, trials and tribulations of Thuy Kieu, a beautiful and talented young woman, who had to sacrifice herself to save her family. To save her father and younger brother from prison, she sold herself into marriage with a middle-aged man, not knowing that he is a pimp, and was forced into prostitution.


Boule de Suif

By Guy de Maupassant,

Book cover of Boule de Suif: Maupassant

Maupassant’s story takes its name from the chubby prostitute at its centre, nicknamed ‘Bowl of Fat’. At the time of Prussian occupation of France, a group of petty bourgeoisie, upper bourgeoisie, noble and religious people encourage her to offer herself to a Prussian officer in return for the freedom to travel through an occupied town to Le Havre. Through this short novel, Maupassant reveals the hypocrisy and moral poverty of those who sit in the layers of society above such outcasts as ‘Boule de suif’ and, by contrast, both the moral solidity and even innocence of the ‘fallen woman’ herself.

Boule de Suif

By Guy de Maupassant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Henry-René-Albert-Guy de Maupassant est un écrivain et journaliste littéraire français né le 5 août 1850 au château de Miromesnil à Tourville-sur-Arques (Seine-Inférieure) et mort le 6 juillet 1893 à Paris.Lié à Gustave Flaubert et à Émile Zola, Maupassant a marqué la littérature française par ses six romans, dont Une vie en 1883, Bel-Ami en 1885, Pierre et Jean en 1887-1888, et surtout par ses nouvelles (parfois intitulées contes) comme Boule de suif en 1880, les Contes de la bécasse (1883) ou Le Horla (1887). Ces œuvres retiennent l’attention par leur force réaliste, la présence importante du fantastique et par le…


House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories

By Yasunari Kawabata,

Book cover of House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories

Novellas are a perfect place to start for poets who are interested in writing longer, more narrative work. They’re slim, lyrical, and less daunting. I read this novella in college & haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It takes place in what I can only refer to as a “Sleeping Brothel” where elderly men pay to sleep beside young women. The story is haunting, but it doesn’t take cheap horror shots. Instead, it delves into the complexity of loneliness, the shared vulnerability of sleep, and the human need for comfort.

House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories

By Yasunari Kawabata,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three surreal, erotically charged stories from Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata.
 
In the three long tales in this collection, Yasunari Kawabata examines the boundaries between fantasy and reality in the minds of three lonely men. Piercing examinations of sexuality and human psychology—and works of remarkable subtlety and beauty—these stories showcase one of the twentieth century’s great writers—in any language—at his very best.


The World of Suzie Wong

By Richard Mason,

Book cover of The World of Suzie Wong

This story is so sweet and funny, I must have read it a dozen times since first arriving in China. That a Western male writer conceived a female Chinese character as charming and relatable as Suzie without ever straying into offensive farce really says something about the author, Richard Mason’s, craft. His prose is old-school eloquent, and deftly includes the smallest details that bring Suzie, a naughty yet affectionate hooker with a big heart, and her 1950s Hong Kong brothel settings, to vivid life. If I had only five desert-island books, The World of Suzie Wong would be one of them.

The World of Suzie Wong

By Richard Mason,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Penguin Books reintroduces the timeless story of the love affair between a British artist and a Chinese prostitute.

Robert is t he only resident of the Nam Kok hotel not renting his room by the hour when he meets Suzie at the bar. She becomes his muse and they fall in love. But even in Hong Kong, where many white expatriates have Chinese mistresses, their romance could jeopardize the things they each hold dear. Set in the mid-1950s, The World of Suzie Wong is a beautifully written time capsule of a novel. First published more than fifty years ago, it…


The Underworld Sewer

By Josie Washburn,

Book cover of The Underworld Sewer: A Prostitute Reflects on Life in the Trade, 1871-1909

After not being able to find a publisher in the early 1900s, Josie Washburn self-published her memoir. In The Underworld Sewer, Josie not only describes her life as a prostitute and madam, but she also debunks the notion at the time that women became prostitutes to “satisfy their own unnatural lusts.” Josie wanted to educate the public about the true horrors and plight of the unfortunate women who had to resort to prostitution to survive and, ultimately, to motivate the public to effect change. Her memoir is as much a scathing commentary on society’s double standards as it is an account of her life as a demi-mondaine.

The Underworld Sewer

By Josie Washburn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For twenty years Josie Washburn lived and worked in houses of prostitution. She spent the last twelve as the madam of a moderately fancy brothel in Lincoln, Nebraska. After retiring in 1907 and moving to Omaha, she turned to "throwing a searchlight on the underworld," including the "cribs" of Nebraska's largest city. The Underworld Sewer, based on her own experience in the profession, blazes with a kind of honesty unavailable to more conventional moral reformers. Originally published in 1909, The Underworld Sewer asks why "the social evil" is universally considered necessary or inevitable. Washburn minces no words in exposing the…


The Sexual Question

By Paulo Drinot,

Book cover of The Sexual Question: A History of Prostitution in Peru, 1850s-1950s

In this first book in English about the history of sexual commerce in Peru during the state regulation of brothels, Drinot tells a multilayered story of the complex interactions among sex workers, clients, the police, the government, feminists, and physicians. With a remarkable diversity of archival sources, Drinot explores topics that are frequently disregarded in the history of prostitution like the meanings of masculinity and the interaction between race and venereal diseases that, in the case of Lima, resulted in the stigmatization of Chinese migrants and indigenous men as infectious agents.

The Sexual Question

By Paulo Drinot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The creation of Lima's red light district in 1928 marked the culminating achievement of the promoters of regulation who sought to control the spread of venereal disease by medically policing female prostitutes. Its closure in 1956 was arguably the high point of abolitionism, a transnational movement originating in the 1860s that advocated that regulation was not only ineffective from a public health perspective, but also morally wrong. The Sexual Question charts this cyclic process of regulation and abolition in Peru, uncovering the ideas, policies, and actors shaping the debates on prostitution in Lima and beyond. The history of prostitution, Paulo…


The Lost Sisterhood

By Ruth Rosen,

Book cover of The Lost Sisterhood: Prostitution in America, 1900-1918

Like Anne Butler, Ms. Rosen used credible sources to explain the “whys and hows” of frontier prostitution, prostitutes’ roles in society, and the culture that kept them in their place. Her book includes government studies conducted with the women themselves regarding their careers. Statistics on the ladies’ health and social diseases are included here too.

The Lost Sisterhood

By Ruth Rosen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Rosen has broken entirely new ground in what will surely remain the definitive study of urban prostitution in America for many years to come."--'TLS'


Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery

By Anne M. Butler,

Book cover of Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery: Prostitutes in the American West, 1865-90

Of the six books the late Ms. Butler authored in her lifetime, this one is by far my favorite. Her academic account of the prostitution industry is all facts, with plenty of sources to back them up. There is no flowery talk here, just the truth of how women of the demimonde lived during the late 1800s.

Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery

By Anne M. Butler,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is in good used condition. Ex-library book. History of prostitution in the American West 1865-1890. Good book for anyone interested in learning more about: Prostitutes -- West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century.


Innocent Flowers

By Julie Holledge,

Book cover of Innocent Flowers: Women in the Edwardian Theatre

This book taught me so much I didn’t know about the women working in theatre in Edwardian Britain, particularly behind the scenes. They were by and large the antidote to the (male) actor-managers who ruled the roost over the West End at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries. They were responsible for introducing Ibsen in his original form to cautious London audiences, and for creating something called the Actress’ Franchise League, which I’d never heard of before. It’s a broadly-researched book and very easy to read. 

Innocent Flowers

By Julie Holledge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Edwardian actress, glamorous and privileged, was the sex symbol of her time. Yet her life was a paradox: off stage she could marry, divorce and take lovers with impugnity; on stage she had to play dutiful wives or daughters or 'scarlet women'.

Thousands of these spirited women set out to change the conventional roles they played - and to change the world. Some of them were famous - Athene Seyler, Kitty Marion, Elizabeth Robins, Edy Craig, many others unknown. Managing their own companies, they put on hundreds of plays all over the country - many on taboo subjects such…


The Devil's Chain

By Keely Stauter-Halsted,

Book cover of The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland

Who would have thought that late-nineteenth-century Poles’ preoccupation with the problem of prostitution could reveal so much about the Polish mindset? Concerns over the sex industry arose during a period of rapid change when there was no Polish state. Poles voiced their concerns about their nation’s future—and their womenfolk. A historian at the height of her powers, Keely Stauter-Halsted skillfully shows how debates on prostitution and an obsession with the bodies of impoverished women reflected a variety of visions of a future Poland.

The Devil's Chain

By Keely Stauter-Halsted,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the half-century before Poland's long-awaited political independence in 1918, anxiety surrounding the country's burgeoning sex industry fueled nearly constant public debate. The Devil's Chain is the first book to examine the world of commercial sex throughout the partitioned Polish territories, uncovering a previously hidden conversation about sexuality, gender propriety, and social class. Keely Stauter-Halsted situates the preoccupation with prostitution in the context of Poland's struggle for political independence and its difficult transition to modernity. She traces the Poles' growing anxiety about white slavery, venereal disease, and eugenics by examining the regulation of the female body, the rise of medical…


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